Friday, February 28, 2014

GHS Guitar: Ode to Joy!

GHS Guitar: 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 symphon...

Guitar II: The Blues and some new chord shapes

In class we started jamming to the blues. In this instance we were experimenting with the key of A (a very guitar friendly blues key).

First here is the basic chord structure we followed:

| / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |
D7             A7
| / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |
E7    D7     A7
| / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |

What you will learn (if you keep playing and studying the blues) is that this is a real basic progression of chords within the blues and you can create many, many variations on chord choice and position.

We explored using the A minor pentatonic scale for soloing over this progression.

We also introduced a couple new chord voicings that can be useful when playing the blues.

Playing the blues becomes a sort of puzzle in which the pieces can fit in a number of places. This can lead to near endless variations on what you can play and how you choose to express yourself.
Here we scratch the surface...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guitar I: The B7 chord and Hallelujah

In class we discussed the B7 chord. We looked at the open position fingering of the chord and mentioned it's relationship to E chords (specifically Em).

Well here is that chord in blog format...
Here are the chord changes to the very popular song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.
The B7 chord (in this key) only makes one appearance in the form of the song, but the impact is striking. It is easily the most memorable chord in the song. The fact is the B7 chord doesn't actually belong in the the key of the song (G). It is borrowed form another key and that is why it is such a special sound.

G                                 Em
I've heard there was a secret chord
        G                              Em
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
       C                        D                    G         D
But you don't really care for music, do you?    
It goes like this
        C              D
The fourth, the fifth
        Em                 C
The minor fall, the major lift
       D                         B7               Em
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
         C               G
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

         C               G    D    G
Hallelujah, Halleluuuuuujah

Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

GHS Guitar: Guitar I: Beginning Chord Round Up!

GHS Guitar: Guitar I: Beginning Chord Round Up!: The expectation at this point is that you have a basic understanding and recognition of approximately 12 chords. You should be able to form ...

Monday, February 24, 2014

GHS Guitar I: The Theory Behind Chord Families

GHS Guitar: 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 ...

GHS Guitar I: Notes on the 2nd string and a Duet

GHS Guitar: 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 th...

Guitar II: The Magic of the Diminished Chord

One of my favorite chords to use on the guitar is the diminished chord. It is a chord that evokes many interesting sounds and images. The chord is very guitar friendly because of it's parallel construction.
Parallel construction means that all of the intervals between the noters of the chord are the same (minor 3rds).
For practical purposes, it means that each voicing of the chord can be shifted up or down three frets to get the same chord with the notes inverted (or switched around).

The chord diagrams above show 3 possible voicings for the chord with a starting point of the 6th string, 5th string and 4th string. Keep in mind, by simply moving the chord shape up or down 3 frets, you keep the notes of the chord but simply change the order.

Experiment with the sound of the diminished chord.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guitar I Beginner Chords: A, A7, Am

Here are 3 forms of the A chord in open position.

The A7 chord completes the primary chord cycle in the key of D Major. The primary chords in any key are the I chord, IV chord and the V7 chord. In D Major the I chord is D, the IV chord is G and the V7 chord is A7.

A lot of music has been written using just the I, IV and V7 chords in any given key.
As we learn our beginning chords, we will group them into these families. Because you will often play chords from the same family together, it is helpful to practice them together.

Here is an exercise that uses the primary chords in the key of D (D, G and A7). In this exercise the objective is to play the bass note of the chord before strumming the chord. The bass note or root is the note that names the chord.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Guitar I: The Syncopated Strum

Strum patterns are simply variations and combinations on the downstroke (D) and the upstroke (U). One of the most commonly used and useful strum patterns is one we like to call the syncopated strum. Syncopation is when notes or rhythms happen in unexpected places off of the beat. When music is not syncopated, the notes and rhythms generally happen in predictable patterns on the beat.

Here is the basic strum pattern:
If we syncopate that it looks like this:
The notes in the middle are tied together. When notes are tied, we add the notes together and sustain the sound.

If we were to count this syncopated rhythm, it would look like this:

This handy strum will serve you well throughout your guitar career.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Guitar I: First five chords recap and update

Here is a recap of our first five chords which have been updated to include the fuller voicings of the G, C, and G7 chords:

Guitar II: The Pentatonic Scale across the Neck

The pentatonic scale is a guitarists dream. Ample material for creative soloing and riff making, but without the hassle of "wrong" notes. We tend, however, to get locked into one "box" position when playing the pentatonic scale. In our efforts to become "neck-mappers" it is important to start breaking out of the boxes and seeing what else is on our guitar neck. To that end, I have borrowed this helpful diagram which illustrates the 5 positions of the pentatonic scale. The chart calls these shapes "minor" pentatonic but I am going to just refer to them as pentatonic scales. Pos. 1 is the classic "box" shape I was referring to. Each shape connects and flows into each successive shape.

 If we apply the same understanding of the 6th string that we have for moveable bar chords we can play any number of different minor pentatonic scales. If you start position 1 on the 3rd fret, you are now playing the Gminor pentatonic. Start at the 6th fret and you are playing the Bbminor pentatonic, etc.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Moveable Bar Chords on the 6th string

Bar chords are often torturous for beginning guitarists, but they unlock the neck of the guitar like no other chords can do.
With the 3 chord shapes in this post and knowledge of the 6th string (to the 12th fret), you now have 36 chords at your disposal (theoretically more if you count enharmonic equivalents as different chords-but let's not worry about that too much).

First, let's look at the 3 shapes in question:




These shapes are based around the open position E chord. If you take away the first finger bar, you probably can see the the E, Em and E7 shape.

These chords change letter name based on where you place that first finger bar. When you know the notes on the 6th string, you really have some options.

These are the first steps in mapping the neck of the guitar. Happy chord hunting!