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Trying not to run before I can walk. Chord Melody

PosterBoy

Member
Messages
3,192
In my attempt and early flirtations with chord melody, it became pretty apparent that really getting to grips with the basics is needed.
So using Neck Diagrams I have plotted out the Maj7, Dom7 and Min7 chord shapes and their inversions on the 6432, 5321 and 4321 string sets. Labelled them by interval so I can learn how to modify these shapes to give other intervals.

Now comes the work, drilling them into my fingers and brain.

Has anyone got some good and effective routines I can use, I've started with cycle of 5ths, but was wondering if there is anything better?
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,197
In my attempt and early flirtations with chord melody, it became pretty apparent that really getting to grips with the basics is needed.
So using Neck Diagrams I have plotted out the Maj7, Dom7 and Min7 chord shapes and their inversions on the 6432, 5321 and 4321 string sets. Labelled them by interval so I can learn how to modify these shapes to give other intervals.

Now comes the work, drilling them into my fingers and brain.

Has anyone got some good and effective routines I can use, I've started with cycle of 5ths, but was wondering if there is anything better?
That's all fine but be sure to play some music.
http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Barry-Galbraith-Guitar-Solos/dp/0786665084
 

Aaron Mayo

Member
Messages
2,180
Arrange a tune you like, as simply as you need. Don't worry if it's "good" or not, just get 'er done. What kind of music do you enjoy and/or want to play?

Check out Joe Pass, Naudo Rodrigues, Chet Atkins, Andres Segovia, Spanky Alford, etc.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,730
Arrange a tune you like, as simply as you need. Don't worry if it's "good" or not, just get 'er done. What kind of music do you enjoy and/or want to play?

Check out Joe Pass, Naudo Rodrigues, Chet Atkins, Andres Segovia, Spanky Alford, etc.
I totally agree. Toss in some of the Freddy Green style 3 note chords so you can always have a melody note on top, and really, you have the ammunition to start CM.

I start students on simple arrangements right where you are. Practicing chords around the circle is a must, but after you have these shapes down, putting them into tunes where they live with other chords begins to make more sense. Since we see so many of the same changes, it doesn't take long to be able to pull these out.

One thing to do for sure is learn those melody lines well, and in a few positions. This way, you aren't playing the exact same arrangement every time. One of the brilliant things about CM, is being able to play the same tune in different parts of the neck. Howard Morgan and Jody Fischer both have great books for putting together your skills. Good luck.
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
Arrange a tune you like, as simply as you need. Don't worry if it's "good" or not, just get 'er done.
I did my first "real" chord melody arrangement using...don't laugh...the theme to "Welcome Back Kotter". I'm still a noob chord soloist, but I am a better musician for having done it.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,047
You can reduce the job of learning the neck by realizing that these string groupings exist in three places within a 12 fret span. For example;

Close voiced/drop2 "chevrons" in three locations.

Cmaj7
------------------------------------7-----------12
-0-------5---------------------------8--------13-
--0-----4--------5---------9----------9----12--
---2---5----------5-----10--------------10-----
-----3--------------7--10------------------------
-----------------------8---------------------------

The whole idea, the important thing is to reduce and simplify.
Simplifying is big for me. Finding the straight path through the jungle.

This works with all chord types and the basic voicings cv, d2, d3 etc,,,
 
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dsimon665

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
645
I'll second that Jody fisher has a couple good books that are relevant. he has a chord melody book and also some arrangements out there.

Jody's "total jazz guitarist" has a section similar to what you describe - chords based on string groups...but also fret positions. Basically a region based learning approach to chord knowledge (within the context of specific tunes)

I think that region based approach can help with chord melody.

You mentioned working on chord forms...
A couple ways to work on this besides circle 5ths would be : turnarounds and harmonized scales. Both of these are based on mixed chord types - like Imaj7 IIm7 etc.

For harmonized scales, you take a single voicing (e.g. Drop2 with 3rd in bass) and move through the scale.

It's good to know how to identify voicing types. Close voicing, shell voicings, drop2, and drop3 are common on guitar.

Also look into applying this knowledge to standard forms like blues or rhythm changes. Learn different blues changes. E.g. Use m11 chords in a blues, maj9th blues or similar to start applying your chord knowledge.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,047
Another simple chord melody idea is "cadence chords".

Again, with Cmaj7


Cmaj7.............Cmaj9.........Cmaj7 << 3 cadence chords
------5--3----------5--7--8------12--10--8-----
-5-----------5---8------------12-----------------8
-4---------------7--------------9-----------------7
------------------------------------------------------
-3---------------7-------------10-----------------7
------------------------------------------------------

This is a Bucky Pizzarelli idea from his old book
The Creative Guitarist. The idea is to grip a cadence
chord and play a line found in the neighborhood of
the cadence chord.

