#1
I can figure out what makes a chord what and why certain notes make certain chords, but I can't figure out how to find what voicing (not sure if I'm wording this right?) it's in. Whenever I try to put a chord together my fingers are all over the place and I can barely transition to the chord, and when I look online there's another variation of it, but much easier to maneuver. I guess what I'm trying to ask is how do I know what string to play the notes on? Certainly there's a better approach than trial and error. Sorry if this doesn't really make sense... I'm all lost in theory at the moment.
#2
make the easiest combination?
and you usually want to start with your root note as the bass note, else you will be making an inversion of that chord. It is also handy to know common shapes of different types of chords, that you should have memorized.
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#3
Just know two or three voicings for each type of chord that are relatively easy. The E and A barre shapes are good to start with for major and minor chords. Don't try too hard to use open strings as this can often make fingerings significantly harder.
#4
well the most important notes of a chord are the root, 3rd, and 7th so use what are called "shell chords" to build those. the rest of the notes that make 9s, 6s, etc are just embellishments to these notes. Basically, build the 3rd and 7th first and then worry about the other notes. look for some shell chord charts too

EDIT: part of the problem could be that youre trying to use all the degrees of a chord when only a few are necessary (in a 9 chord for example use the 1, 3, 7 and 9 - you dont need to add the perfect 5th or the octave cause they wouldnt change the sound too much at all)
Last edited by albino strat! at Apr 8, 2008,
#5
Quote by albino strat!
well the most important notes of a chord are the root, 3rd, and 7th so use what are called "shell chords" to build those. the rest of the notes that make 9s, 6s, etc are just embellishments to these notes. Basically, build the 3rd and 7th first and then worry about the other notes. look for some shell chord charts too

EDIT: part of the problem could be that youre trying to use all the degrees of a chord when only a few are necessary (in a 9 chord for example use the 1, 3, 7 and 9 - you dont need to add the perfect 5th or the octave cause they wouldnt change the sound too much at all)



Yeah, I may just need to fool around with building chords for awhile before I get used to it. I've just begun truly exposing myself to theory.

Edit: What would this chord be called? Sorry for the ridiculous questions... just can't seem to grasp chord construction.

e-0
b-3
g-4
d-2
a-3
e-x
Last edited by BChill at Apr 8, 2008,
#6
e-0 E
b-3 D
g-4 B
d-2 E
a-3 C
e-x
C E B D
Starting with C...
E is 4 semitones away (major 3rd)
B is 11 semitones away (perfect 7th)
D is 14 semitones away (9th)

notice you have no 5th (G), which is optional note in 9 chords

This gives you 1 3 7 9 which would be a CM9
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Peavey JSX
Marshall 1960A
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#7
Quote by BChill
Certainly there's a better approach than trial and error. Sorry if this doesn't really make sense... I'm all lost in theory at the moment.


The best way to decide between voicings IMO, is by learning what is easiest to transition. This includes genres like jazz where people will be really paying attention to your comp. They'll still think what is easiest first, and only resort to other options if they just can't stand the sound. Obviously, your "easy to transition" chords will expand the more you practice.

With experience you will know more and more chords and will also be able to visualize basic chords on your fretboard(what people call "making up chords") I am far from being able to do this on the spot. But it's fun when you're writing your own stuff.

However, when you're making your own songs, instead of trial and error of different chords, there is always the use of voice-leading. Which is basically a discipline of transitioning each chord tone smoothly.

sorry, I kinda spouted out a lot. Ask if you want more specifics.
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#8
Quote by KryptNet

sorry, I kinda spouted out a lot. Ask if you want more specifics.


Actually, these are exactly the answers (detailed ones) I was hoping to get. But yeah, I just feel like it takes me entirely too long to figure out a chord; one that I don't use regularly. I literally sit there and take about 6-8 minutes going through its notes and trying to find the easiest place to accommodate them on the fretboard. I feel like I'm a little bit above intermediate when it comes down to actually playing guitar, but theory is making me feel like I'm crawling again... So it's nice to know that responses and answers are literally minutes away from when I post my question.
Last edited by BChill at Apr 9, 2008,
#9
"Jazz Comping" by Andrew Greene. It might be a bit advanced for you, but he
shows how a good measure of the compers vocabulary is taking the same chord
form (or shape) and just sliding it around to give it different meanings and/or
altering slightly to change the meaning. Basically, try to understand the
transitions rather than see every chord is a new shape to pick from a bag of shapes.

One thing I've been doing lately is taking 3 note shell voicings of 7th chords and
walking them up & down the scale in every finger position. It's not only great
for finger dexterity and picking (only the right 3 strings at a time either up or down
stroked), but also "seeing" the basic locations of all the diatonic 7th chords
everywhere. I've also done a lot of the same with diatonic 3rds, which is easier
and still useful for this.

You have to start somewhere and being able to get to the point takes time, but
there are some practical things you can do that will get you going...
#11
Quote by GoDrex
I learned in school to do transitions (if possible) that contain one or more of the notes from the previous chords. I forget what this technique is called but it works really well. You end up doing chord inversions.
Voice leading? It's mostly to try to minimize your individual note movement in chord transitions. For instance, instead of, say, taking an E and barring it at the fifth fret for an A chord, just use the open A chord.

(really basic application, but it gets way more advanced).
#12
Quote by BChill
I feel like I'm a little bit above intermediate when it comes down to actually playing guitar, but theory is making me feel like I'm crawling again...


