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Thread: in tune or out

  1. #1
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    in tune or out

    Ok here's one for you all out there. I'm really new to electric guitar this is about the seventh week of playing or trying to. Something that is frustrating me at the moment amongst other things is that sometimes the chords i'm playing sound pretty much in tune and at other times they sound out of tune. Is this because i'm just a pure novice or am i doing something wrong? Is this just part and parcel of learning to play the guitar and the frustrations that go along with it.
    I know that learning to play is going to take time and believe me I could ask lots of questions at this early stage, but a little help and confidence building from some of you out there would sure go a long way. I'm sure most of you have been where i am now so you know how it feels.
    Also how do you get from playing individual chords to playing a series of chords that sound like a tune, .what i'm trying to say is how do you make the transition
    One other thing, i have pretty much normal sized fingers, not too fat and not too thin and yet i'm having trouble forming a B major chord (getting all three fingers underneath each other on the fifth fret). Has anyone else had this problem and will practice eventually overcome.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs down

    Hi Hispania .

    OK, first thing - make sure all the strings are properly in tune. Because if the top-E (say) is slightly out then some chords will sound seriously “off”. So just check that first.

    Next thing - some chords require that you play all 6 strings, others require that you only play the top 4 or 5 strings (ie omitting the low-E string). Some of those chords require that one or more strings is “deadened” by touching lightly with a spare fingertip. If you are accidentally hitting those unwanted strings then you’d be including notes that are not part of the chord at all, & of course that’s going to sound wrong.

    Some guys will not doubt start telling you to check the intonation at various points on the neck, ie suggesting that chords may sound OK in lower positions eg at 3rd fret, but may sound progressively “off” at higher positions eg around 10th fret. Whilst that’s true, it should not be a major problem if you’ve simply tuned the guitar fairly accurately in the first place. So I wouldn’t get too hung up on that possibility.

    The other thing is - when you first start playing (& often after many years of playing) it’s hard to form your fingers accurately into the correct chord shape. Hence it’s all too easy to find you’re not in fact sounding all the correct notes cleanly, eg some notes not pressed down fully & not really sounding at all, or other notes being fouled by the adjacent finger and thus not ringing clearly.

    Finally, some chords just sound “discordant”., eg most min7b5 chords. Other chords always sound great, eg simple open Emin chord or Cmaj. Here are a few nice sounding chords which are less common -



    Amin9 ...............Fadd9............Gmin7 .........G7(b5b9)

    ----7---------------3-------------3------------4----

    ----5---------------1-------------3------------2----

    ----5---------------2-------------3------------4----

    ----5---------------3-------------3------------3----

    ----x---------------x-------------x-------------x----

    ----5---------------x-------------3------------3----



    The root notes are shown red & the chords are movable anywhere on the neck - just shift each shape up or down to form a new chord named from wherever the root note falls, eg move the Gmin7 shape up so the root note is at 6th fret and that’s Bbmin7 (because 6th fret low-E string is note Bb) ... actually that’s a nice little two chord vamp, ie just going from Gmin7 to Bbmin7, back forth…you need to use your thumb on that chord to play the low E-string notes (also need thumb on Amin9).

    For a nice little chord progression, see what I said previously about the chord G7(b5b9) in the standard ii-V-I jazz progression - http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...ighlight=G7alt

    Ian.


  3. #3
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hispania
    Also how do you get from playing individual chords to playing a series of chords that sound like a tune, .what i'm trying to say is how do you make the transition
    You may want to start with diatonic chords.
    I C major; chords harmonized from the scale are:
    C Dm Em F G Am Bm7b5
    Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 Bm7b5

    any random combinations of this chords may sound correct (not necessarily musical).
    There is more, but for the beginning this may be enough.

  4. #4
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    Hello hispania,

    I used to have a similar problem with sounding out of tune, so here are some other ideas to your problem:
    beginners tend to press down on the string too hard, thus causing the string to slightly bend and go out of tune. just relax and press only as hard as you really have to to make the note ring out clearly. another possibility would be that you accidentally bend the strings, you might want to check yourself in a mirror since this is hard to see from above.
    Oh, and do you play with distortion? chords with more than 3 different notes tend to sound "dirty" or "muddy" with distortion...
    And the bajor will work better with practice, at least it did for me;-)
    Hope i could help you some,

    David

  5. #5
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    crossroads!! how dare you use color in these forums!! MODERATORS!! MODERATORS!!
    *hides in the blue grayish cloud he has come to know and love*

  6. #6
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    Yeah, it was bit extravagent those red bits huh? Well I couldn't think of another way to draw Hispania's attention to the root notes ... and as all the best guides say, whether it's chords or scales.. "make sure you know where those root notes are!" (ie just advice to new players like Hispania ... I know JazzMick & Laugingskull are fully aware of where all the roots are!) .

    Ian.

  7. #7
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    Thank's for the advice guys.

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