Guitar Techniques - - Q&a -

Black­star are giv­ing our star TG let­ter one of their bril­liant ped­als each month. Visit­ and tell us which you’d like, should your let­ter be the lucky one. tu­ition sites, that teach this sim­ple song in the mi­nor key. Be­ware: the The­ory God­mother knows who you are!

So if we’re agreed on the ma­jor na­ture of the song – and I hope we are – then all we’ve re­ally got to talk about is the G chord. Take a look at Ex 3: this is the chord se­quence of the orig­i­nal. The G chord crops up at the same point that the vo­cal melody hits aG–E’s mi­nor or ‘blue 3rd’ – as if the har­mony is re­ally just accentuating or un­der­lin­ing this bluesy point in the tune. If I were go­ing to re­har­monise it and keep things har­mon­i­cally on track I’d prob­a­bly just use an A7; the G be­ing the b7th of the A7 chord, it would carry the melody and then I would go straight to the B and back through the A be­fore end­ing up on the E once again (Ex 4). Play both with the melody; I think the orig­i­nal is bet­ter. The thing is, A7 is not quite as dra­matic as a nice fat G5 (Ex 5) at that point and so, de­spite the fact that it might clash a lit­tle with con­ven­tional mu­sic the­ory – and let’s face it, both the blues and a great deal of tra­di­tional folk mu­sic does just that – it’s bet­ter to let it stand.

Try play­ing the tune in the way I’ve out­lined it here – in the key of E ma­jor, not E mi­nor – and hope­fully it will sound a lit­tle more au­then­tic.

The Name Game Dear The­ory God­mother

I dis­cov­ered a re­ally nice chord re­cently, but I don’t know what it’s called or where I should use it. Is there any chance you could come to the res­cue please?

Jim The chord you sent me (Ex 6) is an Am9. The notes, from bass to tre­ble are: AGCBE. A is the root, G is the b7th, C is the b3rd, B is the 9th and E is the 5th. Put those in the cor­rect let­ter or­der – A CE G B or root, b3rd, 5th, b7th and 9th – and you have a text­book Am9. Sweet-sound­ing ver­sion, too! It sounds great with the b3rd sharp­ened to C# (try one after the other); con­versely you could play the six-string ver­sion with the open first string and follow it with G6 (sim­ply play an open G chord with the first string open! Nice chords!

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