The following is a guest post by Kevin Ian Common. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact me!
This is a quick column and experiment. I wanted to try to add video so you can real-time applications of what I write about.
We’ll take the idea of droning/pedal tones and alternate fingerings of chords to the next level–actual use! Because while reading playing chord charts is fun, actually using them in your songwriting is where the fun and inspiration begins.
I took a very simple chord progression:
C#m, A, C#m, B
From here, I took the main dyads of each chord and use them against an open B and E string.
C#m – C# E
A – A C#
B – B D#
The chords operate in the key of E major, so adding a droning E and B string adds much character, especially when you have a non-chord tone in each chord strummed.
After playing the basic positions of the chords… I take it to the next level:
Low to High: E A D G B E
C#m – X X 11 9 0 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A – X X 7 6 0 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â B – X X 9 8 0 0
After playing around here… I add the octave of the third of each chord in the high E string:
C#m – X X 11 9 0 12Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A – X X 7 6 0 9Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â B – X X 9 8 0 11
What you will notice is the richness in high-end and the lush sounds you can get BEFORE you add any effects!
I take it a whole other level by adding the low E string. This is a bit tricky, but with some practice, you will find the end result to be rewarding!
I added some delay to the proceedings later. You can even add a little overdrive or full-on distortion. Adding effects give such progressions and droning notes a different kind of character… some work… some don’t.
Go ahead and play these progressions. If these finger positions are new to you, take your time. The benefits are priceless.
Here is the link to a modest demo video of what I did to those three chords:
I hope you have found this column interesting and educational!
Kevin Ian Common recently used a power drill for sound contrast and paid for it in blood. He plays guitar and sings in The Common Men, a Post-Punk trio from Northern California. They are on Facebook and Twitter, but you can find them @ www.myspace.com/thecommonmen for all updated information and sound files.