(20 replies, posted in Music theory)

That is four counts C note / two counts C note two  counts Am/ two counts D7 two counts G7/ four counts C note.

Thanks for catching that.

The problem is  the Band in a Box backing track on yourlisten plays it that way on the last line of the chorus, and the four
bar (play one time) intro plays it that way,  but the Sweet Hour of Prayer transcription on Wiki Commons that came from
the public domain sheet in D major had it as 1-1-5-1.
I realized after posting that could cause some confusion. Then realized it sounded fine harmonized,  so
I didn't worry about it. Kind of stuck there. The best thing to do would be to re cast the Band iin the Box  rather than mess
with a 150 year old song, I suppose.  Could be a happy accident, too.


(20 replies, posted in Music theory)

Thanks Smithjohn. I took some of the advice here and came up with this as a last line in the chorus of
Sweet Hour of Prayer. 
C  C  F   F   
C  C  G  G
C  C   F   F
C   C/Am  D7/G7  C

Shoot, it didn't make it on the lead sheet:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File … adbury.png
But it is on the practice track:
http://yourlisten.com/ed_shaw/sweet-hou … tice-track

Hope these links work. 

The original ending was C C G C
Hear it in the play once 4 bar intro

I made use of the cabin time called for by that May blizzard to compile
these posts and some graphics made over the past couple of years
to produce an eBook on the subject. It is on Scribid, where it can be
freely downloaded and freely used. I placed it it the Public Domain,
more specifically, Creative Commons Fair Use.  Find it here:



Oh, thank you. I do appreciate that attention to detail.

Moving right along here, here is Post #5 which describes the three note chords (triads) and their inversions played on the third position.
I also include a special value, a  Public Domain (PD) arrangement of Amazing Grace useful for C scale practice or for anything else one might care to use it.

Post #5

Here we are at another fork in the road. Do we continue to analyze and talk about the common C major chord at Position Three, or do we now go on in detail about the 1st and 2nd inversions at the third position? I would like to talk a bit about that C Major chord at that position, and I would like to talk about how that same shape can be moved up or down the neck to produce accurate chords in other keys.

For example, just like a barre chord is "moveable," so are the triads. With the barre chords, you grab a handful. That becomes a state of mind.

People ask, "How do I move this triad shape? The notes are spread out all over."  The answer is, you don't move the whole shape. You simply approach the concept of a chord, a key, and a scale with a little different viewpoint than you gained from the  Mel Bay book. I'll explain what is meant by that,  later.

For now, we are going to witness the application of two more triad shapes, the first and the second inversions, on the strings of the guitar neck's third position, frets five through eight.  We have made that decision because we announced the intention to draw out of the third position, all the knowledge we possess. Once that has been done, we can leave it to greater minds to expand on our knowledge. At the same time, if we milk the third position for all it is worth, the reader can apply what he now knows about one position to all six.


What do we know now about the third position of the guitar neck?
Well, as we said, we know there are two C major scales in it, in a nice tight easy to learn package.
There are other scales handy, too. On the top E string, you can easily root A, Bb, B, and C. A little nudge up or down, and your hand is right on either C# or Ab. 
Most experienced guitar players will tell you, in the real world, they don't play that low E string very much , anyway. For one thing, when you are in the basement, there is only one direction to go. For another, guitar is a treble instrument. We leave the bass lines to people who specialize in the bass lines.

That leads us to talk about the A string, frets five through eight.
That A string. Again, a little low for leads, perfect for Johnny Cash type Luther rhythm twangs, with a much used D note, E note, and F note.
Especially in the key of C Major, we seem frequently find ourselves landing on the G note, 10th fret. The E and F notes very often precede  the G note, either as walk up or melodic structure. Even though that G note is technically on the fifth position, it is a frequent target of third position A string notes, E and F.

"What about the fourth position?" you may ask, with compassion. "Doesn't it count for anything?"
Well, the sad answer is, "Not much."  Playing in C Major, much of the time we just blow by the fourth position on the way to the fifth.  It's kind of like New Jersey, in that respect. If you are in the keys of G or A, though, it is a different story. In those keys, the fourth is the killer position, one of the best on the neck. In the key of C, though, the fourth position kind of like "the upper third" or "the lower fifth." Sorry.

I digress.

We also learned that there is a great 1-3-5-1-3-5 triad combo of the C chord.  On the bottom four strings, I have gotten so that I can cover the G Note with Finger One, the E note with Finger Four, the G and C notes with Finger three, and ring out a pretty respectable four note C chord.
The bad dog, of course, is that fingering can slide up and down the fretboard like a bottle neck. I am getting ahead of myself, here, talking about technique. The fact is, once these fundamentals are in hand, the challenge, and the fun, it to see just what you can do with them.

So, without further ado, here are two more chord patterns played on the third position of the neck.

The first pattern: The F chord, second inversion 5-1-3-5-1-3 with the root on the sixth fret F note. You have already guessed the order of the notes is going to be C-F-A-C-F-A.  The second inversion has the 5th degree (G note) as the bass.

Remember Figure Three? That was the second inversion of the C major chord with the root at the 13th fret. Here it is again, top refresh the memory.

