So I bought this big ol' chordbook....


Vegas Wierdo
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Vegas Wierdo
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02/26/2007 10:57 pm
...because I figured it was about time I learned some actual chords as opposed to just making stuff up at random.

- Uhhhhhhh... how many chords does the average guitarist know? Would a pro know all of the "several thousand" in this big book of mine? How many chords does Jimmy Page know? John Scofield? I've asked many people in the past and nobody's ever given me a straight answer.

- My fingers are physically incapable of doing 66% of the chords in this book. What kind of mutant alien can even do half of these? I'm going through the book... and if I'm able to do a chord easily enough, I write an X with a circle around it next to the chord. If I might be able to do it well enough after months of finger-contortion isometrics or whatever... I draw a little spiral. I leave the ones I just can't do blank.

- I'm also figuring I should invest in a good capo because there's hundreds of chords that involve barring all six strings on the first fret, and more than a few where the second or third are barred.

- With the chords I actually can do... I give each one a rating of 1 through 5 (5 being the highest) in terms of how much I dig the sound of it. I have a pretty good ear (natural, not trained) and know what sounds good to me. Of course, I lean towards the bizarre/evil/dissonant... so.... :D

- The vast majority of the chords in this book involve between 4 and 6 strings. What happened to all the two and three string chords? I thought that 2-3 strings was the bread-and-butter of basic rhythm guitar.

- What am I missing here?

- I'm finding I prefer lead guitar more and more, as if I didn't already. But I want to learn rhythm as much as I can because I want to get into home recording and do it all myself. I can say that I'm proficient/exceptional on bass (I am, above all else, a bassist), and I would program the drums rather than trying to bang it out myself... just wanna get the guitar aspects up to snuff.
# 1


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02/27/2007 12:40 am
Originally Posted by: Vegas Wierdo- Uhhhhhhh... how many chords does the average guitarist know? Would a pro know all of the "several thousand" in this big book of mine? How many chords does Jimmy Page know? John Scofield? I've asked many people in the past and nobody's ever given me a straight answer.[/QUOTE]

I like to think that most of the advanced guitarist know how to construct chords. So if they know the basic chord, they just sharpen, flatten, add or subtract notes to create the chords they are looking for.

Originally Posted by: Vegas Wierdo
- My fingers are physically incapable of doing 66% of the chords in this book. What kind of mutant alien can even do half of these? I'm going through the book... and if I'm able to do a chord easily enough, I write an X with a circle around it next to the chord. If I might be able to do it well enough after months of finger-contortion isometrics or whatever... I draw a little spiral. I leave the ones I just can't do blank. [/QUOTE]

Some chords requires heavy stretching and strength that only comes with time. Give yourself a chance and practice them once in a while when you are warmed up so your hand isn't stiff. There's no fast way of doing it, you have to let your hands adapt to new positions.


[QUOTE=Vegas Wierdo]
- I'm also figuring I should invest in a good capo because there's hundreds of chords that involve barring all six strings on the first fret, and more than a few where the second or third are barred.


You wouldn't want to use a capo just to be able to play a certain chord because once you use a capo you have to use it for the whole song :) Unless you're like super fast to put it on and take it off lol Sometimes you just want that one barre chord in your progression, a capo wouldn't help.

[QUOTE=Vegas Wierdo]
- The vast majority of the chords in this book involve between 4 and 6 strings. What happened to all the two and three string chords? I thought that 2-3 strings was the bread-and-butter of basic rhythm guitar.


If you look at the notes used in chords using 4-6 strings, you'll notice that a lot of them have repeating notes in different octaves. That is so the chord sound bigger or "fuller".
# 2
R. Shackleferd
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R. Shackleferd
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02/27/2007 3:28 am
I think the way to approach a chord encyclopedia is to start with just one key...C for instance. Then learn 3-5 (or more if you choose) shapes of most variations (minor, 7th, diminished, etc). Having those shapes memorized, it's helpful to learn the relevant notes that make the chord what it is, like what Benoit touched upon, basic construction. At the very least and prolly most important would be to know where the root note is of these shapes. In this way, when you know your root position you can move the shape to a different key of your choice without having to look it up. After it exhausts the positions of every chord variation on C (where most chord books start), the rest of the book is almost redundant anyways...the shapes pretty much stay the same.

As far as rhythm, I like how my Mel Bay chord book I've had for years breaks them up. For every particular chord name it lists forms under Melody (treble strings emphasized), Inside (yep, the inside 5 strings), Rhythm (as many strings as possible), and Bottom 4. But with another chord book that arranges them another way, it's still up to you how much you use of any shape. Like just because it shows the F major bar chord using all strings, doesn't mean you have to use all of them and you can find your own shapes.
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# 3
Vegas Wierdo
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Vegas Wierdo
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02/27/2007 4:33 am
Originally Posted by: BenoitSome chords requires heavy stretching and strength that only comes with time. Give yourself a chance and practice them once in a while when you are warmed up so your hand isn't stiff. There's no fast way of doing it, you have to let your hands adapt to new positions.


I have stubby fingers. I'm designing a bass that will have a custom neck because I can't comfortably play most of what's out there, not even a J-bass unless it's a Geddy signature or something. :( As far as regular guitars go, I'm nearly physically incapable of playing any Gibson I've ever picked up.

If you look at the notes used in chords using 4-6 strings, you'll notice that a lot of them have repeating notes in different octaves. That is so the chord sound bigger or "fuller".


I see. I'm not really seeing any basic meat-and-potato power chords in this book as I go through it.

