Archive for November, 2012

Chord voicings on guitar

Chord voicings on guitar

I like Jimmy Bruno’s approach to developing chord voicings. Which is that you can derive almost everything you need just by knowing your dominant 7ths really well.

On each string set (i.e. group of four strings) there are four different forms of the dominant 7th. Knowing them gives you a vast range of options for your chord voicings, without the drudge of learning them from a ‘chord book’. I share Jimmy Bruno’s dislike of such books and his love of simplifying things.

But I think it can be even simpler.

There are four dominant 7th chord forms for each string set. But you can derive each one from a single diminished 7th shape (I’ll cover how in a later post). Essentially each string set has only one useable diminished chord form. Know that shape and you can develop a universe of different chords from it.

That’s very high leverage, and it makes it worth getting closely acquainted with the diminished chord forms. There are only eight in my reckoning, so it’s a huge simplification and a powerful way to develop your approach to chords.

Here are the eight diminished chord forms.

8 diminished chord forms

8 diminished chord forms

And here are some exercises for practicing them (credit due to the great Joe Satriani for the first).

Diminished Chord Relay 1

Diminished Chord Relay 1

Diminished Chord Relay 2

Diminished Chord Relay 2


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With only 33 days until Christmas here are some ideas for gifts and stocking fillers for the guitar-person in your life. If that’s you, then drop some hints to your significant other!

All these items are available through the Ashdown Guitar Lessons Store, powered by Amazon.co.uk

(Prices may vary. Correct at 21st November 2012)

Stagg SGA108BJ Stand Stagg SGA108BK Foldable Universal A Accoustic & Electric Guitar Stand
From Stagg. Avoid guitar accidents with a safe stand.
List Price: £14.99
Price: £9.89
Yamaha_F310_pack Yamaha F310 Acoustic Guitar Pro Pack
From Yamaha. Excellent starter pack.
List Price: £149.99
Price: £131.42
Dunlop Lok Straps Pair of Jim Dunlop Lok Straps
From Jim Dunlop. Protect your electric or acoustic guitar by using a Lok Strap to secure the strap properly.
Price: £3.30
Yamaha Pacifica 012 Yamaha Electric Guitar & Basic Pack – Pacifica 012 (Black)
From Yamaha. Great package for a first electric.
List Price: £232.00
Price: £185.00
Korg TUAW2G guitar tuner KORG TUAW2G Guitar tuner
From Korg. Accurate clip-on tuner to help keep your guitar perfectly in tune.
Price: £16.95
Fast Fret Fast Fret Strings cleaner
From GHS. Keeps strings bright and lasting longer.
Price: £6.99
Farleys Stageplayer II Guitar Stool Farleys Stageplayer II Guitarist Stool and Stand
From Farleys. Revolutionary, folding guitar stand & stool with foot rest.
List Price: £62.95
Price: £50.26

These and thousands of other gift ideas are at the Ashdown Guitar Lessons Store, powered by Amazon.co.uk

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I want one of those…

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So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong!


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Some useful thoughts on improvising over minor chords posted originally by :>)azzTechs#


In this tutorial we’ll have a look at the guitar scales, arpeggios and substitutions we can use to improvise over minor guitar chords, so we can make our guitar solos more interesting. Unless specified, we take a Dm chord as example. Here’s a roundup:

1) The Dorian Scale

 The 3 minor diatonic scales (Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian) are the obvious choice for playing over minor chords. Which of the 3 scales you play depends on the harmonic setting and the function of the chords you are playing over.

The Dorian mode is played over II chords, like in a II V I chord progression.

We’ll take a 2 5 1 in C major as an example:

|Dm7          |G7           |Cmaj7        |%             |
|II           |V            |I            |              |          

Over the Dm7 we play the D Dorian scale:

D DorianD     E     F      G      A     B      C
Over Dm71     9     b3     11     5     6      b7

Here’s the scale chart for D Dorian mode in its root position:

The Dorian scale is also…

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Or to rephrase: Bellowhead. The best live band. You’ll see…

…or you will if you catch them on their current tour. Bellowhead in full flight is an awesome thing – my favourite live band by a mile. And – smugly – I saw them again this week at the Brighton Dome; simply stunning!

They are incredibly tight, and their arrangements are brilliant and sophisticated and they’re just huge fun. Jon Boden in particular is mesmerising on stage.

Here’s a clip of them at Shrewsbury folk festival earlier in the year. They’re playing their version of Haul Away, a typically inventive and driving arrangement.

Catch Bellowhead live if you can! (And add their new album, Broadside, to your Christmas list…)


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Here’s the second part of the video from Larry Coryell demonstrating some advanced rhythm guitar techniques. From the DVD “Larry Coryell’s Jazz Guitar Volume 3.” More info at http://www.guitarvideos.com/products/guitar-workshop-instructional-dvds/larry…

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A gift that lasts a lifetime

Five lesson voucher front

Five lesson voucher inner

Five lesson voucher back

Why not buy someone special a truly special gift? Ashdown Guitar Lessons offers Gift Vouchers in a range of values:

  • Single lesson – £30
  • Two lessons – £60
  • Three lessons – £90
  • Four lessons – £120
  • Five lessons – £150
  • Ten lessons – £300

Or you can mix and match to any value of your choice. You can receive your Gift Voucher by email ready for you to print out or as a pre-printed hard copy.

They come as an A4 sheet: fold twice and you have your voucher.

Whatever the value, every Gift Voucher has a space for you to fill in any special details and your personalised message. Once your recipient has the voucher they simply call or email to schedule their first lesson (later lessons can be booked at the same time or at the first lesson).

To order Gift Vouchers or to find out more just get in touch:

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Renowned fusion guitarist and Musicians Institute guitar instructor Scott Henderson sits down with Jude Gold to share compelling and clever ways to use the pentatonic scale. Filmed in the concert hall at Musicians Institute. For more information on GIT, the Guitar Program at Musicians Institute, click to http://www.mi.edu.

Clever stuff, and some great demonstrations of how to lift phrases rhythmically.

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Jazz great Larry Coryell demonstrates some advanced rhythm guitar techniques. From the DVD “Larry Coryell’s Jazz Guitar Volume 3.” More info at http://www.guitarvideos.com/products/guitar-workshop-instructional-dvds/larry…

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