Category Archives: Chord Articles

Articles on chords to help you develop your accompaniment.

How to write your own guitar chords

How to write your own chords

Would you like to know how I came up with this composition?

You’ve just heard the melody, these are the chords and this is the way I play the chords. 

Why do I write the accompaniment?

I love to be lyrical on the guitar, every while and then I like to add some harmony…and I need the accompaniment to support what I do and actually help me play in this manner.

Generally the way we play, with big chords, lack of clarity, obscures my manner of playing, and it makes me want to play in a manner that I really am not comfortable with.

So what I do is, I write out the accompaniment. Let me explain what I have done in this song.

What chord shapes did I choose? 

In the1st four bars we have Em, C, F# dim and B. I chose not to play chords and I chose to define these chords with a bass line.

Perfect… the next 4 chords are E minor, D, C and B. I chose to play them in closed position. The Em, with a pedal tone on top,  which would be the dominant pedal, the b of the key of E minor, and …… I hold it, over the next chord D. I am also playing the chord in closed position.

The b pedal note

And I maintain this b pedal tone on top. I go to the next chord C, following the same sequence of descending thirds and on top I play the pedal.

I reinforce the pedal with the #11. I then resolve to the B chord, that sounds like this.

For the next 4 bars I follow the same pattern. I’ve go on the E minor chord.

Open position chords 

Now for the B, I go from closed position to open position. So instead of playing the B minor, and B major, it sounds nice, I open them up and it sounds like.

It really adds more space to the sound, a bigger sound without adding too much more tension

More chord shapes, 4th chords

On the next chords,  the Am, I chose to follow the melodic line of the B chord, that’s actually descending and I resolve on the 5th of the chord. 

I harmonize this fifth with a third,  and then I create a melodic line over the rest of the chords……. and I harmonize them of fourths,  which actually helps the melody by surrounding it by harmonics. And it doesn’t add harmony to it. 4ths do not add too much harmony. 

Hence the beauty of using such….. So it sounds like.

More chord shapes, combining triads and fourth chords

The G I play with the 3rd in the bass. The C…. now the D chord, I decide to create a succession of fourths, a chord from the C.

Again, it produces a distinct harmony that allows the melody that I play on top, to be played also with thirds.

They don’t clash, and the guitar you can hear it with clarity.  For the next 4 bars, for the Am, Bm, Cm and the D, I hold the pedal.

Allow the performers to develop freely what I have written 

So, once it is written out, and the other musician interprets it, they must do so with a bit of freedom.That way we can actually interact and change on the go.

This is a general guideline, the way I like the accompaniment to be, so I can develop develop my melody with ease.

Please view more of my how to videos on my you tube channel.

Guitar Chords

Guitar Chords

What are chords for?

Chords are groups of notes played in a simultaneous manner to define areas of harmonic tension. We commonly use chords to play rhythm on the guitar. Unfortunately, we can easily fall into the trap of considering a chord a shape that we must strum, and not a group of notes that can be played in any order we wish, with the sole purpose of defining the desired harmonic tension of the passage. Chords are generally used to define rhythm, but chords can help us define, if needed the melody of a song.

To strum is an option

Most instruments do not play chords as guitarists do. On the guitar we fall into the habit of playing all the notes of the chord at once, we strum, because it is hard to play a chord, as a piano player, or as a bass player or as Bach would.

It is easy to strum a chord but this can produce little musicality and generally creates a wall of sound that can obscure the beauty of the melody and the accompaniment. 

It is extremely unfortunate for youtube to be flooded with guitarists that have created a school of thinking,  that makes us believe that the role of the guitar is only about playing chords and when we play a song, all we have to do is play a group of chords without worrying about the melody. 

This simplistic approach will produce great frustration in your learning and destroy any possibility of creativity in your performance.

Learn chords properly 

Students must learn to understand the why and when to use a chord. Please avoid the process of learning a song where you start playing the chords directly. First learn the melody of the song, sing it and then learn the chords to accompany your singing. 

You must sing and able to produce the melody because only then, will you be able to understand what it means to play a chord and when to change. 

You must learn to hear, sing a melody and also to be able to play it on the guitar in the most simple manner. Once you have this sorted out, and of course played it all in  tempo, you will be ready to understand what it means to accompany a melody, and how to do so with chords.

At my Creative Guitar School I apply these concepts to all guitar lessons, courses and levels.

What chords to learn first?

I suggest to learn basic chords in the one position to start off with, but in a manner that makes more sense. That is, in a musical context where there is a starting point, an ending, a tempo and a melody. 

Please follow these links for a video transcript of my beginners course, where you can read about how to learn the C and Am chords, the Em and G chords, and the Dm and F chords. 

I teach in all my guitar courses how to play the chords in a song context and always giving melodic values to all chordal notes. As a consequence, they sound nicer, feel better and make much more musical sense. 

This is especially relevant in the recording process of any song to deliver a more professional music production to your listener.

Play chords melodically

I believe that guitarists deserve more than just the option of strumming chords. We should enjoy the art of creating melodies with chords in the same manner as a piano player does. However, due to the way the guitar is constructed, this can be a daunting process to master and that is why we always fall back onto regular shapes and end up sounding like everyone else.