Figure 3. The 2nd Inversion of the C chord at the sixth position.
Note the order of play is 5-1-3-5-1-3 or G-C-E-G-C-E.
Note the resemblance to the open position C chord shown in Figure 1.


Figure 5. The 2nd inversion of the F major chord, played with the root (F) at fret number six.
Note the order of play is 5-1-3-5-1-3, of C-F-A-C-F-A.  Same order as the C chord above. It is moveable.
Here's what the pattern looks like:


Remember our old friend the C note at Fret Eight?  Here she is again, kicking off this mini scale that is the second inversion of the F Major Chord. Hello, there! Also, our work horse C note at the fifth fret.  When the band is in the key of C major, or F major, you will be constantly letting that fret five C note ring. The A minor and D minor pentatonic relies on the C note. In the A minor Pentatonic, the C Note is the flatted third, the heart and soul of the Delta blues sound.

OK, one more to go. That is going to be Figure 6, and it is going to be what I feel is the most flexible fingering pattern of the four we will have discussed. It is the first inversion, and it is the 3-5-1-3-5-1  One of the reasons I feel this inversion is so useful is that the root is on the very highest string, the bottom E string. When you see the pattern, you will see right away that this pattern is a hitch hiker when playing scales of C, F, or G, which is the usual when playing key of C Major. But, for the sake of consistency, and after all, this is the third positions turn in the spot light, I will picture the second inversion as the A major chord, A-C#-E. But remember, we are inverting it and playing the third degree as the base and the root at the top, so it is played C#-E-A.

Figure 6. The second inversion of the A major chord. The Root (A) is played at the fifth fret.
The order of play is 3-5-1-3-5-1, or C#-E-A-C#-E-A
Here is what it looks like:


Look what you can do with this? Can you dig this? For experienced guitar players, I would be preaching to the choir, because right away this pattern is recognized as the F Major barre (when barred at the first fret.)   And, oh, yes, this is an inversion that can be played by the handful, although I have never mastered it beyond a four or five note chord. Still, the potential is huge. I absolutely love it when I can
base a melody on the D string. Don't ask me why, but I will tell you it is just that the heart of the melody hangs around the middle positions of the D and the G strings. Think about it. In that territory, you have the C, the D, the G and the A landing notes right at your fingertips.
For my money it doesn't get any better.

So, there they are, The triads and their inversions.

I have another post in mind, while we are digging into the third position. That has to do with chord progressions and intervals.  I'll work it up and while readers practice up on scales and inversions. I mastered the inversions by playing along with records. Later I advanced to making my own custom backing track to the progression or scale I was interested in mastering. That way, I got to tell the backing track what chords I wanted to play. I am at a certain level with scales, but much further than if I never practiced one.
That is something you will probably want to be doing. There are plenty of backing tracks out there.


Here is a link to a C major lead sheet for Amazing Grace taken from the Public Domain I just posted on Wiki Commons. If you use it for scale practice,play the top note of the duplexes.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File … _Sheet.pdf

(Download it, open it with a browser or reader, and print it.)

Here is the Wiki  legalese for Chordie Mods:

[[File:Amazing Grace Cmaj Lead Sheet.pdf|thumb|Amazing Grace transposed and arranged by Edward S. Shaw, 2014, working from John Newton and R. M. McIntosh original sheet music reprinted in 1922 by Hall - Mack, Philadelphia, New Songs of Praise and Power, now in Public Domain.Original verses by John Newton,  "Olney Hymns" Oliver (London) 1779]]

Notation software generously provided by "Crescendo," of NCH Media, Inc. www.nch.com.au/notation/index.html
Source music from www.pdinfo.com
Thanks, you guys!

I'll post a backing track for Amazing Grace as soon as possible. This is to jump start your practice routine and get it into the Digital Age.  This supplements your playing along with records.

Next: The interval from the root to the fourth and from  the root to the fifth degrees map the common chord progressions.

Anyone bored, yet?

From what I am hearing, there is some interest out there in developing melodic solo skills, so I won't end these sessions without closing the circle on that objective. But, you have to stay with the groundwork. Let's summarize what we have learned so far.


In a nutshell, we learned the two C major scales of the third position, frets 5th through 8th.

In the process of doing that, we became more familar with the strings and talked about how they are tuned to a fifth, with the exception of the B string, which is tuned to the fourth of the string before it.
We applied the concept of intervals, very useful. An interval is the distance between notes. We saw a positive way to apply it.
A very important unmentioned lesson was that the 4 of the scale is directly below the root, same fret. We can go into that later,
as we touch on what is called a chord progression.

What else did we learn? Oh, we were introduced to hand positions, also called neck positions. We learned to think of the neck in terms of six positions of four frets each, marked by the dots. That's huge knowledge, because it just so happens we have four fingers on our hand.We also learned to pay attention to hand shifting. Shifting the hands usually means changing finger positions, too, as we shift our hand to a better place to continue playing.

So that's a lot of knowledge that we embarked on. What we are really doing here is learning fundamentals and how to apply them.

