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Musicians' corner (TWO loves...)


MillionLiraMan
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Hey there,

I was just thinking that for those of us who play an instrument, it's easy to get stuck in a rut and play the same stuff all the time without really experimenting. It was partly for this reason and partly just for kicks that I thought this thread would be a good idea. Basically, if there's something about the instrument you play/the way you play it that you really like and want to share for other people to try, post it here. This thread will be stuck as I realise it probably won't have contributions made to it as regularly as normal threads, but I think it's worth doing.

 

Here are some templates for anyone to copy and use:

 

Guitar tablature:

 

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

 

For bass tablature just copy four of the lines or enough for however many strings your bass has.

 

Chord diagrams:

 

||||||

------

||||||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

Standard music notation/drum notation:

 

F¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

E¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

D¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

C¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

B¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

A¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

G¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

F¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

E¦---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------¦

 

Because you can't keep loads of spaces going using the typing here, I've had to write the not names, so the lines on a normal stave are E G B D F from bottom to top, with your spaces being F A C E from bottom to top. Add more lines above or below in the same way if necessary or use this as an F clef for lower notes. Change the letters, from bottom to top, to G A B C D E F G A if you want to use the template as an F clef. OK, so it's a bit lame, but it's the best you can do on here I reckon. For typing in notes, just type the length of the note or rest, using R before the note for a rest, so a minim played would be typed as 2, while a crotchet rest would be R1 and a semiquaver rest would be R1/8. I know nothing about drum notation but presumably much of the time you're putting an x where the note would be.

 

Anything I've missed for templates that you think I should include, give me a shout.

Edited by MillionLiraMan
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MLM loves.. (example)

 

Here's an example for guitar tablature. You can see that I've written the tuning from lowest string to highest so that there are no misunderstandings.

 

MLM loves... 9th chord blues finishes!

 

Try this one. Keep the timing even between the notes before the two 9th chords at the end. The 5 being in brackets indicates that you should slide quickly to the 6 so that you're hardly playing the five at all - the idea is to give a more exotic sound to the 6 rather than audibly playing the 5. The S between the (5) and 6 signals that you should slide from the first note (5) to the second, 6.

 

Guitar tablature (Standard E A D G B E):

 

¦-----------------------------------------------8---7------------------¦

¦-----9-----------8------------7----------------8---7------------------¦

¦-----------------------------------------------8---7------------------¦

¦-9-------9---8-------8---7--------7---(5)S6---7---6------------------¦

¦-----------------------------------------------8---7------------------¦

¦----------------------------------------------------------------------¦

 

Where S indicates a slide, other symbols that could be shown in a similar way would be H (hammer-on), P (pull-off), T(tap), BU (bend up), BD (bend down), V (Vibrato), W (whammy bar/trem arm), VW (not Volkswagen! Vibrato that's added using the whammy bar/trem arm instead of shaking the left hand to apply it), PB (pre-bend), NH (natural harmonic), AH (artificial harmonic), TH (tapped harmonic) and PH (pinched harmonic). PM can also signal for a note to be palm-muted. Sections of notes which are palm-muted can be signalled with SPM in front of the note where the muting starts (start of palm-muting) and EPM just after the note where the palm-muting finishes (end of palm-muting). Whew!

 

Chord diagrams (Standard E A D G B E):

 

F9

x

||||||

------

||2||| 7th fret

------

|1|333

------

||||||

 

E9

x

||||||

------

||2||| 6th fret

------

|1|333

------

||||||

 

These chord diagrams are for the two chords at the end of the tablature. Again I've given the tuning. I've also signalled the fret where the chord fingering starts, which is important. The position of the numbers show where to fret the notes while the numbers thamselves indicate which fingers to use to fret those notes. Here, you need to barre your ring finger across the top three strings. You could also barre across the G and B strings and use your little finger (which would be given in the diagrams as '4') to hold down the top E if that's easier. Notice the x above the low E - this means that you shouldn't play this string. If you have an open string that should be played, put an 'o' above it instead of an 'x' to signal it. Such and example would be an open 'E' chord, which could be:

 

E

o---oo

|||1|| 1st fret

------

|23|||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

or:

 

E

o---oo

|||2|| 1st fret

------

|34|||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

Whichever you prefer. Again. because using several spaces doesn't always work too well with the type from this site, use the - symbols to get across the strings where you have more than one non-fretted string to deal with and those strings are separated, as is the case here.

 

Anyway, I have a feeling this could become the MLM corner but I hope not. If you like bluesy stuff you'll have heard that example or variations of it loads of times so it should sound familiar. Let the last E9 chord ring out and after it maybe sound the open low E as well for a cool finish.

 

Feel free to share some playing tips/preferences here! :)

Edited by MillionLiraMan
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  • 1 month later...

