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Fakin' it...?


Piobaire

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I went to check out a band Sat. night. Just four dudes in their 30s and 40s, playing classic and contemporary "good time" tunes. The band was better than average, tight bass and drums. However, I thought the guitar sounded a little "thin". Towards the end of the night on a break I approached the guitar player and chatted up about how I was starting to play again. He was cool to talk to but what he said threw me. I mentioned that I was progressing well but barre chords were KILLING my left hand and wrist. He chuckled a bit and said he hadn't played a full-fledged barre chord in a decade. Then he said, 'Now that I think about it, I don't think I've played more than a three-note "power chord" in several years". I was like, "You can do that!?". I think he responded something like he 'could do whatever he wants, he's the guitar player'. He went on to tell me he played a LOT of fifths and minor chords just to get by. I guess that explains the "thin" part. He said he enjoyed playing live but wasnt going to torture himself over it and that no one but a player would know the difference (probably right). The dudes lead playing was decent though. Nothing earth-shattering but he pulled off some pretty cool sounding stuff.

 

Is this common? Do many players "fake it" with "half chords" and what-not?

 

When I was a young bass player, I did virtually torture myself trying to get every last note right. The guy who played guitar in my band was the same way. We would spend weeks trying to get chord changes and the like just perfect.

 

Piobaire

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is calling you his way!!
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It depends on how much other instruments can or will cover in a band-if you have a second guitar or keyboard you usually needn`t sound so full, only when other people want to get melodic. It`s likely they guy was used to full band situations. I found playing solo acoustic both rewarding and nerve wracking, cause it`s all on you. With only a foursome the little chunka chunka stuff can seem more lacking if someone else isn`t minding the floor. But touch sensitivity is the flip side of that coin, some people strum like they`re building a railroad line.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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I rarely play more than 3-4 notes, quite often only one or 2 is all that is needed to get the point across. When you are working in a band context, especially with another instrument playing chords such as a keyboards/guitar, its easy to have to much harmonic information and everyone ends up sounding muddy. So its not cheating at all, its a conscious musical decision. Listen to most of the traditional guitar heroes like Hendrix, Clapton, Beck and others. They almost never play full 6 string chords. Especially if you use any distortion, you lose all the clarity of what your playing if there are too many notes.
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I wouldnt say it was faking it at all. Its just not how you would expect it maybe... Playing 3 or 4 note chords is pretty standard. Why barre all 6 strings when there is no need whatsoever most of the time you are only doubling notes anyway. He's right, there isnt much point in torturing your hand when theres no need. My goal at playing guitar is getting the sound I want whilst doing as little work as possible.... Its quite funny really.. some guitarists write these fantastic songs where the hand is spreading 8 frets or you're tangling your hands up in knots.. Theres just no need, if you learn where every note is on the fretboard you'll see why... chances are if your spreading your pinky way down the fret board for that D# that its in alot easier reach on the next string up.
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It depends on the circumstances. I can and do play full six-note chords, of course. If there is a keyboard and/or guitar, especially with a bass player, I don't have to all the time.

 

Also, there are voicings that don't require a full barre with the left hand and still sound good. And I'm not above using open strings in appropriate keys.

 

I don't think of these things as laziness. It's just that full barres can get tiring, especially since my main axe is an acoustic with a pickup.

If there are easier ways to do things, which sound just as good if not better, why not do so?

 

And yes Virginia I spend time practicing and have pretty good chops... more than what I need for most venues I play in. But onstage I'm not going out of my to make things difficult just for the sake of masochism!

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Even if I am grabbing all 6 strings in a Rhodesian Death Grip bar chord or something, I rarely pick more than 3 or 4, usually only 2 or 3. It's about making the level fit with what's going on. And with a distorted tone, it's about clarity, which goes to pot if you play all six strings, usually.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Rhythm bits sound a lot cleaner to me when I just play three note. Usually just the 1st and 5th.

 

I've been trying to break myself of the habit of fretting the entire bar chord.

 

I try to find new voices that sound just as good but are easier to play.

 

Nothing is written in stone, it's best to keep an open mind.

 

But definately learn the standard way, then modify your fingering to fit the music you are playing.

 

To tell you the truth, I always feel like a nerd if I play the full barre in front of people.

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It depends on what you have on the bottom, aggressive bass player, keyboards. I use abbreviated chords because of my bass player and keyboard playing so full all the time. HOWEVER as with most of if not all the guys here we are very capable of playing all positions if we have too. DO NOT ..NOT learn your full chords, I guess I don't remember it being all that painful? maybe you need to have your arm wrist hand positions evaluated. Also dont forget that allot of very cool lead lines are played out of and contained WITHIN the full barr chord position, not all lead work is done in the open hand position.
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That would be a Bm6/7sus4 (B,A (7th),D,G (6th),B,E (4th))

 

Easier name for it would be G6/9/B - a G major chord with the 6th (E) and the 9th (A) with a B in the bass...

 

I like using open strings as dissonant passing tones - One song I wrote ("Images") has an intro passage using C#m (4th fret) with the open high E string followed by D#5 (6th fret) with the same open string as a diminished 9th - what a wonderfully tense 2-chord phrase.

 

Elsewhere in the song I use the open B string to embellish a simple chord progression (Em-D-Am-B7) and turn it into something that really sings:

E5 (E-B-E-B) D6 (D-F#-A-B) Am/E (E-A-C-B) B7 (B-D#-A-B)

 

Lotsa fun using those open strings in nonstandard chord forms to add tension.

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Originally posted by Griffinator:

That would be a Bm6/7sus4 (B,A (7th),D,G (6th),B,E (4th))

 

Easier name for it would be G6/9/B - a G major chord with the 6th (E) and the 9th (A) with a B in the bass...