Intro to Post #4

Where do we go from here?
The answer to that depends upon what happens to be in the best interests of the reader's learning. One option is to move up to the fourth position and learn the C scales in that position. Or, we could go down and talk about the second position. That's a power position.

For now, I want us to remain focused on that third position. There is more information in terms of musical assets there for you.

In the meanwhile, I trust you have taken my advice and started on the long journey of learning to sight read the C scale using the information provided in Post #1.    Get the Hal  Leonard Guitar book as soon as you can. The notes are big there and easy to read.
You should be drilling in the C Scale by playing from a music sheet; you know, the ones with all the dots, lines, and staffs.
I will be later recommending a set of power tools for you, much of the set is free, if you know where to look. Right now, your
total cost is the Hal Leonard book, about $20.00 So, this session is a bargain.

Post #4

You are now on your way to learning how to play "Mary had a Little Lamb" on your guitar, one note at a time. Audiences will be thrilled to recognize the song.  I promised you I would unlock some secret third position assets for you, and here we go.

As a practical matter, you do not want to be playing straight melodies all the time. Actually, you don't even want to be improvising on the melody to a great extent. Those performances are thrilling. However, as a practical matter, most of the time you will be playing strummed chord patterns, following the drummer and bass player as a vital part of the rhythm section.

If you are like most of us, you have learned the first position chords and learned some moveable barre chords that allow you to play chord  shapes higher on the neck. In this post, we will be introduced to the idea that acceptable chord combinations exist right up to the neck. You just need someone to unlock the code and show you where they are. Consequently, let me introduce you to the concept of three note chords and their inversions.

As you know, a chord consists of multiple harmonizing notes of a scale. There are many variations of chords. We will stick with what is called the common chord. A common chord is a three note chord consisting of the first, third and fifth notes of the scale. For the C chord, the first degree of the scale is a C note, also called the Root. We abbreviate the chord by calling it a 1-3-5 (a one three five) and everyone knows what we are talking about.

If the one of the C scale, or the "root" of the C scale is a C note, what do you suppose  the three of the C Scale is?
If you said the E note, give yourself a gold star.

The three of the scale is the E note.  In other words, if the scale is  C - D- E - F - G - A - B - C.
then the third note is E note.  The fifth degree of the scale is the G note. Since your common C chord consists of the 1-3-5, the notes of the C chord must be C, E, and G.  Comprende?

Figure 1. Here is the common C Major Chord at the first, also called  "open"  position.
The notes C, E, and G, played together or arpegiated.


What is an inversion?

If you are not already familiar with the idea of an inversion, it is simply a variation of the order in which the notes of the chord are played.
While a C chord is the 1-3-5 played in that order, C-E-G, and inverted chord is one where the order has been changed. No big deal, you say? Stay around for this.

The first inversion of the C chord is E-G-C, or 3-5-1.  The three has become the root.
The second inversion of the C chord is G-C-E, or 5-1-3. The five of the scale has become the root.

In the past, inverted chords were mostly popular with piano players. Lately, inverted chords have taken the guitar community by storm.
I am going to show you now a C major chord on the third hand position. It is played in 1-3-5 order, from the top E string as
1-3-5  1-3-5 .

Figure 2. Here is your secret code of the notes of the  C chord at the third position.
Note the order of play is 1-3-5 1-3-5, or C-E-G-C-E-G.


For reference, and because you must know that we are going to discuss three triad (three note) chord
structures; namely, the root, the first inversion, and the second inversion, I am placing the two inversions
here now. Still, I want our attention directed to the third position C chord, Figure 2.

Figure 3. Here is the 2nd Inversion of the C chord at the sixth position.
Look where it is! The root is way up on the 13th fret.
Note the order of play is 5-1-3-5-1-3 or G-C-E-G-C-E.
Note the resemblance to the open position C chord shown in Figure 1.  Can you see the popular open
position C chord hidden in that pattern?  Just replace the 12th fret with the nut and you  have it.


Figure 4.  This is the 1st Inversion of the C chord at the fourth position.
Note the order of play is 1-5-3-1-5-3, or E-G-C-E-G-C.


So, there you have it. Three chord positions that, when mastered, will allow you to easily comp songs with strums
and arppegiate in in any of the 12 major keys. Later, we will see the minor correlatives.

---end Post #4------

Next: 1st and 2nd Inversions on Position Three

Post #3

Here are some graphic representations,
Some computer people like to show the neck like this:

The C Scales, Position Three


The C Scales, Position Three


There is always the risk something will be lost in the translation from one computer to another.
If it does not display right, copy and past into a text file. Then convert to a mono space font such as
courier new, as I originally laid it out.

The Pentatonic A Minor Scale  (A C D E G A) Position Three


Usually, the first A Minor Pentatonic people learn is at the Second Position. This one
is at the Third Position.  We are learning notes, not patterns.

Post #2  Detailed  Review of  Major Scale Pattern

As an incentive, maybe a life saver, for those who may have read the first post, who may have seen the value in practicing that C major scale on  the third position, who may have given it a try, but just could not make themselves stay with the pace or logic (or lack of same) of ideas, I thought I would write a detailed review of that material. I can't do this for every post, but to kick start the  process, here goes. 