The Pivoting Techniques

I have created an online course called the pivoting techniques, where you learn to create melodies with triads in closed position by adding tension to the top voice, passing tones to inner voices and 7ths to triads in root position. 

Now, it takes around 50 hours of study to be able to grasp the concept in one position of the guitar, but the musical outcome is extremely rewarding as you will soon be in a position where you will create melodies on the go, creating extremely rich accompaniments and in the process, have enormous fun. 

Be aware

 Most guitarists are not aware of the purpose of accompaniment and why we need to play with rich musical clarity to make sure the lead line is reinforced.  We must define the groove with chords and also create a flow of tension and release to sustain the melody, the vocal line, all the way through a song. 

You cannot do this with standard shapes nor bar chords. They simply sound muddy. You need to play with shapes that are a reflection of what occurs naturally. Chords shapes that copy the order of harmonics of the harmonic series. Triads in closed position do this and will work very nicely.

Guitar Chords Dm shapes in closed position

7th chords

You will need to play with more tension in certain styles of music. The 7th chords create another degree of harmonic flow. When we play triads we can add the 7ths as a passing tone, to alter temporarily the degree of tension of the chord.

However, when we play 7th chords, the 7th will always be present , and we will add more tension to the chord by adding upper tensions as the 9th, 11th and 13th. 

In order to play seventh chords, you must, again, use shapes that are derived from the balanced sounds of closed positions.  It is very hard to play 7th chords in closed positions on the guitar, so we need to alter them by opening them up, by bringing down one of the internal notes an octave. 

These are the shapes we refer to as drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2 and 4. They all produce balanced sounds and you must master them to understand the beauty of 7th harmony and what it means to sound balance and unbalanced. 

When you play anything on the guitar, no matter if you are playing lead or rhythm you must sound good on your own. It will not make sense if your musical phrase is not logical. Also, your chords must sound full, complete on their own, that is why you need to learn the drop 2 – 4 , drop 3  or drop 2 shapes, and master them to create bass lines, and melodic phrases whenever you need the density of the 7th chords in your playing. 

drop3 guitar chords

Article Summary 

It is not the objective of my article to teach you how to learn chords but to be aware of what they are for, what sounds good, what will sound out of context and types of chords you need to master. 

Chords should not be learnt on their own but in the context of a tonal center to understand the relationship of the scale and the chord at all times throughout a song. This is what we refer to as chord scale relationship. 

In order to have a good grasp of chords and scales you will need to dedicate a constant practice. If you are in a rush, and have the stamina to complete the task it will take you around 2 years of 8 hours a daily study to be acquainted with them in a professional manner. 

How to play The Em and G chord, Beginners Guitar

Lesson 3 – How to play the Em and G chord.

This is the transcript of lesson 3 of the Beginners course

Click on the link for the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners course: How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

Click on the link for the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners course. How to play the C and Am chord

1 Introduction 

 1. 1 What will you learn 

In this lesson, you will learn to play a new section of our final song, and how to play the Em and G chord. 

Once you master this new section you will have further musical vocabulary,  better right and left hand coordination and improved finger picking technique.

You will also build on the song from lesson 2, and start exploring different styles of guitar playing

1. 2 What will happen after this lesson 

You will feel positive that you can learn to play the guitar with fun, as you will have understood that you are able to target all goals, by dividing the learning process into manageable, satisfying  steps.

2 Warm up 

Warm up with the following phrase:

Learn it slowly.

Count it in. 

  • Listen
  • Imagine  what I have  just done. 
  • Sing  what I have  just done.
  • Play with me. 

Play the notes on the 6th string with your thumb. Play the notes on the 4th string alternating  between the index, and middle finger. I will play the phrase 4 times. Notice that I play louder the ands

Play it with me a bit faster.

Now play it with the recording.

3 The Song

Learn this song with the Em and G chords. Learn how to play the Em and G chord

3.1   The Goal

In order to  learn how to play the Em and G chord and play this song you will need to practice:

1 Each chord on its own

2 How to join them and create the groove 

3 The melody

4 The song from start to finish.

Note:

This practice routine breaks up your learning of   how to play the Em and G chord, into manageable steps. If you jump any step , for example practice directly step 4,  you most probably will end up playing the song very poorly, and feeling very frustrated. So, practice the full routine in order.

3.2 Step one Practice each chord on its own 

3.2.1 Chord Learning Routine on Em

Apply the chord learning routine to the Em Chord.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass   
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check. Adjust your hands
  • Repeat and Play one string at a time from the bass 

3.2.2 Chord Learning Routine on G

Apply the chord learning routine to the G Chord.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass   
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check. Adjust your hands
  • Repeat and Play one string at a time from the bass  

3.3 Step two- Join them 

4/4  |Em | G  | Em | G| 

This is a visual representation of what you have to do. Each chord, between the brackets, lasts  a specific number of beats, or taps with your foot.

