Understanding Liquified Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing. Which believe it or not, is capable of producing on every piece of the fret board.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 25:32Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:37) Intro and Review Review
- Warm-up the hands.
- Stretch the wrists
- Play the major and minor open chords.
- Warm up your strums by relaxing the wrists and letting the pick flow over the strings.
- Play the E major chord in the new way and play the type 1 barre chords.
- Play the A major chord in the new way and play the type 2 barre chords.
- Practice the slanting A technique.
- Practice the type 1 minor barre chords.
- Practice the type II minor barre chords.
- Play all of the type 1 mini-barre chords.
- Play all of the type II mini-barre chords.
- Review and practice quantitative and qualitative techniques.
- Review last week's exercises.
- Practice Wrist Warming.


As most of you have become quite familiar with my manner of teaching as well as some of the vocabulary that I frequently use to describe certain processes on the guitar, I want to go into greater detail into the process I call "liquefying" chords. As you know, what I refer to as liquification is simply the process of adding, subtracting, changing notes in one chord to make another, sometimes very similar although sometimes very different chord. We will delve further into this process today working with the Am chord. Please make sure that you have warmed up your wrists (and your brains for that matter) and gone through the review section sufficiently so that your hands are ready to go.

Here are the chords that we'll be using for the first set of exercises:

A minor


This chord is best played by placing your first finger on the G-string 1st fret, your second or middle finger on the B-string 1st fret and your third finger on the D-string 2nd fret.


This chord can be played by placing your second or middle finger on the B-string 1st fret and your third or ring finger on the D-string 2nd fret.

D9 (4th fret)

This chord is best played by placing your first finger on the D-string 4th fret, your second or middle finger on the A-string 5th fret, and barring the G, B and high E-strings with your third finger.

This set of chords will give you the opportunity to walk down on a particular string while still maintaining the integrity of the chords surrounding. In this case we'll be walking down the G-string and putting together a cool little "regression" if you will. I'll explain further...

Take a closer look at the chords listed above and note how the only difference between the first three chords in the series is that we are dropping a half step on the G-string, and then changing to the fourth chord, again, we are dropping to the D-string and playing an F# note. The series of notes that we are playing then is as such: A, Ab, G and F# or
Thus we're playing a descending scale while playing chords at the same time. This method of chord construction (and subsequent chord playing) creates what I like to call a regression where in essence the chords are moving downward, in a sense, creating a feeling of gradual descent.
Chapter 2: (08:10) Liquification of Chords Exercise 1
Strum the four chords and get a feel for the changes as well as the changes your chord hand needs to make to accommodate each chord. Use the strum down down down-down and accent the second and fourth strum. Also, the third and fourth strums should be "linked" or strummed as one unit, as it were. Watch me in the video for clarification on this. Remember to relax your strum hand, relax the pick (if you use one) in your grasp and play from the wrist. If you did not go through a wrist warming procedure be sure to do so now. Play the rhythm at half time if you need to at first in order to get a good handle on the changes.

Exercise 2
Play the chords again this time paying close attention to the note that is changing from chord to chord (see the above tab). Listen for the differences between each chord as that note descends. What effect do you think dropping one note from chord to chord has? What do you think of the sound of each descending chord?

Exercise 3
Play the chords again this time with your eyes closed. Get a good feel for how those changes feel to your hand and the relationship between your fingers and the frets themselves. Can you use the frets to guide you to making those changes accurately? Despite the increased difficulty what effect do you think closing your eyes might have on your future ability to play?
Chapter 3: (08:48) Explore with New Chords For the next set of exercises we're going to use a new set of chords similar to the ones we used above...

Dm/A (6th fret)

This chord is best played like an Am chord but on the 6th and 7th frets. You can play the high E-string if you want to but be aware of the dissonant effect it will have on your chord progression.


This chord is best played by placing your first finger on the G-string 6th fret, second finger on the B-string 6th fret, and your third or ring finger on the D-string 7th fret.


