In the first chord phrasing part, we looked at
removing notes from existing chord shapes to create more
intricate chord phrasing. One of the ways we did this was to use
hammer-ons and pull-offs within the chord.
So how can we go that step
further and make our chords and progressions
even more dynamic? After all, the more diverse your range of guitar
playing styles, the more diverse your music has the potential to be!
In this lesson, we're going to
look at extending and floating 2-3 note phrases out
beyond the intital chord shape to add more brush strokes to the chord
pictures we paint.
A little theory to start with
Most guitarists know of scales
using one note at a time. Few guitarists understand chord
We'll be using these chord scales in this lesson to build phrases
around the initial, basic chord shapes. The fact that they're part of
the same key/scale means they can act as an extension
of the root chord.
You have two choices: you can
pop over to the guitar
chord progressions section and learn all about how chord
(and then return to this lesson when you're ready), or you can trust
your ears to experiment through trial and error without being tied down
to diatonic "rules".
I recommend you do both!
a simple chord
phrase sequence could
Observe the diagram and listen
to the clip below. The first is a simple switch between A major and
(Click the diagrams in
this lesson to hear the clips)
Now, we're just changing one
note in the sequence above. If we apply the chord scale,
we can involve more than one string and still keep it all in-key...
Look at that second part of
the sequence again - notice it from anywhere?...
Yep - it's just a cut down
version of the next chord in the A major chord scale.
If you've studied the diatonic chord scale, you'll know
that if A major was the tonic (I) chord, then Bm7 would be the
"ii" chord (2nd chord in the scale).
So that's one way we can pull
out these 2-3 note phrases. Why do we cut down the chord to
just a few notes?
Well, by including just the higher tones in the chord, it becomes less
defined as an individual, separate chord, and flows more effectively as
of the initial chord
- that's what we want for this "phrasing" effect. That's what makes it
a flavour of the first chord in the scale sequence rather than a
completely seperate chord.
Bear with me if you're not too
sure about all this!
Let's try and further extend
this A major sequence using more of the floating phrase technique.
Now, we've only focussed on
one particular key of chord phrasing
(although you can experiment - it doesn't always have to fit into a
modal key to sound good!), but the same concept also works on the other
chord shapes, the only difference being the shape of the
phrases on the fretboard changing depending on which chord
shape it is.
Try the exercise below, which
makes use of simple phrasing based around
the A, G, F#m and E chords. The tab doesn't dictate any rhythmic use of
the phrases, but below is something I put together for an example.
It'll also help you break down the different parts of a longer sequence.
Hammer-on / pull-off chord phrases
Whereas in part 1 we were
hammering on single notes withing a chord, we
can also hammer on multiple strings/notes to allow us more interesting
use of rhythm...
Take a standard minor 7 shape
on the A string...
Because we barre our index
finger, we can start off with just the barre and hammer-on
the remaining part of the shape (you should try this with the other
barre chord shapes too). You can also pull-off in a
similar way. This gives a jumpy kind of rhythm that can inject energy
into the chord progression...
See how just a bit of phrasing
can really bring out the best rhythmic
elements of your music? That's the great thing about chord phrasing, it
inspires you to work it into a really expressive rhythm... preferably
one that's unique to you!
As always, the key is to experiment!
Experiment with different chord
hammering on various notes and phrases, floating phrases away from that
root chord occasionally, and most importantly, building a chord
progression that flows beautifully.
Yeh, I know, the audio
examples I play aren't too spectacular, but that doesn't mean your's
At this point in writing up
every lesson, I always feel like we've only
just scratched the surface... I will come back to this in the near
future and expand further on the techniques we've looked at.
Until then - pick up that
guitar and create something!