Slide Guitar In Drop D. Part 2

author: KirkLorange date: 02/28/2006 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.5 / votes: 23 
Here is another interesting look at how notes conveniently line themselves up in standard/dropped D for slide. I've played this in D, but these positions exist for any other chord. They may jog themselves into new octaves, but these double stops belong to all keys. If you think of a minor key as an inverted major key (Am is to C), then you can apply them to minor keys too. This week's lesson shows how you can play a major scale in double stops, all of which line up for the slide. I did say 'conveniently' before ... some of you may wonder why these huge leaps up and down the fretboard could be termed 'convenient', but with practice, they're all a piece of cake. Once you train your hand/eye/ear to make these big jumps, it doesn't really matter how far apart they are.
"NOTE: Tune the bass string (low E) of your guitar down one step to D."
The movie shows a D major scale starting on the open D string. The way I did it here is to play the first three notes (D - E - F#) as single notes, but from then on, I play double stops all the way up through the rest of the first octave, then a complete second octave. The top note of each double stop is the one carrying the scale 'melody' with it, the harmony note is always below. The way the line-ups arrange themselves creates a non-parallel harmony ... in other words, the bottom line is not is not climbing through the scale in step with the top line. Some are thirds, some are fourths. A good exercise would be for you to figure out which are which. To satisfy your curiosity, if indeed you are curious, here is a midi file of the top line. Major scale all the way. Here is the lower line, the harmony below. You can hear how it repeats the odd note, and how it jumps here an there. It's important to grok that I didn't really choose for it to be this way. It was the need for line-em-ups that sort of forced this harmony upon me. The graphic below shows all the line-ups that come into play. If you have a good knowledge of the fretboard, especially if you've read PlaneTalk, then you'll instantly see that they're all (with one exception) fragments of either the I, IV or V chords. Once again, we see that the I-IV-V chords are ever present in any piece of music or exercise like this. The last lesson also was an exercise in creating music from the I-IV-V chords. The sooner you make it second nature to instantly know and see these three chords together on the fretboard, the sooner you will have a solid reliable map. Each of the double stops I play is just two-notes-big, so some of the line-em-ups in the pic below accommodate more than one. When I look at the diagram, all I see are D, A and G chords, or fragments thereof... and one Em.
fret #         3         5         7        9              12             15
x||----|----|--x-|----|--x-|----|----|----|----|--x-|----|----|----|----|----|---
x||----|--x-|--x-|----|--x-|----|--x-|----|----|--x-|----|--x-|----|--x-|----|---
x||----|--x-|----|----|----|----|--x-|----|----|----|----|--x-|----|--x-|----|---
x||----|--x-|----|----|----|----|--x-|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|---
 ||----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|---
 ||----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|---
The muting hand is very busy. Thanks goodness it's operating on auto pilot, because if I had to actually think about which strings were in play and which needed muting, I wouldn't be able to do it. Endless practice is the only way to get the muting hand working properly. Throw your picks away for this kind of playing. They just get in the way.
  1                   2                   3                   4
e||-------------------|-------------------|---0-------3---5---|----------10---||
B||-------------------|-------0---2-------|---0---7---3---5---|--12--14--10---||
G||---------------0---|---2---0---2---7---|---|---7---|---|---|--12--14-------||
D||---0---2---4---0---|---2---|---|---7---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-------||
A||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-------||
E||---0---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-------||
      |   |   |   |       |   |   |   |       |   |   |   |       |   |   |
What's it good for? Would you ever play the piece above? Probably not, and you know how I hate scales. I did it this time to show you that standard/dropped D tuning does have a lot to offer the slide player. Open tunings are beautiful, no doubt about it. Most twangers will tell you that slide ain't really slide unless it's played in open tunings. That's their prerogative to think that way, I don't. I see it all as music... period. I would have no idea if open tunings make the above easier or just as tricky or not possible. I stopped experimenting with them years ago as my brain just couldn't take in more than one tuning. I really do need to know what I'm playing at all times. The feeling of 'faking it' or 'hoping for the best' was never good enough for me, and that's how I feel in strange tunings. Standard/dropped D however, I know like the back of my hand. As you must know by now, it was searching for these slide positions that set off the PlaneTalk visualization technique which has helped thousands of guitarists around the World now. I remember well the day that I looked at something I had been looking at for 15 years at least and saw something new, something so simple and common sensical that I wondered why it had taken me so long to see; something that would be my fretboard de-coder for ever more. That was over 25 years ago, and it's never let me down. Improvisation like this, for example, would be impossible for me, as I can't think in terms of scales. The 'trick' that PlaneTalk teaches gives me access to the whole neck, at all times, no matter what, Amen.

Files :


Canadian Kirk Lorange is the man Guitar Maestro Tommy Emmanuel calls "The best slide player on the Planet". Based in Australia since 1975, he has played on scores of album tracks (including Keith Urban's early albums), dozens of film scores and literally hundreds of TV and radio jingles. His speciality is slide guitar, played in standard and dropped D tunings. He is also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Book and creator of the website Guitar For Beginners And Beyond. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his 'How to play Slide in standard and dropped D tunings DVD'. You can listen to Kirk's music at his Soundclick site.

Links :


- Kirk Lorange's Official Website
- Kirk Lorange's E-mail Address
- Kirk Lorange's Lessons
To be continued...
More KirkLorange lessons:
+ CAGED System Explained Soloing 03/13/2014
+ Slide Rhythm Guitar In Drop D Guitar Techniques 03/03/2006
+ Slide Guitar In Drop D. Part 1 Guitar Techniques 02/14/2006
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