Kirk Lorange

Rootsy Pickin'

1 post in this topic

The TAB, GuitarPro file, midi files and notation that come with this lesson are now only available as part of the "Fingerstyle Lesson Pack" Details here.
Here's a fun pickin' piece I came up with. It's just one way of picking your way through a very traditional chord progression. A tune called Ditty Wah Ditty is probably the most well known version, but it's the chords themselves that automatically throw up the familiar melody lines.

It's a 12 bar blues, but a variation thereof: this one keeps visiting the V chord ... keeps dipping into that dominant sound. The Roman Numeral values for the chord progression are:

| I - V - | I - - - | I - V - | I - I7 - | IV - - - | IV - - - |

| I - V - | I - - - | V - - - | V - - - | I - V - | I - - - |

I've indicated those intruding V chords in red ... they always follow the I, and the two together are the tune's signature. It's very common for the bass line of any bluesy tune to move back and forth between the 1 and 5; in this case it's the whole chord doing the shift from I to V.

I played my version with a sort of hybrid feel that I've grown to love, a weird combination of straight feel (based around 16th notes) and the blues/jazz shuffle feel (based around triplets). The listener is never quite sure if it's swinging or not. You will hear that I was not able to capture that feel with GuitarPro. The tab is all accurate, but the midi file generated is not quite the feel I played. It's the triplet feel throughout and sounds silly. If nothing else, it's interesting to hear the difference.

The thumb keeps a fairly steady one-bass-note-per-beat pattern, breaking it only occasionally, playing the 1 of each chord. It's the most basic of all bass lines, and probably the most effective of them all too. Sometimes sheer simplicity is the thing that works the best.

As with all finger style guitar music that incorporates melody, bass line and chords, the chord shape is the structure the hand works around, so learn your chord shapes well ... what goes on within and around them is what you should be committing to memory, for that is Music - Capital M. You'll see in tab that I have indicated the very basic shapes that you should keep in mind. I don't use the whole shape ever, just bits and pieces of it. You should try and keep the whole shape in mind though, even if you're just using a couple of notes from it. Whenever possible, hold as much of the full shape down as you can. This will prevent any horrible notes ringing out of you pluck the wrong string ... it will still be a 'good' note, since it's part of the chord that is backing that particular moment.

Take it slowly. Remember that there are only three chords to the whole thing. The D7 shape is the open C shape, with a 7th added. Remember that shape ... it's a biggie. When I arrive at the D7 chord, I insert a quirky little moving line into the chord ... its all done while holding that shape down, so some notes are static, some are moving. It's tricky, but fun. I've had fun with the dynamics in my version, fairly flailing away at the strings in the E7 section at one point. Always keep in mind that you need not copy exactly what I do. There are a million ways of expressing that very same chord progression, each as valid as the next, so let your own hands and approach lead you to your own arrangements of these tunes. Learning music note for note is not going to help you understand how it all works and connects up. Experimenting with other ways will, though, and eventually you and your fretboard will be one.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.