Took Addi shopping for dinner, and there was a vampire holding a bunch of liquor in the middle of the freezer section! I sprang into action, whipped out my phone and took a selfy of me killing the hell out of him!
I’m thinking back on it now, and I don’t think anybody ever taught me an Eb chord… It’s the kind of thing that (close as I can figure) came about from learning a Stone Temple Pilots song or something. ALSO, it was probably this:
but either way, those are kind of still functional. However if you look at what I do with Bb, you’ll see where I’m driving for now. Here’s 2 in 6th position for you:
The benefit of the first one is that it’s voiced like an A chord, pleasing to the ear, and in general, fine-and-or-dandy. The second one leaves more room for other instruments and is real quick to grab because you’re not flattening a finger across three strings.
But that’s not all!
I like an Eb in lower positions whenever possible. My current favorite is this:
The fingering for this one is deceptively simple. If you’re having a problem with it, I’d say start by setting up the top three notes with fingers 1, 3 and 4 – like a power chord with the octave on the B string, then using your middle finger to grab the low G on the low E string. The meat of your middle finger should mute the A string handily, and your lazy pinky will kill the high E string without any trouble.
This voicing is super cool! One of my favorite things to grab when I’m playing a D chord is the F# on the low E string. The wideness of the interval between the low and high notes gives an illusion of more notes being played, and it gives a sense of motion, which is super helpful if you’re aiming to land on an Ab, or if you were on Ab, going to F minor like this:
Last word for now on how to get a great sounding Eb chord is this voicing here:
Looks like a C chord. Plays like one too, but you have to finger the basic C shape with your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers, so that’s where I’d start if you need to strengthen your shameful pinky… Anyway, it becomes super sweet and easy when you can grab the Bb note on your G string (third fret) with your first finger.
This shape is great for a mid-range sound. Not too much high or low, doesn’t get in anybody’s way. Sometimes you’ll find that the power/barre looking voicings at the top of this page sound too punk rock or happy, and you want some closer harmonies to tighten a progression up. This is the one for that situation. There’s some moving bass pattern implications to this voicing that we can talk about later if you wanna talk about it, but for now, go play.
What the hell kinda cabbage is this, and what does it’s juice taste like?
A question for the ages…
Anyhow, I took a couple days off of the website to spend some time with Nikki for our anniversary. Been a rad week so far, and I couldn’t be happier. I’d love to keep it going, maybe do a month-long thing next year, but this time around, we’re too tired to just keep going and going. Abby agrees:
Recent weeks have found us dealing with sick kids, and my actual return to the work force. Had my first real work week in a while, at almost ten performances and 5 rehearsals. getting out is strangely exhausting, but I’m getting used to it again. Topping off a hard week with a couple celebratory days was a real treat. Here’s a comic about it:
Anyway, off to the great big whatnot! See you in the morning!
TONS of songs are in the key of G. It’s pretty much my favorite, if for no other reason than I like the feel of a G chord under my hand. G flat, though, is just annoying. It’s so close to being cool, but nobody’s perfect. Here are the only voicings I use that are near first position:
All are super similar, but depending on what my hand is doing before, after, or during the time I’m hanging out with Gb, I’ll grab a different one.
The first one is great as a I chord. It’s stable, theres no motion implied, it just sits there being Gb. Fat on the lower part of your first finger should mute the high strings, E and B. It looks and functions exactly like a Gb barre chord would work traditionally, but you don’t cramp, and a missed grab won’t cause unwanted noise in the high register.
The second one adds the fifth (Db) to the high register. I grab the hell out of this one. Sometimes a little more high end goes a long way. The way to get this without barring across 5 strings (because otherwise you might as well be playing a big barre chord like a scrub) is to play the Db on the B string with your first finger. Then grab the G and D strings with your 2nd and 4th fingers, respectively. That forces your ring finger above, pretty much right where it needs to be in the fourth fret of the A string. The low tonic (Gb) is grabbable by your thumb over the top of the neck. Once you get to feeling this out, you’re golden. First finger mutes the high E string again.
