Canadian Musician - January / February - Page 25

PHOTO: MIKE LATSCHISLAW GUITAR JUNO-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Joey Landreth released his debut solo album, Whiskey, in January 2017 on Cadence Music. He is on tour in support of the album. www.joeylandreth.com. By Joey Landreth Harmony for Guitar Part 2 H armony for guitar is a pretty big topic with a lot of sub-categories. I want to talk about the basics. I really believe that, with a good under- standing of the basics of harmony, the guitar opens up tremendously. In part one in the March/April 2017 issue, I talked about how playing in an open tuning as a slide guitar player has opened up my understanding of harmony in a great way; it has forced me to look deeper into the relationships between the notes in the chords that I’m playing and the relationships between the chords in the progression that I’m playing and given me a much better understanding on how to ma- nipulate them. The Basics When I teach, I almost always start in the same place. I want to establish an understanding that most everything is rooted in the major scale – so much so that when we are talking about different scales, we use a formula that maps out how said scale differs from the major scale. Ex.: Dorian mode: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. This is say- ing that a Dorian mode is a major scale with a lowered 3 rd and 7 th . So in terms of harmony, we look at where a major chord comes from. If we are in the key of G (G A B C D E F#) and we stack the first, third, and fifth notes on top of each other, we get a major chord. If you do the same thing starting on each note of the scale (i.e. second, fourth, and sixth notes, and so forth), you get different chords on each degree. When you go through the process of harmonizing the scale (we talked about this last time), you get three major chords: the first degree, fourth degree, and fifth degree, or I, IV, and V. Playing Around Here’s where the fun stuff begins. Pick three consecutive strings and a key. I like to start W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M with the B, G, and D strings, and for standard tuning, I like the key of G. It’s important when practicing to set parameters so that you can keep yourself on track. If you’re anything like me, without certain boundaries, within 10 min- utes of running inversions, you’re working on the intro for “Hot for Teacher.” So, start ing with those strings, I find my root position (that’s the inversion where the root is the lowest note). In standard tuning, it will look like the first three notes of the F chord that gave us all so much trouble when we were first learning the guitar, only it’ll start on the fifth fret. That fingering spelled out is 1 3 5. Now find the first inversion. That’s where we flip the notes around a bit to give us the same chord but in a different combo. In this case, it’s 3 5 1. We’re basically taking the bottom note of the root position and putting it on top. It should look like the top three notes (excluding the high E string) of the first C chord that we learned, or fourth string, ninth fret; third string, seventh fret; and second string, eighth fret. We’re going to invert this one more time to the second inversion. So we take the bottom note of the previous fingering and throw that puppy on top. It should look like an A chord but starting on the 12 th fret, so fourth string, 12 th fret; third string, 12 th fret; and second string, 12 th fret. Getting It Down Now, you want to know all these inversions without hesitation, so run them up and down the fretboard until you know them inside and out. Next, figure out where these same chords and inversions are for C and D – in other words, for the IV chord and V chord. Find the root position for each one. I’ll give you a head start! C (IV) starts on the 10 th fret and is our F chord shape. D (V) starts on the 12 th fret. When you’re travelling up through the inver- sion, remember that anything above the 12 th fret is mirrored above your open strings, so the 13 th fret is the same as the 1 st fret but an octave apart, etc., so when you isolate your inversions for these chords, take them down the octave. Do the same thing you did for the G (I) chord. Run them up and down the fretboard until they are in your head and under your fingers. Shaping Up The last part of this is an exercise. I take a com- monly known I-IV-V song like “Louie, Louie” and play the chord changes using only the inver- sions that we just figured out. I’ll start by basing everything around the root position I chord. I want to keep my IV and V chord as close to the I chord as possible – a concept called voice lead- ing – and I don’t want to repeat any fingerings. After all, this is an exercise and we want to keep it challenging. The first position will be: • I chord, root position • IV chord, second inversion • V chord, first inversion The second position will be: • I chord, first inversion • IV chord, root position • V chord, second inversion The third position will be: • I chord, second inversion • IV chord, first inversion • V chord, root position This might seem like a silly exercise but it gives you two things: a great and fun way to run inversions and access to some really nice voice leading on a very common chord progression. You’ll likely start to see these shapes pop up in your playing without even knowing it. Once you have mastered this, work on a different group of strings. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 25 Ou