Tag Archives: guitar

Backstage with guitar legend Mark Stewart and Guitar Mash director – “Jamming is a sequence of happy accidents”

Are you going to the Guitar Mash this Sunday in New York? According to Mark Stewart – who is the artistic director of the event – jamming together is the magic we are born to experience. And we believe him! Mark is after all a multi-instrumentalist with years of experience.

He has worked with numerous artists like Simon and Garfunkel, Philip Glass, David Byrne, Bob Dylan, and many more. We had the pleasure to ask him a few questions about jamming, playing the guitar and his craziest backstage moment.

Do you remember the first time you picked up a guitar?

I was nine. Mom brought home a Spanish-style nylon-string guitar. It’s the smell I remember. She still has that guitar, we’re now 48 years later. When I visit her, I play and smell with my nine-year-old brain.

Can you explain the magic of jamming?

It’s a sequence of happy accidents and real surprises. You can call it magic. You can see it as math, or the sum of the parts. But it’s always great.

What’s the most rewarding thing about organizing events like Guitar Mash?

Community music making is ancient stuff. It is one of the perfect on-board apps humans are born with, and – if you ask me – born for. We have precious few opportunities to jam together. So, we are malnourished these days. With Guitar Mash we set the table and invite folks to it.

The inaugural Guitar Mash concert + jam on November 11, 2012 at City Winery in New York City.

What are three of the coolest riffs you’ve ever played on a six string?

Too many to say. And – if you are paying attention – a new one says “howdy do” every day!

After all these years of playing, do you still think you can keep on learning?

Of course! It’s the same as the riffs. There is always something new that can pop up.  And, of course, I am always thrilled to discover new approaches to sound making and the organizing of those sounds. Be it a young composer or an old master. Each discovery asks the question: “You wanna join in?” Well … do you?

How many hours a day do you spend playing the guitar?

It depends entirely on the day and what’s going on. Performing on the road I would say that I play between two and five hours. Days that I’m working in the studio I guess I’m spending between one and eight hours playing.

When I’m at home practicing new music I can do that around five hours. But when I’m at home without new music to learn I would say that jamming one or two hours is the max. I also spend lots of time making sounds with other instruments and sound makers.

Who is your guitar hero and why?

My cousin Cappy. He was the first guy I saw just playing and taking everyone with him as he did. It was the generosity that knocked me out. And the guitar was his vehicle. 

If you had to choose three chords, which chords would that be?

EmAm and C. These are the first three chords my mom taught me.

What is your craziest backstage moment?

Flashing Jamey Haddad backstage just as we were walking out to play in front of the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. He had dared suggest that I was not “properly attired” under my Stewart tartan kilt. I showed him otherwise. He could hardly play the first tune of “Bridge Over Troubled Water“, he was laughing so hard.

What is your guilty pleasure? Don’t be shy, and tell us even if it’s Britney Spears. Mine is “Heartbeat” by Don Johnson.

BreadDavid Gates & Bread. Always dug em.

Unleash the power of the Ebm – chord of the week

This week’s chord of the week is Ebm. As we’ll see, it’s a triad that lends itself perfectly for raw and powerful songs. Not so long ago we treated this chord’s big brother; the Eb. We learned that the Eb is a just an E played on a guitar that’s tuned down a semitone. This also applies to the Ebm.

Let’s start at the beginning. The scale of the key Ebm consists of the notes Eb, Fb, Gb, AbBb, Cb, Db. We can’t emphasize enough that one chords can be viewed two ways. A Ebm is a lowered Em, but at the same time it’s a higher Dm, so a D#m. Whatever we call it, the tone is the same.

Count Your Blessings – Mattiel

Okay, all theory aside, now it’s time for the fun part. “Count Your Blessings“, because now you can play along. And it’s not just any song, but one that we get very enthusiastic about. We spoke with diva Mattiel during the Dutch music festival TakeRoot, and she told us that her favorite chords are the E, G, and Dm. Is that also the case on this track?

Looking at the chord progression we can conclude that it’s not made up of her favorite chords. The three most important grips are Ebm, Dd, and B. Keep in mind thought that her guitarist is playing on a down-tuned guitar. Suddenly we see that the finger placements are the same as the Em, D, and C. Ha! There are those favorite chords.

