Alternative chord voicings

Is there a way to enter alternative chord voicing? I would like to enter an Am chord with the notes A-E-C-E but I can’t figure out a way to do this. Is it possible?

If you are asking how to change the A chord to an Am, select the song. Then select "Menu"on the top right corner, then “edit”, then “edit this song” if it was song a song you created or select “duplicate & edit” if the song was created by Strum Machine. Then in the bottom left corner, select “Chords”. Then select the “A” tonic and select “minor” type.

What I mean to ask, is there a way to specify the notes in a chord? Am is normally A-C-E-A. I am looking for A-E-C-E, or even E-C-E, as it has a different sound. I don’t know chord theory very well, as a violinist, so it is possible that this chord has a specific name. I can play E-C-E on my violin, so I figure that it exists on mandolins, too.

Chord inversions would fall into this category of alternate voicings. I don’t see a way to enter inverted chords, either. I see guitar players creating all sorts of chords up on the neck, so I know it’s a guitar thing.

I think I understand what you mean. I don’t see that feature in the Strum Machine Guide, which would be quite an advanced feature and time consuming to create.

The chords used by the guitar in Strum Machine are standard open chords, for the most part. In general, alternative voicings/inversions would mean up-the-neck chord shapes, which isn’t an option at the moment. I will be adding closed up-the-neck chords for dampened/jazz/swing styles in the future, but I wasn’t planning on having a way to explicitly specify voicings. I would be curious to know if there’s a reason for you wanting this feature, other than wanting some more interest in the strumming – which, honestly, I think will be achieved much more effectively by the new strumming styles I’m working on.

You can specify the bass note of the chord from the Chords menu, which does offer some useful options in certain scenarios, like making a D/F# chord with the F# (third) in the bass.


Hi Luke,

There are two reasons that I want to be able to specify the notes within a chord:

  1. As a fiddler, I play a lot of fifths. G-D, D-A, and A-E are the easiest chords to play on a violin (they are pairs of open strings) and are thus part of the fiddling style. I also play a lot of fourths: A-D, E-A, and B-E, since that is just first finger on the deeper string and open string on top. The other fifths are equivalent to bar chords, two adjacent strings under one finger. When you hear an accomplished old-time fiddler playing chords, someone like Bruce Molsky, you are hearing a lot of fifths and fourths. They create that drone sound.

  2. As I get better, I like to create my own arrangements. I can do this with notation software. I use MuseScore. But frankly, I love practicing to Strum Machine. I love watching the chords change. My internal sense of rhythm has improved quite a bit since discovering Strum Machine. When I create my own arrangement, it is helpful for me to hear the same chords that I am trying to play.

By the way, I love the fact that we can now get 4 chords in a measure and that we can specify rests.

If I am asking for a feature that would be difficult to program, I understand. But it would be really nice to have the power chord (fifths) option. It sounds very different than a chord with the third.

Ah, well if we’re talking about having “no-third” chords / power chords / root-fifth chords, that is definitely something that will be available in the future. My current thinking is to offer two things:

  1. A new chord type (5) that has only a root and fifth, which you can choose while creating/editing a song.

  2. A way to say “play this song with third-less chords” (or at least certain chords without a third) so that you can get that “modal” sound without having to manually go in and change every chord in the editor.

Lots of new improvements coming to the instrument playback in the next few months, and the plan is for this to be a part of that.