The symbol 4/4, indicates four taps of your foot between brackets, hence, each chord has a duration of 4 counts. Join them and learn   how to play the Em and G chord.

3.3.1 The goal

Your goal will be to play: 

 4/4  |Em | G  | Em | G|

likes this:

Get ready

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass

3.3.2 Slow it down 

In order to learn how to play the Em and G chord fluently, you first need to practice it slowly. I suggest you first play it numerous times without tempo striving for clarity of sound as follows.

Get ready

Play along with me.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass

and 

1 and 2 and 3 and strum 23, make sure you place your fingers down exactly when you say 23,  

now check for clarity and reposition your hand, 

and 1 and 2 and 3 and strum, move, make sure you lift your fingers 2 and 3 when you say move, 

and , place your first finger down, make sure you place it exactly  when you say one, 

now check for clarity and reposition your hand,

and 1 and  2 and 3 and strum 23, 1 and 2 and  3 and strum.

Rewind and repeat this routine 10 times.

3.3.4 Play the goal 

Now you should be ready to play it in tempo non stop. Play along with me. 

3.5.5 On your own 

Stop the video and do it on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing?
  • Did you count it in?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing?
  • Did you play non stop?

Repeat 

Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to, until you can answer with a yes all the check  questions.

Still not able to jump between chords ? 

It would be quite normal,  at this stage, if your are still not fluent in the chord change. If so, rewind and repeat step two a few times, and you will soon notice improvement. 

4 Step Three – The Melody

The Goal

Your goal is to play this melody.

4.1 Apply the LISP routine

Learn the melody slowly and effectively, by applying the LISP routine: Listen, imagine, sing, play.

How to hear music

Get ready

Get the Em chord in place.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass
  • Listen to what you have to do. 
  • Imagine what you have to do. 
  • Sing what you have to do.
  • Play what you have to do.

Notice that I play the lalalala with the index and annular fingers alternating between them on each note . Also to play the lalalala on the G chord, I lift the 3rd finger up and place it on the D note.

4.2 On your own

Now Stop the video and do it on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of the questions, Repeat the full LISP routine 

5 Step Four – Play the song 

Play the full song with me.

Get your Em chord in place

  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Clarity check 
  • and play along with me. 

Repeat this step a few times before moving on.

5.1 On your own

Now Stop the video and play the song on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of the questions, repeat this whole video from the beginning. Have fun. 

6 Consolidation exercises

As mentioned,  in each lesson you will learn a new section of the full final song of this course. This final song, brings to life all the musical objectives of this course. If you can play it and have fun at the same time, will mean that you have learnt effectively. 

Therefore, I will ask you in every new lesson, to consolidate all you have previously learnt, but,

Please make sure you have completed all previous assignments, in a satisfactory manner, as they are designed to break up the learning process into fun, and comfortable steps.

Play along with me song number one but at a quicker tempo. 

6.1 On your own

Stop the video, and play the song on your own, at your comfortable tempo, which is the slowest tempo you can do it at.  After each play ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, repeat the exercise until you only have yes answers.

If after a few repeats, you still cannot play it right, and start feeling frustrated, stop and repeat lesson 2, to further consolidate this song, by practicing it in more manageable steps.

7 Assignments 

Quiz

What does lisp stand for?

Why learn a melody with the lisp routine? 

How many bars does 2, (warm up), have?

How many bars does the Song 3 have ? The new song of this lesson

On what bar of the Song 3 does the melody section start?

Extra

Draw on the fretboard the C scale, then draw 6 shapes of the C, Am Em and G chords.

7.1 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing 2. ( the Warm Up.) Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

7.2 Record yourself

Record the song in video, with your phone, playing 6 ( The song for the first lesson at a quicker speed ). Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

7.3 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing 3 ( The song in this lesson with the Em and G chords). Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

8 Recommended Listening 

Follow these links to my you tube channel and listen to a selection of guitarists in jazz, blues, rock and flamenco styles. 

Recommended listening Jazz Guitar

Recommended listening Blues and Rock Guitar

Recommended listening Flamenco Guitar

Lesson two: The C and Am chord

 

Chord learning Routines: The C and Am chord  

1 Introduction

 1.1 What are you going to learn?

In this lesson you will learn a C and Am chord, and use them to play this 4 bar song song. 

You will learn the shapes, how to play the chords with clarity and above all, play them in a context that simulates the real thing. This means that you will learn to hear in advance the music you wish to play, so as to prepare and synchronise your left and right hand to play it, to a beat.

You will not be reading what you have to play, but rather, hearing what you have to play. This way of learning and playing, will be more rewarding, it will increase your learning speed and therefore your final satisfaction.

You will also consolidate a routine, for learning other shapes, with a self assessment criteria that will prove to you that you know it. 

 1.2 How are you going to learn?

Step by step, having fun, and following strictly my guidelines to help you immediately create some beautiful music. 

So, rather than simply playing two chords with no logic, you will learn how to use them to play a song with feeling. This end result feels better, it also makes sense and as a consequence you have more fun and learn quickly..

You will learn the chords and songs in four steps. 