The third fingering is identical to the second, except your thumb is muting the low E string instead of playing it. This one is useful when you are in Db and you want the IV chord sound like it’s moving upward in sound, or you want a sus4 type sound when compared to your Db chord. You don’t get that effect when the lowest note in your voicing is a fifth below the lowest note on your last chord.
Looking at a chord like this conceptually, I was thinking about how often I need this information. Honestly, I learned a lot of what I know so I can put songs in easier guitar keys. When I see a song in Gb, I take an inventory of what other instrumentalists I have, and if I can, I tell everybody to play it in G. If the melody gets too high, I push down to F.
But that’s the thing. Sometimes I’ll be backing up a vocalist, and they straight up need the thing in Gb. It’s not their problem, it’s just I don’t have a ton of fun in Gb. It’s their jam, and I want to do my job well. So I play in uncomfortable keys sometimes. So if you want to do this kind of thing for real, for a living – then get these grips down and learn your craft. Catch ya.
We totes ran into the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile today 🙂 R.A.D.
Also a couple new pics of Abby in there. Yay babies 🙂
I do a lot of things. I love a lot of things. One of those things is Magic the Gathering, obviously. I write about it on Mondays. What’s up with that?
Well, from what they tell me, a personal blog for an artist should be a place where he should express himself however he naturally does, about things he’s passionate about. Some of you may apparently care about what I do in my free time – or maybe we have a common interest.
So there’s the reasoning. Here’s some resources:
The Limited Resources Podcast is where I learn the most about my favorite formats to play, which are the limited formats. Sealed and draft are the most skill intensive way to play, whereas constructed formats are far more controlled.
Limited formats involve you starting with sealed product – that is, unopened packs of cards, then you end up with a deck. 40 card minimum, usually 2 colors, 23 spells and 17 lands or 22 and 18. The game becomes one of evaluation, deliberation, and attentiveness to what you’ve got, what you need, what you’re opponent had access to, and what each turn might mean for each player’s overall strategy. Super deep.
Anyhow, if you like the game, I highly suggest you check out the show, buy cards at cardkingdom.com and follow the hosts on twitter. They’re good guys who respond to their email more often than I do!
Bb is one of those other chords that tend to give a bit of a headache when a beginner is looking to play guitar. They see this guy right here:
And then there’s a bunch of time wasted trying to squish your fingers around in such a way as to let that high F-note on the E string ring out. It’s unnecessary, unless you’re a bigot, of course, but that’s beside the point.
If you or a guitar player you know has a serious problem with the voicing mocked above, check these out:
All three of these fulfill the requirements of being a Bb chord, while simultaneously NOT giving you carpal tunnel syndrome. The first finger barre is eliminated in all three cases. That’s a great start. In the first voicing, you can barre the B, G, and D strings with either your 3rd or 4th finger. I prefer my 4th, cuz my pinky is a MONSTER.
The 2nd and third voicings are very similar but have a pretty big difference between them. The 2nd one is great in a situation where you like having tight, simple sounds and all the other chords surrounding it have no open strings in their voicings. Super cool in F, Bb and Eb. Doesn’t get in the way, and is pretty intuitive. Looks like an A7 chord bumped up a fret.
Have I mentioned that you should play all your cowboy chords with fingers 2, 3 and 4 yet? Doing this gets your hand prepared to pop a first finger down for a simulated barre, AND strengthens your puny finger muscles AND makes most new chord voicings much more grokkable.
The third voicing is a pet of mine, but I don’t use it too often. It’s charm comes from the open D string ringing under your first finger arch. This voicing is great if you have a C chord near it. One of the things about Open cowboy chords is that they all have these great free ringing strings in them and They’re so lush. Playing a choked out flat chord or F makes for a sudden shift in timbre that leaves you wanting more. Giving this Bb chord an open D in it gives it a feeling of unity with your surrounding cowboy chords. Also look at how I do F.
The first two voicings are super important for you to keep in your hip pocket though. These stand in for all major barre chords with the tonic on the A string. Learn that, and have a better time learning music instead of giving yourself cramps and a headache.