From Hal Leonard Guitar Method:
Creating Unique Acoustic Guitar Riffs Using Open Strings
BY CHAD JOHNSON
Editorial note: Don’t let the Acoustic label fool you—this lesson is applicable to any kind of player, at any level. There is something wonderful
about open strings ringing on an acoustic guitar, but the ideas presented here go much further than that; these ideas can help you create the
foundation for fretboard fluency and gain a deeper understanding of how chords work together.
Let’s start out with a simple exercise to help illustrate the concept a bit. An easy way to get your feet wet with drones is to simply take an open-position
chord and move the fret-hand shape up to the respective IV and V chords of that key while allowing the open strings to continue to ring. If we were
in D for example, the I chord would be D, the IV chord would be G, and the V would be A. Here’s what this would look like:
If we try the same thing in C, the chord shapes would be C, F, and G. Check out the
interesting harmonies created here with the open E and G strings ringing.
Here’s the same idea in the key of E. The shapes are built off the E, A, and B chords,
but the resulting harmonies are much more interesting than the typical I–IV–V variety.
Now if we apply some different technical treatments to these chords, such as strumming, Travis Picking,
and arpeggiation, we end up with some unique riffs. Maybe something like these:
Head to premierguitar.com to hear sound clips for this lesson.
Turn the page for more Droning Strings