Just Playing

I picked up one of my 3 guitars, the black dreadnought style guitar that I play most every day.  Not a household name type of guitar, but it has strings, a neck, a sound-hole, the important stuff, ya know.  It’s a guitar.  It sounds nice, even with old strings on it.  It is a little dusty despite the fact that I play it most every day, but besides that dust it looks as good as the day I got it over 3 years ago as a Christmas present.  I got a mandolin along with it, and I play that once every blue moon, I know a few chords on the mandolin, and can work my way easily around major and minor scales on it.  Ask me to do much else, and well, it isn’t really happening.

Just to start out I play this chord structure/exercise where I play a combinations of 10ths and 7ths, along with whatever root note I happen to hit on either the 6th or 5th strings, and if you were to give these chords names, they would be some variation of either Major or Min add9th chords.

For those of you who don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it.  I’ll add examples of music that is similar to what I am talking about here and there.  And here. 

He is playing straight add9’s where I am doing variations.  And for those of you who are fans of Ozzy Ozbourne, A and B add 9 are the opening chords of the Song “You can’t kill Rock and Roll”.

Sorta.  🙂

After that little exercise I decided to do something I haven’t done in a dogs age.  Alternate picking chromatic runs. And it shows that I haven’t done them in a while as well.  Initially, my timing is fine, and the notes are sounded sharp and crisply, but after about 400 notes, call it 4 strings in, The timing starts to get a hair dodgy.  So I slow it down a bit and begin again, and get it right the second time around. 

And if 400 notes sounds like a lot, you’ve never played an instrument seriously.  10,000 notes a day is a short day.  And playing the notes is easy, learning just the right way to fit them together, and mixing the notes with silences is the hard bit.   (Note: pictures are NOT of any notation of any music spoken of here)

After running through that, I play a few quick modal exercises.  Today I run through a few quick Lydian mode exercises. I start out in the key of F, because I like it easy.  For those of you who don’t know, The notes in F Lydian are F,G,A,B,C,D,E.  Pretty damn simple.  Just take the c major scale and play it start to finish from it’s fourth note.   Play it 2 + octaves, Low F to 7th fret 1st string B and back, three notes per string. Do this exercise a few times, in F, F#, G, G#,A…

Easy stuff.  

Then I decide to play some music that I wrote, really simple stuff.   A minor (A string open/C 10th fret d string/E 9th fret g string/A 10th fret b string) Dmin6 (A string open/ D 12th fret D string/ F 10th fret G string/ B 12th fret B string) G add9 (A string open/B 9th fret d string/ D 7th fret g string/ G 8th fret b string)

And that is just the first 3 chords.  If I’m going to do music stuff here I think I am going to have to start making videos.  It would be a lot simpler.  I am going to finish this just giving chord names.

A min/ D min6/ G add9/ D min6/ A min.   (each chord is one beat in 4/4 time, with the 5th chord, the return to A min, being 1 measure long.)

A min/ D min6/ C MAJ6/ D min6/ A min/ G add9/ F maj/ G add 9/ G 6 add 9/ F maj/ D min/ F maj/ G 6 add 9

Suffice it to say that the Open A string is always there, and this is a fairly simple chord progression. It is a pretty easy tune to play, and once I get to shooting viddys myself, I’ll toss this particular progression out for those interested.  What makes the chord names here difficult is the drone A bass, which, for example, turns a simple easy to play and spell out E minor into a G 6add9.

Writing music is one HELLUVA lot harder than actually playing it, I’ll tell you that.  🙂

I have yet to play any blues progressions, which I do a fair bit, not as much as playing around with thirds, or playing pieces with moving bass lines wrapped around simple chord progressions. 

I have been trying my hand lately at honest to bob Finger picking.  Not just the 2 finger banjo picking that I have done since I started playing.  It’s going to take time before I really get that down.  Getting an additional two fingers moving gracefully when I’ve play all my life using only two is showing itself to be a monumentally difficult task.

Enough writing!  I’m going to go play my guitar, you go play too!



Today’s nuggets, Via wikiquote:  Music will always find its way to us, with or without business, politics, religion, or any other bullshit attached. Music survives everything, and like God, it is always present. It needs no help, and suffers no hindrance.  Eric Clapton

One day I said to myself that it would be better to get rid of all that—melody, rhythm, harmony, etc. This was not a negative thought and did not mean that it was necessary to avoid them, but rather that, while doing something else, they would appear spontaneously. We had to liberate ourselves from the direct and peremptory consequence of intention and effect, because the intention would always be our own and would be circumscribed, when so many other forces are evidently in action in the final effect.  Christian Wolff


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