1.2.1 Step one

In step one you will relate visually the shape of the chord,  to the fretboard, to place your fingers in a specific sequence and arpeggiate the chord to create a four beat musical phrase. 

You will identify the foundation of the chord, the note on which it is constructed from. That is our target note, the note to look for whenever we want to play any chord.

In step one, you will learn how to produce clear chordal sounds with patience and repetition.

1.2.2 Step two 

You will initiate a slow practice routine to memorise and consolidate the shapes of the chords.

You will play the chords in tempo to create rhythm and further consolidate the clarity of the execution.  

1.2.3 Step three 

In step 3 you will play this song, a simple 8 bar song,  where you play chords for half of the time, the rhythm of the song, and the other half you will play the melody, which would be the vocal line, what the vocalist of a band would sing. 

1.2.4 Step four 

You will complete assignments to prove that you have learnt the how and what of playing the C and Am chord. 

2 Step 1: How to memorise a shape ( The C and Am chord )

2.1 The Goal

The goal of step one is to learn to play a chord by applying the following routine.

In this course you will first see the shape of a chord as a diagram, then you will apply this routine:

  • Place your fingers in order 
  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check: If a string sounds muted,place a pen underneath the tips of your fingers and lift them, this will clean up the sound
  • Play one string at a time from the bass

Let’s learn this routine.

2.2 How to understand a diagram 

In the following diagrams you will see chord shapes with numbers.

These numbers correspond to the following fingers of the hand, that you will use to apply pressure onto the fretboard. 

Right handed people generally use the left hand to form the shapes. Left handed people generally use their right hand. 

2.3 C Chord

Your first objective in this learning will be to relate the chord diagram to the guitar fretboard. 

This is the C chord diagram. In the diagram you have vertical lines and horizontal lines.

The vertical lines represent the frets. The horizontal lines represent the strings in order from sixth to first.

2.3.1 Fingers

1st finger where ? 

Look at the diagram and relate.

Where must I place my first finger to start creating the shape?

On what fret?

My first finger, as shown in the diagram must go in the first fret.

On what string? 

My first finger, as shown in the diagram, must go on the second string.

Place your finger down.

2nd finger where ?

Let’s move on to the second finger. Please leave your first finger down. 

Ask yourself: Where must I place my second finger to continue creating the shape?

What fret?

My second finger, as shown in the diagram,  must go on the second fret.

What string ? 

My second finger, as shown in the diagrammust goon the fourth string. 

Place your second finger down. 

3rd finger where?

Let’s move on to the third finger. Please leave your first and second fingers down. 

Ask yourself: Where should I place my third finger to continue creating the shape? 

What fret?

My 3rd finger as shown in the diagram, must go on the third fret.

What string? 

My 3rd  finger, as shown in the diagram, must go on the fifth string.

Say three and place your third finger down and strum with your thumb.

2.3.2 Get a good sound 

Are any of the strings buzzing when you strum?  

If they are you need to raise the tips of you finger fingers, grab a pencil and lift them, also extend your wrist. Look at the angle of the hand in relation to the guitar. Look at how my wrist is straight, correct your position and play the chord again.

Are you still hearing some buzzing? Repeat the clarity check. 

Consolidate

I would suggest before you continue to rewind the video from the start and repeat all the instructions.

2.3.3 What is the bass

I hope this question has come to your mind. The bass is the lowest note of the chord on which we build it from the foundation.The bass is the name of the chord.

So the bass of C is c. Where is the bass? The bass c has to be the lowest note of our chord, and in this case, we produce the c note as a bass by pressing the 3rd fret on the 5th string.

2.3.4 Play the C chord

You are now ready to apply swiftly the chord learning routine. Play along with me. 

  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check: If a string sounds muted,place a pen underneath the tips of your fingers and lift them, this will clean up the sound
  • Play one string at a time from the bass

Rewind and repeat this last section

2.3.5 Tips

Some tips to keep in mind. 

Keep your hand relaxed
As a general rule, to avoid unnecessary strain, keep your fingers on the fretboard just the necessary time to create the sound you wish and then let go. 

Repetition
I also find it more practical, to help develop long term memory, not to repeat each exercise, more than two consecutive times, before taking a break or moving on to a new exercise.

2.4  Am Chord

Let’s take a break from the C chord and learn the Am chord. 

2.4.1 Fingers

Please look at the shape and where each finger is placed. Play the chord in the following sequence: 

Place your fingers in order

and ….

say aloud the fingers as you do so.

Say one and place your first finger down. 

To do so you must have answered the question: What fret and what string does my first finger go on? In this case fret 1 string 2.

Let’s do it together.

Say two and place your second finger down. 

To do so you must have answered the question: What fret and what string does my second finger go on? In this case fret 2 string 4.

Let’s do it together.

Note: Please make sure your first finger stays in place.

Say three and place your third finger down. 

To do so you must have answered the question what fret and what string does my third finger go on.

Let’s do it together

Keep your fingers in place .

2.4.2  The bass

Name the bass of the chord

What is the bass of the Am chord ? a.  The bass is the name of the chord; on top of which we add more notes to compete the sound. 

