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An Introduction to Guitar Chord Melodies

Hello Guitar Students!

Since I'm the new guy on the block (here on ibreathemusic.com), I thought I would introduce you to what I teach: Guitar Chord Melodies.

A "Guitar Chord Melody" is a solo guitar arrangement similar to many classical guitar pieces. The term mainly applies to those who assemble songs with "idea" of using the melody and the chords together.

If you are able to play melodies on your guitar, have a good knowledge of chords, and can think "out of the box"... you can assemble your own chord melodies! My first chord melody was "Yesterday" by the Beatles. I knew the chords and could play the melody. Out of pure frustration of not having someone to play one of the parts with me, I tried to put them together myself. It worked! After that, well... I went crazy trying to put songs together. I ran into many obstacles, but I also had many breakthroughs. The end result has been a lot of songs I can play by myself... and a lot of fun!

When having a few chord melodies given to you (TAB and Notation), I found out (through my students) that it becomes easier to understand how these arrangements are put together. Then, "the mystery" no longer is a mystery... and becomes a challenge. The actual basic approach to making chord melodies is melody+chord... keep it simple! Adding the extra stuff comes in later. Patience is the key to this art. It can take a while before your chord melody will sound good. This is where many guitar players give up. The price is high... and the pay off is high.

I prefer to play chord melodies fingerstyle. Thus the TAB and Notation will be presented in that format. You can use a pick... you will just have to re-arrange some of the music.

This lesson is going to take you through an easy version of: "Afro Blue"
Miles Davis made this one popular..

Take a listen to a midi file playing it as written: "Click Here"

Now take a listen to me playing it with added improvisation: "Click Here"

Below are:

A Melody
(lead sheet)

Chord Diagrams
(for every measure to help you understand how it is put together)

A Complete Guitar Arrangement
(Chord Melody)

Try to get the "as written" part down first. Then try adding your own embellishments to it.


Peter Simms.


About the Author
Peter has been a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey Bay Area for the last 20 years. He played for Recording Studios, Big Bands, Top Forty Bands, Blues Bands, R&B Bands, Jazz Bands, Rock Bands, and Solo Guitar Instrumental Jazz. Now that he lives in Florida, he has concentrated on Solo Instrumental Guitar, and Guitar Education. For more about Peter check out his website at www.petersimms.com

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