Playing with keys and chord inversions

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Stopgo, Jan 16, 2006.


  1. Stopgo

    Stopgo Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    Hey guys,

    We added a great keys player to our band and our first rehearsal was last night. As we ran over the tunes for our set it quickly became apparent to me that I need to learn some new chord voicings. With the keys, an acoustic player, and myself the sound gets too jumbled. What are your guys recomendations for thinning this out? Anybody got any inversion charts, exercises, or tips for playing with a keys player?

    thanks!
     
  2. Swain

    Swain Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Location:
    N. Little Rock, AR.
    Tell the key player to leave his left hand off of the keys. If you already have a bass player, then the keys need to stay out of the bass' way.

    Double stops work great. Try just using the 3 and 7 of the chords. In the key of G the double stops are I=B-F# ii=C-G iii=D-A IV=E-B V=F#-C vi=G-D vii=A-E I=B-F# .

    Try playing the double stops, on the G, B, and high E strings, to stay out of the Bass, and Keys way. Also, you will probably be playing a lot more rests. If you haven't played with keys, it will be strange. But you have to give the new player room. For a guitarist that has been the main harmony instrument, it feels strange, at first. But, you'll get used to it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,750
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yeah - you need to cut out the Root (and often the 5th too) on your chording.
    Learn a bunch of voicings, sure, but more important, analyze the chord forms you do use and concentrate on the 3, 7, 9, and altered notes.
    An old fashioned E-Form bar chord "A" has 3 roots & 2 5ths. With a bass player & keys it's like, Cripes! We get it - it's an A!
    So just play the middle strings, or figure it out and just play the 3 & 7.
     
  4. Stopgo

    Stopgo Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    Awesome, thanks guys!
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,750
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Cool related trick for Blues (example in A):

    Over the I (A7):
    -------
    -------
    ---6--
    ---5--
    ------
    ------

    over the IV (D7), down a 1/2 step:

    -------
    -------
    ---5--
    ---4--
    ------
    ------

    over the V (E7), up a 1/2 step from the A:

    -------
    -------
    ---7--
    ---6--
    ------
    ------

    Works other places where the 3 & 7 reverse places. Also opens up the whole Tritone Sub thing, but let's not go there right now.
    Works anywhere a Dominant chord moves up a 4th.
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,327
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    The best thing to do is learn all the possible chord inversions for each chord type using only the top 4 strings. Every player should be able to walk up the neck and play every chord inversion for a particular chord.

    For example play G7 at the third fret with the 7th in the bass, then at the 5th with the root in the bass, then at the 8th with the 3rd in the bass then finally at the 12th with the 5th in the bass. By doing this you will cycle through all the chord inversions of the chord using the chord tones within it.
     
  7. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,380
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia & Cortona Italia
    Two of Ted Greene's books, "Chord Chemistry" and "Modern Chord Progressions", provide an excellent analysis of the principles of chord substitution. Also Steve Khan's "Contemporary Chord Khancepts" is very useful.

    FVB
     
  8. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Another favorite idea is to remember that it isn't always necessary for all three chording instruments to play all the time. I used to think that it was a sign of being selfish not to play rhythm while another player is soloing (i.e. "I'm too good for chords") - quite the opposite. It can be a great way to stay out of each other's way!

    You know - first verse acoustic and keys only, second verse you add a little counter melody, third verse you switch to chords or partial chords. Finger pick the verse and strum the chorus, anything is possible.
     

Share This Page