Where is the bass of the Am chord?

The bass is in the low register. This is the low part of the guitar. The bass can be an open string or a string I am pressing with my left hand. 

So do I have a low open string that sounds like a?Yes I do. So, this is the bass and the lowest note of the chord from which we play our chord from.

Play 

2.4.3 One note at a time

Play this chord with me, one note at a time, count it in: 1 2 3 4.

2.4.4 Get a good sound

If any of your notes do not sound clear enough, please use the pencil to correct your finger placement.

Play the chord one note at a time.

2.4.5 Play the Am Chord

You are now ready to apply swiftly the Chord Learning Routine. Play along with me.

Am chord

  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check: If a string sounds muted, place a pen underneath the tips of your fingers and lift them, this will clean up the sound.
  • Play one string at a time from the bass

Rewind and repeat this last section.

3. Step 2, Play C and Am chord in tempo

To move on to step 2, you must be able to already play with clarity the C and Am chord.

You will now learn to play the C and Am chord in this manner: 

3.1  The Goal

Listen

3.2 Working towards the goal 

3.2.1 Spot the common notes

In order to jump from the C to Am chord you need to find the similarities between them. Practice with me this combination. Get your fingers ready for the C chord but apply the Chord Learning Routine

  • Play one string at a time from the bass. ( 1 and 2 and 3 and  4 move)

3.2.1 Slowly join the chords

Now lift up your third finger, put in on the third string and play the Am,  and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. In the diagram in red, you can see the common notes. 

Common Notes between the C and Am chord

3.2.2 Play along with me non stop

Repeat with me, try not to stop and also say what I am saying: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 move. The word move is your cue to move your finger. This time I will play the chords two times.  

 C Chord. 

  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Play one string at a time from the bass:1 and 2 and 3 and  4 move, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 move  

Do not lift your fingers up from the fretboard.

3.2.2 Clarity Check

Please take a moment to correct your position and sound both with the C and Am chord. Strum each chord to check for clarity. 

3.3 Repeat all step 2

4.0 Step 3, Play a song

4.1  The Song

Listen

4.2 Learn the chords

This song is made up of chords and a melody.

Let’s learn the chords. First get the C shape in place. 

4.2.1 Listen

Listen to what you have to do, tap your feet and move your body to the beat.

4.2.2 Imagine

Keep tapping your foot, move to the beat and imagine the sound of what I have just done.

4.2.3 Sing

Sing what I have just done.

4.2.4 Play

Play it with me.

4.2.5 On your own

Stop the video and do it on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

Did you turn on your metronome?

Did you tap always your foot while playing?

Did you count it in?

Did you sing or say what you were doing?

Repeat
Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to, until you can answer with a yes all the check questions.

4.3 Learn the melody

Let’s learn the melody.

4.3.1 Listen

Listen to what you have to do and tap your feet to the beat.

4.3.2 Imagine

Keep tapping your foot and move your body to the beat, and Imagine the sound of what I have just done.

4.3.3 Sing

Sing what I have just done.

4.3.4 Play

Play it with me.

4.3.5 On your own

 Stop the video and do it on your own.

Check questions

Did you turn on your metronome?

Did you tap always your foot while playing?

Did you count it in?

Did you sing or say what you were doing ?

Repeat

Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to, until you can answer with a yes all the check questions.

Let’s combine the chords together with the melody.

4.4 Play along with me 

4.4.1 Rewind and repeat

5.0 Step 4  Assignments

5.1 Quiz

Please submit your replies to the group forum for peer review. 

  • What is the bass of the Em chord?
  • If the C chord has three notes C E G, draw on the fretboard diagram, two new shapes that have these three notes.
  • If the Am has three notes A C E,  draw on the fretboard diagram ( two new shapes that have these three notes.
  • What is the summary of steps you have to follow to learn a new chord ? 

Place your ……

Name …….  Play  the ………

Play one …….Count ……. 

Clarity……….

Play one …….Count …….. 

  • What is the difference between strumming a chord and playing the chord one note at a time?
  • What is the beat of a song?
  • What is the difference between the melody and chords of a song ?

5.2 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing example 3.2.2. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

Did you turn on your metronome ? 

Did you tap your feet while recording ?

Did you count it in ?

Did you sing what you were doing? 

5.3 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing example 4.1. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

Did you turn on your metronome ? 

Did you tap your feet while recording ?

Did you count it in ?

Did you sing what you were doing? 

5.4 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing  C | Am | C |Am, each chord lasts 4 beats. Strummingwith a pick or thumb. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

Did you turn on your metronome ? 

Did you tap your feet while recording ?

Did you count it in ?

Did you sing what you were doing? 

Are you strumming form the bass ? 

Can you hear every single note with clarity?

5.5  Play the Em chord

Write the routine you have to follow to learn the Em chord. Apply the routine and learn it. 

5.6  Play the G chord

Write the routine you have to follow to learn the G chord. Apply the routine and learn it. 

Note

Songwriting and music production, courses, tips, studio recordings how to write a song, can be found through the corresponding links

Guitar Scales. The 1-4-2 Chords

Cool Jazz Guitar Soloing techniques. Advanced  Jazz Improvisation.