It is probably easier if you have someone read this to you.

As you know, the first post was devoted to the C major scale on the third position, Frets five through eight.

(Note: One thing I am not going to do is refer to notes after the manner of "eighth fret low E string."
When I want to  refer to the C note played on the low E string eighth fret, I am going to call it
the "Eighth Fret C.")

If that means the reader has to count up each string from the nut until he finds it, then so be it. The easier way is to get a hold of a fretboard diagram. Your goal is to learn the name of every position on the fret board. I am not going to enable procrastination. Refer to Jerome's lessons on scales, above.

The C scale is C - D - E- F - G - A - B - C.

That having been said, place your pinky on the fat E string, Fret Eight. That is a C note. From that position, the interval to the next note, the D note, is down one string (to the A string) and down one and a half frets. The index finger, Finger One, naturally falls right on the D note. Already, we are having fun, because we just learned that the one/two scale interval is down a string, down three frets (1.5 steps.)

Knowing the guitar strings are tuned to the fifth of the scale causes this to be obvious, but you don't have to worry about that at this point.

Just know that Finger One is now on the A string D note, the 2nd of the scale,  and that your next note, the E note, the 3rd of the scale, is a full step higher. Finger Three is on it.  The next note, the 4th ,is up a half step.

That is the F note and the Pinky plays it.

Now we are ready to advance another string and another whole interval, which, as we just learned, is down a string, down three frets. It is a G. Your index finger is over it. Go for it.

If you have stayed with it this far,  Finger One is on the fifth note of the scale, the G note. That is the D string, Fifth fret.

Now you are ready to move to the 6 of the scale, and it is the A note. That note is a full step, or two frets, higher than the G note. Play it with finger three.

Your pinky is now on the seventh fret A note, and your next  target is the B note. You already know the interval --  down a string, down three frets. But wait, no finger is over that note. What are we to do now?

You probably guessed. We are going to shift the entire hand down a fret. When I say "shift," shift and play the B note with Finger One on the G string, Fret Four. In my terms, that is the "Fourth Fret G."

Hold that thought, hold that position. This is a great time to talk about one of the most common and useful intervals of all -- the half step interval between the 7 and the 8th (the Octave.)

In the C scale, the 7 is the B  note and the 8 is the C note. The distance between, or interval, is one half step, or one fret. Finger Two is  over it. Play it. Congratulations, you just played one of the most common C scale positions on the neck, the  lower C scale on the third position.

Take a break, you are halfway through the post. But, guess what. You just learned one of the strongest C scale positions on the neck. Now all you have to do is play it up and down a few thousand times -- No, just kidding, you will ingrain it by playing simple melodies form Sheet Music in the Key of C major. Don't panic. That comes later. But, do go out and buy the Hal Leonard guitar book, any time. It has a lot of sheet music in it. Or pick a book you want that has simplified C major songs you want to play.

OK, are you ready to continue playing the C scale, Position Three? Picking up where we left off, Finger Two is playing the Fret Five C note. Our goal is to play the next octave C scale in that same position, Position Three. Let's cut through the bull and simply re-shift the hand back to where is was and place Finger One on that Fret Five C note. That will make it easier, going forward, because now our hand position will not change through this scale. Getting the hand in the right position, going forward with this, turns out to be a major pain, but we will do it.

Now you recall we learned that the interval between notes one and two (the 1st and 2nd) was down a string and down three frets. That is true, but there is another important interval between the 1st and 2nd degrees of the scale when playing the same string. That interval is "up a whole step" or, in other words, up two frets.

Use that interval knowledge by playing the D note with Finger Three, Fret Eight, up a full step.Now, at this point, many people have trouble on account of the fact that the fifth string, the B string, is tuned to a fourth rather than a fifth. This means the intervals  we applied to the top four strings suddenly drops one half a step to make up for this change. Intervals return to normal once we get by the B string.

Rather than make things more complicated than they already are, let's just simplify by stating that our next note, the E note (remember, we are now on the D note) is directly under the C note, rather than down a string, down a fret, where we might have expected to find it.

Play the E note with Finger One on the Fifth fret of the B string.

Up a half step (one fret) to the F note. Then go up a full step. Play the G note, the 5th of the scale with the Pinky.

Next string, please.

Find the 6th of the scale, the A note, on the E string, Fret Five. You don't have to move your hand.Now you are ready to play the 7 and 8 with fingers three and four.  Remember that useful half step interval beween notes seven and eight of the scale?

That was easy.

Now you have learned two C scale positions on the neck. You have learned the two C scales on the third position. Learn three more and you have mastered the C scales on the neck. Along the way, you have made some very important associations, associations that will serve you well as you proceed. Not the least is that you are learning intervals. Not the least is that you are starting to associate string and fret with degrees of a scale and with letter designations. For one thing, you nopw know where two C notes are located.

So,that is a review, Whew!
Hopefully we only have to go through that, once. You are learning a new language. That's always a task at first. Itn gets easier, and more fun, too.

This is guidance for people who want to learn the notes on the fretboard and likely are interested in
sight reading the notes.

