Monthly Archives: September 2009
What a great night! So much fun! The band did a great job! Tim and Kim, the new members, worked really hard in the past few weeks learning new songs and working out parts. We’re so happy to have them in the band.
My board starting having some problems in the last few weeks, though. The XLR input to channel 5 is not working. It’s now dedicated to 1/4″ only (ie guitars). Channel 7 is completely dead. I think it’s the gain knob. But despite all that, we were able to get everything mic-ed. Overall, the system did a very good job.
I’ve been using my Larrivee a lot since I got it. It’s pretty much my main guitar for all gigs. But I haven’t used it with another guitarist.
The other guitarist, Tim, is using two Taylors both with the Expression System (6-string and 12-string). They both sound awesome! So the trick was to make sure the Larrivee and the Taylors blended well together. I wanted them to have distinct voices and compliment each other.
Man, I love the controls on this guitar. It has a pre-amp by B-Band. I think the model is A6..? B-Band now has different models and Larrivee is now putting in LR Baggs systems. In any case… This is a “dual source” system with an AST pickup (acoustic soundboard transducer) and UST pickup (under saddle transducer). It has a slider for blending the two signals. I find that I’m about 90% on the UST side.
Before this, being the only guitar in the band, I had no need to play with the controls other than the EQ. For this, I found the phase switch to be really helpful. Although, I’m still trying to figure out how to use the notch and frequency controls effectively.
During the gig, I was increasing my volume for solos. But at some point, I found that I wasn’t cutting through as much as I’d like. So I increased my mids also and that did the trick. Awesome! Remember: mids is your friend!
Now I just need to fix up my board so I can get a volume pedal and tuner back in my chain. And maybe the LR Baggs Para DI too.
I’m not a big fan of 6. I don’t know why… maybe under different circumstances we could have been friends… but sometimes a number just rubs you the wrong way… know what I mean??
I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of advice on how to use chords with 6 in them.
I’ve been told that the 6 chord is use in a lot of Christmas music.
But one of my favorite chords with the 6 note in it is by adding it to the sus4 chord.
Sometimes I like to use this instead of the normal sus4 chord. I like holding this using the 1st finger across to hold all 3 strings (in this case, on 2nd fret) then apply the 2nd and 3rd fingers in front.
Try going back and forth between this chord and the normal root chord (in this case, A major).
Another way to think of this chord might be D/A (that’s “D over A” or “D slash A”) or 2nd inversion D. We’ll get into those type of chords in future posts.
1, 2, 3, 4 … come on baby say you love me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChrzEJ27M2U)
Alright, so we’re going to talk about the 4 note. The most popular use of this note on guitar is probably the sus4. Here are the common shapes for this chord:
Very similar to the 2 chord, the 3rd is not played so these chords are ambiguous. They’re not major or minor.
The G is the “preparation”. The Dsus4 is the “suspension”. And the D is the “resolve”.
Here, the G is made up of: G-B-D. Dsus4 is: D-G-A. So the G is suspended. (If you use the open-string shape for G and the Dsus4 shown here, the G on the high-E string is suspended. If you use fingers 2, 3, and 4 to hold the G, then you’ll probably find that you don’t need to lift your pinky going from G to Dsus4). And D is: D-F#-A. So the 4th is resolved by the (major) 3rd.
In these diagrams, the 3rd is shown by the white dot which is “covered up” by the 4th.
Another common use of these chords in modern music is going between the sus chord and normal triad. This happens a lot with both sus2 (see part 6.2) and sus4.
To hear some examples, check out:
Black or White (Michael Jackson) — the riff basically goes from sus4 to major then sus2 to major http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLWt7kzaex0
Another way to use the 4 note, of course, is to leave the 3rd in. In that case, we’d be adding the 4.
I find that this chord by itself could be a little strange sounding. But it makes a lot of sense when you play it along with other chords. For instance, try holding the open-string C chord the same way (ie include the G on the high-E, shift this shape up 2 frets). Play the C then Dadd4. C, of course, have the G in it also (and it’s been suspended on the G-string).