This is an introduction to my jazz improvisation course. This course will soon be available online, but at present, you are welcomed to learn in person, at my Creative Guitar School in Melbourne .

In my Jazz Guitar courses, you will learn how to develop melody and harmony of a given song, to the limit of your creative abilities.

You will learn to choose what sounds good or bad, and there fore, maintain  the flow of your creative dialogue.  This is an extremely rewarding  experience.

I love to improvise, to flow, and create constant variations of a motif a song of any musical idea. It feels great. 

It did not feel good

At first, in the 80s, when I started playing professionally,   I was not  comfortable improvising, since  even though I was playing the correct notes, I did not like what I was doing.  It did not feel good. 

I knew I needed more information on how to choose, how to be aware of what sounds good or bad. I needed more options to express those feelings, I had an urge to scream out. 

Berklee College of Music

So, I went to Berklee College of Music, Boston, U.S.A  for 3 years, and I was bombarded with practical good and evil. I loved it.

While at Berklee, I came across Jon Damian,  who taught one of my  favourite guitar players, ( Bill Frisell ). I soon discovered an amazing pathway, to harmonic and melodic variation, to cover, for the rest of my life, all my creative and artists needs.

Guitar Scales: The 1-4-2 Combination

Did you know there are 24 ways of creating chords on the go and you can combine them,  play them any way you wish as long as it sounds good for you.

Listen to the guitar scales

In the intro of the video on this page, I used a combination of sounds based upon the 142 pattern of a scale but, applied only  to one chord. There fore, imagine the colours that can pop up, in a song with many chords and with all guitar scales.

Check out the video to hear this combination of a G scale. 

  • one string
  • in one position

But, more magic occurs when you apply the 1-4-2 sound to a more complex harmonic structure.

Since this combination creates a lot of tension, we can then use it, when we need tension on a note, or area of a chord in relation to the guitar scale.

The 142 sound in a more complex harmonic setting 


Guitar Scales  all the things you are

This is the melody of the Standard: All the things you are. 

The red lines are the places I have decided to play with more tension, than what the chord will give me.  If I play without the red feeling I produce a  static sound, boring.

See video

When I play, and apply the 1-4-2 pattern to the red section, I get more movement, more excitement and it just feel great.    

See video

You can apply this sound also to a solo.

See video

So come along and let´s explore together more of these sounds . Send me an email, get in touch. Book Your Course now .

Creative Guitar Accompaniment

Creative Guitar Accompaniment

I would like to share with you all a video where I showcase how I approach creative guitar accompaniment on the electric guitar in pop, funk and jazz styles. In the video I accompany the vocalist Christina del Mundo from my Melbourne Acoustic Duo (Jazzy Pop)

As taught, throughout my guitar courses, the role of the accompaniment is to define the beat, the groove and the harmony. We do so by creating a constant variation of melodic rhythmic and harmonic tension.

How?
When we accompany in a specific style we have the option of creating bass lines, reharmonizing, adding rhythm, melodic tensions and dynamics. For such we need a solid notion of harmony, chords and chord scale relationships.

I like to play the electric guitar softly which allows me to produce a greater difference between loud and soft passages therefore adding greater emotional contact to my performance.

The guitar, both electric and acoustic, sing better if played softly. It does seem a contradiction but if you hit the strings with extreme force, the sound will not project. When we hit the string hard, the amplitude of the vibration is compressed as the string hits the fretboard. Hence the guitar will produce a lower relative volume than expected.

The guitar is recorded with a Shure 58 microphone. In the mixing session slight compression was added to increase attack. No other effect was used. The amplifier used is a Vox Valvetronic which costs around 350 dollars. I must point out that the sound comes most from the way you play the guitar. In other words the person is the core element of the sound.

Please enjoy the video and subscribe to my you tube channel to further enjoy my creative output.

In this channel there are further educational videos and live performances with my acoustic, Spanish and electric guitar in a variety of genres and formats as: Flamenco, Jazz, Pop and World Music.

Regards

Thomas

Advanced guitar exercises |Creating chordal movement

Advanced guitar exercises | Creating Chordal Movement

As guitarists we can use chords to help reinforce the melodic value of a composition by defining it´s accompaniment. For example: Vocals singing the lyrics and the guitarist playing the chords.

We may also play the same composition without vocals where we define the melody and chords at the same time. An example would be that of a guitarist playing Tears in Heaven with no vocals nor band.

We may also play the composition where the guitarist defines melodically or harmonically the background of the composition. An example would be what the guitar in a band as U2 would play.

I am sure we are all aware of guitarists in these three categories that we just love listening to and that keep our constant attention. They stand out from the crowd.

Why do the stand out?
One of the main reasons they stand out from the crowd is because they are not static in their accompaniments.

advanced guitar exercises

Imagine we have a song with two chords and each chord lasts 4 bars. How would you play those chords ? How would Hendrix play the same chords? What would Hendrix be looking for?

