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Chord Competency

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by gambolputty, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. gambolputty

    gambolputty Member

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    Just wanting an opinion to help focus my study and practice efforts. What would you folks suggest is a minimum level of chord knowledge for a guy who wants to be very proficient as a Blues / Rock / Roots Rock rhythm player.

    I think that Root/ Five power chords with roots on the 5th and 6th strings, 4th Diads on all strings, 7th and 9th chords, are what I have on my list.

    Can you add anything else that is cool / useful to the list??
     
  2. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

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    13th chords, 7#9, sixths, minor 6ths, minor 9, minor 11

    these can be used over the blues w/o sounding like your trying too hard to play jazz
     
  3. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

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    Minor 7th and diminished chords come up in blues all the time.

    It's also cool to be able to get around using just the 3rd and 7th of a chord, so if the chord is G7 you should know all the ways to play a B-F double stop.
     
  4. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    The number of chords or chord types is not nearly as important, IMHO, as knowing both lots of voicings and how to manipulate voicings.
     
  5. gambolputty

    gambolputty Member

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    By this do you mean what position you play the chord in or different inversions, or both??
     
  6. MGT

    MGT Member

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    Just to expand on what KRosser was saying about learning different voicings for the same chord, try taking a basic chord like CMaj7 with it's root voicing (drop 2) on the 4 middle strings:

    (excuse my horrible tab-like representation!)

    x E -------
    B --- 5 -- (3rd)
    G --- 4 -- (7th)
    D --- 5 -- (5th)
    A --- 3 -- (Root)
    x E -------

    Now find the 3 inversions for the CMaj7 on the same 4 middle strings. After that, do the same thing for the top 4 strings. Once you've done that, it's simple to find the patterns/voicings for C7, Cmin7, etc. I think you'll find that opens things up on the fretboard significantly and you'll probably find a couple of inversions that you especially like.
     
  7. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Both, as well as how to use parts of the chord to imply the whole; for instance, if the bass player's playing "C", you play an "E-B" power 5th on the 5th and 4th strings (7th position), and voila!, nice chunky Cmaj7 with a much different color than that old open position grip you were always using.
     
  8. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    It's also good to have memorized a wide variety of open chords. I've got a book with about 3000 open chords in it, and I try to make it a habbit to go through it once a week and add a new one to my vocabulary.

    Cheers,

    Kris
     
  9. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    What Ken & everyone else said.

    But I would add that at an early stage, when just "gathering chords" as you described, for blues & rock I would suggest collect every dominant chord ("bingo chords, as Matt Smith sez) form & voicing you come across. Every cool 9, 13, etc. Learn where all of the pieces parts are (3,5,9,etc.) - then you can # or b the 5 and/or 9, and you'll have some good stuff.
    But then do a real formal study of it, as suggested above.

    Also, for blues & rock, find a cool voicing of a dominant chord, then find another cool voicing of a dominant chord up a 4th and down a 5th but in the same position (same fret area). Since so much blues based stuff moves in 4ths, you will find a lot of cool I9 to IV13 type moves that sound really cool.
     
  10. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I think a decent understanding of Extended Chord Families and theor construction goes a long way as you play an insturment through your life. Also Diminish and Augmented.

    Knowing the common chords that stem from a maj7, a m7, and a Dominant 7 chord can go a long way to having some preconcieved options to start with.

    You'll find how much certains chords have in common with each other.

    IOW, you might try an Am9 in place of a Cmaj7.
    Or, a F#dim7 in place of an Am7 or Am6.

    You can get a handful of chords, but if you're going to play forever you might as well cut some time out and learn something's that you can use forever.
     
  11. beePee

    beePee Member

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    What amazes me is how basic "big" chords are when you break them down. I think that’s a good way to learn them instead of trying to cram your head full of a million number chords without context .

    Most common chords when broken down are just triads. There are many schools of thoughts of how to “harmonize” the thought process so pick one that suits you. I use triad substition.In my ear all chords are based on triads (yes even stacked 4ths )

    If you know the basic “open" position cowboy chords you know most of the triad shapes. Space is too limited here to go into that I suggest researching triads . I don’t know of any good references (but my own ) off hand but I’m sure something is out there.(hopefully not literally!..nudge nudge T Green!:crazyguy

    I see chords grouped in 3 main categories

    1.Triads-Major Minor Diminished Augmented
    2.Extended-(6th,7th,9th.11th,13th,)
    3.Altered-(b5, #5, b9,#9)

    That’s it. There’s also tone clusters (which remind me of ‘other” kinds of clusters ) and duads blah blah but these are the most commonly used in Western Music for centuries.

    Here's a few basic concepts for extension:

    Extensions are layered triads. The “lower extensions share notes with the “base” triad. Upper extensions are more like polychords (two or more different with no notes in common with the base triad



    7th chords are layered from the 3rd (Major or Minor 3rd)of the chord

    Major 7th,= Major triad +Minor triad
    Dominant 7th= Major triad + diminished triad
    Minor7th= Minor triad + Major triad
    Minor Major7th,= Major triad +Augmented triad
    Half diminished 7th (Minor 7th b5)= Diminished +Minor triad

    Real world chords:

    C Major 7th,= C Major triad +E Minor triad
    C Dominant 7th= C Major triad + E diminished triad
    C Minor7th= C Minor triad + Eb Minor triad
    C Minor Major7th,= C Major triad +E Augmented triad
    C Half diminished 7th (Minor 7th b5)= C Diminished +Eb Minor triad

    Now just transpose the "root" notes and you have all the basic 7th chords .The triad subs allows you to layer (double any overlap notes etc,)anyway you want or just use the triad sub.

    This makes so much more sense to me than learning a million grips that come out the same way. By learning the 11 closed voiced triad (1 -3-5,3-5-1,5-1-3) shapes you are on your way to the billion possibilities in a logical way. It not only will open up the fretborad for chords but melodies also.

    In closing I think the secret is ... it’s easy ..Tech head minded musicians tend to over complicate simplicity and fail to see the forest for the G chord.....it ain’t rocket surgery!!

    K.I.S.S…slow and steady as you go and have a solid plan based on the common denominators.....and the fretboard will reveal itself

    :JAM

    bp
     
  12. beePee

    beePee Member

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    bp
    "Upper extensions are more like polychords (two or more different with no notes in common with the base triad"


    my badness Old Tele.you're right!! I made "too" general of a statement.I'm K.I.S.S ing it.

    For two of those extensions I think

    C9 = CMajor + G Minor
    C11 = CMajor + Bb Major

    8 note chords on guitar are quite difficult so I don't think in 7th layers on 7th for guitar.

    I also tend to leave the 11th out of 13th chords.Plus I wouldn't hestate using a D major for a 13th sub(if I wanted altered) but it doesn't have the same tension without the 7th even thought the b5 does give it some bite.

    bp
     

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