Another example of how this chord might be used is in the song Hysteria by Def Leppard (wow… I’m really showing my age with these examples!):
Watch Phil Collen’s hand position (that’s the guitarist on the left for you youngsters) . In this case, I would consider that the riff is made out of the 1, 3, and 4 notes (D, F#, G) and it repeated as a “theme” over D, G and Em (actual progression is: ||D |G |Em G |D :|| )
Okay, yes, there was a lot of use of sus4 in the 80s! Probably too much in fact! (Although, I think these songs “technically” came out in the early 90s)
Let’s try this more recent example of sus2. Here’s Bad Day by Fuel (well, relatively more recent): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LKUVkRAmPs
Again, the play is with the 3rd.
Sometimes, the sus4 chord might be used as a “substitution” for the V chord and the sus2 chord in place of the IV chord. (see M&m post)
There are a few ways guitarists like the play these. Here is one example:
|G |Cadd9 |Dsus4 |G |
For this progression, try holding the G using all 4 fingers. Your ring finger should be holding the B-string on the 3rd fret and your pinky on the high-E strin gon the 3rd fret. These are now holding notes D and G. (see G<–>Cadd9 Thing post)
Cadd9 also has these notes. Then Dsus4 as well.
In this case, the 4 note is not used as a way to “mask” the 3rd (in the D chord), necessarily. But the G is suspended throughout the progression. This is also sometimes called the “pedal point” or “pedal tone”.
For a sus2 example, try:
|E |Bsus4 |Asus2 |E |
2 & 9
Em C D Asus9 (a la “Drive” by Incabus)
The 6th chord is simply the normal triad with an added 6th. For C, this would mean the notes are: C E G A.
The 7th chord is simply the normal triad with an added 7th. Normally, if it just says “7” as in C7, the “7” refers to the minor 7th. So C7 has: C E G Bb. You can also add the 7th to the minor chord. Cm7 would be: C Eb G Bb. The major 7th can also be used but it’s normally written as “maj7“. Cmaj7 would be: C E G B.
The last number we’ll talk about for this lesson is the 9. As you may recall, the 1 and 8 notes are the same note except the 8th is an octave above the 1. The 9th is therefore the same note as the 2nd also an octave above.
For 9, there are 4 chords worth mentioning…
“9” — This is not the same as “add9”. In this case, the minor 7th is implied. So the notes for C9 are: C E G Bb D.
“maj9” — In this case, the major 7th is implied and so Cmaj9 would be: C E G B D.
“min9” — Very similar to the “maj9”, here the minor 7th is implied and so Cmin9 would be: C Eb G Bb D.
There are also 11th and 13th chords but we’ll look at them another time.
In one of the next posts, we’ll look at how these chords might be used.
This also helps when improving (a solo that’s not predefined). Usually in these situations, you already know what the progression will be. By remember what notes are in the chords coming up, you can quickly figure out what notes might sound good over them (vs other notes that won’t sound so good… unless that’s what you’re going for). This becomes even more powerful when you think of this in terms of numbers. For instance, think of the V chord as having notes 2, 5, 7 from the scale. For guitar, this means you just need to know the “starting point” (ie key, root, scale). So you know that if you play one of those notes from the scale, it’ll harmonize with the chord.
Alright, so let’s see how we can put all this theory to practical use!
You might notice that we only looked at a few chords in the Basics section. Now, let’s get into barre chords.
So… by learning 4 shapes (E, Em, A, Am), remembering where the notes are on 2 strings, and applying a little bit of theory, you can now play all major and minor chords in 2 positions! Cool huh?
- Notes next to each other = 1/2 step (H), two 1/2 = whole
- On the guitar, 1 fret = 1/2 step
- To play a major scale, start at a note then play W-W-H-W-W-W-H to get back to the same note on octave away
- If you start a scale on a different note, you’ll get different number of sharps and flats
- Following number of sharps and flats is also called the circle of fifths
- Using the same pattern but starting at a different position will give you another scale. By starting at the 6th note, you’ll get the minor scale pattern.
