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Rainy Day Blues - A fun lesson without any Barre Chords.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate-Advanced




Here's a fun little ditty I wrote ... or rather "assembled". After years and years of playing, you wind up with so many bits and pieces, ways of moving from one chord to another, melodic fragments, feels, picking patterns, etc., etc., that you don't really write new stuff, you merely reassemble. Anyway, it was pouring a monsoon when I did and so I called it Rainy Day Blues.

It's not for beginners! This is definitely for the Beyonds here, and it's got all kinds of things going on, which we'll look at one at a time.

First off: it's in E, a favorite guitar key. It's based around the I-IV-V chords (E-A-B7) but I threw a little detour in toward the end, a classic 'majorizing of the minors'. The C# and F# are normally minor in the key of E, but I turned them into dom7 chords. The C#7 acts as a V Chord to the F#7, which in turn acts as a V Chord to the B7, which is the V chord of E, so we get back to the key center that way.

Second off: there are two sections where the bass line goes up while the melody line goes down (bars 1-2-3 and 9-10-11), , which is an unusual way of creating harmony. Normally the top and bottom lines run in parallel, more often that not 'thirds apart'. Not so in this case. Even though the TAB reads "E" for the whole section, in fact each of those double stops is a piece of a new chord. Not only that, there are several possibilities for what those new chords are. I did start to write in one possibility, but it looked so confusing that I stopped. So, it's not really all E.

Third off: There are a couple of different bass note patterns, which the thumb handles. On most chords I just thump away at the root on each beat; on the B7 (bars 7-8) I alternate between the root and 5.

The main thing is to keep the flow going, to knit all the different feels together into one piece. I purposely eliminated all barre chords so that you won't need to deal with them. I'm playing it at a fairly fast tempo, but don't feel that you need to match it. It sounds just fine nice and slow, so just take it one measure at a time making sure each is right before upping the tempo.

This should be a good one to teach those finger memorize patterns and apply them to different chord shapes -- that's more of a finger picking approach and lots of fun and great to listen to -- but this kind of piece, where there is no real pattern, where each section demands a specific set of moves, is a lot harder to master.

But, the more you do it, the more you teach those fingers to OBEY. It's not easy, and some of us have very obstinate, disobedient fingers. I'm one of them. My main problem is my right-hand pinkie. It refuses to stay down close to the fretboard when it's not in use. This is bad ... I've been working on this for years now. It's as if there is no connection between my brain and it unless I'm actually using it to fret a note. But, I will keep working on it.

Have fun!


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.