Also play lines on both sides of the cadence chord.
Here's an example of that;

----7--5---------------------7--12 --8
-8--------5--- or--- 8--10-----------
-7-------------------7-----------------
----------------------------------------
-7-------------------7-----------------
-----------------------------------------
 
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StevenA

Senior Member
Messages
3,976
Don't overlook Alan de Mause 2 books from Mel Bay, Solo Jazz Guitar, and Jazz Guitar Etudes. Talk about "dense"!
 

Aaron Mayo

Member
Messages
2,180
I did my first "real" chord melody arrangement using...don't laugh...the theme to "Welcome Back Kotter". I'm still a noob chord soloist, but I am a better musician for having done it.
When I have the time, I really enjoy arranging songs I like for guitar. So satisfying and I always learn something. Plus I get to pick the tunes.
 

Aaron Mayo

Member
Messages
2,180
I totally agree. Toss in some of the Freddy Green style 3 note chords so you can always have a melody note on top, and really, you have the ammunition to start CM.

I start students on simple arrangements right where you are. Practicing chords around the circle is a must, but after you have these shapes down, putting them into tunes where they live with other chords begins to make more sense. Since we see so many of the same changes, it doesn't take long to be able to pull these out.

One thing to do for sure is learn those melody lines well, and in a few positions. This way, you aren't playing the exact same arrangement every time. One of the brilliant things about CM, is being able to play the same tune in different parts of the neck. Howard Morgan and Jody Fischer both have great books for putting together your skills. Good luck.
Nice. Glad you brought this up since I often get "stuck" in an arrangement. Would be good to be able to go up and octave with the melody and keep the chords going.
 
M

Member 995

I dabble in chord melody. I got a lot out of Ted Greene's books ("Chord Chemistry" and "Modern Chord Progressions"). Those helped me understand/visualize things better. I have a bunch of books of chord melody arrangements that I play through (standards, George Van Eps tunes, Lenny Breau arrangements, etc.). Repertoire is very important, as that should probably be the driver. When I'm working through an arrangement I play close attention to the decisions made - what is in the bass, what type of voicing is it, what notes are omitted.

I'd pick a tune or two and try to find a few arrangements of each. If you're like me, you'll find some approaches that you like and others that you don't. If you can put your finger on what your preferences are, that will help you arrange/write your own pieces.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,730
One of the cool things about CM are all the wonderful arrangements out there. The trap is getting stuck in just one way to play the tune. While a cool arrangement gets you started with say, Satin Doll, be sure and learn to play it in other parts of the neck, and be able to solo over it in those different parts, also.

I studied with Jody for 6 summers, and one of the things he taught was to take a lap around each song and do it differently each time. Use of artificial harmonics, walking baselines, chord subs, single notes, dense chords/sparse chords all combine to give you the tools to play the tune differently each time you approach it. This also becomes applicable when you play in an ensemble. Those same devices can be put to use in a band context.
 

handtrix

Member
Messages
2,353
In my attempt and early flirtations with chord melody, it became pretty apparent that really getting to grips with the basics is needed.
So using Neck Diagrams I have plotted out the Maj7, Dom7 and Min7 chord shapes and their inversions on the 6432, 5321 and 4321 string sets. Labelled them by interval so I can learn how to modify these shapes to give other intervals.

Now comes the work, drilling them into my fingers and brain.

Has anyone got some good and effective routines I can use, I've started with cycle of 5ths, but was wondering if there is anything better?
Chord melody

Triads on the first 3 strings:


C triad voicing = 513
 

kkregsg

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,419
Just a second mention for the Jody Fisher books. I happen to have my copy of the beginning jazz guitar sitting on the couch next to me right now. Paying attention to the 3-string sets and 4-string sets was kind of an eye opener for me. It helped me to widen my understanding of the fretboard.

I've had a copies of Ted Green's stuff for 40 years, and I'm still trying to fully understand them! Awesome player. And if you want to hear some inspirational playing, get the Johnny Smith/ George vanEps CD. Johnny Smith plays some classical guitar pieces with a pick. Someday I hope to grow up to be a jazz player.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,047
Randy Vincent has a book called Three Note Voicings and Beyond. It's the best book on the subject imo. It contains the magic of Freddie Greene to Pat Metheny to Sco and Stern, Jim Hall,,, etc.

Three note chords are more popular today than ever before. You can hear all the tones clearly, they're easy to play, easy to move around faster, easier to pair up with melody in a solo.

Where Ted's books are more of a reference source and his typical examples are ultra dense voicings, Randy's book uses real life examples from famous players like Greene, Bill Evans, Joe Pass, .

The book has some heavy endorsements from;
Pat Metheny
Mike Stern
Ben Monder
Vic Juris
Mark Levine
Gene Bertoncini
Julian Lage (former student)

Who wouldn't enjoy this good read?
 
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