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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine - Flatpicking Essentials, Volume 7: Advanced Rhythm & Chord Studies


Current Edition

Flatpicking Essentials, Volume 7: Advanced Rhythm & Chord Studies

Flatpicking Essentials, Volume 7 is a 170 page book, with 67 audio tracks, that will show you how to add texture, variety, and movement to your rhythm accompaniment in the context of playing bluegrass, fiddle tune music, folk music, acoustic rock, Western swing, big band swing, and jazz. The best part of this book is that it doesn't just present you with arrangements to memorize. It teaches you how you can create and execute your own accompaniment arrangements in a variety of musical styles.

The book starts by teaching you the formula, form, and function of major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads. In the triad section of the book you will also learn about triad derivation using string transference, chord inversion, and the "drop 2" methods. Additionally, you will study chord voicing, voice leading, and the use of chord scales (harmonized triads). You will also learn how to locate chord inversions on all parts of the fingerboard and how to use them with a variety of rhythm patterns and in the context of fiddle tune backup.

The triad section of the books sets the foundation for the next section, which teaches seventh chords (dominant, minor, major, half diminished and diminished). Familiarity with seventh chords is the first step to learning how to arrange and play rhythm in the Western swing, big band swing, and jazz styles. You will learn about seventh chord inversions, "drop 2" and "drop 3" dominant seventh chords, seventh chord voicing, and chord scales. You will then practice the form of these chords in various exercises that are designed to help you gain familiarity and build "muscle memory" with all of these chords. You will also learn how to apply these chords in jazz and Western swing style accompaniment, as well as chord-melody style lead playing. After learning seventh chords, you will also learn about sixth chords, ninth chords, eleven chords, and thirteenth chords, polychords, and chord alterations.

The final section of the book teaches you about Chord Substitutions and building Chord Progressions. You will learn the rules of thumb for chord substitution, be given chord substitution ideas, and learn about creating movement in a chord progression using a variety of substitute chords. In this section you will learn concepts such as the use of chord inversions, chord homonyms, diatonic substitutions, circle of fourth substitutions (secondary dominants), chord extensions and alterations, functional substitutions, chromatic leading, chord enclosure, chord scales, pedal points, cadence, passing chords, tritone substitutions and more.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Building and Deriving Chords
Major Triads
String Transference
     Chord Voicing
     Circle of Fourths Exercise
     Triad Inversions
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 1
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 2
     Inversion Choices
     Drop 2 Chords
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 3
     Voice Stacks
     Adding to the "FDA" Model
     Rhythm Patterns
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 4
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 5
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 6
     "Salt Creek" Exercise 7
     "Red Haired Boy" Example
     Major Triad Recap
Minor Triads
Major and Minor Chord Substitutions
Diminished Triads
Harmonized Scales in Triads (Major)
Augmented Triads
Harmonized Scales in Triads (Minor)
Suspended Chords
Triads and String Transference
Triad Summary
Open Chord Extensions and Additions
     Acoustic Rock Style Rhythm
     "Lonesome Road Blues" Examples
     Slash Chords

Seventh Chords
Dominant 7th Chords
     Deriving Dominant Seventh Chords
     Dominant 7 Drop 3 and Drop 2 chords
     Dominant 7 Chord Familiarization
          Dominant 7 Chord Inversions
          Dominant 7 Chord Inversion Exercises
          Dominant 7 Circle of Fourths Exercises
     Dominant 7 Chord Function
Diminished Seventh Chords `
     Diminished 7 Chord Form
     Diminished 7 Chord Familiarity
     Diminished 7 Chord Function
Minor Seventh Chords
     Minor Seventh Chord Form
     Minor Seventh Chord Familiarity

Half Diminished Chords
     Half Diminished Chord Form, Familiarity, and Function
Major Seventh Chords
     Major Seventh Chord Form
     Major Seventh Chord Familiarity and Function
Diatonic Seventh Chords
Seventh Chords Scales

