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Old 02-19-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
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How to play three fast triplets on barre chord w/o hitting low E

I've been playing the Stones "Brown Sugar" for months, doing the basic song and then finding all of the little nuances that Keith Richards threw in. In one variation of a bar, instead of playing four full note chords, he plays three triplets and then a full note.

The chord is barring the high E, B, G and D strings at the 5th fret, muting the A string with the index (barre) finger, and using finger 2 on the B string 6th fret and finger 3 on the D string 7th fret. Richards usually played without a high E and low E string, but that's not practical.

For the variation, he does three triplets of the chord above, then finishes with a whole note (chord) with the first finger just barring the 5th fret strings. It has a "jingle jangle" sound to it.

My problem is that I can't do it quickly enough without having the low E string ring out, either by me hitting it, or just by resonance from the other strings. I can't palm mute it because I need to strum the three triplets quickly. I can't mute with my pinky finger because it's too much of a stretch, and I wind up muting a higher string.

Any suggestions are very much appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:06 AM   #2
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Thumb mute it?
Is it one of these chords?
Watch him play it live!

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Old 02-20-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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I've never seen him play these triplets live. It's only on the studio version of the song.

The chords aren't on any charts I can find. The chord with the triplets would be B string 6th fret, G string 5th fret and D string 7th fret (hitting the high E string seems to sound okay, although it's not part of the chord). The final chord after the triplets is B, G and D strings all 5th fret.

Thumb muting won't work because I'm having to barre four strings and reach across with my other fingers to the B and D strings. I don't have enough hand to do that and reach the low E. I also need my thumb to put under the first finger for barring the fifth fret strings.

The triplets are played just brushing the strings very lightly to give a jingling sound, rather than picking them to give a full sound.

Maybe I should just tune down the low E until the string is dead. Richards almost never played with the low E; he just removed the string, maybe because of issues like this.

Last edited by Monkeyleg : 02-20-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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So you're struggling with accuracy from the picking hand, unable to hit the 3 top strings in isolation from the rest?

Try downstrokes only, then up strokes only. Then both together, just D U. Don' worry about the triplet yet.

It's a technique thing. Study styles of music that use chords on the top 3 strings a lot. Stuff like reggae, ska, soul, motown.

Then when you come back to this song, you will find it easier.

Don't go to extremes by tuning down the low E. Dat's just silly!
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:34 PM   #5
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Practice your strumming accuracy until you don't hit what you don't want to hit.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:36 PM   #6
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I went to that extreme, but I'll try practicing very slowly---up, down, up, down.

The low E also rings out just from the harmonics of the other strings.

I've been playing for a year now, practicing two to six hours a day, but I feel like I've only been playing a week.
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