This is how I felt when I got into theory too. It's one of the reasons I advocate learning theory early on. I totally felt like, "why do I feel like I just picked up the guitar when I can rip out an amazing solo?" I still struggle with a lot of stuff. so good luck.
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#13
Quote by BChill
I can figure out what makes a chord what and why certain notes make certain chords, but I can't figure out how to find what voicing (not sure if I'm wording this right?) it's in. Whenever I try to put a chord together my fingers are all over the place and I can barely transition to the chord, and when I look online there's another variation of it, but much easier to maneuver. I guess what I'm trying to ask is how do I know what string to play the notes on? Certainly there's a better approach than trial and error. Sorry if this doesn't really make sense... I'm all lost in theory at the moment.

you just need to use common sense. cut notes if they're impossible to reach. especially if you've already got one in there. only double notes that you really wanna double.. yo wanna emphasise the third, then double the third, if you can. there's no right or wrong, but there are "generally accepted ways".
#14
Again, thanks for all the responses. It really is helping me to comprehend this better, but I keep trying to construct basic chords and I'm finding myself unable to figure out how they know which variation to use. This time I've got an example.

For instance, I was breaking down C9sus2sus4, or Gm11, and according to my thoughts it is made up of: C, D, F, G, Bb, D. (1 2 4 5 b7 9 - right?)

Assuming that's correct, I went to www.all-guitar-chords.com to check out my answer and the first variation it showed, when searching Gm11, only included notes:

G, F, A#, and C.

I'm just a little confused by this. According to "Learning Music Theory: The Beginning" on UG, 9sus2sus4, would be 1 2 4 5 b7 9 yet that variation only uses 1 4 5 and b7. I think what I'm trying to ask is how do you know when to drop certain steps, and if it is true that 9sus2sus4 includes steps 1 2 4 5 b7 9 then why can you drop some of the steps and it still keep the same name?

Again... sorry for the basic questions. I know you hear them all the time, but for some reason this helps me to grasp it better.
#17
Quote by BChill

I'm just a little confused by this. According to "Learning Music Theory: The Beginning" on UG, 9sus2sus4, would be 1 2 4 5 b7 9 yet that variation only uses 1 4 5 and b7. I think what I'm trying to ask is how do you know when to drop certain steps, and if it is true that 9sus2sus4 includes steps 1 2 4 5 b7 9 then why can you drop some of the steps and it still keep the same name?

Again... sorry for the basic questions. I know you hear them all the time, but for some reason this helps me to grasp it better.
These aren't basic questions! Basic questions are like "what is a key?"

It's as simple as this. Pianists have 10fingers to work with, guitarists have 4. We must be very selective of what notes we use. So basically, you want to get rid of any chord tones that are not crucial to establishing the tonality.

As for the Gmin11 the most essential tones are 1,3,7,11. Remember the 11th(as far as Gmin goes) is the same as the 4th. If you want to sound a your C9sus4(not C9sus2sus4) chord, the most important tones will be 1, 4, 7, 9.

In Both cases the 3 and 5 will simply add strength to your tonal center. The root can also be omitted(the progression, or simply the bassist playing the root can still define it's purpose)

As far as voice leading goes, the min11 is usually the substitute for a ii chord and will want to resolve to the dominant 7th. Considering this relationship, here are several standard jazz voicings.

Gm11: R,3,7,R,11/C7sus4: 5,7,4,5,R
Gm11: R,7,3,11/C7sus4: 5,4,7,R
Gm11: 11,7,3,5,R/C7sus4: R,4,7,9,5

Try these out. Maybe including or excluding certain chord tones. It's essential that you can hear the differences. Hope it helps.
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Last edited by KryptNet at Apr 12, 2008,
#18
Quote by KryptNet

As for the Gmin11 the most essential tones are 1,7,11.



actually the 3rd is incredibly important.

full chord = 1 b3 5 b7 9 11

common voicing = 1, b7, b3, 11

The 3rds and 7ths need to be in there. The other notes are negotiable (as far as voicing them on the guitar).
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 12, 2008,
#20
Thx GuitarMunky and branny1982. Fixed! To TS, that min 3rd is important! I read my post over but I think I got everything else right without any misinformation...but I could be wrong.
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#21
Alright... sorry again, but I have another question. I've been trying to construct chords in my head lately with the most efficient voicing that I can picture mentally, and I'd compare it to www.all-guitar-chords.com, the one where you construct the chords obviously , and I think I'm right, but it doesn't name the chord for me.

Would this still be called B13 if I exclude the 9th and 11th step? Also for the second and third chord - to the right; second chord excluding the 5th step, third chord excluding 5th step and the 6th string B note - would the name remain the same for all of these? Last question. The fourth chord, what would this be called if instead of the 5th step, I replaced it with the 4th?

e|-7-|               e|-7-|              e|-7-|                 e|-7-|
B|-9-|               B|-9-|              B|-9-|                 B|-9-|
G|-8-|               G|-8-|              G|-8-|                 G|-8-|
D|-7-|               D|-7-|              D|-7-|                 D|-7-|
A|-9-|               A|-x-|              A|-x-|                 A|-7-|
E|-7-|               E|-7-|              E|-x-|                 E|-7-|

Thanks in advance.
#23
Would this still be called B13 if I exclude the 9th and 11th step?


It is not at all uncommon to exclude the 9th and 11th in a 13 chord. All notes included, a 13th chord is both impossible to play on a six string guitar, and (containing all of the notes of the scale) sounds more like a tone cluster than an actual chord.

second chord excluding the 5th step


The 5th can be safely removed from almost any chord. It is so consonant with the root that its removal very rarely changes the function of the chord unless the 5th is altered in some way (e.g. a diminished chord)

The fourth chord, what would this be called if instead of the 5th step, I replaced it with the 4th?


Because of the b7, I would call the 4th an extension (an 11th) and just say that the fifth was removed.
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Last edited by Archeo Avis at Apr 15, 2008,