So in Part 3 we looked at how to take a chord such as the Gmaj7 and create inversions from it to give our playing a new dimension and a richer sound. As guitar players we often rely on a trick bag that we get used to and so wear it out over time, refreshing and bringing life to your chordal playing will make a huge difference in your sound.
In this lesson we will take the inversions from the G maj7 chord that we studied in Part 3 and now make them have the root on the A string instead of the Low E string. We shall then recreate the other chord types we studied and play them with their lowest note on the A string. This will give you even more options when creating chord progressions and also teach you about chord construction in more detail. Understanding the construction of the chords allows you to use theory if you want to, so you have a choice when creating music.
G maj7 A string Root Inversions
Notice this common pattern occurring where we do not play notes on the D string.
G Dom7 A String Root Inversions
G Min7 A String Root inversions
Gmin7b5 A String Root Inversions
G Dim7 A String Root Inversions
12 Bar Blues Progression with Inversions
I would like you to take a I- IV- V standard 12 bar Blues in G major and experiment at first with just creating the G7- C7- D7 progression with inversions around the 3rd fret. This means you can play a standard G7 but inverted C7 and inverted D7. If you are not completely sure how to play a 12 bar Blues then please see our lesson on 12 Bar Blues then tackle this concept. Notice that Max uses Dom9 chords instead of the C7 and D7, do not worry about this as they are simply a replacement for the Dom7 chords you are using and I mainly want you to understand the 12 Bar form from that lesson.
Voice Leading with Inversions
Once you are comfortable playing the chord progression with inversions thrown in over the IV and V chord its time to follow the chord progression with a melody. This can be a simple G Blues scale melody played the same over each chord with perhaps the occasional variation or a call and response style phrase. Focus on using just a few notes but make the phrasing sing and manipulate the timing of the phrase. Scott executed this idea impressively in front of me to show how soloing grows from a three or four note phrase to complex arpeggio and scale combination lines. In later lessons you will be learning how take your phrase into the realms of using arpeggios over each chord change but for now I just want you to get the inversions under your fingers with a simple voice leading idea.
The idea is to be able to play around the neck in 4 positions using the inversions you have learnt, however we are not looking to play chords spread out all over the neck but instead to locate a close set of inversions to play the blues. This is sometimes referred to as economy of motion and becomes increasingly important as you progress.
Scott McGill taught this approach to me in an interesting way, describing how you should start out with the a Blues progression from a song you really want to learn. Then take the chord progression from the solo part and get comfortable with the chords being used, then invert the chords as mentioned earlier and then take the triads (3 note building block each of the chords) and outline the chord progression with the triad from each chord. At first this sounded a bit mechanical and emotionless but as I watched Scott play with rhythm and slide from the note below to the triad for each particular chord I could hear it forming.
I have been practising this approach with the chords from the solo to ‘I Dont Need No Doctor’ performed by John Mayer and John Scofield using triads from the E7, G and A chords.
Come back for part 6 of the Advanced Guitar lesson Series where you will learn about the Phrygian Mode and how to create sequences from it plus you will learn how to play a wide spread Minor Arpeggio.
If you have benefited from this free lesson and may be interested in what Your Guitar Tutor has to offer you then you may want to read Be The Guitarist our eBook that takes Beginner to Intermediate guitarists to the next level.
Have fun and practise hard!