1. #1

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    Hi,

    I'm new to the guitar - I play bass mostly but wanted to have a go at learning guitar too.

    My question is: when playing a constructed third chord is there any reason to play it in the different places on the neck that it can be played? Because when I play, for example, an A chord, in 3 different spots on the neck they all sound pretty much the same to me.

    Is there a difference between the same chord when played in varying spots on the neck, or would I mostly use the different spots when changing from certain chords. For example one chord may be easier to change into an A on the upper neck while another may be easier to change into an A on the lower neck.

    I hope that's not too confusing but yeah, that's my question. This is more a theory-based question than just straight chord shapes, as I want to learn the theory behind it all rather than just memorize shapes.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    some possible reasons:

    1. proximity - nearest available version
    2. tone color difference - each string group offers variety of sound
    3. easiest shape - when the others are too darn hard
    4. fingerboard knowledge - ability to recognize the same intervals anywhere

  4. #3

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    I am not sure what you are saying.

    Is it this:
    xxx220 (A C# E played on the G, B and E strings)
    xx765x
    x12.11.9xx

    or is it:
    xxx220
    xx422x
    x542xx

  5. #4

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    Where to play chords depends on lots of things, which is what may make it confusing to decide. Maybe the best way to get a handle on it is to take each consideration independently, think it through, and explore what comes up, including more things to consider.

    For example, one very practical consideration is the melody line of the soloist. So you might think of the possibilities:

    - you are the soloist, and you are accompanying yourself with chords between your solo phrases (like Kenny Burrell). This might lead you to discover the considerations of bako's #1 proximity and #3 easiest shape.

    - you are comping for a tenor sax soloing, so you consider staying out of his range by playing up the neck. This would be like bako's #2 tone color difference (seeking a contrast to the soloist)

    Another practical consideration is how everyone is doing!

    - you are comping and hear that the bass player sounds a little like he might not be very familiar with the tune, so you catch his eye and play chords with clear roots down near the nut for a chorus to help him out.

    Yet another is, what did you do on the last tune?

    - the last tune you played up high, so the next one you might play down low

    As you can tell. the considerations are connected in various ways. Try when listening to music to notice where the guitarist is playing and see if you can come up with possible musical reasons he chose to do so.

  6. #5

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    I guess you mean not just the same chord quality in different voicings... but enharmonic voicings taken in different places of the fretboard?

    Well... if we exclude open string voicings which will be obviously different because open strings bring much colour even on electric guitars

    the general theoretical idea is clear
    - the lower the position is the longer the sounding string is...
    - high positions of exactly the same voicing would mean thicker strings to fret and shorter string length...

    that will make some difference...

    But I believe it will be really noticeable on sensitive acoustic instruments (especially with shorter scales)...
    also open bass strings on acoustics may create very strong sympathetic resonance..

    But all that not so much on electric guitars

  7. #6

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    All great responses.

    Typically, the different ways of playing the same notes don't sound exactly the same.

    As you get into the upper frets of the thicker strings, intonation can be a bit off -- I didn't see that mentioned earlier. Depends on your guitar -- it's an issue with some of mine, and not necessarily the cheapest ones.

  8. #7

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    A counter question could be asked.

    Is there any good reason not to learn to use the full range of your instrument?

    The theory behind it really comes down to the fact that the notes that make up any given chord, arpeggio or scale are available covering the entire fretboard. Learning to finger the same notes in multiple locations gives you options as to where on the fretboard you choose to play.

    .