June Tune - A Last Look At This Progression
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
June Tune Lesson 4 explained.
This is the last of the June Tunes. You can find the other three versions here >> June Tune - part 1 | June Tune - part 2 | June Tune - part 3
The lesson I hope you've learned from these four versions is that there are countless positions and ways to express any chord progression on the fretboard, that the whole neck is there for you to explore and ferret out the various paths. In the June Tunes, I use a fairly familiar sounding progression that has a line within it that descends in semitones. Up until now, that line has been incorporated into the treble notes of the various chords and we kept a D bass droning underneath it all. This version uses that line as the bass line, so we've sort of reversed its role. I also wrote a little melody line for this one that weaves its way above the bass line.
From the top:
I start with the first note of the descending line, which is a D. I don't play the open D string because the melody I wrote starts on a F#, which is located on the D string, so I use the D note on the fifth string, 5th fret. This is just one example of how to use the duplicate notes that are strewn across the fretboard ... when one won't work, there's always another that does. I kept the melody line as simple as possible so you could really hear that bass line heading down through the semitones from D to G.
At bar 2, the bass line drops to a C#. Don't automatically (this applies to all kinds of situations) think that the chord will become some sort of C# chord. Yes, it's true that 9 times out of 10, a bass note will be the root of the chord, but in this case it's the 7. This is known as a 'third inversion'. If you play the full chord it will sound pretty weird (try it: play a normal D chord with that C# as bass note) but in context, it's perfectly acceptable and is used quite often. The same goes for the next bar (3) ... here the overall chord is D7, and the flat 7 is in the bass. Another 'third inversion'.
Next, in bar 4, comes a G chord played over B, its 3rd. This is a 'first inversion' of G
(I know I keep referring to the 'chord' when I'm not playing any real chords. You need to see them as silent chords, chords that could be played by another player; chords that the melody line are working around.)
The next bar (5) is the same as the previous. It's a first inversion of Gm. As you know, the difference between a major chord and its minor counterpart is the 3. Minors use a flat 3, so you can see and hear how that B note (the third of G) drops down to Bb (the third of Gm).
In bar 6, the bass note drops down another semitone to A, but it's not an A chord we move to, it's a new D chord. A 'second inversion' D chord, with the fifth in the bass. Bar 7 is a first inversion of E7 ... so the bass note is the 3 of the chord (G#) and the same goes for the first half of bar 8: first inversion of Em.
It finally resolves to the A chord in the second half of bar 8 and then I end it on the Bb6 -> C -> D ending I used for the other versions.
So we have all the inversions in this piece: Root position (bar1), first inversion (bars 4, 5, 7 and 8), second inversion (bar 6) and third inversion (bars 2 and 3) and all are written as slash chords.
So there you go ... I do recommend that you have another look at and listen to the other three versions (links at the top of the page) keeping in mind that the underlying structure of all of them is exactly the same thing. There are, of course, countless other ways of expressing this progression and it would be a great exercise for you to have a go yourself at coming up with new ways. There's a whole fretboard there for you to play around with and working out new paths would be a great way to open it all up. I am perceiving the fretboard the way my book PlaneTalk describes and I can literally 'see' dozens of other ways through those chords without playing a note, so if you're wondering what the trick is ...
As 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.