This chord can be played by placing your first finger on the G-string 5th fret, your second or middle finger on the B-string 6th fret, and your third or ring finger on the D-string 7th fret. Notice any similarities between this progression and the last using the Am? Yes, the chord changes are the same until we reach this last step.


This chord is best played by placing your first finger on the G-string 4th fret, your second or middle finger on the B-string 6th fret and your third or ring finger on the D-string 7th fret. Once again, take a look at how only one string is changed from chord to chord. The change from chord to chord is only one note beginning with D, Db, C, to B.

Of course, this progression is slightly different than the Am progression but the idea is still the same. All we're doing is taking one note and moving in a descending fashion, then altering our fingering to accommodate the shift.

Exercise 4
Play the four new chords using the same strum pattern as above. You should be relatively accustomed to play this progression after the first three exercises but get a feel for it using the four "new" chords. Are you finding it more or less difficult to play the fourth chord (F flat 5) in lieu of the fact that there is a big gnarly stretch, four frets to be exact, as opposed to completely changing positions as we did in the first progression?

Exercise 5
Yep, you knew it was coming didn't you? The dreaded eyes-closed-playing-tough-chords exercise! Again, you should be a little more comfy with this set of chords seeing that you have already gained experience from the first three exercises. Important to gain from this exercise: get a good feel, and what I mean from feel is, the relationship between your fingers to one another as you change chords, the relationship between your fingers and their positions on the fret board. Focus on these facets and you will learn much from these exercises.

Exercise 6
Explore, seek out and discover new areas that this same type of "regression" might work on the fret board. Hint: you can use it all over but only some of the positions will sound pleasing to the ears, but of course, that is a subjective matter isn't it?

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

Drgreg3Drgreg3 replied

Great series! Thanks. I've been playing for 20+ years but you helped me move my playing to another level.

SteveABSteveAB replied

Excellent series of lessons. What an expansion of my understanding of chords. The neck of my guitar is no longer a mystery to me!!

socalrockrsocalrockr replied

Great refresher course for me.Will go on to Acoustic Blues w/Hawkeye,and juggle your songwriting course,as well.Thanks for getting me back on track.Great teacher.

mdunner59mdunner59 replied

where do i go fromhere

barttinabarttina replied

Thanks a ton for the lessons. By far the best I have ever had! You are a gifted teacher. Thanks

damdeedamdee replied

Hi Mark, I've just completed the series of lessons which I found very helpful, handy and clear. It helped me a lot to strengthen my skills. Thanx a lot.

alectalect replied

Hi Mark! I just want to say thanks for all the lessons you covered. I was able to learn so much about the guitar and thanks to you I'm also more confident as a player than as I started off before joining Jamplay. Again thnx a lot for everything and I hope to see more from you here on this amazing site :)

mashd9mashd9 replied

You are a great teacher Mark, and i dont say only for the thecnical aspect.. you have a beautiful philosophy of the guitar and the teaching proces .. greetings from baja!

barrett223barrett223 replied

Thank you so much Mr. Lincoln! I've learned so much from your lessons. With your help, I have become to know my guitar a lot better. I'm also working on your 12 string lessons and there great. Thanks again!

petursonpeturson replied

Just a quick note to say thanks, just started with the site and jumped to l.51 to see if intermediate was where I wanted to start. Although I found out I was ready as I thot I still found your lessons tight for technique that I stuck with it to be thorough. Reading the comments here I am thinking I am missing some of the interaction that is available with the site. Thanks

petursonpeturson replied

Just a quick note to say thanks, just started with the site and jumped to l.51 to see if intermediate was where I wanted to start. Although I found out I was ready as I thot I still found your lessons tight for technique that I stuck with it to be thorough. Reading the comments here I am thinking I am missing some of the interaction that is available with the site. Thanks

zigoslav97zigoslav97 replied

Thanks mark, i graduated! :P What i wanted to ask is ... am i ready to go to phase 2 now or?

