All about chords, part 4 Online Guitar Lessons
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All About Chords, part 4

Guest Teacher Series
Darrin Koltow


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How we made the Blues tab

How did we create this Bluesified version of the 251 exercise? We did it with only two changes. One change is to the 3rd of the chord, which is also called the "sweet note," and one change is to the rhythm, to make it shuffle. (You don't see a change in the tab to reflect the rhythm change. You need to listen to the Power Tab or MIDI file to hear this.)

I want to make sure you get this Bluesification process, so let's look at one wee bit of the tab: the C major chord and its arpeggios. Here are the chord and arpeggio for just the starting bar of our regular, non-Blues, 251 mini progression:

  E E E E E E E E   

Now, here's the Bluesified version of that first bar. I'll put an asterisk under the melody notes that are different:

  E  E Q E E Q   E  E Q  E  E  Q      
  *              *

The two asterisks mean we only changed the melody in two places. That's all it takes to create a Blues feeling.

Here's the guideline used to create that feeling for the C major chord -- or any major chord. To Bluesify any major chord, add a flat 7 to make a dom 7 chord. Or, play with the major third of the chord by making it minor (and then making it major again).

How did we Bluesify the C major chord using this guideline? We could have added the b7, which is the Bb. Or, we could have messed around with the major 3rd, changing the E to Eb. This is what we did. We could also have messed around with both the b7 and the third.

Playing with the third of the chord is especially powerful for communicating the Blues feeling. Dig this mini tab to see what I mean:

  E E E E E E E E   Q Q Q Q

Pay special attention to the first bar. Do you see how we're playing with the 3rd there? That playing with the third delivers the Blues to your ears.

I don't want to get too far away from the subject of harmony and chords, so let's just say that you want to make your chord and arpeggio practicing more fun by injecting the Blues into your exercises.

Page 1, A Bit o' Review - The Blues Injection

Page 3, Breaking out of open position - Intro to CAGED

© 2002 Darrin Koltow, All rights reserved

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

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