Beat It – Michael Jackson 

The classic song “Beat It” from the King of Pop isn’t considered an obvious song for beginning guitarists. Eddie van Halen’s solo is not only phenomenal, but also imbues the listener with a feeling of unachievable genius. Well, that’s not totally true.

The most important songs of this composition are Db, Ebm, and B. Yup, only three chords. So, there’s a simplicity in this genius. What are you waiting for? Jam along!

This is America – Childish Gambino 

This controversial track by Childish Gambino is a mishmash of classic riffs and phat hip-hop beats. It is not a song that you start playing while visiting your grandma, but at an outing with your hipster friends, it’s a bull’s-eye throw.

The chord progression of this track very straightforward. It’s all about the Ebm, Gm, and the F. Now and then a C or Dm is thrown in the mix, but it’s mainly about the aforementioned triplet. Try it out yourself! Is singing along proving difficult? Ask you friend, sister or brother to jam along with you!

God is a Woman – Ariana Grande

What if you find out “God is a Woman”? Ever thought about that? Ariana did. And she’s not horsing around. This track isn’t just a nice addition to your autumn jam, but it’s also great for developing your skills. It teaches you how to convert a three-chord song into a four-chord song by incorporating an extra low note.

This song is for the advanced guitarist. If you look closely at the chord progression then you’ll see that it has notations such as Db/B and Dbm/Eb. This just means that there’s an extra base note inserted. For instance, if you play a Db chord and you place an extra finger on the B (which you’ll find at the second position on the A string). It’s not that hard, just give it a go! Happy jamming.

Backstage with upcoming star Mattiel

After an intense performance at TakeRoot festival at the Dutch venue De Oosterpoort, we had the pleasure of talking to upcoming diva Mattiel. With her raw voice and killer sound, she really knows how to mesmerize the crowd.

Right after the show, we walk up to the merchandise stand to see if we can talk to the woman behind the hits “Bye Bye,”  “Whites of Their Eyes,” and “Count Your Blessings.” Mattiel is in a hurry. Fans are piling up in front of the merch stand to catch a glimpse of the star, complimenting her from all angles and asking for a signature. Yet, in this chaos, Mattiel politely finds time to talk to us. 

Mattiel, when did your musical journey start?

It started out in middle school. I joined the school orchestra and played the French horn for a while. After that, I picked up a guitar and played that for a couple of years.

The French horn? That’s not your average instrument.

No, it’s not, but I had to play. I wasn’t really good at it, but the school orchestra was mandatory, so I didn’t really have a choice back then.

Why did you quit playing guitar?

My parents couldn’t afford my lessons anymore at one point. It was a pity, but that’s the way it was. So that’s why I don’t really play any instruments, even though I have some knowledge about them of course.

Even though you don’t play guitar anymore, you must have had some chords that you preferred to play, right?

Yes, I did and I still have by the way. It’s the E, the C, and the Dm. These chords have a nice and colorful sound. I like to use them a lot.

You really rocked the crowd tonight. Do you get nervous before going on stage? 

Not as much as I used to. Tonight was okay, but sometimes I can get pretty nervous. Especially when I have to open for someone I really admire and who influenced me. For example, when I did the Jack White tour I was throwing up little puddles backstage on multiple occasions before going on. But in time it gets better.

What’s your craziest backstage moment?

Well, I think that was also on the Jack White tour. Jack invited me spontaneously to do a duet with him in St. Louis, Missouri. We sang “Pretty Good Looking (for a Girl)” together. This all happened so spontaneously that, when he asked me backstage, my heart started pounding.

We looked at each other and rehearsed the melody really quickly. Then we went straight on the stage, did the song and it went perfectly. That was a crazy moment on and off stage.

What’s your golden advice for beginning musicians?

Don’t listen too much to what other people are saying. Play a lot and spend a lot of time alone. Alone time is good for the creative mind.

Foto by Knelis made at TakeRoot in De Oosterpoort. Did you miss Mattiel at Take Root? No worries, check her tour dates here. 

