Thursday, October 31, 2013

Partial Chords- Reggae- 3 Little Birds- Somewhere Over the Rainbow

We are starting to explore how to play in various musical styles by changing the way we play strumming patterns and chord shapes. In addition, Reggae will introduce the idea of muting with your fretting hand as opposed to the strumming hand mute we have been playing.

When starting to play Reggae it is important to look at different chord shapes that move the sound a bit higher on the neck of the guitar. When we use partial chords it allows us to mute with the left hand (see video) and not have all the jangly open strings. Because Reggae is a staccato style (meaning the rhythms are shorter and detached) we need to be able to control the length of the sound

Below you will see sample chord voicings that move your basic open chords higher up on the neck. It is important when you play these chords to avoid hitting the open strings.

3 Little Birds Audio File

Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Using Upper Position Chord Shapes

G                  D                         C           G
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
C             G                            D                      Em     Cthere's a land that i heard of once in a lulla--by
G                  D                            C             GSomewhere over thew rainbow skies are blue
C            G                                  D                                  Em        Cand the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
           G                                            D                                              Em           CSome day i'll wish upon a star and wake where the clouds are far behind me
             G                                               D                                                     Em Where troubles melt like lemon drops away upon the chimney tops thats where
            C  you'll find me
G                  D                          C               GSomewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly
C              G                            D                                G  Birds fly over the rain--bow why then oh why can't I
{{{pause with birds chirping}}}

Monday, October 28, 2013

Guitar 1: Quarter 1 Self Reflection

All students in Guitar 1 must complete a 1st quarter self reflection survey. The purpose of the survey is to help gauge your achievement in the course at the halfway point of the semester and help me direct or redirect the class moving forward. Your honest feedback will help us all improve.

Self Reflection Survey

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Review!

Here is a compilation of recent posts. Guitarists should review the concepts, techniques and theory behind these posts.

Ode to Joy!- Single note reading on the first 2 strings and chord accompaniment

Embellished Chords- Introducing Major 7th chords to your playing.

Power Chords!- The staple of the rock guitar diet. A great way to introduce moveable chords to your playing and greatly increase your ability to get around the neck of the guitar.

Descending Bass Lines in Chords- A great way to add interest and movement to your open position chords. Many songs use these devices to create signature sounds and memorable hooks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ode to Joy!

One of the most recognizable melodies in all of music, Ode to Joy is the theme of the 4th movement of Beethoven's triumphant 9th symphony. While not originally played on the guitar, it adapts well as a device to help us with the notes on the first 2 strings.
Review Notes on the 1st string
Review notes on the 2nd string

You will notice that with the melody, I have included some chords along the top of each line. These chords can be played as an accompaniment to the melody. A few of the chords I have labeled as *alternate chords, this means that these chords sound nice but are not essential. You can stay on the C chord during these chords and it will work out just fine.

This piece also introduces eighth notes in the melody. If we use the quarter note as our beat, the eighth note gets half of a beat. In foot tapping that means the notes happen when we tap AND lift our foot. At slower tempos, you should play these all as downstrokes.

Our objective is to play this in duets, small groups and as a class.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Using Embellished chords to enhance your playing

This post introduces 2 new chords and places them in a progression that highlights their sound. When we talk about embellishing something, we usually mean to add something that enhances the quality. On guitar, sometimes we can add notes by lifting fingers and letting strings ring open. That is the case with the GMaj7 and the CMaj7.

These are 7th chords that sound a bit different from chords like B7, D7, and A7. These chords use a Major 7th while those other chords have a minor 7th. That one change makes a big difference in sound. The sound is often described as having a dream-like quality. Perhaps that is why John Lennon used these types of chord in his iconic song Imagine.

Try the following chord progression using chords we know and some of these embellished chords. You should notice a bit of a different sound in these chords. It is important for all the notes to ring so you hear those embellishments.

Guitar 1: Basic Chords Identification Assessment

Please follow this link to respond to questions related to your basic chords, chord families and strumming patterns.

Basic Chords Identification Assessment

Monday, October 21, 2013

Power Chords!

Power Chords are awesome! These wonderful 2-note chords can function as Major, or minor chords and can move all over the fingerboard. Just by learning one simple form, you are now able to play dozens of chords anywhere on the guitar.

Sounds great, right? Well the sound is something you have to consider when using the power chord. Because the chord can be used as both Major and minor, the chord does not sound either Major or minor. For certain styles this is perfect because we are not interested in the quality of the chord, we just want something that has a strong sound. This is why these chords are used quite a bit in rock and metal styles.
You may notice that some of these shapes use 3 fingers, 2 fingers or 1 finger. This depends on the position of the chord (open pos. vs. moveable) or if you want to double the root note with your pinky.

When placing your power chords, you have to have a good idea of the mapping on the 5th and 6th string of the guitar. Here are the notes on those strings to help guide you when playing moveable chords.

Go Find some Power Chords!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Descending Bass Line Patterns for Cool Guitar Players

As I mentioned in class, cool guitar players can play awesome songs with chords that use descending bass lines. I have written up 2 exercises that make use of this sound. These may help trigger your own ideas about how to connect chords in new and interesting ways. Enjoy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chord Practice Tracks

Practicing chord progressions with a steady beat is essential to help you improve chord flow, consistency, and the ability to play with others in time. The following 3 drum tracks are tiered to begin slow and progress to a fast tempo (or speed). Along with the drum beat, you should tap your foot to help sync with the drums and your strumming hand. You can perform your primary chord progressions with downstrokes or any of the strum patterns we have studied.

Thanks to Peter N. for constructing the drum tracks!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Notes on the 2nd string and a Duet

The notes on the 2nd string follow the same pattern as the notes on the first string. Here is an image showing the notes on the staff and their position on the neck of the guitar.

This duet uses notes on the first 3 strings. If you want to review just the notes on the first 2 strings you can stick with the top line.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Introduction to Finger style Guitar

I will be adding updates to this video with music excerpts of the examples played in the video.

Here is a collection of finger-style patterns for many musical occasions. The patterns are broken into two categories: Patterns in 4/4 time and patterns in 3/4 time. Even though music can be played in many different types of time signatures, 4/4 and 3/4 are among the most common. These patterns can be starting points for even more exploration.

Alternating Thumb and finger pluck:


Plucking Arpeggios:
An arpeggio is also known as a broken chord. Rather than strumming the notes of the chord together, an arpeggio breaks them up.

Primary Chord Round-up

The previous post talked about primary chords (I,IV,V7) and their relationship to a key center. This post collects some of the Key centers and Primary chords. This is not all of the chords you know, but this is a sorting based on their Primary function.

Key of G
Key of D
Key of A

Key of Em
   Key of E

It is important to practice these chords in progression from one to the other. These patterns will return over and over again in music so practicing them together will prepare you for the music you will encounter.

The Theory Behind Chord Families

I have spoken in class about how certain chords belong together because they are in the same family. Well, by family I am talking about the key in which these chords reside.
 Let's look at three chords: G, C, and D

These three chords get played together a lot. We call these chords the I (G), IV (C) and V (D) in the key of G.

When you look at the Key of G and how the scale in that key is constructed, you will see the pattern of chords that live within the key of G. This pattern is the same in every Major scale (Do, Re, Mi...etc.)

Notice how the I, IV and V are upper case or Major chords. We call those the Primary Chords in the key. Hundreds and hundreds of songs have been written based on these primary chords alone. At this point, you already know the primary chords and a couple of secondary chords (Am, Em) in the key of G so you are well on your way to playing, and creating some great music.