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Banjo Lessons: Chord Extension Theory

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[MUSIC]
Okay, we've talked about
scale construction and chord construction
and the one, four, five progression.
Let's talk about chord extensions.
Here's G.
Okay?
[SOUND] You just strum your banjo open
here in G tuning.
That's G.
[SOUND] Right there.
Now lots of times in bluegrass, you're
gonna wanna hear a G seventh chord.
[MUSIC]
Cuz G seventh takes you to C.
When you hear that, it's kind of an
unstable chord
that wants to resolve to something, and it
doesn't want to revolve, resolve to C.
So if you're going
[MUSIC]
I'm getting,
in this case I'm getting the seventh on
the bottom here,
the G seventh on the third fret of the
fourth string.
I was playing it on the third fret of the
first string, but
it's also on the third fret of the fourth
string.
Those are an octave apart, or eight notes
apart, or
one scale apart because they're both D's,
they're both F's in this case.
So, but let's go up, the G scale.
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti.
There's a seventh note of the scale.
Here's the confusion, folks.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
We talked about the G seventh chord where
there is a seventh note of the scale
[MUSIC]
But it's got this very jazzy tint to it.
[MUSIC]
look at me i'm as helpless as a kitten
up a tree [COUGH] Anyway, excuse me.
That's the major seventh in chords, major
seventh chords are used in songs like that
and used a lot in jazz not a whole lot in
bluegrass.
[MUSIC]
And that's the seventh note of the scale.
Do, re, mi, fa, so la, ti, one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven.
Because you're the major seventh chord.
But when talking about a G seventh, we're
really talking about the flatted seventh.
Which means you go down one fret.
So when you say G seventh, you don't
really mean the seventh note of the scale,
you mean the flatted seventh note of the
scale.
It's just the way it is, you just have to
deal with it, as do I.
We all have to deal with it.
So there's G seventh, okay?
Which is based on the flatted seventh.
It's just your G chord, your G triad, with
a flatted seventh added, and
you can have the seventh here on the first
string third fret or
down here on the third fret of the fourth
string.
leading you into C or
[MUSIC]
Okay?
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now
another chord that gets used sometimes is
the sixth chord.
A G sixth, what do you think?
In this case, there's no trick.
It's just based on the sixth note of the
scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
Which in the key of G is E, and it has
kinda a, you know, jazzy, swingy flavor.
[MUSIC]
No, we're not playing the four string
banjo, but it starts with a G sixth.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
[MUSIC]
So
that gives you sort of a jazzy sound, and
again, that's a G sixth.
That's just a G chord with the sixth note
of the scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six added in.
And it can be on the second fret of the
first string or
the second fret of the fourth string, cuz
again, those are both D notes.
Allen Shelton who is a wonderful,
wonderful banjo player who played the,
played to Jim & Jesse in the, in the 60s
and one of the Glory bands and again I
believe in the 70s into the 80s perhaps,
he would often end songs like that
[MUSIC]
He put the sixth on the bottom on the
second fret of the fourth string, or if he
was in the key of C like bar the fifth
fret of the first three strings and add
the seventh fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
Just kind of gives it a jazzy flavor.
You hear that a lot in swing music.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Okay.
Let's talk about the ninth chord.
Bill Keith was really the person that I
first heard add ninth chords to Bluegrass.
There's a song called New Camptown Races.
It was written by Frank Wakefield, this
incredible Mandolin player
who used to play with Red Allen back in
the late 50s and into the 60s.
And Billy Keith took a solo on this song.
It's on a originally on the Folkways
Album.
Now on the Smithsonian Folkways Album with
Red Allen and Frank Wakefield.
New Camptown Races, and I, I heard that
solo for
the first time when I was maybe 14 or 15.
And I just thought I was gonna fall over.
It was the most amazing thing I'd ever
heard.
And one of the reasons it was so amazing
is because he did this lick here.
[MUSIC]
To get to G.
I mean, to get to C
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
So this lick right here
[MUSIC]
No one had played
anything like that before.
It's just this beautiful lick.
[SOUND]
So you,
what he does is he starts on the seventh.
I'm not gonna teach you this lick right
now, [SOUND] but
just to say that you have the flattest
seventh on the first string.
And there's G seventh.
[SOUND]
And
then he added the second fret of the third
string with the middle finger.
[SOUND]
Now, right there,
that gives you a ninth chord, because,
this is a little bit tricky.
When you talk about a G ninth, you don't
just mean the ninth note of the scale.
You mean that, but you also mean the
flatted seventh.
It's implied.
So G ninth has the flatted seventh, which
in this case is F.
