The­ory God­mother

Guitar Techniques - - Q&A -

Post your posers and teasers to: The­ory God­mother, Unit 5, Pinesway Industrial Es­tate, Ivo Peters Way, Bath, BA2 3QS; or email me at in&fo@oe david­mead.net - your ev­ery wish is Fairy God­mother’s com­mand!

Dizzy Fin­gers Dear The­ory God­mother

I’m cur­rently work­ing on scales us­ing the CAGED sys­tem and I’ve hit a bit of a prob­lem. Most of the scale pat­terns are fairly straight­for­ward but when you get to the G shape there seems to be two ways of fin­ger­ing it and each is a lit­tle prob­lem­atic. The trou­ble comes when mov­ing from string four to three; you can ei­ther play three notes on the third string or three on the fourth and I’m not sure which is bet­ter. Both are tricky, but I don’t want to pro­gramme one into my fin­gers only to find that the other is con­sid­ered more prac­ti­cal. Can you help?

John I’ve out­lined the two fin­ger­ings you de­scribe in Exs 1 and 2, John. I have to agree that nei­ther falls un­der the fin­gers eas­ily, but both have their mer­its. If we look at Ex 1, I have found that this fin­ger­ing rep­re­sents some­thing of a stretch for some stu­dents, par­tic­u­larly if they are rel­a­tively new to play­ing. In my ex­am­ple, the fourth fin­ger would play the B at the 9th fret which means the ‘one fin­ger per fret’ fin­ger­ing sys­tem is breached as this fin­ger is ex­pected to reach out of po­si­tion at this point. In Ex 2, the first fin­ger plays both the B and C in a slid­ing mo­tion on the third string. But there is a third way around the prob­lem where you merely move the hand out of po­si­tion and play the B, C and D with the first, sec­ond and fourth fin­gers re­spec­tively (Ex 3). I favour Ex 2 as the most prac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion and this is the one I have taught many pupils in the past. It might be a good idea to fo­cus your ef­forts here while get­ting the CAGED scales un­der your fin­gers and in your head. But it would also be good to bear the other two al­ter­na­tives in mind for the fu­ture. Re­visit this scale shape from time to time as you progress and test out the other two fin­ger­ings as I’m sure that each will begin to feel eas­ier as your over­all ex­pe­ri­ence on the gui­tar grows. Hav­ing all the vari­a­tions avail­able to you has to be a good thing, af­ter all.

Key To Blues Dear The­ory God­mother

I’ve been play­ing blues for a while now, but one tune has got me stumped. Nor­mally, a blues will go from the I chord to the IV and I can usu­ally make a pretty good job of

Ex 1 G CAGED shape fin­ger­ing 1 nav­i­gat&ing#t#he# ch4an­geoe,boeu­toeBi­goe Boeill Broonzy&’s To4The

Key High­way goes from the I chShourff­dle sRthry­athigmht to the V in the sec­ond bar and I can’t seem to get it to sound right at a9ll. got7 a bit sAD­tuck into the I9-IV1-1V for­mat with my play­ing - have you any tips on how to ap­proach this type­oeof thing?

REoxr5y I know ex­actly what you mean, Rory. In a more straight­for­ward 12-bar we meet this chord change in bars 8 and 9 andEB so we should b12e w12it1h2 i1t3. But when it crops up un­ex­pect­edly in bar 2 it can of­ten throw a medium sized span­ner in the works. The way to get around it is to fo­cus on the chord tones that out­line the chord change. If we were play­ing this tune in E we would need to hit one of the notes con­tained in the B7 chord in the sec­ond bar and the best choice - for now, in any case would be B7’s 3rd, D#. In or­der to re­ally ac­cen­tu­ate the fact that we’ve moved to the B7 it might be a good idea to play the 5th and 7th as well, as I have done in Ex 4. This rep­re­sents a very

Ex 4 Sug­gested I-V lick

It’sOEbest smooth tran­si­tion be­tween the I and V chords. to switch off your radar that’s look­ing for Pen­ta­tonic shapes that the notes fall into, and just lis­ten to the sound that this sim­ple idea is

du7c­ing. An­other way of ram­ming this con­cept home would be to play some­thing like the two arpeg­gio-based

ioe­noeEx licks 5 a few times to get the sound of the change locked in your head. Even­tu­ally, you should be able to en­gage au­topi­lot and come up with your own more cre­ative ways of solo­ing o7ve7r th­ese changes. But th­ese ex­er­cises

def­i­nitely help you get there.

Sign­ing Off Dear The­ory God­mother

Lately I’ve been at­tempt­ing to learn how to read mu­sic and I’m get­ting on okay. But I have read that you don’t ever see a mix­ture of sharps and flats in a key sig­na­ture and yet on one piece of mu­sic I’m study­ing there’s a key sig­na­ture in the mid­dle of the piece that is a com­bi­na­tion of nat­u­ral signs and sharps. What is this?

Lance You sent me a copy of the key sig­na­ture you mean and I have re­pro­duced it in Ex 6 with all the notes re­moved so that we don’t out­rage the orig­i­nal copy­right hold­ers. What you’re look­ing at is known as a cour­tesy key sig­na­ture and th­ese oc­cur when the key of a piece of mu­sic changes mid way along its course. In the ex­am­ple, we’re chang­ing from E ma­jor to D ma­jor which means that the notes G and D will no longer be sharp af­ter this bar. So, to point this out to the reader, the cour­tesy key sig­na­ture ef­fec­tively can­cels th­ese two sharp notes by in­sert­ing a cou­ple of nat­u­rals on the staff in­stead. The F# and C# re­main un­changed and this is pointed out by their con­tin­u­ing pres­ence in the key sig­na­ture. A ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween stan­dard and cour­tesy key signatures is that the lat­ter will of­ten be found at the end of a line as a sort of cau­tion­ary road sign that a change of key is about to hap­pen, whereas the stan­dard form will be found at the be­gin­ning of each line. It’s just an­other ex­am­ple of the ex­cep­tion prov­ing the rule, but I hope it’s now clear.

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