Shoegaze guitar chords

Nov 27, 2023

I’m pumped to show you HOW to put Shoegaze guitar chords into YOUR guitar playing! This guitar lesson is for YOU if: 

  • You can play some basic chords and want to expand your chords/voicings
  • You’re an upper beginner to intermediate guitar player
  • You know a limited amount of some jangly chords
  • Want to USE dreamy/sonic chords that sound unique
  • Understand some shoegaze style guitar chord progressions and how they work!

So grab your guitar and let’s begin!

  • By the way: ALL the examples are in videos below, complete with TAB/notation on the screen, so you absorb all the in’s and out’s for your Shoegaze guitar skills…

The first example below is using the following: open, hazy & dreamy guitar chords floating around D minor.

First off, thinking outside the box- and that’s the fun of this style! It’s based around D minor.That’s the foundation. D minor concludes the mood. So the progression works backwards. It’s a fun concept I got from jazz theory- but to keep it simple for you- we’re finding similar sounds at neighboring frets that sound good with D minor. This example also follows a fun experiment YOU can do: take your basic cowboy chords (open position chords) and tweak the chords by lifting a finger or two off of the chord grip- you can get some far out and trippy results with unusual guitar chords. 

 Here’s the process:

  • Open D string is in key- cool! That’ll work with D minor as the root
  • An open D string ties it all together, like a drone that runs through all the chords in the progression.
  • D suspended chords: 1. Sound really dreamy and sonic 2. Resolve to to D minor
  • That open high E string is in key with all of it, and it’s the 9th (the second note up from D in the scale, just an octave higher). It adds to that atmosphere.
  • Using the open string takes basic chords and makes them more dreamy and elusive.

The rhythm, like is often useful- is based around a drum beat. Always wrap ideas around that (reference the video below). Strong beats one and three. You can use a pick pattern and fill in the space between the beats: 1. Driving the rhythm and energy and 2. Syncopating (playing in between the beats).

(follow along with VIDEO ONE below for demonstration!) ⬇️

These lofty chords go one step further: using the open high E and D strings, only this time moving up the neck for a really sonic Shoegaze guitar sound. Get to know the movements, then go to the musical example below.

TIP: Drop your wrist and pull your thumb farther around the back of the neck. This will help you stretch easier, and avoid bumping those open strings you want to hear!

The chord shapes themselves are 4ths (4 scale tones apart) and 5ths (5 scale tones apart). These 4ths and 5ths sound “open.” Add to that the open strings, and you get a really lush landscape. It’s thinking outside the box, and as a result you’ll sound dreamy and unlike 99% of guitar players out there. 

The other formula is that the notes on the G string are moving in pentatonic intervals up and down the G string- all the while, the notes all pertain to C major/A minor.

Reshape it and craft the chords into a different order…

(follow along with VIDEO TWO below for demonstration!). ⬇️

  • Learn to breathe life into your chords- and learn a simple process in this game changing guide! FREE! Click here👉

Next step, add a fretted note to the high E string! These notes are also derived from C major/A minor. They sound less “jangly” without TWO open strings- and a tad bit more melancholy. 

So in all, layer by layer: open strings to the outside. Then, fretted notes on the inside strings (G & B strings). Next, add in 4th and 5th intervals fretted on the G & B strings (i.e.. A & D for the 4th, A & E for the 5th sound). After that, we scoot around the G string with the index guiding in pentatonic intervals (I visualize it as A minor pentatonic). Index guides you along the G string while you target notes. Interestingly, A minor pentatonic is A minor/C major, only without the B & F notes (less to juggle!).

(follow along with VIDEO TWO below for demonstration!). ⬇️

A good start for gear to get the sound & vibe going for Shoegaze guitar: start with a chorus pedal and a delay pedal. Next, get a distortion pedal or a fuzz pedal. I like using Boss brand- they sound pro and are virtually indestructible.

Next up, I like a resonator pedal- that’s the slap back effect you hear in some of the videos I linked below.

After that, a 7-band equalizer is fun, because it’s easy to tweak and adapt. Additionally, it helps me control the EQ and prevent any wash of sound- for example too much bass.

So definitely check those out. Down the chain of effects, go chorus then delay.

I go into great depths on effects in the Premium course, which you can find below!

Thinking outside the box like this will pave the way for your own creations. First memorize these shapes in this key. Add in an open A string and see what you unveil as you expand.

Next, you’ll want to take and apply these fundamentals in a couple of focused ways:

  • with drums/backing tracks
  • In place of simple strumming, move the shapes around
  • Play the shapes as melodies and as arpeggios
  • Add a right hand pick and/or strum pattern to them

In addition, check the next steps BELOW to fast-track you forward on guitar BELOW!

DOWNLOAD THE PDF EXAMPLES SO YOU HAVE A COPY! (if you can play some basic guitar chords, you’re ready!) CLICK HERE 👉 blog 9: shoegaze (

Just for reading the article, take advantage of the chance to jump start your guitar skills going deep into Shoegaze/Dream pop, and using ideas like you saw in this article. If you like indie/ambient guitar: this is for YOU! Get 30% off the Premium course: “Shoegaze/Dream pop: The Serious Guitar Player’s Course!” Enter the COUPON CODE: Guitarblogoffer by clicking HERE 👉Shoegaze/Dreampop Guitar: The Serious Player’s Guide – Platinum Package – Guitar Woodshed ( More info on the course that will catapult your guitar skills immediately! Shoegaze/Dreampop sales pages – Guitar Woodshed (

video I

More videos below!

video 2
  •  Stuck on boring chords & how to make better progressions? Learn to breathe life into your chords- and learn a simple process in this game changing guide! FREE! Click here👉

Learn Dream Pop chords & chord progressions on guitar! Click here👉Dream pop guitar chords – Guitar Woodshed (

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