- Major scales and minor scales that have the same notes are “relative” to each other.
1 -> 5 = W + W + H + W = 3 1/2 steps
How about the minor scale?
1 -> 5 = W + H + W + W = 3 1/2 steps
For now, let’s just look at the notes 1, 3 and 5. The 1 note is, of course, the root. As mentioned in the previous lesson, the 5th is the same between the two scales. But the 3rd is different. The “major 3rd” is 2 steps away from 1 while the “minor 3rd” is 1 1/2 step away from the 1.
This little 1/2 step makes a big difference in sound.
Let’s take a look some chords and see how this works out.
All the basic chords from the earlier lessons are “triad” meaning that they are made of 3 notes. To form a triad, simply start at a note (1), skip a note, take the next note (3), skip another note, then take the next one after that (5).
When you do this with the C on the C Major Scale (C D E F G A B C), you get: C-E-G. This picture shows where these notes are played when you play a C (open string).
How about when we do this for A minor? The notes to Am are: A-C-E. But the A major scale is: A B C# D E F# G# A.
But what if we looked at the notes from the A minor scale? Then we have: A B C D E F G A.
So… when you take the 1, 3, and 5 notes from the major scale, you get the major chord. When you take the 1, 3, 5 notes from the minor scale, you get the minor chord.
And that’s actually what is meant by “major” chord and “minor” chord. The “major” and “minor” refers to which 3rd you’re taking from. The major scale or minor scale.
In other words, in C major (chord), the “major” refers to the “major 3rd”. And in A minor (chord), the “minor” refers to the the “minor 3rd”.
Sometimes people will use numbers purely relative to the major scale. In this method, a minus sign (-) is used to mean “flat” or “diminished” and a plus sign (+) might be used to mean “sharp” or “augment”.
So a major chord might be written as: 1 3 5. While a minor chord might be written as: 1 -3 5.
Yet another way to look at this is:
major 3rd is 2 steps from root
minor 3rd is 1 1/2 steps from root
Specifically for guitarists, once you’ve learned how to hold the chords, you may want to review the notes chart (see Part 1) and try to remember what notes are being held on each string.
TIP :- For each shape, start by memorizing where the root note is. For instance: (all examples refer to the open string chords from Guitar Basics lessons)
E E G# B low-E, D, high-E
A A C# E A, G
D D F# A D, B
G G B D low-E, G, high-E
C C E G A, B
Am A C E A, G
Em E G B low-E, D, high-E
Dm D F A D, B
So far, we’ve talked about the major scale which has a W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern.
You can imagine that you can take this pattern and start in a different position.
So let’s try that with the C (Major) Scale:
W W H W W W H
What if we started this on A instead?
In other words, the C Major Scale is “related” to the “A Minor Scale”.
This chart is sometimes called the “Circle of Fifths“. Because as you go clockwise, the next note is the 5th of the previous one.
But what if we looked at the C Major Scale vs C Minor Scale?
major: C D E F G A B C
Not only can you build another scale using the same pattern starting at a different position. But when you look at the patterns side-by-side starting with the same note, you’ll notice that some notes from the two scales are the same while others are different.
In this case, the major and minor scales differ on the 3rd, 6th, and the 7th notes.
This will make more sense when we go back and look at chords.
Let’s look at what this might look like for the G Major Scale:
Let’s do it again for the F Major Scale:
When we follow this pattern starting with F, we get Bb. So This scale has 1 flat (b).
If we do this for all the notes, you’ll notice that each note will result in a different number of sharps and flats.
Here, we’ve put C in the middle. As you move down from C, the number of sharps increase. And as you move up from C, the number of flats increase.
This is also known as “circle of fifths“.
The way that I memorize it is this…
As I always tell my students, if you don’t remember anything else, remember this: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole half (WWHWWWWH)!