Minor breakthrough

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by P Thought, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 31, 2009
    Plundertown (Gasville) OR
    Some time ago I taught myself that I didn't need to barre my major chords to play them up and down the neck, if I just played the three strings I fingered them on, so xx321x (F) can slide up the neck for F#, G, Ab, and so on, and xx333x (A) can likewise slide, and between these two formations I could cover all the major chords.

    Later I found that I could do three-string minor chords using the formation of xxx321 (Bbm), and those were moveable, too. But the E-minor shape chords threw me, because I'd been used to fingering them in barred shapes up the neck; i.e. F#m = 244222.

    Out camping last week, it finally dawned on me. xxx222 is also an F#m. Och, tamale! Now I have a full rack of minor chords, up and down the neck.

    I know that most of you guys already knew about this--why didn't you tell me?:oops:--but this is a real breakthrough for me.
  2. czgibson

    czgibson Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 3, 2012
    This idea is a really useful one, especially when you're playing in a band and don't want to clog up the overall sound.

    xx767x is another F#m that's very handy (the notes are identical to your xxx222 voicing).

    Try the equivalent major triad as well, i.e. xx867x for F#.
  3. PapaH

    PapaH Tele-Meister

    Jan 13, 2013
    Detroit, MI
    Psst... you can also use xxx222 as a Dmaj7 (take the D cowboy chord xxx232, lower the second string root to the major 7th C#).

    That one's movable, too :eek:
  4. LeeVegas

    LeeVegas Tele-Meister

    Jun 17, 2012
    San Francisco
    While you're on those top three strings, the Dm shape, xxx231 is also slideable.
    I also like playing the I IV V on the middle strings like (in A) xx222x (I), xx423x (IV, as per czgibson above), the slide to xx645x for the V.
  5. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    Take x545xx and run with that for a jazzy minute.

    Then if yer really brave, you can go 505555.
    Add x5456x and finish it off with x7678x.
  6. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 10, 2009
    I frequently bar the whole thing and then just pick out a few notes, but like the OP, I'm trying to get better at triads, starting with trying to learn the fretboard better.

    That's a new one for me - thanks!
  7. the embezzler

    the embezzler Tele-Holic

    Jul 17, 2008
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    A9 - x4545x
    D9 - x5455x
    E13 - x5665x or E13b9 x5666x
  8. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    I am all for 'aha moments' like this. I also believe in understanding and being able to use the entire fretboard...meaning, I don't want to 'understand' just 3 or 4 strings. I might want to use the lower register that exists in the lower strings...or the middle...or the top....or all of it.
    OF course, there is an argument to be made for simplicity...hence the Tiny Grimes approach....play a 4 string guitar.
  9. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

    Jan 27, 2010
    Kingston, Ontario
    While I get the "minor" breakthrough pun, this is actually a very important step in developing as a guitar player. Your xxx222 as a F#m also serves as a Dmaj7 (as pointed out already), an A6, or a B9 (or even Bm9). Once I found out that the same chord shape in the same position could actually function as several different chords, playing became a whole lot easier. Imagine a I-VI-IV-V chord progression in A. You could play the A, F#m and D all as xxx222. You never would (too boring) but you could! To be especially lazy you could play the E as xxx122 (this would be an E6/9) and only move one finger one fret for the whole 4 chord progression.

    In my opinion the soul and funk players are especially adept at this sort of thing, but I don't want to leave out the jazz and blues players....
  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    Stefanovich-- you are right. It's actually really cool to have chords change where you are typically moving just one finger or maybe two fingers a half or whole step. This kind of pedal motion-- one note changes while the others stay the same-- is very appealing to the ears. Whenever I have a chord progression I experiment with all different ways to finger it. I try to find a progression where I'm playing on just three or four strings and where the movement from one chord to the next is very efficient but also beautiful-sounding.

    If you listen to a lot of horn hooks it helps to develop an ear for this. Horns are typically emphasizing either the 3rd or 7th of the underlying chord, and the hooks are designed to make these notes flow together in a nice way as the horn hook plays over the progression. If it's a horn section they are often employing this pedal motion-- two of the horns stay on the same note while the third horn changes its note.

    The other thing to do is to think about the actual notes in the chords, which ones matter, and how to link them together in the progression. On your own you will discover all kinds of chord inversions that are in a chart somewhere. But you just hunt them down directly. That said, sometimes the vibe calls for bashing big six-string chords and moving them in parallel motion up and down the neck. You have to serve the song and go from there.
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Sep 1, 2009
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    Here's an Aha! moment that you might find handy. It has to do with reapplying grips on different strings.

    When I learned that G major could be played xxx433 I saw it could be reused *up* and *down* the neck no problem (Ab: xxx544, A: xxx655...). So then I tried to reuse it *across* the neck:

    G: xxx433
    D?: xx433x -- nope, what's that A# doing in there?
    A?: x433xx -- nope, what's that A# and E# doing in there?
    E?: 433xxx -- nope, what's that B# and E# doing in there?

    What's going wrong? A guitar in standard tuning is *nearly* in fourths: EADGBE. The exception is that G to B is a major third. When you move a grip *across* the neck you need to take this into account.

    When you cross one string to lower strings, the G string fretting goes down one fret. So going from G to D:

    G: xxx433
    D: xx423x

    D to A:

    D: xx423x
    A: x422xx

    A to E:

    A: x422xx
    E: 422xxx (no adjustment because G string is not played)

    Do that in reverse and you see that when you cross one string to higher strings, the B string fretting goes up one fret.

    This applies to any grip anywhere on the neck.
  12. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

    Oct 17, 2012
    Nelson City TX
    It's good when you can apply this knowledge in a setting playing with another guitar player, as I often try to do. It makes both guitarists sound better when they're not simply playing the same thing, but there are interesting chord inversions going on... If you think about it, this is how bands with two keyboard players play a song.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.