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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Building Chords

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First thing
we're gonna cover here in this study on
embellishing rhythm or enhancing rhythm.
Or or using ways to think about rhythm to,
as almost, as an improvisational tool.
What I'll just cover the basic, you know
idea what makes a chord.
Or maybe recover for some people that are,
that are familiar with this.
Start with the basic C
The C major triad being C, E and G.
That, the three notes make the chord.
It's the, the root and the third and the
The root and the fifth together, you know,
they don't really define what the chord
is, but
when you put the third in there, now you
have a C, C-major.
You know, moving from there, what makes a
minor chord is flatting the third.
C, E-flat, G.
There's a distinct difference in sound.
So, what we're working for here.
You know, there's an endless number of
chord voicings, which is part of what
makes this stuff really fun for me, is
discovering new things.
One of the things that's not covered so
much in a lot of jazz instruction is use
of open strings for these chords.
But again, we're borrowing from, from
And so I want to show you some ways that I
think about some of these chords
in a traditional Bluegrass kinda setting.
You know, obviously that's a good old C
One the very useful
voicing for for any fiddle tune rhythm.
You know, in some Bluegrass is the concept
of a sixth chord.
And, that's basically.
If we have our fifth as the G.
If we add.
That gives us the sixth.
And not only does it give us the sixth,
we're not using any open strings at this
notice how tight all of those harmonies
are together.
And so one of the things that, again,
we're bringing from Bluegrass and this,
this concept of strength.
And, you find this a lot in swing rhythm
and gypsy swing rhythm.
Are these tight harmonies that when played
together and played with that kinda thick
chunky kinda thing with a lotta down
strokes with the pick.
Another way that I would voice this
sometimes is, is barring barring that E
and the A.
you can even play the, the high C there.
And so,
I'm showing you a lot of these things,
just to let you know.
I mean, that you can find these anywhere.
Anywhere where you can put a C and an E
and an A together.
You know,
you can find a lot of this stuff.
you know.
So, looking at this, as, more as tools.
And we'll, we'll add to this now.
We got, you know?
There's a six that's real useful for swing
rhythm, fiddle tune rhythm.
Again and this idea of minor.
You can add the seventh which is a B flat
in the key of C there.
One, two, three, four, five, six,
seven is B a flat at seventh is the
dominant seven chord.
For the, for the major and
then the minor seven.
Is a real useful,
real useful voicing as well.
In Bluegrass, in fiddle tunes a, a real
great minor seven is use,
using starting with A-minor.
And then, finding that open G as the
The dominant seven there.
That's a real useful position right there,
and with, with D-minor.
You see that a lot cuz you
get that good open D.
And a good open A.
And out of E-minor.
Standard E-minor.
If you add the D with your pinky here on
the second, second string, third fret.
Or you could you know if that's,
if the D is the dominant seven in E,
there's also an open D
You know it's for a different, different
kinda voicing.
And again the, a lot of these are, they
feel endless and that's, you know, a good,
one of the good things about it.
But I want to sorta direct a lot of this
back to fiddle tunes, you know,
using these in fiddle tunes.
And, and ways to think about you know,
real, versatile enhancement for
this kinda stuff.
So, just, you know,
opening the door really to to a lot of
different ways to think about chords.
Another popular
voicing that you find a lot in fiddle
tunes is the diminished chord.
And we looked at let's try, let's try
looking at in G.
A diminished is, is, is is had by flatting
the third and the fifth so you
And so that's B-flat.
We don't, can't get to a flatted fifth,
cuz the fifth is the D.
But it's that voicing.
There it is there.
And usually wha, the way it's voiced for a
Is, is, you can get this real tight
voicing here which is the, the G.
On the third fret of the sixth string.
And then an E.
On the second fret of the fourth string.
And then there's your B-flat.
And then you can bar that.
And you see a lot of these, this too.
And when.
You may see this in other places.
But one of the good things about
diminished chords is that they invert
themselves every four frets.
And so, any,
any addition that we add to a chord out
of, you know,
basically starting with a triad
Adds color, it adds purpose,
it gives it it gives it a place to go, it
gives it it gives it a voice and a color.
And so, as we think about the theory
behind this.
Again we're looking for ways that we can
use this in fiddle tunes.
And so the purpose then is to support this
It's not so much you know, it's, it's
interesting to have neat voicings and
moving lines.
But we really wanna use this, really want
to use this to support the rhythms,
support a solid groove.
And so this theory, you know, can
basically be applied to anything.
Any, anywhere you can find it.
We're gonna move into a couple of other
ways think about these chords moving away,
off of the, some of the open strings.
And think about some more closed position
block chords that could be moved up and
down the fingerboard.
We'll look at that next.