My approach is to focus on the ones I like the sound of, regardless of what they're categorized as. Because those are the only ones I would ever play. As far as regular guitar goes I only want to home record my own projects. When I play with others, it's always bass... because that is what I do. I am a bassist. And I can do chords on that thing 'til the cows come home... but it is, as we all know, a different beast.
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ren
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ren
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02/27/2007 10:54 am
You also have to bear in mind with these books that they'll list Cm7, Dm7, F#m7 etc as different chords rather than as different positions of the same shape - there are 5 easy and popular ways to play a minor 7th chord plus any number of random inventions - as Benoit says, eventually a guitarist will hopefully understand the structure of the chords, and find a way to play all the notes that works.

Learning these in 2 positions (rooted on the 5th & 6th string respectively) should get you through most situations:

Major
Minor
diminished

I've listed these because they would cover you playing any diatonic progression of chords in a straight major/minor key... and learning 2 positions to minimise the jumps across the neck. For major/minor, you do only need to play 3 strings, but the sound is pretty sparse... depends if you like that or not.

Your book probably shows minor 9th chords with flattened sevenths for example, where showing you a minor 9th chord and which note in it is the 7th would be less information to deal with, and easier to understand. You're on the right track learning the ones you like - I can play a minor 6th chord, but I've yet to find a good use for one... :D

They might not show 5th 'power' chords because it's just a root note and a fifth...

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iceandhotwax
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iceandhotwax
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02/27/2007 11:41 am
i bought that book too.. did yours come with a cd... that let ya hear how the chords were 'supposed' to sound?...i think on some of the chords you're supposed to get an assistant to provide some extra fingers...(gives guitar for two a whole new meaning huh?)
# 6
Vegas Wierdo
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Vegas Wierdo
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02/27/2007 3:26 pm
I'm afraid I don't understand hardly any of the lingo being used in this thread. :confused: I'm the autodidact's autodidact. :( I have a slight inkling of the differences between "major", "minor", and "diminshed", but I draw a blank at all this 7th/5th/6th stuff. Now, I know how to look at a chord chart and turn it into a bassline, and throw in all kinds of filler without having it clash... but that's just a matter of basic scale theory and a good ear.

Some further questions I have:

- Is it possible to do a chord (i.e., a bunch of strings played at once) where it's so dissonant/atonal that it doesn't correspond with any of the 12 notes on the scale? Because when I mess around just making stuff up at random, I can make the thing produce some really awful noise... and I like it.

- Is it possible to play chords while my amp or guitar is plugged into a digital tuner thingy, and have the tuner thingy tell me what note on the scale that the chord is? Or will the poor little thing just get all confused? I tried this once for a few seconds but I had no idea if the thing was telling me the note on the scale or whether it was just throwing something at me at random after having its wee circuits overwhelmed.
# 7
ren
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ren
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02/27/2007 4:01 pm
:D - Don't panic... we'll get there

Originally Posted by: Vegas WierdoI have a slight inkling of the differences between "major", "minor", and "diminshed", but I draw a blank at all this 7th/5th/6th stuff.[/QUOTE]

A major chord is the root, third and fifth notes of the parent scale, so an A major chord would have the notes A, C# and E. A minor chord is a root, flattened third and fifth, so an Am chord would be A, C & E. Diminished chords are tricky because a diminshed triad is root, flat third and flat fifth, but a diminished chord is something else to me. We'll leave that for now. A seventh is a major or minor chord with the seventh degree of the scale added (and sometimes flattened). A 5th chord is just the root and fifth - often called a 'power' chord. A 6th, 9th, 13th etc all mean that that degree of the scale has been added. They also include any third in between, so a technically correct 13th chord would be a root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th degree of the scale bearing in mind that 9, 11 and 13 are in the next octave so are really a 2nd, 4th and 6th. Also, that's 2 more notes than there are strings to play, so some are missed out.... but the theory remains. The 11th is usually dropped...

Originally Posted by: Vegas WierdoIs it possible to do a chord (i.e., a bunch of strings played at once) where it's so dissonant/atonal that it doesn't correspond with any of the 12 notes on the scale?


I think you mean so it doesn't fit in any key rather than any note, and oh yes, it is... there are also a load of real chords that sound like hell to my ear...

[QUOTE=Vegas Wierdo]Is it possible to play chords while my amp or guitar is plugged into a digital tuner thingy, and have the tuner thingy tell me what note on the scale that the chord is?


your tuner will probably only tell you which note it has picked up - probably the last one of the bunch you hit.

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aschleman
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aschleman
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02/27/2007 5:19 pm
http://www.guitartricks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22085&page=1&pp=7

That thread has a good breakdown of all the triads that are made in building chords off of certain scales.
# 9
strat-man
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02/28/2007 9:57 pm
Vegas Wierdo
- Uhhhhhhh... how many chords does the average guitarist know? Would a pro know all of the "several thousand" in this big book of mine? How many chords does Jimmy Page know? John Scofield? I've asked many people in the past and nobody's ever given me a straight answer.

You can hold a conversation knowing only a few hundred of the several thousand words available to you in a dictionary, right? same thing with chords, you dont need to know them all, basically there are 7 chords, a-b-c-d-e-f-g, all the others are just a variation on a theme, a slightly different voice if you like, just as you change the tone of your voice to convey an emotion so do chords, example: Amajor=happy Aminor=sad, Aadd9=Achord with added 9th note of the scale, still an A chord just a slightly different voice.
There are so many different variations of the basic chords and many can be played in more than one position on the neck, which why you walk into the music store to be confronted with such titles as '50,000 essential guitar chords' :eek:
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