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chord voicings

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by wplyle, Aug 17, 2001.


  1. wplyle

    wplyle

    Aug 3, 2001
    Newark, NJ
    Anyone have any suggestions regarding building chord voicings (particularly 4 note chords)? I have a fairly good knowledge of theory, but I need some good resources for building chords, especially upper extensions and "altered" chords. Appreciate the help!
     
  2. A lot of the chords I use are stolen from guitar players like Andy Summers from the Police. I don't know a lot of the names for the chords, but there's a chord I like that is 1-5-9. I think it's a sus2 chord if I'm not mistaken, but I probably am. Just screw around with the different tones in the scale and you'll probably come up with something interesting.
     
  3. On Bass, especially four string, I find it is pretty hard to make upper extensions sound halfway decent...First off, you only have a few notes to work with, and the timbre can cause some pretty dense situations. I like to experiment playing usually 3 note chords for stuff like rhythm changes and jazz standards that I know. I usually don't get too complex with it. Maybe a root-five-nine shape. But I usually stick to root on the A string, 3rd or 5th on the D string and a 7th on the G string. Or root on the E string, 7th on the D string, and a 10th, maybe a 9th on the G string. Of course, I'll also put the fifth on the bottom at times. Sometimes I'll walk, plucking with my right thumb, hitting little two note voicings with my right fingers. Will I use this very often? ....No...Is it fun to practice? ....yes....
     
  4. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    I very rarely play chords. There's almost no point when playing with two distorted guitarists. I don't know much theory so when I do play chords I just mess around with the notes in the scale until I find something that sounds good. I guess you could always ask some guitar players if you really wanted to learn more about chords.
     
  5. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Part of the reason why I play a 7-string is because of chords. Jonas Hellborg wrote a small booklet on bass chords called "Chord Bassics" which is useful. If you already have a good knowledge of theory, then building chords should not be a big issue, as they are no different to chords on any other instruments. Sometimes tapping the chords out with both hands may be easier.
     
  6. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    If you're looking for good chords to create tension try a minor major seven chord (4-note chord) or a minor sharp nine chord (5-note chord)

    Cmmajor7 = C, Eb, G, B
    Cm#9 = C, Eb, G, Bb, D#

    Rarely used but I think they sound nice. :)
     
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    a Minor 7 #9 chord is rarely used because it doesn't exist. If you look at your explanation above, you'll see that the Eb and D# are the same note.

    I suspect you were trying for the 7#9 chord (C E G Bb D#). The tension comes from the relationship between the E and the D#. The chord is distictive, and I always think of it as the "Hendrix" chord - memorably used in "Foxy Lady" and "Purple Haze".
     
  8. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Ah thanks Pacman. :) Yes, I see what you mean. Eb and D# are one in the same.

    I also like to add a 6th to chords, like C6, Cm6, etc...more 4-note chords. :)

    One question: I mentioned the minor major 7 chord....I really don't understand the concept of minor major or minor minor really. Just know the chords, the notes in the chord.

    For example: the Cmmajor7 (C Eb G B):

    Cm = C Eb G

    Cmajor7 = C E G B

    Is it somehow Cm + Cmajor7 = Cmmajor7? Or is it just that the addition of the B makes it a major7 as well?

    A little confused. :confused:
     
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'll try to clear that up.

    When spelling chords the term "minor" always referrs to the 3rd of the chord. If 'minor' is not used, the 3rd is understood to be major.

    The term "major" always referrs to the 7th degree. If it's not used, the 7th is assumed to be lowered (minor 7th interval from the root).

    The extensions (9,11,13) should be called "raised" or "lowered" instead of 'sharp' or 'flat', to avoid confusion.

    So the chord you described is indeed a Cmin/maj7.
     
  10. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Thanks Pacman :)

    I think I understand it now. :)
     
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Anytime :)


    Please drive through.
     
  12. wplyle

    wplyle

    Aug 3, 2001
    Newark, NJ
    THANKS EVERYONE!!!!

    These are terrific suggestions! I'm glad to see there are people around who enjoy pushing the instrument to its tonal limits...I've been playing in a trio with a drummer and tenor sax so I'm experimenting with comping, chord melody, ect. For upper extensions I have been trying sounding the root, 7th and whatever upper extension (the 9th for example, is an easy note to reach. This voicing can sound really cool when you're in support mode!)

    The Hellborg book is a good suggestion. Any recommendations of Hellborg recordings I can check out to hear his chord stylings...Thanks again...