(Note: Since posting this on Chordie, I complied an eBook of the material and posted it on Scribd)

Would anyone like to talk a bit about guitar fret board  positions? I don't see us really getting to where we
want to be with either melodic music or comp and rhythm based music until we learn to produce patterns in
six positions of the neck.

The positions correspond to the dots on the neck. These are approximations and can vary depending on the key of the
song, or, more accurately stated,  dependent  upon the key the player  chooses to specialize in. 
G Major and A Major are widely used keys. I concentrate on C Major. That means  my index finger is often
home-based  on the 5th fret. The fifth fret is  the top of the second position and the bottom of the third position.
If you take nothing else away from this discussion, let it be that little piece of information.

What I have to say applies to the second and third position of the neck. I am especially concerned
with directing your attention to the third position. The third position is really the heart of the neck.
It is frets 5,6,7,and 8. In that position, the third, there is a lot of musical potential. Almost two full C
scales, all or part of lite chords (triads) C through D#,  F through Ab, and A through C.

Unlock the potential of the instrument by learning the triads and their inversions with me.

There is a very common C note on that fifth fret. Ascending the C scale is very easy
from that position. The hand does not have to move.

Descending the scale from that position is convenient. You have two choices. You can descend the scale to the
eighth fret C note or two the third fret C note. If  this is confusing to you, then you will have to learn
both where the C notes on the fretboard are, and how to play the major C scale -- C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C -- ascending
and descending.  That means ingraining the major scale pattern.  The major scale pattern for C Major is:
Root (C) whole (D) whole (E) half (F) whole (G) whole (A) half (B) Octave(C)

Learn it visual, it audio, learn it with flash cards, drill it, or whatever. Bring every tool in your learning arsenal
to bear to ingrain that pattern. At the heart, it is a series of intervals. Don't hold back, play it every key from
every root on the instrument.

Until that has been a goal, little of the rest of what I have to say will make much sense.

It  could be that what I have to say really does  not apply to your particular musical style. Obviously,
that is not intended as a criticism.  No matter. Don't waste your time learning something you won't be
using. Different strokes for different folks.
When your index finger is on the fifth fret C note and your descending scale target is  the eighth fret note C (top E String) 
you will  have to make a one  half step move on the way down, between the G note and the F note, to set your hand in
the right position.

Move the hand down a fret and a half when your target is the the third fret C note, which is on the A-string.
How convenient. The hand position does not change once that pinky is planted on the fifth fret C note. 

All things considered, that fifth fret C note is a pretty good  home base, in that respect.  Meaning,
you can accomplish a lot in the  Key of C with a minimum of movement of the hand up and down the

You may find another hand position more useful depending on the Key you are most interested in.
Bear in mind I have been concentrating on C Major, and the scales C, F, and  G.
There is another great C position located  on the tenth fret. When I say great, I mean useful and flexible.
A position is useful and flexible when its location allows easy ascending and descending access to
all the mid range notes and is in an easy to reach board position. D-string, tenth fret, meets those
standards. We'll talk about that note when we discuss the fourth and fifth positions.
Right now, we are fixated on Position Three, Frets 5-8.

The guitar is called a treble instrument.  Middle C on the piano is on the third fret A-string., way down there.
Between low (or top string)  open E note and the 12th fret high E note (bottom string)  are three octaves.
High C is  on the 20th fret, but most  players rarely go there. Technically speaking, there is a fourth octave,
it is from E note 12th fret to  E note 24th fret.   
We could talk about those top positions at a later date. Really, the one of  interest is the 6th position,
frets 12 through 16. That is where you scorch those high note melodies and rifts.

What I have said here also applies to the Pentatonic Scales, which are popular. In the  key of C Major, the A
Minor Pentatonic scale is where the action is. That scale is A, C, D, E, G, and A.  Like all relative minors, it is
the sixth of the scale. 
The third position has it covered, but A Minor Pentatonic also plays very well from the Fifth position, pinky on
the twelfth fret A note. So, pentatonic players, don't think none of this applies to your style, because it does.

So, that is a little discussion about one of the favored neck positions, the third. Learning the positions, it can
be helpful to learn the six positions one at a time. This is the hardest part, but at least you know where you
are going. Then combine the six into three two: position one and two, three and four, lastly five and six.
Once you get the three twos down, go for two threes. Finally, it is just one. Long day's journey into night.

I realize this can be confusing when players are just learning the language.

Comments or corrections always welcome.


(14 replies, posted in Music theory)

These discussions are moving my playing along, nicely.  Actually it goes back to some comments these
same people made in response to a post of mine this winter.
My topic is Maj7 chords right now. Lee, I got something from your videos. I wanted to separate out
the vids on Maj7 chords. You tube can turn into a jumble.  I needed an index of links.
I'm not really an ear player, but the cool thing is that in charting as many C7 chords as was practical,
some patterns were awesome, some were so so, and some were not so good.  That's new territory for
me, really, to approach it in this way.
My mastery of triads ad inversions didn't help at all when it came to sevenths.


