Play music long enough, and you'll come across some chord progressions that occur in dozens, even hundreds of "different" songs.
Instead of playing the same basic open chords, you can utilize unusual sounding arpeggios over the chords to add something unique to make the song sound different from other songs using the same progression.
Joel Hoekstra demonstrates some pretty cool examples in a lesson with Guitar World.
A couple of things I'd like to address first (and yes, I am being VERY anal in what I'm about to say)
1) At 1:45, Joel names a chord C Maj9 add #11. I would argue that name is incorrect for that chord. Here's why:
There are other issues I take with some of the chord names listed in the tablature on Guitar World's site. If I get a comment asking what those issues are, I'll do a blog talking about it!
Regardless of my little knit picks, there's still some pretty cool stuff in Joel's lesson. Check it out!
CLICK HERE for the tablature of this lesson. (beware of the incorrectly tabbed bass note in figure 3 measure 3 and incorrect chord names!)
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.