Bbm the ideal sound for all your autumn jams – chord of the week

What’s lower than a B chord? Bb minor of course. Low, melancholic, and robust – a perfect fit for the drizzly vibes. We’ve selected some colorful tracks that will go well with your autumn leaf collection. Time to adjust your setlist to the darker days.

Let’s start with the basics. The Bb minor scale consists of the notes Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb, and Ab. We can expect these to pop up in the compositions written in Bb minor key. Go through the chords to loosen your fingers and to get acquainted with their positions on the neck.

When I’m Gone – Eminem

When I’m Gone” by Eminem is a surprise for every jam. It’s a sensitive song about family and being a father. It’s actually a very straightforward hip-hop song, but playing it on guitar or piano will release its poppy core.

The chord progression is suited for both the beginner and the more advanced guitarist, because the most important chords are Gb, Ab, and Bb, with a detour via Fm. Playing tip: tune your instrument to an Eb tuning.

This way you can play the flattened chords (those that are noted with a b) at more familiar positions. So, a Bb is B finger placement, an Ab is an A grip, et cetera.

Water Me – FKA Twigs

And now that we’re on the subject of adding surprising tracks to your jam. No one will see “Water Me” by FKA Twigs coming. This alternative pop song is sad and a bit of a challenge.

Pay attention to the count and the rhythm. The chord scheme consists of Gb, Db, Bbm, and Ab, with some detours via Ebm and Bbm7. Playing tip: use the transpose function to lower the chords a semitone, this will make the chord progression look more familiar.

Boo’d Up – Ella Mai

This next song is one for the lovers of minor chords, Billboard charts banger “Boo’d Up” by Ella Mai. This R&B track is a good variation on the songs that came before. It’s still comfortably melancholic, but it has a sparkle of hope.

The chord progression isn’t very difficult. Again, don’t let names like Gbm7 scare you, but just look at the finger placement. You’ll see that it’s only a variation on the Gb where the octave finger is placed a semitone lower.

Samurai Champloo – Shiki No Uta

But, enough sober songs. It’s time for one of the most colorful styles within pop music to take over: Asian Pop. For instance, the opening track of the series “Samurai Champloo” by Shiki No Uta. Do you want to make your nerd friends jealous? Jam along to this track.

The chord scheme mainly consists of three grips: Ebm7, Fm7, and Bbm7. We’ve touched on this before, the m7 chords revolve around the art of omitting. So don’t be scared about the names, but just try it out. The lyrics may take a bit longer to learn. Enjoy and happy jamming!  

Groove away with G#m – chord of the week

Oh yes, we’ve safely arrived at the more obscure-looking chords. At first sight, the G#m, also known as Abm, sounds a bit evil, like some aberration crawling out of the depths of hell. We soon find out that this isn’t the case at all when we take a look at the groovy tracks that have this chords in their composition.

It’s important to keep in mind that the shape of this chord (with a barre on the fourth fret) can be moved up and down the neck of your guitar. For example, played on the first fret this same shape is an F minor chord and played without barre this is an Em. The G#m is what you get when you place this shape on the fourth fret. So it’s not obscure at all!

The scale of the G#m consists of the notes G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E, and F#. These are the notes that fit perfectly in compositions written in the G#m. It won’t come as a surprise then, that these notes are recurrent in the songs that we’ve listed below. 

Sing – Ed Sheeran

Let’s start with an all-time favorite, “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. Would you expect the song to consist of only two chords? No? Well, it does. But the blazing beat and on-the-mark vocal lines make you want to dance your socks off.  

Looking more closely at the track, we’ll see that the G#m7 and C#m7 are the only chords that Ed plays. While longer in notation, these chords are easy to play, you just lift up your fourth finger (pinky) from the D string. The same goes for the C#m7, just lift up your pinky. That’s all, now grab your guitar and play along!

Barbie Dreams – Nicki Minaj

Did you have Barbie dolls growing up? And did you dream about them? Well, Nicki does. And she sings about it. “Barbie Dreams” is a rough-rider track served up with a funky sauce of oldskool hip-hop influences.  

The chord progression consists of the G#m, E, Em, Dm, A, and F. In other words: a lot of basic triads. There’s an extra challenge on offer with this song; when you’re done practicing the chords, you can start on the riff that’s woven through them.

