Magnify begins. As we saw on the session list, we will continue to expand our chord knowledge base, push farther into scale forms, and learn some new notes for reading.
This is an experiment. We are taking a known and common shape and moving it, while leaving open strings ringing.
This is similar with what we just did with the C shape [3 string open].
As we do this, fret by fret, we make listening judgments. Core idea: using our ear to make sonic judgement. And, using those findings to play/write progressions.
As we move the shape, we ask “does this sound good [thumbs up = resonant, full, pretty] or like a scary movie chord [thumbs down = dissonant, tense, angry]?”
We are making this judgement based on strumming it. Ultimately all of them work, but we want it to sound pretty while strumming to be a thumbs up. In live teaching settings, the result is that we agree on what is resonant and full and sweet sounding vs. what is dissonant, 99% of the time.
We can do this with any shape or configuration. Keep in mind that if a closed system [all tones fretted] sounds good in one position, it sounds good in all positions. The open strings are what create an opportunity for sounds to mingle or argue.
You know this chord. Fret it with confidence. Make sure that the 2 & 1 strings are ringing clearly. The 6 string will ring, but we can control how much it rings by using our fretting hand thumb. The six string will factor into thumbs up or down, but by controlling it [dampening or muting], some chords get through the process on the side of thumbs up.
The grid shows the normal fingering. E could also be fretted with the 3, 4, & 2 fingers, which is not uncommon [this is a ‘barless’ E form].
First, we move the shape, as is, fret by fret, leaving the 6, 2, & 1 strings open. At each fret, let’s make a thumbs up or down for the way the chord rings.
For thumbs up, the chord will need to resonate in a way that is somewhat consonant. For thumbs down, it will sound like a scary movie chord. Thumbs down doesn’t mean unusable, just dissonant. The scary movie chords, when arpeggiated, can sound pretty cool. For our purposes here, we are thinking about strumming.
These chords are labeled by the tones which are being fretted. Obviously, with the 6, 2, and 1 strings ringing, some of the chord names will be different. The exception is the E chord. We aren’t overly concerned with their technical names; we are just seeking out cool sounds. Many of them actually work for what they are named. Example: G is actually a G6/E, but will work fine when we see a G. We’ve chosen flat names for the sharp/flat. Most of the sharp/flat Major triads have flat names [F# and Gb are both].
If the system is closed [no open strings/only the 5, 4, & 3 fretted], the chord name is the name of the chord, & the chord will sound fine everywhere.
On some, like the F, we can control the low E with our fretting hand thumb. By doing this, we can not let it ring as loud, or mute it out completely.
The fret number can be viewed as the the 3 finger [the root on string 4] or the 2 finger [5th on string 5].
Memorize the names for these chords in each position.
Let’s put the basic E shape to work in some progressions.
Here, we need to remember where these chords are located. Memorize what the names are for these chords!
A Good One
This second progression is the intro to Jane’s Addiction’s Ocean Size. Search out the tab if you desire to play it exactly as it is on Nothing’s Shocking [arpeggiated on recording].
I-IV-I-V in E
This is a sweet sounding progression. This one is in the key of E. The E is the I chord; the A is the IV; the B is the V.
As with everything, experiment with these all of these chord voicings [even the scary movie chords!], and make up your own progressions.