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June Tune - A Third Look At This Progression

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

June Tune Lesson 3 explained.

June Tune - part 1 | June Tune - part 2 | June Tune - part 4


Here's yet another look at this familiar sounding progression, only this time I've attached a bit of a melody line to the chords. Nothing too complicated, the lines are really just arpeggios of the underlying chords with a few passing notes thrown in.

You'll see that it's all based around the open chord shapes this time, but I've still kept the D bass note ringing under the first bit as I did in Part 1 and 2. As before, the D note is the root of the three D chords, the fifth of the two G chords (second inversions) and the flat 7 of both E chords (third inversion).

The only real stretch in this is the melody note over the Dmaj7 chord, you'll need to reach up to the fifth fret with the pinkie for that one. That note is just another chord tone of D, the 5, so nothing unusual going on there. As always, chord tones are the strongest tones to start and end lines on, and of course to incorporate into lines to state the changes that are going on. For example, I use the maj7 note in the Dmaj7 chord, first beat of bar 2. That's a C# note and is the note that turns the D chord into a Dmaj7 chord, so it makes sense to make a strong melody note. Chords and melody lines are a sort of chicken and egg conundrum: does the chord dictate the melody line? Or does the melody line dictate the chord? It's always a bit of both, I have found. When composing tunes, I usually start with chords, which then suggest countless possible melody lines. As I refine those lines, the chords will start to morph into new flavors because -- as I have pointed out in these lessons a hundred times -- a chord plus a melody note (that isn't already a chord tone, as in 1-3-5) makes a new chord. So, for example, in bar 3 of this lesson, the melody line moves up through a D7 chord and passes through an E note (the open E string). For that moment in time, the overall tonality becomes D9th, which sounds fine. Try instead playing a D# there instead of the E note and you'll hear that it sounds awful. So there is no such thing, really, as a sour note. It's the chord that becomes sour when extended inappropriately. A D7 chord with a D# note is called a D7b9 -- a perfectly acceptable sound in a different context -- but not in this tune.

Toward the end, I play another open E string in the melody line over the Bb chord. E is the #4 of the Bb chord, so once again, there's a momentary Bb#4 chord ringing out, unusual but works well in this context.

The ending is easier that it first seems, just remember to insert that open E string (again!) into the melody line.

There's at least one more lesson to do with this progression before we all get bored to tears with it. As you recall, it's all based around that line that keeps dropping by one semitone with every change (D, C#, C, B, A#, A, G# and G) and so far those notes have been high register notes. Next we'll look at using them as a bass line.

You can now, if you feel so inclined, look at Part 1 and 2, again, and come up with different ways of moving from one to another. You can do that by playing them end to end, of course, but you can also grab, say, bar 1 of Part 1, then bar 2 of Part 2, then bar3 of Part3, then bar 4 of Part 1 again ... etc. There are all kinds of ways of mixing these three versions together and what it will begin to do is give you a glimpse of what you should be working toward if you really want to master the instrument: seeing the fretboard as a whole. Yes, chords on a guitar can be seen as little clusters of notes in different parts of the neck, but they can also be seen for what they really are: 'fretboard-long' patterns -- I like the word 'arrays' -- of notes that you can jump in on wherever you want. We've worked on this progression all over the fingerboard ... same chords exactly. Let that sink in and challenge yourself to mix and match all the various positions into new parts. >> Next up June Tune - part 4

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these free guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.