MLM loves... the Lydian mode!

 

Hey there,

This is something I've been doing on the guitar but you could do it on any melodic instrument. It allows you to improvise if you know the very basic ideas behind it and with it you can create some 'dreamy' melodies. A bit girly perhaps, but see what you think of it! Here's a way of using it:

 

Play two chords in rotation, one tone apart (two frets, two semitones, whatever) and keep the root note of the lower of the two chords as the bass throughout the whole thing. Sometimes you might want to play more than just the lowest root note of the lower chord within the higher chord. Here's an example of that:

 

E (lower chord, played normally in the open position)

o---oo

|||2|| 1st fret

------

|34|||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

F#7/E (F# with an E root - the top E also makes it a 7th chord)

o----o

|||||| 1st fret

------

||||1|

------

|||2||

------

|34|||

 

Over the top of this melody you can play the major scale of the note that's five frets down (five semitones, a perfect fourth, whatever) from the root note of the lower of your two chords. With the E-F# style progression we have, that means playing the B Major scale. The notes for that are B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A# and then back to B. The only difference that makes it the Lydian mode is the fact that you're treating E as the root note instead of B. What you're playing then, is not technically B Major, even though the notes are the same as they are in that scale, but E Lydian (E, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, then back to E - the notes are the same as B Major but considered different because of the chord progression and the way they are being used over it). Just muck around with this scale over your chord progression and see what comes out of it. I tend to linger on the E (root/1st) and B (5th), but try experimenting with the different notes and seeing what effect each note has over the chords. Try to resist the temptation to overplay as keeping this mode slow usually works very well, though in Steve Vai style (he uses this mode on some of his songs) a good tapped bit of widdly skill (particularly when finishing) can be very effective in giving a burst of euphoric energy to what you're playing, as long as it's done when appropriate rather than gratuitously!

 

A couple of songs that might guide your ear as to the sound of the Lydian mode would be Joe Satriani's 'Flying In A Blue Dream' (some key changes but mostly C Lydian, meaning the use of the G Major scale over C-D chord switches) and 'Fever Dream' by Steve Vai (there are plenty of Steve Vai example songs but this has its 'theme' melody pretty much in E Lydian so you might get some use from listening to that song).

 

You can also find the Lydian mode of any key just by raising the fourth note of the major scale of that key by a semitone/fret. With E, the E Major scale goes E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, then back to E. Can you spot the difference between E Major and E Lydian? That's right, the A of E Major, which is the fourth note of the scale, changes to an A# to make E Lydian, leaving the other notes as they are. The formula for the Lydian mode then is 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7, then back to the root note again at the octave.

 

Get a basic idea of how to use the Lydian mode and you're all set to appear all sensitive in front of those girls you want to impress! :P

 

----------------------------------------------------------

 

A 'dreamy melodies' afterthought

 

For anyone who knows or wants to look into other interpretations of the major scale, you can get the same 'dreamy' quality in a similar way using minor chords by playing two minor chords in rotation that are a tone apart (keeping the root of the lower chord as the bass throughout the chord progression) and playing the Dorian mode of the lower chord (i.e. the major scale of the note two semitones/frets/one tone below the root note of the lower chord). Here are a couple of chords you could rotate:

 

Am (played normally in the open position)

xo---o

||||2| 1st fret

------

||34||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

Bm/A (Bm with an A root note)

xo

|||||| 1st fret

------

|||||1

------

||||2|

------

||34||

 

You can see that this is the same shape as was suggested for E Lydian only moved along by one string. For the higher Bm type chord you could also play:

 

Bm/Aadd11 (I'll explain the hard sounding name in a second)

xo---o

|||||| 1st fret

------

||||||

------

||||2|

------

||34||

 

or you could play the Am as:

 

Am

xo---o

||||1| 1st fret

------

||23||

------

||||||

------

||||||

 

and play the second chord as:

 

Bm7/A

xo

|||||| 2nd fret

------

||||1|

------

||23||

------

|||||4

 

The 'add11' bit just means you're adding a 4 note from the major scale but more than one octave higher than where your chord begins. For Bm/Aadd11, the E note you get by playing the open top E string is the fourth note of the Major scale, but it's one octave higher than the E that's right after the root note B, so it's called an 11 rather than a 4. Lots of chords (and scales/modes) sound hard because they have long names, but don't let that stop you because they can be just as easy to play, if not easier as in this case, than a more conventionally named chord.

 

Anyway... over this chord progression, play a G Major scale (G, A B, C, D, E, F#, then back to G). You'll have to treat A as the root note here to make it work over the chord progression as A Dorian (A, B, C, D, E, F#, G, then back to A). Again, just have fun with it and see what comes out from it.

