Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Adding Pedal Tones to Familiar Chords

How do some of our favorite groups get those distinctive sounds on seemingly familiar chords? One little trick involves creating pedal tones within a chord. A pedal tone is a sustained note that carries through changes in harmonies or chords. We usually think of a pedal tone as being in the lower or bass part of a chord or harmony, but there is nothing to prevent us from creating pedal notes in the higher notes of a chord.

Here are examples of pedal notes transforming otherwise familiar chords:


Chords like these are used quite a bit in rock music to change the sound and make it a bit more memorable.

Here are links to a few songs that make good use of these "pedal-type" chords.

Every Rose Has it's Thorn- Poison
Wonderwall- Oasis
You and Me- Lifehouse

Try them for yourself and come up with your own ideas!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Notes on the 2nd string

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. The top line of the duet uses notes from the first two strings.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seasonal Finger-style Guitar

This time of year is a great time for music. To that end, I have written you a short finger-style arrangement of a seasonal classic, Jingle Bells.
This arrangement is just for the chorus section and not the verse. Perhaps I can add that at a later time, but it is slightly more complicated and I thought this would be a good starting point. Technically this arrangement is meant to challenge you to keep your thumb moving and alternating. The thumb is such an important part of "driving" the rhythm in finger-style playing. I have added an audio clip of this arrangement to give you an idea of how it could sound.

Wednesday, November 12, 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!