Chords and the over complicated mind of the musician...

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by dezb1, May 2, 2015.

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  1. dezb1

    dezb1 Member

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    Had a conversation with the wife earlier about learning to play the guitar, and what chords people should learn first, mine were first position A, D, & Em. Which got me thinking I could have written Silver rider by Low using those chords... Why the **** have I spent my time over complicating things when I could have written a tune that good after a week?
     
  2. Spooky Action

    Spooky Action Member

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    Why do you season food?
    Why not eat chicken leg, bread, and tea as each and every meal?
     
  3. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    Heck, you learned the alphabet when you were a child....you coulda written all the great novels by now. ;)

    In all seriousness, great songwriters that use simple chords to create their songs strike me as artists that only need basic chords to express the music that's already in them. Their art doesn't require much technique.

    Many of us don't really have much to offer that is profoundly artistic and we become focused on techniques and gear to occupy our time.

    Of course it can all come together too with serious artists that need complex techniques to express what they want to express......maybe you're one of those guys. :)
     
  4. dezb1

    dezb1 Member

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    I was just thinking back to when those chords were my limit, and thinking how basic I thought I was at the time, but years later you look back and realise those basics can make some awesome music you just didn't realise it at the time... Like Lou Reed said "One chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz"
     
  5. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Same reason Crayola doesn't just make a package with only the 3 primary colors. When you were in kindergarten, if you had the 12 pack, you were jealous of the kid who sat in front of you with the 64 pack.

    We all want more colors, options, sounds. Sparks creativity. Just because Lou was a wonderful artist doesn't mean he knew what he was talking about all the time. :beer
     
  6. Sparkman52

    Sparkman52 Member

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    what you need to learn is WHY that A chord is an A chord. then you start getting somewhere.
     
  7. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    We all start simple, but later the cool thing becomes that you can know an A, D, and Em chord when you hear one on a song. :idea:
     
  8. Rollin

    Rollin Supporting Member

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    Yea, lots of great songs with simple chords, but they usually all have good melodies. It's more about the melody you put with those simple chord progressions. The hard part is coming up with a good melody. That's why melody is copyrighted, chords aren't.
     
  9. phazersonstun

    phazersonstun Member

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    You touched on what I wanted to say a bit here.
    I've been in love with playing guitar, singing and writing songs going on 30 years now.

    For me personally, the songs I've written that I think are my best work originated with the melody / lyrics. The melody & lyrics then dictate what the chords will be. Sometimes it gets chordy, but most of the time not so much.
    He melody & lyrics ARE the song so the music being complicated or overly simple is ALMOST irrelevant to me.

    Most of my songs that started off with a chord progression that had a melody written to it later end up not as strong.

    I think it's because when it starts with the lyrics & melody, I have something worthwhile to say.

    As a result of those experiences, I prefer to write with out a guitar in hand.
    That allows me to let the melody come out the way it wants to rather than trying to fit within the confines of where my fingers are.
     
  10. Steve Hotra

    Steve Hotra Silver Supporting Member

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    This ....
     
  11. stratology

    stratology Member

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    I still think first position cowboy chords are one of the worst sounds you can make on any instrument.

    Everybody learns them first because they are so easy on the fingers, and so easy to remember. Not because they sound good.

    Songwriters who focus on songwriting rather than making the guitar sound good use them, and it's a perfectly legitimate thing to do...
     
  12. marvin cobain

    marvin cobain Member

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    there is beautiful music based on three chords (or even one), but I'm glad that there are also musicians as wayne shorter, persons who show that the mastery of advanced harmony really creates new unexplored worlds.
     
  13. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Simple is good, especially to sell songs.
     
  14. Stratosphere

    Stratosphere Member

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    Go wherever the melody leads you. That will determine what chords you need. Should you wind up in another key build a way back to the starting point.
     
  15. Turi

    Turi Member

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    Its funny, I haven't played a normal cowboy chord like I first learnt for ages.

    I'd probably still start people there.

    Then they can play anything with a capo, and get those creative juices flowing.

    Then shift them over to the F chord and other barre chords like C#m


    Don't forget, power chords are awesome for any beginner too.
    Could play loads of songs, and write loads of songs, with just the power chord..
     
  16. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched Silver Supporting Member

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    I think cowboy chords sound fantastic on acoustic and electric guitars, love open strings
     
  17. JKjr

    JKjr Member

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    I'm reminded of Tom Smothers speaking of using all sorts of inversions when playing with John Lennon...who stopped him and said words to the effect of "play it straight. If I'd wanted those chords I would have used them". Little Johnny Beatle played on at least a couple of good tunes.

    For years I took great pride on being self taught. Stupid. A good teacher (Thanks Eddie!) unlocked the mystery of building chords after a couple lessons. Now I not only play tons of naughty chords, but I have a basic understanding of the "why" part. There's not a single aspect of my playing that wasn't impacted by it. Great stuff, and long overdue. Funny thing though...to my ears sometimes a big ol' cowboy chord is exactly what I want. And I always ask myself: Am I playing for my ego or for the song? I LIKE open strings ringing.

    Somewhat related: I listen to these guys that can just tear up and down the neck. Am I impressed with their technical abilities? You bet. I don't buy into the "it's not musical" line. And most of those guys are twice the player I'll ever be. Just not where I want to go. Knowing 27 ways to build a G chord is a great skill to have. But I like to use them when I need to, not just because I can.
     
  18. dead of night

    dead of night Member

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    Shouldn't it be E major?
     
  19. dezb1

    dezb1 Member

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    Nope that song is definitely A, Em, D... If you're saying that I should have learned E major first, you're probably right.
     
  20. Z_Zoquis

    Z_Zoquis Member

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    lol..whut? Yr telling me a first position G or Em chord is one of the "worst sounds" you can make on a guitar? Man...I gotta disagree with you on that one.
     
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