 

The formula for the Dorian mode is 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7, then back to the root at the octave. It's a natural minor scale with a raised 6 note.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

These are just examples of using these modes/scales and others. There are others. For example, the Dorian mode often appears in blues, along with Mixolydian, Blues (duh!) and Pentatonic Major and Pentatonic Minor. Mash all of those scales together and you get 1, 2, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7 and then back to the root at the octave. That means lots of notes! However, that's an entirely different style of playing, so we'll leave it there for now.

 

Anyone else, feel free to add something or just ask something related to music playing here!

Edited by MillionLiraMan
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  • 4 weeks later...

So basically the F chord as it is voiced in these ways:

 

Barre way

1|||11 1st fret

------

|||2||

------

|34|||

------

||||||

 

'cheating' way

||||11 1st fret

------

|||2||

------

||3|||

------

||||||

 

Let's tackle this two ways, because we don't know what the problem is. First, chord voicing, so you can avoid any barre shape, secondly, your guitar, since that could have something to do with it if it's just F and not other barre chords that give you trouble. Look at chord voicings first and see if that helps, which I suspect it will, before you do anything to your guitar!

 

Chord voicing/avoiding barre shapes

 

The thing is, the cheating way still involves a two-string barre. Eventually, you will have to learn this to improve past a certain point, as you will with other kinds of barre chords. However, to get you to play it for now, there is something else you can do. You'll notice your 'cheating' way is a segment of the full barre chords. You can still play F by using a different segment that doesn't involve any barre fingerings:

x----x

||||1| 1st fret

------

|||2||

------

|34|||

------

||||||

 

Notice the 'x' things indicating that you don't play those open strings. Of course, the bass (lowest) note in the chord would be a C, so technically the chord would be F/C rather than just F, but that's one way of playing an F chord. In fact, you could make it even easier by playing:

xo---x

||||1| 1st fret

------

|||2||

------

||3|||

------

||||||

 

The 'o' means to play the open A string (but not either E string as they are marked with 'x' symbols). Because the notes in an F chord are F, A and C, playing the open A string would also work. Here, technically the lowest note in the chord would be that A, so the chord could be called F/A rather than just F, but again, it is a way to play the F chord. You could add another F note on the thick E string by bringing your thumb over to hold down the thick E string at the first fret, which would be an F note and so make the lowest note in the chord F, but if you're struggling to play an F chord as it is, maybe that's a bit of a stretch for now.

 

If you wanted to make it easier still:

 

xx---x

||||1| 1st fret

------

|||2||

------

||3|||

------

||||||

 

So you're only playing the strings where you're fretting a note. It depends how full you want your chord to sound, but if you're not fussed about it having only the minimum three notes in it, I'd advise playing it this way. You've got an F note as the lowest note, then an A, then a C, so that's all you need. Like a barre chord, this is a moveable shape, so you could move your left hand fingers up a fret to get an F# chord, or two frets up to get a G chord, for instance.

 

Possible guitar problems

 

If it's only the F chord, you struggle with and not other barre chords, might I suggest that the action (distance between the strings and the frets on your guitar) could be too high, or also maybe the gauge of strings you're using could be too thick? It's a common problem on acoustic guitars, where you can do what you want more or less everywhere else, but when you're trying to press down the strings on the first fret, it feels like you need to put an anvil on the strings to get them to go down properly to hold the notes.

 

I would suggest using the lightest gauge of strings you can if it's an acoustic you're using. If it is, you can't really get the action changed unfortunately, you'll just have to get used to it. Eventually you can learn to handle it. Learning the 'cheating' way should certainly still be possible. If it's an electric guitar, I'd be surprised if the action was very high or the string gauges were too heavy, but reducing both can help make things easier anyway. Get a set of different strings, find a decent music store where there's a technicican who can change the action on your guitar, tell them you want a low action and to put on the new strings you've bought and unfortunately, it'll cost about £30. However, you'd notice the difference if that was the problem.

 

So...

 

I'd say don't have your guitar altered yet, see how you get on with the other ways of playing the chords first, I really can't think that the action on an electric guitar would cause that much of a problem that you couldn't play an F chord. If it's an acoustic guitar, replacing the strings with lighter gauge strings might help a bit. I'd suspect though that you're either relatively new to the guitar or don't play all that much, so probably learning to barre is just something that will come to you. Just try to keep playing and things should become easier. Make it regular if you can as well. You don't want to be rigid in your practise or making yourself sick of the guitar, but if you can play for ten minutes a day every day, that's much better than never playing all week, then playing for an hour on a Saturday or Sunday. Your fingers get into habits and strengthen themselves if they get used to the guitar, so regular playing and perseverance is, unfortunately, the best way to get to where you want to get with F chords, rather than just quick fixes. Hopefully though, the little chord voicings section in this post should help you a little bit with this. :)

Edited by MillionLiraMan
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