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Theme from M*A*S*H - Fingerstyle Lesson (version 3)

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

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Theme from M*A*S*H (version 3) - The Lesson explained

Here is the third instalment of M*A*S*H. Hopefully you've enjoyed the first two and have worked them out. It's always interesting to me, when I come up with these arrangements, to watch the way the fingers struggle at first to deal with each grip, each passage, to remember what comes next and how they need to prepare, until all of sudden it magically starts to happen automatically. It really is as if each finger has it's own little brain that you teach until it remembers on its own. That's the point at which you can start injecting the actual music into the process ... the flow, the feel, the heart and soul. I've been enjoying that process for 55 years now and it never disappoints. No matter how complex something seems at first, once those fingers remember -- and they always do -- the fun begins.

In this version I moved away from the usual 'fit the melody and bass lines around a chord shape' way of arranging a tune and looked more at 'how to take advantage of the guitar' way of arranging. Guitars in standard tuning have always got those 6 open strings sitting there waiting to be used. EADGBE. When ever one of these notes comes into play, no matter where you left hand is on the fretboard, you can always play it using the open string rather than a fretted position up the neck. Not only do you get that nice ringing over the next note, but you've also saved yourself the trouble of getting one of your fingers to a certain position. The note is just there on the open string waiting to be twanged.

At bars 10 and 11 you can see and hear what I'm talking about. You'll notice that the melody has a repeating C to B movement. Those two notes are a semitone apart and in the previous versions that meant playing the notes on the same string one after the other with no overlap. In this version I play the C on a lower string and the B on the open B. That means they can both be ringing together which is a very nice sound. Two notes a semitone apart shouldn't really sound good, but played in this way they do. Our ears forgive the dissonance for some reason. So that's the first instance of this.

At bars 12 and 13 I play a moving, descending bass line under the melody line and it leads me to a C bass note. So I decided to replace the Em chord there with a Cmaj7 chord. It works because they're almost the same chord, in fact a Cmaj7 is just an Em triad with a C bass note.

Bars 14 and 15 keep that bass line moving, up this time, under the melody line, and the effect makes that passage much more interesting to the ear and a lot more fun to play ... once those finger brains know what to do.

Bars 20 and 21 echo what I do in bars 10 and 11, this time over Am-D. This one is a little trickier but really does nail the Am to D change without even playing a D bass note. That F# note that comes up at the beginning of bar 21 tells our ear that a D chord has just come into play ... it couldn't really be anything but a D chord in this context and our ears are satisfied.

I introduce a little lick at the end of bar 23 that links the two sections, make sure you slide those notes for maximum effect, and then end it a little differently to the other two versions.

So, there you go. Three versions, each getting a little more complex. I edited the three together into one arrangement. You might want to do the same and turn the three versions into one long, building rendition.

For this 3 part lesson, I will be charging a small fee of US $4.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation (all 3 lessons included). Click here to order it.

For this 3 part lesson, I will be charging a small fee of US $4.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation (all 3 lessons included). Click here to order it.

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.