Never Recover – Lil’ Baby, Gunna and Drake

Still bouncin’ on those funky hip-hop vibes from Nicki? Good! ‘Cause there’s more where that came from. “Never Recover” by Lil’ Baby, Gunna, and Drake has been rockin’ the Billboard charts. Not without reason, because this song has a phat beat and three rappers that are mc-ing so tight that there’s hardly a pause for breath.  

“Is this a song for guitar?” Good question. And, yes it can be quite a challenge to incorporate this in your jam. No one will expect you to play this in your jam. Especially when you’re out for a tea at your grandma’s. What’s even better, it’s easier than you think. The chord progression revolves around the G#m and the D#m, with some excursions to the G# and the D#.          

Call Out My Name – The Weeknd

Did we mention that G#m is a groovy badass? No? Well, now we did. We’re staying in the hip-hop and soul corridors with this track, “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd. This song starts out as a nineties R&B banger, but quickly changes to a hard-hitting soul track after the first chorus.

This twist is so surprising and heavy that you can totally lose sight of the chord progression. But actually, it stays the same throughout the song, alternating between the G#m, and the D#m. “Two chords again?” That’s right, so pick up your guitar and play along. Happy jamming! 

Check out the new Chordify app for Android!

This just got in! The new Chordify app for Android is out! “Wait, what? Didn’t you guys have an Android app already?” Yes, you’re right. But this is an even newer version with many extras and adjustments. Now you can learn to make music even more efficiently while enjoying all the comforts.

What’s new about the Chordify app? That’s what we’re going to tell you in detail. Buckle up, because it’s quite a lot.

Soundcloud

Can’t find the singer-songwriter you recently heard playing in the pub on Spotify but did they upload their songs to Soundcloud? No problem, just look up the songs in Soundcloud and play them via the Chordify app! Use the Android app to play along with tracks from your favorite artists on Soundcloud. 

Do you happen to be that artist? This is your chance! Promote your work and make sure people learn to play your music via the Chordify app. The more followers playing your tracks, the bigger your fan club gets. So don’t let this opportunity pass you by and install the Chordify Android app to use this new feature.

Tracks Upload

In the Chordify iOS app, you can upload new tracks in your app and play along with them. At the moment, the Chordify application for Android works a bit different. When you upload songs to your Library via your account on your pc or Mac, you can play along via the app. That’s really nice because it couldn’t be done before!

Metronome and Chord Playback

Of course it’s great if you get all the chords with your favorite track, but of course you also want to know in what kind of rhythm and at what tempo you have to play them. Instead of guessing, you can now simply turn on the metronome tool. It clearly shows when you have to strike which chord. In addition, with the chord playback function you can now also hear how this chord sounds.

Click on a triad and watch what happens. You hear a clear representation of the chord. For example the G. Very handy if it goes too fast, or you can’t hear clearly what kind of chord is being played because of the sound effects that are used. If you still can’t hear it right, we also added a volume control for both metronome and chord playback. Now you can turn the loudness of the song down and one of the tools up. Pretty handy.

Transpose songs

Sometimes you have songs that sound very easy and then suddenly you see all these Bb, F# and Abm chords in front of you in the app. What do you do? Often this is due to the tuning of the guitar in the song. When a track is in Eb, it means that the band is tuned one semitone lower. Something that happens a lot in grunge and metal tracks.This can be easily solved with the transpose tool. You can see in which key a song is written and you can transpose tones up or down. Do this until you find a chord progression that is convenient to you.

Capo

Another thing you can do when a song is written in a key that you find difficult is to use the capo tool. The capo is a clamp with which you flatten all strings in a certain position. What you actually do is shift the ridge (top of the guitar neck). By applying the capo- or the transpose tool you keep the intervals between the chords, while you have a more accessible chord progression. Try it out for yourself on the new app, don’t forget to place your real-life capo after you’ve found a good position for it.

Faster, slower or in a loop? Whatever you want!