I've never known what it was called. Thanks :)

 

I tried finding it online and none of the online chord dictionaries I saw had it.

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I like barre chords...and use them quite often.

 

Yeah...it takes a lot of "hand" to hold barre chords...but you get use to it over time...

...and...you CAN do different voicings, since it is only your forefinger that is doing the "barre"...and the other three fingers are free to move about.

 

If all you do is grab all six strings and do big power strums :rolleyes:

then yeah, barre chords can be a bit too much for some stuff.

 

But even though you are grabbing all six strings with a barre...that doesn't mean that you have to hit all six...on every stroke. :thu:

 

Often I'll hit just the low E with a downward stroke for some "chunk"...and then I'll up-stroke just the high three strings for the chord.

Or hit one or two strings, while plucking anotheretc.

The other strings will give off harmonics, even though you are not hitting them.

Alsofrom a single position, with a barreyou can do a few different chords, by just shifting a finger or two, but without changing up your entire grip.

 

And the last thing about barre chords...

I find that the harder you squeeze...the harder it is to hold 'em for too long.

Lighten up your grip, and you will be able to play them much longer.

Plusyou really dont want to be using any large amount of distortion with chords, anyway

...as that will always sound crappy

...unless you are going for that heavy metal crunch.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Originally posted by Big Red 67:

I use three note and two note chords. If the tone is good it shouldn't sound thin but fit in instead.

you're a lazy bum!!

 

just like me, no use doing more than strictly necessary, I always say, and I happily comp on a 12-bar blues with just three two-note chords in a 3-fret radius ;):D

- due to recent cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has been SWITCHED OFF
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From Miroslav's post:

 

And the last thing about barre chords...

I find that the harder you squeeze...the harder it is to hold 'em for too long.

Lighten up your grip, and you will be able to play them much longer.

--------------------

I agree. I remember reading about how Luiz Bonfa, one of the inventors of bossa nova, once said something like: "I practice exercises that are very demanding and difficult. Then onstage, I can play lightly."

 

Makes perfect sense to me. Onstage I don't want to be worried about what my fingers can and can't do... I want to focus on the musical moment, and the performance moment, and (maybe)even the spiritual moment....

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Interesting thread. I tend to grab my chords in triads or two note maj/min intervals. I just simply like it better than barreing. I use a lot of tritones. It seems you can't go wrong with tritones when playing rockabilly.

However, I do really enjoy the good ole open chord progressions and usually warm up with some of those in different keys.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Phil W:

As a bassist, I much prefer guitarists who play 2, 3 or 4 note chords/fragments than those who blast away on 6 strings regardless. Way better for the dynamics and tonal variety of the whole band. But I suppose it depends on the style of music.

True, so true. But the cat referred to in the original post was playing only just exclusively power chords composed of perfect 5ths and most likely the 5th string root minor chord w/no bar and just the inside 4 strings or possibly the 3 string minor chord.

 

It appears this guy HAS NO IDEA how to play 2 or 3 string chords which typify the voicing needed

 

For instance if the chord was Dmi7, I would bet my last dollar that the cat would play a D5 instead of F & C (another interval of a 5th) which are the 3rd & 7th respectively.

 

God forbid if the chord had to be a dmi9

 

Another consideration is if there was no keyboard or 2nd guitarist, and the bassist doesn't incorporate bass chords into the playing (i.e power trio) then there is default that the guitaris does at times have to play chords which may be more than 3 notes

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Originally posted by badblues:

Originally posted by Big Red 67:

I use three note and two note chords. If the tone is good it shouldn't sound thin but fit in instead.

you're a lazy bum!!

 

just like me, no use doing more than strictly necessary, I always say, and I happily comp on a 12-bar blues with just three two-note chords in a 3-fret radius ;):D

Yes I am. Utill you look at my wraped G string. It was too much to play barre chords in a funk band. I played allot of texture and sounds. Allot of single note voice leading along with the bass lines.
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I'm going to have to agree with Lee this time and say that regardless of what you usually play, you should definitely be able to play your barre chords.... They're not really all that hard. They will be hard until you practice them... just like everything else.
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Originally Posted by Ellwood.

"I always feel like a nerd if I play the full barre in front of people."

 

PAPPY! you need to modify that attitude?? why would you feel that way? SPLAIN YOUR SELF..young fella!!

 

"How can you have any pudding if you don't play your barre chords. Go on do it again."

 

Actually, what I should've said was that most of the guys I knew played different chords and never used Barres, so I thought you only played barres while you where training. After that, I thought you were supposed to be more imaginative or creative and find your own chords.

 

That's just my twisted thinking though.

 

All too ofter, the barre chords just don't seem to cut it sound wise for me.

 

However, I have been told to stop using open chords, but I prefer them most of the time. However I do try to find a better chord before I fall back on them.

 

I definately agree you should learn the proper techniques, before you try to run off and be creative.

 

I'm just always so self-concious about my playing.

 

That's all I really meant. I by no means meant that it is nerdly to play barres.

 

:D

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I would never abandon me efforts to make the sound be as effective as I thought possible regarless of any rules.

 

I'd actually avoid playing something straight to deliberately include piano or sax sections that I feel are critically important to the song.

 

Now if that isn't faking I don't know what is... but.. the sound is what the ears expect and that's what matters most.

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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Yze - playing only just exclusively power chords composed of perfect 5ths and most likely the 5th string root minor chord w/no bar and just the inside 4 strings or possibly the 3 string minor chord. - if that wass the case - yuck!

 

default that the guitaris does at times have to play chords which may be more than 3 notes

Yes, depends on context, as long as they're not always banging away on all six regardless!

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