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  1. #1

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    Okay, after a few weeks of playing chord progressions, charts from the real books, and scales like crazy I finally stumble across a simple explanation that has changed the way I'm looking at chord melodies (and jazz guitar).

    I can't remember the thread, but I happened across it here while I was at work and basically it was said that an over simplified explanation of chord melody is just inversions that keep the melody note on the top (highest) string played. It didn't click at work, but I figured when I got home I'd try it. Well, I sat in front of a lead sheet for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and tried what I could with this. It totally fit in.

    I grabbed a couple other charts and played around with the voicings and inversions there too and the same luck!

    Now, I'll be honest that there were quite a few chord patterns I didn't feel comfortable with or made bad muted or ringing noises as I played, but it was still enough for me to figure I can get past that with practice. What's more, is those mistakes and the reading I was doing pointed me heavily in a direction on what I should spend time practising. Suddenly I can not only play at a completely different level, but I have a completely different focus for my practice schedule too! One that will actually lead me somewhere!!!

    Hell yeah!

    ~DB

    P.S.: I know this is a totally newbie moment of elation, but I had to share it. Thanks for listening.
    Last edited by lindydanny; 08-18-2009 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Spelling correction

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    Stringbean Guest
    3 cheers!

  4. #3
    Something similar to a passing remark Joe Pass makes in one of those Joe Pass lessons on youtube.

  5. #4

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    That is the approach that works on many tunes.Over the rainbow
    is a example that for me was a perfect fit...People keep asking how do I
    get started in cord melodys..Well learn your inversions, the creative part?
    Well check out what others do with a tune..I need to work on intros and
    endings..I just watched Keith Jarrett solo Japan..In the intro to "I loves you Porgy", he uses, the bridge..then into the head...The melody is the
    most important part..some guys muck it up with fancy reharmonization parts or overuse walking base rifts..Just my opinion but for us mortals
    stick to the tune..

  6. #5

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    YES....Congrats 2 U ! My moment of clarity hit when I connected the chord inversion library of possibilities with what has been termed the
    " CAGED " system of moveable chord patterns. +1 to the melody makers above , as well. It's usually supposed to be a singable SONG in the final analysis.....regardless of style and technique.....

  7. #6
    Thanks, guys.

    I didn't get a whole lot of time last night to play with it, but I'm hoping to work out a few more songs to practice this on so I can get a bit more understanding of it. So far, though, I can't complain with the hurdle that I just crossed.

    ~DB

  8. #7

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    I had somewhat of an epiphany a few weeks ago when I finally decided to learn the 4-3-2-1 seventh chords in all their inversions. I already knew the 5-4-3-2 and the 6-4-3-2 versions. It suddenly dawned on me about halfway through figuring out the 4-3-2-1s that the top string and the bottom string are the same pitch (DUH), so that the "middle" 3 notes of any given chord (on the D-G-B strings) are the same. Suddenly I instantly knew the 4-3-2-1s!!

    Man. I am so smart.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindydanny View Post
    Thanks, guys.

    I didn't get a whole lot of time last night to play with it, but I'm hoping to work out a few more songs to practice this on so I can get a bit more understanding of it. So far, though, I can't complain with the hurdle that I just crossed.

    ~DB
    Hey DB, are you studying with anyone in KC? I don't remember if I asked this before.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff View Post
    I had somewhat of an epiphany a few weeks ago when I finally decided to learn the 4-3-2-1 seventh chords in all their inversions. I already knew the 5-4-3-2 and the 6-4-3-2 versions. It suddenly dawned on me about halfway through figuring out the 4-3-2-1s that the top string and the bottom string are the same pitch (DUH), so that the "middle" 3 notes of any given chord (on the D-G-B strings) are the same. Suddenly I instantly knew the 4-3-2-1s!!

    Man. I am so smart.
    I'm assuming that 6-4-3-2 would be the strings E-D-G-B... Otherwise, you've lost me.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindydanny View Post
    I'm assuming that 6-4-3-2 would be the strings E-D-G-B... Otherwise, you've lost me.
    Allow me to demonstrate. Here is a G7 chord on strings 6-4-3-2 (yes, E-D-G-B):


    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]

    Now raise that bottom note 2 octaves -- that is, shift it from the 6th string to the 1st string:

    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|-G-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-D-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-F-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]

  12. #11
    Awesome. Thanks Big Daddy.

  13. #12

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    Exactly! Sometimes the most obvious things aren't that - uh - obvious.

  14. #13

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    Another thing to keep in mind is that life would be easier if guitars were tuned in fourths only! It would be trivial to take a shape on strings 6-4-3-2 and move it up a major fourth to 5-3-2-1 -- the shape would stay the same!

    But we have that major 3rd between string G and B. This means that when a form moves "up a string", a note going from string G to B moves up the neck one fret:

    Gmin7:

    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-7-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-1-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]

    Cmin7

    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-7-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-1-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]
    And then run thought that example in reverse: when a form moves "down a string", a note going from string B to G moves down the neck one fret.

  15. #14

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    And it doesn't have to be a 6-4-3-2 chord. For example:

    Bbmaj7:

    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|-7-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||-1-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]

    Ebmaj7:

    [CHORD]

    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-7-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||-1-|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

    [/CHORD]

    Again, when you go "up" the note going to the B string moves up one fret, and when you go down, the note going to the G string moves down one fret.

  16. #15
    Okay, so I want to test out my theory then...

    (Note: I have tons of down time at work but no guitar.)

    "Autumn in New York" starts with a Gm7 chord with the eighth note run of A G F D (then to a C with Am7 chord). So, if I am trying to keep the melody on the highest played I end up with something like this:


    --x---x---x---x---x----
    --10--8---6---3---1---
    --10--10--x---3---0---
    --8---8---5---3---3---
    --10--x---x---x---0---
    --x---x---6---3---x---



    But, after thinking that through a bit, I decided that this makes more sense and won't kill my hand:


    --x-------x---x---x----
    --10--8---4---3---1---
    --10------4---3---0---
    --8-------4---3---3---
    --10------x---x---0---
    --x-------4---3---x---



    Now, I can't hear this because I don't have a guitar handy, but is this "proper" for a chord melody?

    ~DB

  17. #16

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    What happened to the F in the melody?

  18. #17
    See, this is why I ask. I completely missed that. I was going for raising the Gm7 a semitone and blah blah blah. But you are right, that eliminates the F and makes it an Eb which doesn't even fit...

    (Man I think too much.)

    ~DB

  19. #18

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    The notes A-G-F-D are eighths notes, so I won't put a chord underneath every one. At least not at the start of the song -- I like to start simply. Maybe a chord under A and another under F?

    I see what you mean about passing chords. "AINY" starts off:

    Gmi7 Ami7 Bbmaj7 C7...

    so it's tempting to slip in passing chords. How about an Ab chord that slides into Ami7?


    [chord]

    --5--3-----x------
    --3-----6--3------
    --3--------4--5---
    --3--------4--5---
    --x---------------
    --3--------4--5---

    [/chord]