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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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April 17, 2008 | Doublestops and Barre Chords

We've recently been questioned about the frequent use of doublestops in many of our chord charts. Admittedly, it can be difficult stretching the pad of your finger out to cover two (or sometimes three) strings, but if you can do this with your first finger, particularly on the G and D strings, you have much more freedom and flexibility with the remaining fingers.

Those with a history of guitar playing know the benefit of barre chords, as well. These closed position chords allow you to move stock fingerings up and down with ease mentally and physically; that's yet another reason to approach chord construction with this approach. We even have two less strings (and less reach) to confound us.

Am9.jpgAnother trick to doublestops is what we call half-fretting. Sometimes if your 1st finger covers a string that's actually fingered higher up the fretboard, you get a hand/wrist position that is more stable.

This Am9 is an example of what we mean, but the half-fingering is in the 2nd finger. A four-fret span reach is difficult enough to hold down, but since anything you close below the 4th finger isn't going to be heard, why not get this extra grip? Note that it also puts your hand closer to the fingerboard, and rests more comfortably.

Using the 1st and 2nd fingers for 5th doublestops is also very useful for rhythmic accompanying. You have easy access to a common interval, the Perfect Fifth; great for power chording as well as a half-muted rhythmic texture.

Note you can keep your 1st finger there, and add the 2nd finger two frets above for some great blues riffing. It's a little tougher for the 3rd and 4th fingers, but if you hold your hand right you can get the 3rd up a fret for the minor 3rd and minor 7th.

Automatic blues!

Posted by Ted at April 17, 2008 2:51 PM

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