Imagine you are playing along with a song and suddenly everything is going so fast that you feel overwhelmed. No problem! In the new app, you can speed up or slow down the track. Once you have mastered the chord progression, but you still need some practice turn on the loop tool. The loop tool helps you rehears a specific part of a track. This allows you to set the number of bars you want to repeat. Very handy if you want to learn a song part by part. First you play the verse ten times in a row and then you go to the chorus and the bridge. Whatever you want, it’s all possible with this new function.

Sheet music as it should be

Are you going to a cabin in the woods for the weekend where there is no wifi, or are you just old school? It doesn’t matter, because with the export tool you can simply download the chords of your favourite songs in PDF files. So you can read them from all your devices without having to log on to internet, or you can just print them out. Can it be any easier? Probably not. Download the new Android app here – Happy jamming!

Eb is a rocker’s best friend – chord of the week

Eb is a rocker’s best friend. Want to know why? Well, it’s quite simple actually. In the past, a great many rockers were men and men don’t have very high voices. So to be able to sing along in tune, without damaging their vocal cords, they tuned their guitars down a half step. And what happens if you drop a semitone in E tuning? Yup, your guitar is tuned in Eb instead of E.  The scale of the key Eb – or the D# depending on how you look at it – consists of the Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, and D. These are the notes that make up the chord forms and progressions of songs written in Eb. Now here’s the fun part: when you tune your guitar in Eb the sound is lower, but you can still use the fingering of the chords as if it were in E. Use the Chordify transpose tool to do so.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix

When you think of a rock legend, you think of Jimi Hendrix. The man whose influence on the genre  can still be heard today. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is one of his gems. Listening to the song feels like being sent on a music-induced trip by a friendly wizard. https://youtu.be/IZBlqcbpmxY When we look at the chord progression we notice that it’s quite basic. If you’ve already tuned your guitar one semitone lower (to Eb) you can use Chordify’s transpose function and convert the song to E. Since your guitar is in Eb the chord grips are the same.

1979 –  The Smashing Pumpkins 

“Voodoo Child” is a classic and of course very cool to play along with, but rock has also evolved since then. In the ’90s bands like The Smashing Pumpkins broke through to the mainstream. In the song “1979” frontman Billy Corgan looks back on his youth. The track won an MTV Video Music Award in 1996 and was voted best Smashing Pumpkins song ever in 2012. https://youtu.be/4aeETEoNfOg Transpose the chord progression to E again and watch how the triads get a lot more familiar. Do you still have your guitar in a normal E tuning? Then don’t transpose anything and challenge yourself. The song consists of about seven chords, some more difficult than others.

Chop Suey! – System of a Down

Remember when “Chop Suey!” was released by System of a Down? Maybe you do or maybe you just weren’t born yet. But still, it was quite a happening. This is one of the first hard-rock tracks with a successfully applied touch of Armenian folklore. In 2002 the song was nominated for a Grammy. “Chop Suey!” is the epitome of a System of a Down song, and its signature sound that has kept listeners enthralled over the years. https://youtu.be/CSvFpBOe8eY This is perhaps the only song in this list where the chords seem somewhat familiar, in standard tuning. So tune your guitar to E (you can use Karang for this) and watch how the chord progression develops. In this song the strumming is very important. You’ll have to hold some chords for a long time, which might seem easy. However, if you don’t play it tightly, the soul goes out the window and the whole track with it. Therefore practice your wrist and keep up with the rhythm of the song.

Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Rock ‘n’ roll is not only made by men. Thank God. But it is kind of hard to find girl rockers singing in the key of Eb. “Valerie” is a great example of a song where this does happen. We’re talking about Amy Winehouse’s hit version, which is actually a cover of a song by the Zutons. https://youtu.be/d_EADBnXjXc After playing System of a Down you can tune your guitar back to Eb. Ready? Great! Now transpose the chords from Valerie to E. What you see is a sequence of some jazzy chords. Don’t be scared. The Emaj7 and B7 aren’t your common triads, but it’s good to practice them. Looking a bit closer at the F#maj7 and the G#m, you can maybe see a possibility to simplify them to power chords. Do you like to rock hard? Then play some power chords. Do you like a challenge? Then take the original Eb chord progression. Whatever you do, go for it. Enjoy and happy jamming!