After analysing all my favourite guitarists and exploring my own personal needs of expression I have reached the conclusion that we play chords to define and create movement within specific targeted harmonic areas of tension.

If we just strum a chord for four bars the tension is constant and the song looses excitement. If we strum a chord for 4 bars and we are conscious about how to create variations in intensity and therefore do so , the song will flow more and the music will sound much more exciting.

In my advanced guitar exercises we learn how to move chords, how to create excitement by:

  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension
  • Creating bass lines with chords and inversions of opposite harmonic tension
  • Adding harmonic tensions in the lead and resolving such to chordal tones
  • Creating chromatic movements on weak beast towards targeted tonal notes
  • Re -harmonising with secondary dominants
  • Re .harmonising targeted weak beats either in lead or in the bass lines with chords creating harmonic contrast
  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension

Students at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne learn to experiment with advanced guitar exercises and with chordal inversions altering bass lines and creating new colours.

For example:

  • Next time you see a C chord play it ,with an E note in the bass
  • If this chord is followed by a G chord, play the G  with a D note in the bass
  • If the G chord is followed by an F chord , play this F with the C note in the bass.

You may also play these three chords but adding a pedal tone in the low register.

For example :

  • Play a C note in the bass and play all the above chords in order

You may do the same but with a pedal tone in the high register.

For example:

  • Play an E note on the first string and play all the above chords in order

The possibility of variations are endless and as we experiment with them we will soon start hearing colours that we may identify with Bach, Country, Flamenco, Funk and other styles.

I invite you to explore the beauty of harmony and the soothing feeling we create when we bring the chords in our playing to life.

Give me a call if you would like to know more on 0448348701. I am currently taking students that wish to enjoy themselves on the guitar for the next year..

Take a peak at my creative side on : http://www.thomaslorenzo.com

Advanced Guitar Chords Lessons

“Learn all you can about music. There are no short cuts or quick fixes”. John Scofield

Advanced Guitar Chords

Here, at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne, we offer a selection of courses and masterclasses geared towards the achievement of your personal goals as a musician or artist.

Building on the foundation of previous courses we will continue to focus on the individual notes that make up a chord rather than on the chord shape. In advanced guitar chords  will we further develop the understanding of the relationship between the notes of the chord and the actual song, and the harmonics of the chord. This course will further provide essential technical training that will improve your style, intonation, technique, time, feel, and tone.

In advanced guitar chords  we will start off by learning how to create open triads, seventh chord structures and inversions of complex chord forms on the guitar. We will then learn to break up chords creating melodies with existing tones. Your studies will take you through a variety of genres and focus in on a number of legendary artists and guitarists including Steve Ray Vaughn, Joe Pass, Eric Clapton, Bill Frisell, etc.

By the end of the advanced guitar chords course you will be able to read a lead sheet and play chord voicings, create harmonised melodies using seventh chords, open triadic shapes and inversions in several musical styles. Finger style techniques, latin, flamenco and brazilian rhythms will also be introduced as course material.

 Advanced Guitar Chords Course Content

  • Inversions of seventh chords in drop 2 and drop 3 with dominant and major 7th chords
  • Open major and minor triads
  • Harmonising all scale notes with triads
  •  Open diminished shapes
  • Open augmented shapes
  • Inversions of seventh chords: minor 7 and minor 7b5
  • Working with diatonic inversions of drop 2 chords
  • Harmonic minor voicings
  • Melodic minor diatonic chords
  • Advanced chord substitutions
  • Melodic minor harmonies
  • Modal voicings
  • Inversions of Maj7/Maj6/Min6/Dim7/Min7b5
  • Harmonising melodies with quartal harmonies
  • Harmonic major harmonies
  • Voice leading through chord scales
  • Voicings from symmetrical diminished and augmented scales

Basic Guitar Chords. How to play

“Learn all you can about music. There are no short cuts or quick fixes.” John Scofield

Basic Guitar Chords

Here at the Creative Guitar School n Melbourne I offer a selection of courses and masterclasses geared towards the achievement of your personal goals as a musician or artist.

At the beginning stage will will learn the basics of open and movable chord shapes of major triads, minor triads and 7th chords working with such in different time signatures ,tempos, styles and in different positions of the guitar . We will then further learn to hear the chord, hear it´s individual notes, understand why they are there and how to make use of them in a creative manner. You will soon be able to see, hear and use the same chords with different inversions and timbres on various parts of the neck . Your creativity will be enhanced by this knowledge opening a up a broad range of harmonic possibilities in your playing .

Chord Course Content

  • Triads. (Basic Guitar Chords)
    Major, minor.and sus: Triads in root position
    Inversions of triads: Up the fretboard
    Inversions of triads: Across the fretboard
    Augmented and diminished triads
  • Barred Chords triads and 7th. (Basic Guitar Chords)
    Power chords triads , barred chords triads and 7th chords all over the guitar neck.
    We will learn to hear and use the bass notes of the chords creating groovy bass lines .We will learn to hear and use the melody notes of the chords creating harmonised melodic lines. Right hand techniques will be implemented to further explore chordal expression and melodies that can be derived from the use of them.Getting the most out of playing chords.
  • Chord Construction.(Basic Guitar Chords)
    You will learn to hear and understand the theory behind chord construction in open or closed position.
  • Tensions
    You will learn barred chords with tensions 9, sus 4, 13 and possible alterations as: b5, b13, #9, b9, #11-
  • Diminished Chords
  • Chord substitution will be introduced giving the student tools to further enhance their musical expression.