alamosgalalamosgal replied

You have another graduate of your series, Mark. Thanks so much for all your help. You truly have helped me improve the quality of my sound. Liquid chords are the greatest and I needed that assistance with precision strumming. Mil gracias.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks for the awesome feedback gal, it's great to hear from you and I'm glad this stuff is helping you to become a better player. Mark

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied

Hey Mark, just finished your lesson and it is a great feeling to know that I have accomplished the entire series. It has been fun and a great learning experience. I feel like I'm graduating or something. Thanks so much for a terrific introduction to acoustic guitar. I feel like I have the tools to progress to Phase Two. Seeing where I was when I began this 8mos ago, and comparing that to where I am now, its a world of difference. Thanks again!

ironcity32ironcity32 replied

Mark, I have enjoyed watching your lessons and become a much better beginner over the year I spent watching and playing. I would recommend your lesson set to anyone who wants to start playing the guitar. Jam Play and your lessons have been very much worth my money. Are you going to post any more lessons in this series? Or are you going to begin an intermediate / advanced series? Thanks, Eric

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Iron nice to hear from you, do me a favor and send a similar copy of this message to [email protected] and ask them if we'll be doing more of my guitar series. They need to hear feedback from you guys so they know what they need to make more of...does that make sense? Thanks though and great to hear from you! Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks Al it's always great hearing from you and knowing how hard you're working. See ya soon, Mark

alshyalshy replied

your an ace Mark, you really are top notch, thank you for a wonderful rewarding road of knowledge,and this lesson to finish my phase one, wow!! great stretch need to keep at it ,my tool box is starting to have things in it, onward i go ?

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.

Guitar BasicsLesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Tuning, Gear, and ChordsLesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chords and StrummingLesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Minor Chords and MoreLesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Expanding ChordsLesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Strumming ExercisesLesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Music Theory and Barre ChordsLesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
E Shape Barre ChordsLesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape Barre ChordsLesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Barre ChordsLesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Minor Shape Barre ChordsLesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mini Barre ChordLesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape Mini BarreLesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Mini Barre ChordsLesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar TechniqueLesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar DynamicsLesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Transistion StrumsLesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Harmonic TechniqueLesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Expanding Liquid ChordsLesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Spicing up ChordsLesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chord FingeringLesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Precision StrummingLesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
D to D in Six StepsLesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Voicings and ConstructionLesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ChangesLesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ReviewLesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Rhythm and GuitarLesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Expanded Rhythm ExerciseLesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Hand StructureLesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Cadd9 and Dsus2Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger Glue and Flexibility Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Reviewing Chord ChangesLesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
SlidingLesson 33


Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Keeping Time While PlayingLesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Minor ProgressionLesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chord TransistionsLesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Transistions RevisitedLesson 37

Chord Transistions Revisited

In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Playing Individual NotesLesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

In lesson 38, Mark discusses how playing single notes rather than chords can spice up your playing.

Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rocking OutLesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

Length: 18:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Slash ChordsLesson 40

Slash Chords

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Strumming from the WristLesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Raising the BarreLesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building on Your Chord KnowledgeLesson 43

Building on Your Chord Knowledge

In lesson 43, Mark discusses additional skills related to learning and playing chords, specifically "liquification" of chords.

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Experiment With PlayingLesson 44

Experiment With Playing

Lesson 44 is all about trying new things. Mark discusses experimenting with your playing in order to take it to the next level.

Length: 17:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
DiversifyingLesson 45


In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

Length: 20:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Shaping the HandsLesson 46

Shaping the Hands

In lesson 46, Mark explains how to maximize your options by maintaining chord shapes while playing.

Length: 21:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Precision StrummingLesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Shine Like the SunLesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Changing Chords : Accuracy and SpeedLesson 49

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings Lesson 50

Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings

In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Understanding Liquified ChordsLesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mark Lincoln

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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