Sixth Chords
Major Sixth Chords
Minor Sixth Chords

Three Note Equivalents and Chord Homonyms

Chord Practice
     Chord Familiarity Exercises
More Chord Practice
     The 12-Bar Blues Exercises (1 through 6)

Extended and Altered Chords
Dominant Ninth Chord
     12-Bar Blues Example 7
Dominant 11 and Dominant 13 Chords
     12-Bar Blues Example 8
Chord Alterations and Extensions
     Minor Blues
Chord Shape Recap

Part 2: Chord Substitutions and Chord Progressions
Chord Substitutions
     Chord Substitution Rules
     Chord Substitution Ideas
     Chord Movement
     Chord Substitution Examples (1 through 8)
"Nine Pound Hammer" & Jazzy Bluegrass

Western Swing Rhythm
     "Sally Goodin'" Examples (1 through 13)
     "Beaumont Rag" Example
     "Soldier's Joy" Example
Chord Reduction
     Jazz Progression Reductions (1 through 4)
Chord Progression Practice
     Progression Practice (1 through 6)
Volume 7 Conclusion
Appendix 1: Voice Leading
Appendix 2: Common Chord Formulas and Shapes

About the Flatpicking Essentials Series:

The Flatpicking Essentials instructional series is designed to teach you the art of flatpicking the acoustic guitar in a sequential, step-by-step method that will gradually build your flatpicking skill in a way that leaves no "gaps" or "holes." While this method will be extremely beneficial to beginners, this series will also be of great value to those guitar players who have been working to learn how to flatpick for quite some time, yet can't seem to get beyond a certain plateau.

If you are having trouble moving beyond memorized solos, adding interest and variety to your rhythm playing, learning how to play up-the-neck, learning how to come up with your own arrangements to songs, learning how to play by ear, or learning how to improvise, then this series is for you! Too many flatpickers are learning how to play by simply memorizing transcribed fiddle tune solos from tab books and video tapes. In doing that they are learning ineffectively and inefficiently. They are skipping over many vital elements in the learning process and thus they have a weak foundation. In this series my goal is to help you build a strong foundation so that you can easily maintain consistent forward progress in your study of flatpicking. Each volume of this series presents material that provides the foundation for the next volume.

In this first volume "Rhythm, Bass Runs, and Fill Licks" you learn how to develop all of the basic skills you will need in order to become a solid rhythm player. This book is designed to teach you rhythm skills in a way that will thoroughly prepare you for Volume 2, which is titled, "Learning How To Solo: Carter Style and Beyond". Volume 3 will start to build your fiddle tune repertoire by providing you with melody-based versions of the most popular jam session tunes. Volume 4 will teach you how to become familiar with the entire fingerboard and understand how to use it to your advantage in creating interesting solos. Volume 5 "Improvisation and Style Studies" will explore improvisation and the styles and contributions of the flatpicking legends: Doc Watson, Clarence White, Tony Rice, Dan Crary, Norman Blake, and others. Volume 6 will provide you with advance arrangements of songs and tunes (arranged by Tim May). From there, Volumes addresses advanced rhythm theory and technique as it applies to bluegrass, fiddle tunes, folk music, acoustic rock, Western swing, big band swing, and jazz. Volume 8 is designed to teach you how to solo in the context of improvised jazz and swing music.

As you will learn in the first section of Volume 1, the flatpicking guitar style developed chronologically along a very clear line of sequential technical skills. In order to learn how to flatpick fiddle tunes like Doc Watson, the student needs to build a foundation similar to the foundation Doc built for himself before he started picking lead solos on fiddle tunes. The first two volumes of this course present the techniques and skills that were developed on the acoustic guitar during the 30s, 40s, and 50s "the pre-Doc Watson skills" the skills Doc acquired as part of building his own musical foundation. The remaining volume then continue to follow the chronological development of the style.