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What are these chords/shuffle called?

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(@phinnin)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

I was playing with a really good guitarist last night (he was slummin) and he showed me a little shuffle that doesn't appear to make sense but it worked. Well, didn't make sense to my limited brain that is.

Basically it starts with a barre G:

3
3
4
5
5
3

but you lift you finger from the D string and alternate it from the A string to the E string on the 7th fret. So I guess that's alternating between a 2nd and a 6th, with an added 7th* right?

Can someone let me know if there is a "name" for this little trick?

* I have always known the following as a G7 Barre:

3
3
4
3
5
3

But when the d string is played 3rd fret isn't that an F, not a F#? And isn't F# the 7th of G? Is that a real 7th chord?

Ack, theory....brain.... hurts!!!

Thanks in advance for the help.


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

They're both "real" seventh chords. If you use F#, that's the 7th of the root's major scale, so it's called a "major seventh". If you use b7, that's what naturally occurs in four-part harmony on the note in the dominant (fifth) scale position - so it's called a "dominant seventh".

Dominant 7ths are so common that when we say "seventh" chord, that's what's assumed. But the "real" name is dominant seventh (and there are other types of seventh chords too)

In the shuffle your friend is doing, the A string on the 7th fret is E, which is the 6th of the scale. But it's not a sixth chord - those don't have a seventh - we call it a 13th chord. The E string note is B, which is the 2nd of the scale... but we don't have "second" chords. If there's a seventh it's a 9th chord, and if there isn't a seventh it's an "add 9" chord.

So the progression is G13-G9.

Both chords are dominant chord "types", so they can substitute for each other (or for a G7) - which is why it sounds good.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@phinnin)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

OMG, I actually understood that reply! Rockin' thanks. It's either a testament to your explanation or some of this is sinking in (maybe both).

Thanks. It's a good shuffle.


   
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(@phinnin)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

A question has come to mind after some digestion:

The notes in a major key are determined by the whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half format right?

So therefore a dominant 7 chord contains a note that isn't technically "in key"?


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

No, it depends on what key you're in. Every major key has one dominant seventh chord that occurs naturally.

Let's say you're in C. The notes are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

If you start from the fifth note (which is called the "dominant" of the scale - every scale degree has a technical name in music theory), you buld a chord in thirds and get G-B-D-F. All those notes are in the key of C.

When you look at a chord formula, though, you look at the root of the chord as the starting point of its major scale. So with a G7, you compare it to the G major scale... which has F#. That's why the chord formula works out to 1-3-5-b7.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@phinnin)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

Hmm, your switching to C is throwing me off I think.

I was under the impression (I guess wrongfully) that every chord you would make from the key of G (in this example) would contain the notes in the key. G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F# all would contain only the notes in the key of G Major. But from what you are saying the Dom7 chord has the flattened 7th (thus F) right? But my teacher pretty much pounded into my head that the chords mentioned above will only contain the notes in GMaj.

I mean hey, I dont' mean to fight it; it obviously sounds right. It just sucks when you find something that doesn't fit in the box you created in your head. But hey, I learned English and there isn't a language on the planet with so many exceptions....

Thanks for your help on this one. I am discovering the value of theory as it applies to real world music.


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Ok, same thing in G. The notes are G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G; the fifth note (the dominant) is D.

Harmonize D in thirds and you get D-F#-A-C, a D7 chord.

Compare that to the D scale (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D and you'll see the formula for D7 is 1-3-5-b7... because if we were in the key of D, the C would be sharp.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@phinnin)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

That popping sound you just heard from out west here was my lightbulb going on. Nice explanation. I wish I had a teacher who could distill it down like that.

Ubah!

My hands are still on fire from that G9/G13 stretch....


   
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