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  1. #1

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    How do you effectively practice new chord shapes and get them under your fingers?

    I’m struggling a bit not only with the speed and accuracy with which I can grab the chord below, but also with some mild discomfort from repeated hand stress when I play this shape for any length of time...say, running the shape through the cycle at slow tempo to drill it.

    The chord is a m7 drop two played on the first four strings, with a barre covering strings one and two. For Cm7:

    x x 10 (index) 12 (ring) 11 11 (middle finger barre)

    I never used this grip in the past...I’d always play it with four fingers when and if I needed it, but I need my pinky free so it can grab the F at first string fret 13.

    There’s this weird mental shift that seems to help. If I “approach” the chord mentally as if I am playing an Eb 6/9 with an added ring finger, I find I am able to grab the chord more accurately. Very odd.

    This revealing all sorts of problems with my technique as well, namely a reliance on brute wrist strength to mash down the strings when playing something unfamiliar. There’s a couple of other barre shapes in this arrangement i am working on that cause noticeable discomfort from all the squeezin’ I have to do. Posture, how I hold the guitar, chair height.... all of this seems to be relevant and have some regret for not paying more attention to this stuff when I was younger and had a more malleable brain.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I found this helpful:


  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    The chord is a m7 drop two played on the first four strings, with a barre covering strings one and two. For Cm7:

    x x 10 (index) 12 (ring) 11 11 (middle finger barre)

    I never used this grip in the past...I’d always play it with four fingers when and if I needed it, but I need my pinky free so it can grab the F at first string fret 13.
    Another thread here on that grip:

    Drop 2

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD
    I found this helpful:

    Solid gold! I have seen this video before—thanks for the refresher. This gives me some hope.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    Another thread here on that grip:

    Drop 2
    Oh man how did I miss that! Glad to know I am not alone. I think the idea of dropping the bass note may work best in the short-term for playing at tempo while I continue working on the whole chord at slower tempos. I also could see value in the suggestion to play the chord with four fingers and switch grips completely to add the 11. alltunes, any approach working best for you?

  7. #6

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    I'd figure out if I want to highlight the C(10th fret D) or the Eb(11th fret e) and drop the other.

    Or I'd do x x 10 (index) 12 (pinky) 11 (middle) 11 (ring)

    That bar feels like it's hard on my joint so I avoid it.

  8. #7

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    I simply avoid this shape. It never sounded good to my ears, so why bother?

  9. #8

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    These days different fingers on each note

  10. #9

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    I’m kind of phasing barres out of my playing where possible.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I simply avoid this shape. It never sounded good to my ears, so why bother?
    This is from a Barney Kessel chord melody transcription I am working on with a teacher—sort of shoehorning it into another piece. In context it sounds great, but I think leaving out the root note on the fourth string should retain all the useful sounds and be easier for me to grab on the fly.

    There are actually some other less difficult barres in this little chord movement I am working on. Technically I can pull them off much more easily than this oddball half-barre, but it doesn’t take the discomfort too long to set in once I am drilling them slowly or repetitively. I never had much in the way of formal training when I was younger, and very little time, if any, was spent on developing good technique. I’m paying the price for that now, 30 years later.

  12. #11

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    If you spend time practicing drop 2 voicings - things like Barry Harris scales etc, this shape will come up.

    It is a bit awkward. I think many would opt for the mechanically simpler x x 10 10 11 11 as I used to. Two barres.

    The individual finger thing is more awkward, but it has some important advantages for me - one of which is the fact that I want all my voicings to be available to me both as chords and single note lines, and on electric, even archtop, over-ring sounds bad, and rolling bar techniques are great for shred but a poor match for linear jazz playing IMO. So by using fewer barres I maximise the use of chord structures both as harmony and as lines (and drop 2s sound GREAT used as soloing material)

    So, this doesn't help with the mechanical difficulty of this shape, and I suggest the Pasquale Grasso exercise of always preparing the shape of the chord in your hand before you fret. This can be - quite hard actually !! But the more you do it the more easily it will come.