[SOUND]
The third fret of the first string,
plus the ninth note of the scale, which is
A.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine.
Just doing the G scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine.
That's A.
In this case, he's doing it an octave
lower.
That's legal to do.
You can put the A up on top, or you can
have it in the middle like this,
down here.
The second fret of the third string.
[SOUND]
And
the G nine is a slightly richer sounding G
seventh chord.
[MUSIC]
And in this particular lick,
even though this isn't exactly germane to
what we're talking about here.
[SOUND] What made it so beautiful is he
added this note here,
the C note, the fourth note of the scale.
One, two, three, four.
So this is a very complex lick in the way.
You've got the seventh.
And the ninth, add the fourth, let go of
it and go back to the ninth.
To the flatted seventh.
[MUSIC]
So
that's a ninth chord, and they're
different kinds of ninth chords.
I'm not going to get into all of this
right now, but there's another ninth chord
right here that Bill Keith used to use a
lot and still does.
[MUSIC]
So,
he plays Auld Lang Syne and starts out
like that.
[MUSIC]
And so on and so forth.
[SOUND]
And so this is the chord,
he has the middle finger on the fifth fret
of the fourth string.
Index on the fourth fret of the third.
[SOUND] Ring on the sixth fret of the
second and
pinky on the seventh fret of the first.
You, you could also get the same effect by
just using the first three strings.
But if you can grab the fourth string
also, [SOUND] what do we have here?
Well, the bottom two notes here,
[MUSIC]
Are the first two notes of an F
position G chord.
G and B, doe rea me.
The first and third, one, two, three,
notes of a G chord.
Then he adds the seventh.
The flatted seventh.
[SOUND] On the second string, sixth fret.
[SOUND] Your F note.
[SOUND]
And
then he adds this first string at the
seventh fret.
[SOUND] Which is the ninth note of the
scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine.
It's A.
So as I said before, the G ninth chord, or
any ninth chord, implies, well it says
that there's a ninth note in there, but it
also implies the flatted seventh.
[SOUND] So you've got all that right
there.
You've got the one, three, flatted
seventh.
And the ninth.
Now on a guitar, you can get richer
chords,
fuller chords since most of the time we're
just dealing with four strings here,
if we're not including the fifth string,
it would be nice if we had the first note
of the scale, third, fifth, [SOUND]
flatted seventh and ninth.
[MUSIC]
But
[MUSIC]
we only have four strings, so
we have to give up a note, in this case,
we give up the fifth note of the scale.
So one, three, flat seven, nine.
And that resolves to C pretty nicely.
And,
[MUSIC]
and this can be moved around as well.
It's a closed position, so it moves around
the neck.
So, that's why we've talked about your
basic G, your G sixth,
your G flatted seventh, we mentioned the
major seventh [SOUND] and the ninth.
[SOUND]
Maybe I'll just get,
just push it one more step and talk about
the thirteenth chord.
The thirteenth chord, is the sixth note of
the scale.
[SOUND] Plus the flatted seventh note of
the scale.
[MUSIC]
If you wanna think about it this way,
sixth and seventh to thirteen, it's like
the ninth chord in that the ninth implies
the flatted seventh, to thirteenth is the
thirteenth note of the scale.
Which is the same as the sixth note to the
scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten, 11, 12.
13 is E, as same as the sixth note to the
scale.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
But there is an implied flatted seventh.
So if we have the sixth note of the scale
on,
on the first string of the second fret.
Add the flatted seventh on the bottom.
[MUSIC]
Very poignant
[SOUND]
kind of sound leading into C.
[MUSIC]
This is a kind of a 13th chord here.
[SOUND]
So, here's your D chord.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four, five, six.
13th is the sixth so, here's your sixth.
[MUSIC]
And
if you go down one whole step from D, to
C.
That's the flatted seventh.
[SOUND]
If you have add the open fourth string.
[SOUND]
And
resolve to the seventh fret of the first
string.
[SOUND]
And there's G.
So that's another pretty thing.
[SOUND]
So for this D 13th chord,
you have the flatted seventh here.
[SOUND] C on the 5th fret of the third.
[SOUND] F-sharp on the seventh fret of the
second with the middle.
Pinky on the B note.
[SOUND] Which is the same as the sixth
note of the scale.
[SOUND] On the ninth fret of the first
string.
[MUSIC]
Here's the G 13th.
[SOUND] Resolving to C up here.
[SOUND]
All right that's a little bit or
maybe a lot of theory.
And again, just nibble on it.
If you feel like it's way more than you
wanna deal with right now,
cuz mostly you just wanna go.
[MUSIC].
But it's good to have just a basic idea of
some of this theory.
So there you go.
[MUSIC]