Piano voicings on the guitar

lemmiwinks

Member
Messages
643
Pretty self explanatory. I want to start using piano voicings on the guitar. Is it as easy as 135, 351, 513? It seems like there could be some finger gymnastics involved. is there a good book to get? Is there something I'm missing?

Thanks
 

weshunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,281
Sounds like you're talking about closed position voicings, which you're probably already using. For example, strings 2-3-4 of an E chord are first position, 3-4-5 of a G are 2nd and 1-2-3 of a D are 3rd.

You just need to learn them all over the fretboard in different keys - doubt you need a book
 

snouter

Senior Member
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2,152
Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry. Frank Gambale's tuning opens up easy piano voicings but requires restringing, reintonating and redoing the nut. As Wes indicated, learning the fretboard is the key to the whole thing. Here is a vid in which Jeff Berlin discusses playing piano voicings...on bass.

 

dirk_benedict

Silver Supporting Member
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6,465
Great way to unlock a lot of the guitar fretboard if you have been stuck in typical guitar shapes for a while. Here's a couple of things (probably obvious, but wre helpful to me anyway)...

Take normal open C chord, but fret it with your 2nd-3rd-pinkky (leaving your index finger free). Slide that up to D or E or something, and then fret the 5th of the chord on the G string with your index finger. That is a great voicing that you can really start to fit things to together from..learn where the 3rd is and the 7th etc and you can make all sorts of chords from that position. Lots of lead licks too.

Another one...take a Gmaj triad on the 2nd-4th strings (frets 3-4-5, respectively). Take your pinky and fret the 5th string on the 7th fret. Voila! Emin7, closed voicing (I think?).

The key is to know what notes make up the chord and figure out where those are. You learn a lot piecing it together on your own.

Good luck!
 
Messages
15,524
Frank Gambale's tuning opens up easy piano voicings but requires restringing, reintonating and redoing the nut.
For those who are wondering, here's the Gambale tuning:

6th string = A ( usually the 5th string )
5th string = D ( usually the 4th string )
4th string = G ( usually the 3rd string )
3rd string = C ( usually the 2nd string but up a half step )
2nd string = E ( same pitch as 2nd fret on a D string on a regularly tuned guitar )
1st string = A ( same pitch as 2nd fret on a G string on a regularly tuned guitar )

To try this on your guitar without restringing, put a capo on the 5th fret, but only on the bottom 4 strings. Do not capo the top 2 strings - instead, tune the B string down to E and the E string down to A.
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
10,351
Pretty self explanatory. I want to start using piano voicings on the guitar. Is it as easy as 135, 351, 513? It seems like there could be some finger gymnastics involved. is there a good book to get? Is there something I'm missing?

Thanks
+1 on Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry

I found it easier to focus on triads (exactly what the Jeff Berlin video talks about) and learn them with only one group of three strings at a time (ex: E , A and D) and then move on to the next group of strings (A, D, G), etc. etc. Start with major/min triads, then move on to the 7th chords.

Doing it that way seemed to click better in my mind then trying to tackle 4 and 5 string voicings.

Also, I'd highly recommend incorporating some element of finger/hybrid picking vs. straight pick. Plucked chords sound more piano like.
 
Last edited:

gennation

Member
Messages
7,734
In many cases it's tons easier for a guitarist to play piano chords/parts than it is for pianists to play guitar chords. Have you ever tried to play an open E chord (or E shape barre chord) on a piano...holy hand stretcher! You need to use your nose and maybe a toe or two!

Chord Chemistry will give the tools to be a chord monster but not necessarily a piano chord monster. Learning CAGED and plain old Inversions can get you closer to a basic piano style.

The things I notice about piano players is, each hand (especially the right hand) playing a lot of closed type chords, and when they change from chord to chord the movement is just one to two fingers only changing the notes that change from chord to chord.

So, the littlest movement from chord to chord is a deadringer for bringing piano style harmonic movement to the fretboard...simple example using a ||: C | Am | F | G :|| progression...

Code:
   C  Am F  G    G
E-------------------
B--1--1--1--0-or-3--
G--0--2--2--0----4--
D--2--2--3--0----5--
A-------------------
E-------------------
   C  Am F  G    G
E--------------------
B--5--5--6--8-or-8---
G--5--5--5--7----7---
D--5--7--7--5----9---
A--------------------
E--------------------
   C   Am  F   G
E------------------
B--8---10--10--12--
G--9---9---10--12--
D--10--10--10--12--
A------------------
E------------------
   C   Am  F   G
E------------------
B--13--13--13--15--
G--12--14--14--16--
D--14--14--15--17--
A------------------
E------------------
Sequence through all of them, one chord per measure...

Code:
   C  Am F  G  C  Am F  G  C   Am  F   G   C   Am  F   G   C
E--------------------------------------------------------------
B--1--1--1--3--5--5--6--8--8---10--10--12--13--13--13--15--17--
G--0--2--2--4--5--5--5--7--9---9---10--12--12--14--14--16--17--
D--2--2--3--5--5--7--7--9--10--10--10--12--14--14--15--17--17--
A--------------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------
Be an inversions master and play a different inversion per beat!!!

Code:
   C                 Am              F               G               C
E-----------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|------
B--5--8---13--8---|--10--5--1--5--|--6--1--6--10--|--12--8--3--8--|--8---
G--5--9---12--9---|--9---5--2--5--|--5--2--5--10--|--12--7--4--7--|--9---
D--5--10--14--10--|--10--7--2--7--|--7--3--7--10--|--12--9--5--9--|--10--
A-----------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|------
E-----------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|------
There is no rhyme or reason for why I choose those particular inversions except as an exercise in inversions...which piano players are notorious for playing over a single chord at a time. And each new chord is just a finger or two move from the last chord, so it gives some voice leading.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,622
I've found several piano books and materials useful:
The short piano voicings sheet that comes with the David Liebman Scale Syllabus.
Jazz/Rock Voicings For the Contemporary Keyboard Player-Dan Haerle
The Jazz Piano Book-Mark Levine
Idiomatic ii-V7's- Luke Gillespie
I love to listen and learn from recordings. I probably listen to far more jazz piano recordings than guitar.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,622
Lenny Breau was a huge fan of Bill Evans and figured several tricks for playing closed voicings including, using open strings, and using a harmonic to move one voice up an octave. Ed Bickert had a wonderful pianistic approach to chords. Must be the Molsons.
 

StevenA

Senior Member
Messages
3,976
Funny, pianists never ask how they can sound more guitaristic, unless your Donald Fagen, or Edgar Winter, etc.
 

gennation

Member
Messages
7,734
Speaking of Bill Evans chords, I did this transcription of Bill's piano intro to Miles Davis So What from Kind of Blue. It's plush sounding but is really simple to play on guitar.

I have a couple other Evans transcriptions I've ton as well as a handful of Keith Emerson transcriptions. I'll see if I can find those too. Here's the So What intro:

 






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