(14 replies, posted in Music theory)

Yeah. I am thinking one reasons blues players do so many
cool things is that they all learn to start the scale from any
note on it. Us major scale players often just get conditioned
to start the run on  do, mi, and so......bo-oring (l)


(14 replies, posted in Music theory)

That's a most impressive set of You Tube lessons, Lee. I looked at them
just as my bandwidth allotment was running.  The allotment recharged this,
morning, so I'll be back.

Personally, I think we should on insist on learning the 1-3-5 and the 1-4-5,
the chords and progressions.  Like I say, I do not pretend to know the blues mind,
but I admire what it can accomplish. As you indicate, there really are not "pentatonic
chords," as such, but rather, harmonics.  Yours are pretty advanced for me and my style.
Still, once I learned the progressions and the chords, the scales came relatively easy,
compared my mates. My bandleader (yes, you can play in a band knowing the A and E smile
said I was cutting through the bull. I think he was right.
Even today, where I consider myself a few bricks short of professional, but am keeping at
it, I make use of that basic knowledge.
The best thing about that basic knowledge is that there is an immediate connection to hearing.
When a chord or 1-4-5  is right, you can hear it.
I have been a little weak on that 7th fret, (third position)  top three strings, pinky on the E note.  I was
practicing it. The fact that I know instinctively that below the E note is the A note, and above the
E note (again, we are talking fret 7)  is the B note makes it so much easier to get a handle on,
because that is the e-a-b progression, 1-4-5, used often.
The same principle applies all over the neck.  We all have blind spots, I am sure.

Keep up the good video work. My channel is vimeo.com/edshaw   
Sounds like you have your hands full and your long term agenda worked out.
I might have a lesson script or two kicking around, but I'll probably never
get to doing anything with them. Working mostly now on ads sad

Incidentally, I recently charted the relative minor pentatonics for C, F, and G.
That turns out to be Aminor , Dminor , and Eminor pentatonics. I was surprised to
see there is not a single sharp or flat in those scales.
Aminor= ACDEGA
Dminor= DFGACD
There is graphic evidence that the Aminor Pentatonic is a flexible scale. The only oddballs
are the F inthe Dminor and the B in the Eminor. That's easy to remember because the
D is the rel minor of F  and the  Emin for G.  The Dmin contains the FAC and the Emin
contains the GBD, just as the Amin contains the CEG.  Spooky, but Hard to go wrong.
I was surprised to see AC-DC in the Dm scale. Is that some kind of a code?? :0


(14 replies, posted in Music theory)

Thanks, Lee. I'll give yours a look, as will I am sure, others in the forum.
I see a lot of this pentatonic instruction on you tube. Have  not looked at
yours yet, but I am hopeful.
People need to know that the purpose of learning pentatonic scales is not
strictly so that they don't have to learn the eight note western scales. smile
I'm joking, of course, but it seems that way sometimes. It seems sometimes
teachers are conning the students, implying that there is some easy way to
play guitar, which, all things considered, I suppose there really is : learn the
Amin pentatonic!
I toughed my way through the guitar secrets guy's lesson on how to mix up
major and minor pentatonic to enhance your playing. Dude, by the time he got
done showing us all the notes on the major and minor pent, he had the full major
scale plus a flat 3 with a flat 7, which is how we play it anyway. 
Major pent is 1-2-3-5-6-1
Minor pent is 1-3b-4-5-7b
Then they come here and ask, "What notes goes with what chords?"

Take your free sound track by clicking my signature link. Go Trojans!

I definitely enjoyed that too. Very nice work all the way around.
I would have guessed this was pretty far along, not an early video.  That's a great sign.

Thanks for that. I just wanted to pass those thoughts along before they vanished
for the sake of musicians who, like me, want to get a picture of what is going on
tech wise as well as actually producing music.
When it occurred to me that a chord is actually a harmonized tone, that the c chord
turns up as a c note on the tuner, I became less concerned with pressing all those
and more concerned with the actual c sound, however it was produced.
We all learn differently and we all express ourselves in different ways.
Thanks for reading and commenting.


(3 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Great post. I'll use that.
I  have had a lot of fun with the New Orleans
tradtional, "IKO."  Bit hit for several bands.
It is
Strum it in all 12 keys.
I've been looking for the inspiration to work on the
minor keys. You just gave it to me.

Here are some thoughts from a long time user posted
for general information.
I was recently reading an article in "Wired" about
artificial intelligence, AI. It was talking about a
warehouse that at first look seemed random and disorganized.
Well, to our usual way of looking at things, , it was. But when we
learned the system was set up to serve robotic pickers, it made
sense. Shelves were stocked for the ease of robots, all carrying
computerized shopping lists.
For the sake of the information, let's say some popular items were
available in every row. That meant less travel time for the
robots. The results were impressive -- Sam Walton would be
The author claimed this was all brand new thinking, never before
in thousands of years of history.
I disagree. Don't you know that your guitar neck has the same
feature? You can find the same tone in different locations. If
I am on the 7th fret D and going for the C, I can find that tone
either on the fifth fret or the tenth.  In a sense, then, random
access or multiple avenues have been around as long as the guitar
has been around.

