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What to do with the song?


(@minotaur)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
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The song is I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar.

There are very fast chord changes, sometimes on every syllable in a word. Is it something to live with or is there something like staying on the previous chord for a longer duration? I can't get the strumming right either. I've been doing downstrokes with an occasional upstroke where I think it works.

This is the a sample of the chord changes I mean:

D G D G D G
I don't know how to take this
G D A
I don't see why he moves me
D A D
He's a man; he's just a man
A F#m Bm F#m Bm
And I've had so many men be-fore
G D Em D A
In ver-y man-y ways
G Em D
He's just one more

Here is the original, and where the section in question is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1xrCXNmPSw#t=0m38s (it will jump to :38).

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

I think the tricky part is "in very many ways". Try to play slow and increase the tempo gradually. When I am in that case, sometimes I practice each chord change separately.

Very nice song by the way :D

I didn't hear it long time ago!


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(@minotaur)
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Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

Thanks Nuno. The "in very many ways" line gets 1 beat per chord I think. I've done that in other songs. When they're fast, you do have to slow down just to get the change ingrained in your head and fingers.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Yes, they change quickly. I think it is 2 beats per chord (if you consider 4 beats in the initial chords).

By the way, a Bm rather than the second D sounds better to me in that line. I mean: G D Em Bm A. But I don't compare with the original song.


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(@hbriem)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 646
 

The quick I-IV (D-G) change is much easier with barre chords than with open chords. You'll see it in a lot of old '50s and '60s rock'n'roll and it's a Ramones staple.

Are you trying to play this with open chords? Try it with barres if you can.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


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(@minotaur)
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Topic starter  

Yes Helgi, I'm using open chords. Barre chords is a good idea. Thanks.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 4485
 

Another way to go about this is to not worry about full chords but rather to make use of the "playing around with D chord" things you can do with the guitar.

For example, in the first line, it's the melody that determines the chord changes, but the melody is right in the "grasp" of the guitar player. "I" is F#, "don't" is G, "know" is F# again, "how" is E and "to" is D.

So if you think about this all in relationship to the D chord, you could do something like this:
D Dsus D A7sus D

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

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

I don't know how to

Here the Dsus (D, G and A) substitutes briefly for the G and the A7sus (not in your chords) also makes for a good accompanying chord for that note of the melody.

Eventually you'll be able to make the full chord changes at speed, but you may find you like the sound of this better.

Hope this helps and good luck! It's a great song.

Peace


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(@minotaur)
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Topic starter  

Thanks David, good-eye-deer. You're right that the melody drives the chords changes. I think that's what I hear on the surface. It seems to be a pretty multi-layered track, so the basic rhythm guitar may be buried.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

There are very fast chord changes, sometimes on every syllable in a word. Is it something to live with or is there something like staying on the previous chord for a longer duration? I can't get the strumming right either. I've been doing downstrokes with an occasional upstroke where I think it works.

Hi Frank,

My opinion (which not everybody might agree with) is that, yes, you can drop some of the chords and just stay on others for longer. You can re-arrange it to whatever suits you. It depends a lot on what you're trying to do. If you're trying to use the chords to effectively 'sing' the tune for you then it's generally harder work, and may work best with plenty of changes. You may need to try and follow the singers rhythm and melody line pretty closely. That might mean adjusting your strumming to suggest the voice more, and also trying to highlight the melody notes with the choice of chords. Often that can mean playing more chords.

Depending on the song, and your style and ability, you could also alternate key short sections of melody (played like a mini lead) with strumming the most important chords. Or throw in some single melody notes between strums (which takes a fair bit of practice).

But the simplest thing of all is to sing the melody yourself. When you do that you can often cut the chords back to a few important strums here and there, and a 'busy' arrangement isn't always necessary. Here's another person's arrangement of the same song, in a different key, with a lot less changes. Not everybody would like it, but it presumably worked for the person that posted it! I was also able to sing and play a perfectly OK version of the one you posted above, using only half the chords - but just popping them in at the right strategic spots. :)

I Don't Know How

Good luck.

Cheers,

Chris


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(@joehempel)
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Posts: 2418
 

What about playing just the bass of the chord while changing?

Like:

Play your G, then just the D as it's open, and then open E and move to play the full D-chord? That way you have the change to the listener and can hold the chord while playing the bass until you need to change.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@minotaur)
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Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

Thanks guys. I haven't been on line, so I'm just seeing the new suggestions now. Both of which I like.

You know, I saw that tab but didn't give it any thought because to play it with the recording it needs to be capoed. I didn't think outside the box. Or I just transpose it on the UG page. But that's the one I'll give a shot at also. Me likes.

I've found that because I play almost exclusively with recordings (and being a lazy rhythm player ), I really can drop some of the nuances, because the recording has them already.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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