Monday, April 7, 2008

A chord by any other name would sound just as sour

This is commonly called the "Hendrix Chord". x7678x. A music theory geek might call that an E7+#9. I associate it with Stevie Ray Vaughn and "Scuttle Buttin'", but a) it'd be an Eb7+#9, since he detuned a half-step, and b) after reviewing the tape, it's far more likely that he was using an open chord, like 02213x or the like, and it's just an E7.

There are other chord shapes I associate with Hendrix. For example, this closed Gadd9: xx5435. That's "Wind Cried Mary".

As an A5, 5xxx55. It was presented to me as an E chord on the 12th fret, but I moved it to A for ease of writing. 12xxx1212 would just be confusing.

A thing more associated with Cornell Dupree and Steve Cropper, but that I learned from Hendrix, is this bit, basically the verse to Monterey's "Like A Rolling Stone":

E ----------------------------------------------
B -----5------6------8----10-----12-------------
G ----------------------------------------------
D --5------7------9-------10-----12-------------
A ----------------------------------------------
E ----------------------------------------------
"Once upon a time, you felt so fine..." That's a walkup. C, Dm, Em, F, G. The root would come on the G string, but the third and fifth are strong enough chord definers that you can play this solo and it sounds full. The third, as you might tell, falls on the B string. Of course, with relative minors and such, xx7x6x also could define an F chord, and xx9x8x a G.

I know few other chord formations that are strongly associated with an artist. I know a "James Taylor" set of chords, G with D on the B string (320033), Cadd9 (x32033) and Dsus4 (x00233) are useful for quick switching, because you're leaving the B and E strings droning on the same two notes.

Then, of course, there's Freddie Green chords, which are their own master class. The key, I've been told, is that it's much more about the thunk than the note, that there's really only one note being held down to sound. For "fake" FG playing, the keys are to mute the A and high E strings and know inversions of 7th and 6th chords.

Are there any other "artist" chords? Chords that hook into Hillel Slovak? Fingerings that are nearly unique to Dave Matthews or Chet Atkins? Tell me.

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