Guitar accompaniment

Guitar accompaniment

Does anybody know where I can get instruction for adding guitar runs between chords. Not talking about bass runs - but more for when I am accompanying myself in copyright songs. Some guitarists do it so easily, I can’t get my head around it!

Re: Guitar accompaniment

It seems to me that the closest thing in Irish traditional music would be to play melody and intersperse some appropriate chords along the way. In doing this, the guitar ‘runs’ would be actual sequences of the melody of the tune. Chords must be carefully chosen to fit the melody as in this music, in additional to major (ionian) and minor (aeolien) modes, other modes such as dorian and mixolydian are common. Good luck with your efforts.

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

Not sure exactly what you mean, magjam.
When accompanying songs, I wouldn’t ordinarily add guitar runs between chords but might add runs between vocal phrases. I would certainly think about the bassline and how it links the harmonic progression, but I wouldn’t want melodic runs competing with the vocal melody.
Perhaps you could provide us with some YouTube links to give us a better idea of what you’re after.

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Fine, MP1996, but I suspect that’s not the sort of song (or singing style) that floats magjam’s boat, being an old ballad rather than a copyrighted song.

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“Forget guitar!”
Really, because I really enjoyed Paul Brady on that clip? All 3 are brilliant.
This isn’t guitar either but it might be what you’re asking about, magjam. (?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0PcaAd6AKM

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

This clip below might be closer to what the OP is looking for, at least in the Irish song genre with guitar accompaniment. Although… showing clips of John Doyle is like answering the question “How do I play electric guitar?” and showing them clips of Jimi Hendrix.

Brief lines of melody connecting chords is not a beginner-level technique. You need to know your guitar fretboard inside out, and have either a good understanding of that from many years of playing, or at least some music theory about scales to play over chord movement as an entry point (i.e. that dreaded word in Irish trad… Jazz theory).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRAKhZHApaY

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“Brief lines of melody connecting chords is not a beginner-level technique.”
Maybe not on guitar but a beginner can absolutely connect melody & chords. It’s not [doesn’t need to be.] rocket surgery.

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Well, for me as a former, lapsed guitar player it’s still rocket surgery. 🙂

I played guitar for 30+ years before I ever got into Irish trad, mostly fingerstyle acoustic Blues and electric guitar Blues playing improvised solos. Also a little beginner Jazz but I didn’t get very far with that. I wasn’t ever a singer, just an instrumentalist so I may be speaking out of ignorance here. But I’m not sure that even with that background, I would find this easy to do if I suddenly wanted a career as a singer.

This is “chord melody” territory, generally considered an advanced technique on any instrument that can play both melody and chords.

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That’s so sad. Certainly it’s possible on many tunes, many songs. Perhaps not guitar. But on other instruments; what am I missing?

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

It’s a huge difference between an instrument playing only melody like whistle or flute, and an instrument like guitar where you’re working out of chord shapes as a backer.

With a linear melody instrument like flute, you’re always “in” the scale of the tune you’re playing. You shift to a different scale when the mode shifts, like going back and forth in a tune like Kid on the Mountain. So playing little connecting runs is easy.

With a chord-based backing instrument, you need to know enough about the corresponding scales for every single chord change that you’re moving between, to improvise those lines. It’s just the nature of the instrument. It’s why they’re aren’t many singer/guitarists who can do this smoothly. It takes years of practice either by ear until you “get it,” or else a deep dive into music theory.

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Must be a guitar thing. It’s not advanced on keyboard; it’s basic. I started playing music on piano and organ where chord & melody are played together from the beginning. I was surprised when a friend who plays mandolin told me he was learning about chord inversions (after several decades). Seriously?

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Did you ever improvise a melody line over chord changes on piano? That’s where the skill comes in.

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In general (i.e., apart from open strings), on guitar you need both hands to play a note. You can’t, apart from a few sneaky shapes, play close chord voicings or clusters (like EGAC) on guitar. Without using open strings, on guitar you are limited, at any one time, to a range of about two octaves and a third. On guitar you can’t play more than six notes at the same time but you can usually play individual notes in more than one place.