Practically, our guitar, a treble instrument, has three octaves
plus whatever we can get out of the e string from frets twelve to
twenty-two. Stretching the point, there are four octaves. Unless
my math is wrong, that means there are 11 positions for each of
the notes on the twelve note scale. So, we have multiple positions
of the exact same tone.  No wonder no one wants to learn
the neck.
Do you know you can use the keys provided by Chordie to
help you play the tune right off the bat?
I have been using Chordie for years, even edited the
lyrics to a song or two. It has been a valuable resource
for words and the keys, or the accompanying chords, of
almost every song I ever looked up. One good thing is that
I never actually broke anyone's copyright, just gained a
ready reference to the song structure.
Over the years, I have learned to chart the songs in the
traditional Nashville way, or some variation of it, devised
by the Jordanaires in the 50's. That looks something like this:
I'm sure you get the idea. Each letter is a bar.
When we introduce the concept of "the landing note," this all
starts to have meaning. We know, in playing, we can get pretty
far from the standard square, but as long as we hit the right
landing note at the right time, say the c note on beat of
the chord change, we are going to get away with it. That's why
improvisers talk about the importance of knowing the landing
note. Another place where it helps to know the territory is in
walk ups. Walk ups can originate in several places, as long as
they end on a place that makes sense. Knowing the key of the
upcoming change is required.
This advice is more appropriate for traditional folk, blues, and
country players than for more exotic types.

In closing, I hope this has shed some light on how a musician
has used Chordie to help in solo and improvisation. The information
is usually thought of for strumming, but it has additional uses.

(Note: The third fret c is the piano middle c. The first fret c is
the octave. The thirteenth fret c is the octave. The twentieth fret
c is the octave. All the others are repeats, in different locations.)


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Oh, I've had this discussion before. I don't get worked up over it.  Probably started when Phil Spector laid in a wall of sound,
then got hotter after Brian Epstein had the studio lay in tracks played backward on Sgt. Pepper.  Just as long as I make it clear
that I honor the point of view that does not approve of mechanical aids or computer generated. I am OK with that.
The fact is that probably 95% of the recordings on the market are produced using one form or another of remotely obtained
tracks, many of them outright computer generated. It is here to stay. It gets better every year. With processing speeds what
they are now, Midi is gradually giving way to live,  real, sounds.
My opinion is that backing tracks should be a topic of understanding for songwriters is as I have said, the interplay between
instruments has largely gone the way of the Sinatra session with the full Nelson Riddle Orchestra. The interplay between the
lead, be it voice, sax, guitar, chorale, or whatever, and the backing instruments has never been weaker. All you have to do
is listen to some New Orleans jazz of the 30's to 50's to hear that, starkly.  Paradoxically, the remaining form to hear anything
resembling interaction is rap and hip hop, which uses a lot of digitally generated.
The second reason I am a Band in the Box supporter is the teaching and learning aspect.  In fact, I was in a music store this
week that had a digital piano full of scratch tracks and it said right on the piano, "Teaching Piano."
There is a lot more to writing songs than coming up with a poem. Especially since traditional pop music repeatedly
uses the same chord progression, it is very useful for songwriters to develop a good feel for rhythm and key patterns
if they want their words to integrate with the music, and if they want trained musicians to be able to figure out their
That's just my opinion.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Hogwash to some. I'd rather think of it as taking playing and songwriting to the next level,
crawling, in a sense, before taking off in a run.  The discipline gained by structure can result in
touches that elude many musicians, even masterful ones. 

For example, here is "Ladies Love Outlaws" on the current Chordie index.
Original "Ladies"  on Chordie:
(D) Bessie was a lovely child from (G) West Tennessee   
(A)Leroy was an outlaw (D) hard and mean
One day she saw him standing and it (G) chilled her to the bone
She (A) knew she had to see that look on a (D) child of her own

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a file of songs , almost two hundred country,
most of then  taken from Chordie, that I learned and played for as long as
Chordie has been  around. I owe the people who produce Chordie a great debt
of gratitude.
As a result of using composition software such as Band in a Box and the Alesis
SR18, it is second nature for me to now take that lead sheet and put it to
a form that anyone could play. (Sorry for the key change. The progression
remains the same. It looks like this.

Jam Chart:

The great thing about Chordie is that the songs are guides. I say that is
a good thing because that makes the players do work too. When the players
do work, they learn and get better.
There are two main corrections to  the first version.
1. The second line of the chorus is a change to the one chord, not shown.
2. The last bar is a change from the five to the one. It is two beats of
the five and two beats of the one, not four beats of the one.

That last little timing change, "on a (A) child of her (D) own" can make
all the difference in producing a professional sound.
Yeah, I know some will say, "Yeah, but you are just covering -- copying what
some one else did."  I know the difference between original and cover. Cover
is how I earned.