    For instance, inversions of a drop 2 Eb6/Cm7

    x x 1 3 1 3
    x x 5 5 4 6
    x x 8 8 8 8
    x x 10 12 11 11

    Up and down

    That moving pinky finger I found very challenging at the start, but with this type of practice it becomes more independent. My left hand technique is still a disaster area, but it has improved.

    Obviously the third shape is a real challenge with individual fingers. On the whole I have to barre at least some of it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Oh man how did I miss that! Glad to know I am not alone. I think the idea of dropping the bass note may work best in the short-term for playing at tempo while I continue working on the whole chord at slower tempos. I also could see value in the suggestion to play the chord with four fingers and switch grips completely to add the 11. alltunes, any approach working best for you?

    No I can never get that barre on the the E and B strings with my middle finger but it was good to know I wasn't alone So I use one the of the suggestions like x x 10 10 11 11 or just don't add an extension and use four fingers.

  14. #13
    Funny because trying all the different suggestions today has helped a bit with the troublesome grip, too. Keepin’ at it.

  15. #14

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    In finding "new" chords..I look for a familiar fingering used in a basic chord I know fairly well

    some examples

    E7#9

    Note ...Fret
    E .......7
    G# ....6
    D ......7
    G ......8

    this is now a fairly common chord used in all types of music

    if its new to you examine the fingering one note at a time

    G#/Ab
    D
    G
    hmm could be a Bb 13 (no root)

    Bb ....7
    D ......6
    F ......5

    Bb triad

    Bb .....6
    Ab .....6
    D ......7

    Bb7th (no 5th)

    now the "familiar" shape may be a fret away or on a different string set

    here the value of "really" knowing the fretboard takes over..that is knowing the location of all the notes and their relation in any given scale..and basic chord inversions and voicings
    now you can move each finger up or down a fret to see if there is another chord you know hiding in plane sight...this is basic voice leading

    C#......4
    G .......5
    B .......4
    E .......5

    a possible A9..or Dbmi7b5 or Emi6

    E
    B
    G

    E minor

    C (lowering the C# a half step)
    G
    B
    E

    C Ma7

    when you become comfortable with this kind of approach...you will begin to see more and more "friendly faces" in the ocean of.. WTF is that!!

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    This is from a Barney Kessel chord melody transcription I am working on with a teacher—sort of shoehorning it into another piece. In context it sounds great, but I think leaving out the root note on the fourth string should retain all the useful sounds and be easier for me to grab on the fly.

    There are actually some other less difficult barres in this little chord movement I am working on. Technically I can pull them off much more easily than this oddball half-barre, but it doesn’t take the discomfort too long to set in once I am drilling them slowly or repetitively. I never had much in the way of formal training when I was younger, and very little time, if any, was spent on developing good technique. I’m paying the price for that now, 30 years later.
    True, the first 3 strings, leaving out the 4th works for me too. Actually I tried the full shape I can do it but havent use in ages. I think I just never came across any transcription that used it for some reason.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD
    I found this helpful:

    Awesome advice. Thanks.

  18. #17

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    I work out chords in my head, as I’m on holiday and spend hours driving. Started with major triad on a, d and g string in all three inversions. (To have the root note in the bass only in emergencies). That was so intense I forgot to stop at the gas station and drove an hour long at 80k/hr and just managed to make it to the next station. Anyway next doing them on d, g and b string and adding things like a minor as 5-5-4 with a 7 as 3-4-3. I start to see the shapes and also learn the fretboard. I missed my calling as a delivery driver


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD
    I found this helpful:

    I've been working on that first shape for the past few days. It was startling to see that I was not able to cleanly fret the C on the G string. I can make the stretch but I'm not pressing hard enough for a clean note.

    Thood for fought. Thank you for posting, Paul.