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The Daydream Blues - Get THIS down and you'll impress anyone!

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Here's a nice compact little set of moves that you loop forever and have a good old time with. I call it a 'blues' ... it's probably not really, but the underlying structure is sort of jazz/blues.

As tricky as it may sound at first, it's actually quite easy to get around. Most of the time, there are just a couple of fingers involved and there are no barre chords to negotiate. So, even if you're fairly new at this guitar playing thang ... give it a whirl.

It's a good one to learn for many reasons:

1. Once you get it down, it'll impress anyone listening as it sounds quite sophisticated.
2. It's going to do great things for both hands, as the fingerings are all quite spread out and unusual.
3. Hopefully you'll hear how little is needed to express a chord progression.
4. Timing wise, there are several 'anticipated' beats in this, where the chord changes occur just before the first beat of the measure. It's a very common way of injecting a bit of lilt into a piece of music.

From the top

The whole thing starts on a strummed I chord, which is a good way of establishing to the ear the key center. From there it moves up semitones in 'tenths'. A tenth in music is not a fraction but an interval. Harmony lines usually move in 'thirds', meaning that the harmony line is three scale notes away from the main melody ... three > thirds. So a 'third' in music is another interval. Tenths are harmony lines that are ten scale notes apart. So they're in the next octave, since there are 7 notes in a scale. But ... if you subtract 7 from 10, you get 3, so in effect, tenths are the same as thirds, only there's an octave stuck between. The most well known tune built around tenths is probably The Beatles 'Blackbird'; that main theme is all tenths.

So, after going up in tenths, we come back down with those tenths still intact, but with an extra note added in between. Now we've made a couple of chords: Gdim and B7. That extra note in there fattens out the sound and adds a bit of flavoring. Notice those open B strings that keep getting a look-in.

We repeat that whole thing but end it by going to an A chord, or at least the suggestion of the A chord, end of bar 3. That next note at the beginning of bar 4 makes it an A chord now, because we've added a 5 to the 1 and 3. (If you don't understand all this theory stuff, don't worry about it, just get those fingers where they belong).

Another repeat of the opening bars but this time we head for the 'turnaround', which is the section in a piece of music (especially blues/jazz) where we set up the final resolve back to the beginning. In this case, I've used a fairly standard method of doing that: I 'majorize' (not a real musical term!) some of the chords that are normally minor in the the key of E: the C# and F#. I also turn them into 7ths and they start acting like V chords to each other. The C#7 acts as a V chord in the key of F#, so I move to the F#; but, I make it a 7th, and it in turn acts as the V chord of the key of B, so I head for a B; by, making it a 7th, I've turned it into the V chord of E, which is the original key, and so I go to E ... the I chord ... home.

Again, all these theory stuff is merely interesting to those who are curious about the way music is structured. It's not necessary to know any of it to have a good time playing, and it probably looks and sounds like an alien language to many. But, it's surprisingly simple stuff really, once you understand some of the basics and will certainly help you later on. Knowing what you're playing, and why it sounds the way it does, is a huge part of getting to be a real musician. At first, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of information to digest, but the more you learn, the more it all sorts itself into a compact, logical and easily navigated system. Chords are at the center of it all, though, so the more you learn about chords, the better. What we hear as music is really the way a bunch of chords are relating to each other over the time span of a tune. Melody, harmony, solos, riffs, licks, intros, outros ... all those elements are in fact firmly attached to the chords, so ... know your chords.

You can hear in the video how I simply start the whole thing off again when I finally reach that last B7. I've indicated the chords that a second player would be playing -- a piano player or strumming guitarist -- in the tab. A couple of them could be called different names but the names I gave them are the flavors I hear as being the ones. The F#7 in bar 6, for example, could be written as another A#dim

As always, take it slowly. The main aim is to get those fingers making those moves with that timing. That truly is just a matter of doing it and doing it and doing it. There is no other way. But, once they have learned how to do it, they won't forget. All the moves in this lesson can come into your improvisations later on, they can apply to all kinds of tunes, be inserted here there and everywhere, so even if it seems beyond you, give it a try. You're the boss of those fingers, not the other way around!

(The timing of this piece has made the tab look a lot more complicated than usual with those tie-lines and triplet symbols everywhere. Don't let it daunt you, just worry about finger placement and listen to me for the timing. The tie lines simply show how the note/chord rings on.)

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these fingerstyle 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.