C# or Db? Who cares as long as you can jam to it!

We have discussed almost all the basic chords in this section. Time to highlight the more advanced triads. This week the spotlight will be on the C#, also known as the Db. Now, why is that so? We’ll give you an explanation below. Follow our Instagram for more Chordify awesomeness!

The scale of C# consists of the notes C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, and B#. Its enharmonic equivalent is the Db scale, which consists of Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, and C. I can hear you thinking: “Enharmonic what?”

Don’t be scared. This is just saying that an interval, note or chord can have different names while sounding the same. It’s all a matter of perspective. Do you flatten the D, or do you sharpen the C? The tone remains the same.

Ready or Not – Fugees

Enthralling, isn’t it, music theory? But it’s definitely not as much fun as jamming. “Ready or Not” we’re moving on to the next section: the part where you play along. First of all, let’s get this straight, they don’t make songs like this anymore. Wyclef Jean’s slick guitar parts and soothing melodies, intertwining with a thick beat; ah, the good old ’90’s!

The song itself is not that difficult for the advanced beginner. It mainly consists of barre chords, and they’re less hard to play than their names might suggest. For example, the Bbm is just a lowered Bm finger placement. The Ebm is, as you can probably guess by now, the same grip as the barre chord Em on the seventh position, only now played on the sixth fret. For the beginner, we recommend using the Chordify capo function on the first fret.

Red Red Wine – UB40

And now that we’re reminiscing about the past; let’s talk about UB40’s “Red Red Wine“, which takes us back almost four decades. Fun fact: did you know that UB40 covered this song from Neil Diamond? His version, however, is a lot darker than the cheerful approach of the British boys.

The chord progression of this song looks very much like a standard sequence of triads. The difference is that all the chords you see are played one semitone lower. You can solve this by using the capo function, placing it on the first fret, by transposing the song to D using the transpose function, or by playing around on the guitar neck and trying to solve this difference of a semitone with barre chords.

Holding On – War on Drugs

Playing along with all those evergreens is nice, but you also have to keep your setlist a bit up to date. The War on Drugs is a band that has been very successful with their indie rock in recent years. The track “Holding On” provides a broad spectrum of chords and is a good opportunity to practice quick finger work.

If you’re a beginner you can put the capo on the first fret to make the chord progression more accessible – as goes for all songs in the article. If you don’t, a good training in barre triads awaits you. Remember that it is not a matter of either/or, but a case of and/and. You can easily play the track in D for an audience, but practice it in Db for training’s sake.

She – Elvis Costello

It’s not February yet, but that gives you enough time to practice the song “She” by Elvis Costello for Valentine’s Day. The “Nothing Hill” soundtrack may be an old one, but it remains striking. Just like true love.

Although the track sounds nice and laid back the chord progression is far from a walk in the park. It is a succession of triads at fast pace. Good for the advanced guitarist or pianist. Because after all, you can also use Chordify for your keys from time to time.

You and Your Blues – Van Halen

We wrap up this chord of the week with some rock vibes. One of the biggest rock legends is, of course, Eddie Van Halen. In “You and Your Blues” you get a quick course in basic chords and how to use them in a rock song.

Don’t let the blues get to you even though the chord progression is a bit fast. If you’re a beginner, transpose the track to D or just try to practice some unusual grips like Gbm and Bbm. Whatever you do, do it with a smile. Happy jamming!

In case you didn’t know, the G minor is always there for you – chord of the week

From the Beatles to Damien Marley everyone loves the G minor (Gm). This chord of the week is a cherishable barre, and its sound lends itself to every genre. Want to see more Chordify awesomeness? Follow us on Instagram.

First, let’s take a look at the Gm scale. This will give us an insight into which tones go well with our chord of the week. In this case, these are the G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F. These tones are fundamental tones that form the basis for variations on chords that result from them, so we can get a picture of what awaits us.

Welcome to Jamrock – Damien Marley

Welcome to Jamrock” is Damien Marley’s breakthrough. The son of the great reggae star certainly sticks to his roots but gives it his own spin. He developed a style that’s a beautiful crossover between reggae and hip-hop.

