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What is This Method Called?

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rparker
(@rparker)
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I'm drawing a blank. What is it called when you do not play an entire chord. Say your playing a G7 and stike only the bottom three notes (high e fretted on fret 1, the other two open). Another example would be if you're trying to emphasis a bottom-end sound and only strike the first few strings of a chord, like the E, A and D strings of a Em7 chord before striking the whole chord. Then of course, the middle few strings of any chord you want in some varying manner. As I'm learning, not all songs are made for strumming entire chords.

I know I've seen David touch on it from time to time in his lessons. I just can't remember the term(s) used.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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David Hodge
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Partial chord, perhaps?

The thing is, seriously, lots of people have different names for the same things.

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KR2
 KR2
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How about "fragmented chord"? . . . no, . . . that sounds like a bad name for a band . . .

. . . or a name for a bad band.

KR2

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Ricochet
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...or a bad name for a bad band...

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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rparker
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Well, that would explain why I could not find it.

So, are there any rules to this? I learned a couple of slower songs yesterday that are really not optimal for the full-chord strum. Kind of like the"Sing Me Back Home" song that you helped me with a few months ago. This time instead of accent notes on top of chords or playing 'bottom two strings followed by the next two stings up', it's more like a seemingly random striking at arbitrary strings within a chord. Seemingly random, of course, until you start learning the song and get the feel. All of a sudden, it ain't so random no mo. It's almost as if each part of a chord has something different to say.

Maybe it's an expansion of what you taught me. Or, it could be what you were trying to tell me in the first place and it finally sunk in. :oops:

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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gdhudspeth
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I recall reading somewhere--I think it might have been in Pentatonic Khancepts--that when playing in a band situation that you should concentrate your rhythmic chording on the top four strings (DGBE), to set your playing apart sonically from the rest of the rhythm section.


   
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rparker
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I recall reading somewhere--I think it might have been in Pentatonic Khancepts--that when playing in a band situation that you should concentrate your rhythmic chording on the top four strings (DGBE), to set your playing apart sonically from the rest of the rhythm section.

That makes sense. Doing all single guitar stuff, I sometimes do the opposite to get the vibe of the song going.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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David Hodge
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For the single guitar player (no band), it's a lot about getting comfortable with the guitar. Most musicians won't give it a method name because it's simply strumming the guitar. A lot of times when you strum you don't think twice about it. But then this strumming is put down in tab and given the propensity for people to want to play things exactly like the tab, they simply couldn't understand that something like this:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

E - - 0 - - 0 - - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B - - 1 - - 1 - - - - - 1 - - - - - 1 - - 1 - - - - - - -
G - - 0 - - - - - - - - 0 - - 0 - - 0 - - 0 - - 0 - - - -
D - - 2 - - - - - 2 - - - - - 2 - - - - - 2 - - 2 - - - -
A - - 3 - - - - - 3 - - - - - 3 - - - - - 3 - - - - - - -
E - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

is just someone strumming a C chord without really thinking about it. Just strumming while in the zone, if you will.

Now there are times when you do want to focus on specific strings, or rather specific ranges of notes, so that you can emphasize them as part of the rhythm or as part of the overall piece. This definitely happens in band or group situations, as gdhudspeth points out, but it can also happen for the single guitarist as well, as you say, too. That's part of arranging things.

As far as "rules," use the most important rule of all - how does it sound? You are already aware of this, because you said you're learning some songs "that are really not optimal for the full-chord strum." Other people might not have a problem with a full chord, but if your ears are telling you to try something else, then that's the way to go with it.

This stuff is all about individual taste and can indeed take a while to "sink in," so don't think twice about that, either! It will also take a lifetime to perfect, so you've got plenty of work ahead of you. Hopefully it will all be fun and full of discovery.

Hope this helps.


   
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rparker
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That's it! A whole bunch of things just clicked into place and are now connected, like a big series of tumblers in a lock.

Thanks again David and everyone!

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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NoteBoat
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I recall reading somewhere--I think it might have been in Pentatonic Khancepts--that when playing in a band situation that you should concentrate your rhythmic chording on the top four strings (DGBE), to set your playing apart sonically from the rest of the rhythm section.

Depends on the makeup of the band, and what your role is at the moment.

If I'm playing with a soloist/vocalist above the rhythm section, I'll be voicing mostly on the 'inside' strings (A through B). That'll put most of my playing - in actual pitch - just below middle C; I'll be well above the bass, filling in the lower end with any keyboard, and leaving plenty of the high range for the soloist.

But if I'm in a big band setting, the saxes are going to take up that space in the mix. I'll move down a notch, playing voicings mostly on strings 6-3. That'll put me a fourth to an octave above the bass, doubling or just below the pianist's left hand, let the brass take the middle... and the top end still belongs to the soloist.

The only times I'm comping entirely on the treble strings is if I'm with a high soloist (violin, flute, etc), or if I'm the soloist - using chords to flesh out the melody.

The real key is to use your ears, and keep things from getting muddy. And as a general rule, the more instruments in the band, the fewer notes I'll play in a given chord.

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corbind
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I like David's description of "partial chord" since that's how I term them.

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Alan Green
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Partial chord, perhaps?

Partial chord gets my vote too

A :-)

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Anonymous
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partial chord or chord fragment are both accepted terms. if you're specifically playing 2 notes, it can also be called a double stop.


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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Roy, did you ever check out Wes's tab for "Brown Sugar" in the ESD? There's a lot of partial chords used in that...

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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rparker
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Hey Vic, Yup. That's one of the songs I've made some good headway with recently. 8)

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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