Basic Guitar Chords

“Learn all you can about music. There are no short cuts or quick fixes”. John Scofield

Advanced Guitar Chords

Here, at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne, we offer a selection of courses and masterclasses geared towards the achievement of your personal goals as a musician or artist.

Building on the foundation of previous courses we will continue to focus on the individual notes that make up a chord rather than on the chord shape. In advanced guitar chords  will we further develop the understanding of the relationship between the notes of the chord and the actual song, and the harmonics of the chord. This course will further provide essential technical training that will improve your style, intonation, technique, time, feel, and tone.

In advanced guitar chords  we will start off by learning how to create open triads, seventh chord structures and inversions of complex chord forms on the guitar. We will then learn to break up chords creating melodies with existing tones. Your studies will take you through a variety of genres and focus in on a number of legendary artists and guitarists including Steve Ray Vaughn, Joe Pass, Eric Clapton, Bill Frisell, etc.

By the end of the advanced guitar chords course you will be able to read a lead sheet and play chord voicings, create harmonised melodies using seventh chords, open triadic shapes and inversions in several musical styles. Finger style techniques, latin, flamenco and brazilian rhythms will also be introduced as course material.

 Advanced Guitar Chords Course Content

  • Inversions of seventh chords in drop 2 and drop 3 with dominant and major 7th chords
  • Open major and minor triads
  • Harmonising all scale notes with triads
  •  Open diminished shapes
  • Open augmented shapes
  • Inversions of seventh chords: minor 7 and minor 7b5
  • Working with diatonic inversions of drop 2 chords
  • Harmonic minor voicings
  • Melodic minor diatonic chords
  • Advanced chord substitutions
  • Melodic minor harmonies
  • Modal voicings
  • Inversions of Maj7/Maj6/Min6/Dim7/Min7b5
  • Harmonising melodies with quartal harmonies
  • Harmonic major harmonies
  • Voice leading through chord scales
  • Voicings from symmetrical diminished and augmented scales

Advanced guitar exercises | Creating Chordal Movement

As guitarists we can use chords to help reinforce the melodic value of a composition by defining it´s accompaniment. For example: Vocals singing the lyrics and the guitarist playing the chords.

We may also play the same composition without vocals where we define the melody and chords at the same time. An example would be that of a guitarist playing Tears in Heaven with no vocals nor band.

We may also play the composition where the guitarist defines melodically or harmonically the background of the composition. An example would be what the guitar in a band as U2 would play.

I am sure we are all aware of guitarists in these three categories that we just love listening to and that keep our constant attention. They stand out from the crowd.

Why do the stand out?


One of the main reasons they stand out from the crowd is because they are not static in their accompaniments.

advanced guitar exercises

Imagine we have a song with two chords and each chord lasts 4 bars. How would you play those chords ? How would Hendrix play the same chords? What would Hendrix be looking for?

After analysing all my favourite guitarists and exploring my own personal needs of expression I have reached the conclusion that we play chords to define and create movement within specific targeted harmonic areas of tension.

If we just strum a chord for four bars the tension is constant and the song looses excitement. If we strum a chord for 4 bars and we are conscious about how to create variations in intensity and therefore do so , the song will flow more and the music will sound much more exciting.

In my advanced guitar exercises we learn how to move chords, how to create excitement by:

  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension
  • Creating bass lines with chords and inversions of opposite harmonic tension
  • Adding harmonic tensions in the lead and resolving such to chordal tones
  • Creating chromatic movements on weak beast towards targeted tonal notes
  • Re -harmonising with secondary dominants
  • Re .harmonising targeted weak beats either in lead or in the bass lines with chords creating harmonic contrast
  • Creating bass lines with chord inversions of similar harmonic tension

Students at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne learn to experiment with advanced guitar exercises and with chordal inversions altering bass lines and creating new colours.

For example:

  • Next time you see a C chord play it ,with an E note in the bass
  • If this chord is followed by a G chord, play the G  with a D note in the bass
  • If the G chord is followed by an F chord , play this F with the C note in the bass.

You may also play these three chords but adding a pedal tone in the low register.

For example :

  • Play a C note in the bass and play all the above chords in order

You may do the same but with a pedal tone in the high register.

For example:

  • Play an E note on the first string and play all the above chords in order

The possibility of variations are endless and as we experiment with them we will soon start hearing colours that we may identify with Bach, Country, Flamenco, Funk and other styles.

I invite you to explore the beauty of harmony and the soothing feeling we create when we bring the chords in our playing to life.

Give me a call if you would like to know more on 0448348701. I am currently taking students that wish to enjoy themselves on the guitar for the next year..

Take a peak at my creative side on : http://www.thomaslorenzo.com