What remains characteristic of the Jamaican style is the simplicity of the chord scheme. This song mainly consists of the Gm, the D, and the Bb. Try it out and throw it in a spontaneous jam. Pay attention to the attack of your strum.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd

The song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a suite in pop music, which means the structure of the track is reminiscent of a classical piece. The song is about Syd Barrett, a band member who was expelled, because of his drug problems. The song is drenched in melancholy and love.

The intro is made up of a subtle guitar solo accompanied by keyboards. In it, the Gm, Dm, and Cm play the leading role. The second part of the song is dominated by the Bb, F, G, and E. Overall, the track is quite clear and even recommended for the beginning guitarist. If only to get a feeling for barre chords.

Bone Dry – EELS

The track “Bone Dry” by the Los Angeles-based band Eels takes you on a journey through the scale of Gm. The song largely consists of a long riff that descents along the scale through F, Eb, Dm, Bb, Cm, and Gm.

The advantage of this track is that both advanced beginners and newbies can practice switching grips at a manageable pace. Moreover, this song is a nice addition to your setlist. Let your audience sing along with the bitter “shalalaa”.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles

We will end this week with another classic. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is one of the few Beatles songs written by George Harrison. It is a melancholic blues with a topping of pop.

Don’t be surprised when you see chords like C/E or Gm/F. The second note is an extra bass tone. So a C with an E in the bass, or a Gm with an F as the lowest tone. The rest of the chord scheme speaks for itself. The song is full of basic chords like Em, Bm, G, C, D, and F. In other words: the ideal exercise during your weekend. Happy jamming!

Hip-hop, blues rock you name it and the C minor’s got it – chord of the week

This week we tune into the C minor. Wait, there no reason to be sad. Minor is not always a synonym for tearjerkers and sad songs, on the contrary. From hip-hop to blues and pop, our chord of the week fits everywhere – and everywhere in between. It’s an honor, and a real pleasure to present to you: the C minor (Cm).

Our chord of the week is – not surprisingly – build up out of notes from the Cm scale, which consists of C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, and Bb. You might recall, from other blog posts, that the notes from a scale often appear as chords in compositions. But enough theory. Time for action!

Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin

Let’s start with a classic. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin is an example of a song in which blues and rock converge, and it’s written in Cm. The track is a nice crossover between seventies rock and the fertile ground from which this genre originated: the blues.

The song starts with a solo by Jimmy Page. The accompanying melody immediately covers the entire spectrum of the basic tones of the Cm scale – it passes through C, Eb, F, G, Ab – and variations thereupon, that follow each other in quick succession. As such, this song is a good exercise for the advanced beginner.

Skyfall – Adele

We all know the sweet soulful voice of Shirley Bassey that symbolizes the sound of the first Bond movies. ‘No diva can beat that’, you might say, although Adele will certainly come close with “Skyfall”.

The verse of “Skyfall” consists of Cm, F, Fm, Gm, and Ab. The chorus is extended with a D and an Eb. Don’t be put off by the fast succession of chords, rather make it easy for yourself by cutting the song into pieces. First practice only the verse, and then only the chorus. Use the loop function for this. This way you don’t have to rewind each time.

Rich Bitch – Die Antwoord

We promised you pop and hip-hop, and if we promise something, we deliver on it. Die Antwoord is one of the most controversial hip-hop acts of the moment, and this South African duo is anything but boring, as we can hear in the track “Rich Bitch.

This song is suitable for the beginner who is up for an experiment. The chord scheme is not very difficult since it only consists of two triads: Cm and Fm. Diversions to Gm and D are good for some variation. Play this song in a jam and see if your audience recognizes it.

Africa – Weezer

“Rich Bitch” may not fly at your grandmother’s birthday party, but you can lighten the mood with this classic song in a new look. Weezer made a quite literal cover of the Toto song “Africa“. The track is exactly the same as the original, with the only difference that it is set in Cm instead of C#m.

This track is a challenge, even for the advanced guitarist. If you thought “Since I’ve Been Loving You” has a fast chord progression, then the pace at which the triads in this song follow each other may feel like warp speed. Of course, nothing is impossible. Use the loop function and cut the song into pieces, it will become much easier to comprehend. Happy jamming!