Yeah, Band in a Box. You can't beat it.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, Russ, I'm all for it.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

I've not seen one of those on line production sites.  I'd like to see one. I have seen Karoake makers who
provide separate tracks as a package, so you can mix your own.
I found this, looking. this kind of music is timeless:  http://www.thesixtyone.com/sonicstatues/
That's Rich Murray.
From what I have seen, the break point is not so much skill level or experience as much as
it is the circumstances of one's personal journey.  The entering musician is way ahead of
previous generations thanks to things like electronic teaching pianos, you know, the ones
with the built in sounds. When I wanted to learn keyboard, I picked up a $49 half sized
Yamaha that made all the difference in the world. maybe that's why I remain a fan of
computer generated.  We have come a long way since the days of the Lowery Music Center
in the mall.
Some feel that when the mechanical element comes in, the human element must
necessarily be compromised.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Backing tracks are so useful for song writers, I wanted to throw this out to the forum.  There are literally hundreds of backing tracks,
thousands if you include karaoke with the track mix feature.  People are using them because they work.
I didn't want to go into an area of conflict with the  Chordie supported teaching site, but I  did want to provide forum members with a
little different look on things. This technology has been a help to me, in both playing and song writing.
We have not affected the true and eternal art of popular, folk, or rock song composing. We still have that moment of inspiration.  The
need for expression has not gone away. When a song either comes to us whole or we grind it out based on theme, a phrase (musical or lyrical)
we go back to the same old challenge, only with some high tech tools. The end of the typewriter was not the end of literature.
Yes, this techno mix stuff drives me a little crazy, too. We just accept as a fact of life that a couple of studios specializing in techno loops are
producing most of the commercial hip hop  in the world. We even see Nashville has turned music production into a manufacturing process.
(Remember The Trashmill ?)
Like all tools, use it but don't abuse it. We used metronomes forever. Metronomes discipline and train, but they also teach that most valuable
skill that in the interplay between live drummer and other voices, or left and right hand, which produced probably the single most advance in
our music history, syncopation -- American jazz.  You can strum square time until the cows come home, and get swell at it. But like the man
says, "If it don't have that swing, it don't mean a thing."


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Soundcloud has been making some changes, Russ, but you can usually count on it.  These links take about 10-15 to start playing.
Be sure to have this link.  https://soundcloud.com/ed_shaw
You should see a playlist top front,  the list with a freight rider next to it.  See if you can get any of the Soundcloud lnks to play, not
just the one on my page. If they won' play, I'll email them to you.
I have that same progression in 12 keys, a variety of tempos. It makes a good practice routine.  Say start just by playing whole notes
half notes, or the same note four time per bar, starting with G. Then, when the chord changes for the second bar, to C, then play that
note. And so on. Now, the second time around, the bar number five, play G on a different string, different position.
Let's say you started first time around playing GCDG in the six position -- fret 10-13 -- playing the G on the 12th fret.  Now, next time
around, you drop to position five, and play the G on the A String. Get what I mean?  So you hop around the neck picking off those
Then when you go back to playing, you got better, more free, more sure of the notes. I highly recommend it and will do what it takes
to get you the tracks.   
Remeber, you can download tracks from soundcloud, but from the main page, not the playlist.


(13 replies, posted in Electric)

Normally, a teacher would feed this info to you a bit at a time.
Since you asked, I will provide tips from years of  learning
from teachers, books, and other musicians, as well as the great
You Tube, leaving it up to you to incorporate these habits, prioritize,
and even ignore. Other players, feel free to correct, since I am
self taught, but diligent.
1) Most under stressed point, pick up and down. Best place to get
into the habit is with scales and strum patterns. You don't realize
the long term implications for years, then it sinks in. It is
about complex rhythms. When you fall out of a tree, you don't
necessarily have to hit every branch on the way down.
2) Press the string straight down with the tip of the finger.
The force vector goes straight into the top of the finger, like
a torture. Curl your hand up and around so the finger is above
the string. If you get serious, get a good guitar, easier to play.
3) Use all four fingers of the left hand, meaning, use the pinky.
There are six practical positions on a guitar, each covering
four to six frets, counting position five, frets 12-16. These
will be the "modes," made famous by the internet. When you  learn
those modes (most people start with a pentatonic) use all four
fingers and stay loose, not bound to the position. The dots on the
neck show the positions, but once you get the roots of the keys
you want to play, your hand position becomes kind of common
sense. For example, if you are playing in C and find yourself in
position five, you want your pinky to travel between frets 12 and 13,
not fret 11.  I warned you I was going to dump a lot on you at once.
4) Take advantage of computer programs and karaoke style backing
tracks. They will force you to keep at it.
Hope some of this helps.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Yes. Band in a Box. Everyone should own a copy.  Also, Alesis SR18 and Sony Acid Studio.
BB compositions are property of owner to do with as he or she chooses.


(18 replies, posted in Songwriting)

Try this 1451 X 4 in F major -- FBbCF Repeat for any of the usual reasons to use backing tracks. Depending upon the tempo and key, this song
will work with "In Heaven there is No Beer," "Streets of Bakersfield," "Ladies Like Outlaws," Dylan's "You Ain't Goin Nowhere," or any TexMex hook
that fits. 
I have taken that progression and set it to different rhythm styles in 12 major keys, for the purpose of scale and chord practice and for
original songs. This is my audio file, assigned Creative Commons copyright, free to use.  Play along and make up your own story.
Let me know what you think.
(See Johnny Cash style in F major.  06:15 minutes.