Otherwise, AB, guitar and piano are pretty much identical.

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Magjam, can you play a pentatonic scale? You can run about all over the neck with them. I didnt know what a pentatonic scale was until I was about 40 yrs old. Wish I’d known when I was 18! Coming 71 now and I still reckon it’s the best thing I ever learned. Thank you Roy Fulton! Best lesson you ever gave!
Alex.

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I’ve been taking DADGAD lessons with Deirdre Galway since the start of Covid. She has shown me a depth of technique for trad backing that I never knew existed. She’s the best instructor I’ve encountered to date. http://www.realtamusic.com/lessons/

Re: Guitar accompaniment

That’s great to hear, callison, but I’m not sure magjam is seeking advice on trad backing.

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@magjam: Can you be more specific? Perhaps post a video?

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Yes, magjam, please post an example.

“Did you ever improvise a melody line over chord changes on piano?”
Yes. It probably didn’t hurt that I grew up around a number of jazz keyboard players. I’m not a fantastic pianist but they were a definite influence in my learning my way around a keyboard.

I never picked up playing guitar. It seemed like most guitarists’ weren’t (I didn’t know many jazz guitar players) playing music the way my mentors were on keyboard. Alot of guitar music was rhythm or lead; not all but alot.

Sorry for the highjack.

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

@magjam

Did you ever listen to Bert Jansch?

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

//Does anybody know where I can get instruction for adding guitar runs between chords. Not talking about bass runs - but more for when I am accompanying myself in copyright songs. Some guitarists do it so easily, I can’t get my head around it!//

@magjam, that’s an almighty vague (though sincere) question. As others have noted above, with Youtube examples, there are many ways to do it. Ry Cooder (totally different genre) was an absolute master at this, and it was mostly well-placed simplicity, rather that anything fancy.

Perhaps if you could name a few songs we could get a better idea of some ideas to come up with.

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Yes the question is a little unclear. Knowing the tuning would also help. Although whatever tuning you are in it is handy to know both chords and scales even if your scales are pattern based and you have limited knowledge of music theory.

I’ll bring it back a step from advanced to intermediate. From a beginner p0int of view guitar is divided into rhythm and lead. You either play chords to accompany or you learn lead solos, or single note melodies, usually starting with the pentatonic scale. Putting the two together is one of the next steps depending on the style you want to follow. Using a pick you generally have to break away from the chord to do a melody run then go back to the chord. Fingerpicking gives you a few more options to keep the chord running and picking a melody along with it. More like using all fingers on the piano. Either way it’s best to go and find a guitar teacher and tell them what you want to learn how to do.

My only tip is to listen to recordings of the songs you are trying to play and work out any melody lines they are playing then try to work them in to your version. Easier said than done I know but the more you try the better you get.

A really good online learning site for any guitarist is Truefire. Once you download their free program most of the courses are US$50+ but there are some world class players on there giving lessons. Tommy Emmanuel, Laurence Juber, etc also Tony McManus has a DADGAD course. It can get a bit pricey but if you play the game and wait they have regularly have a run of $5 specials. Buy up big then. Granted it is mostly not in our style but all styles are good for learning technique. You can always adapt them back to your own.

Anyway, a hard question to answer without more information and without knowing what skill level you are currently at. Best bet is find somebody who can do what you want to do and get one on one with them.

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I really want to know what he or she actually means! 🙂

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I’m a very un-practiced guitar player, but I know the basics of chord accompaniment. I also get the idea of bass runs, which magjam brought up, from ages ago playing folk music.

I had the opportunity to take a guitar workshop from Matt Heaton, and he discussed chord voicings and the “game of inner thirds” (major-minor-minor-major-major, for example). I’m not doing justice to his instruction, but I found this very insightful for going beyond basic chord backing, and expanding on the idea of bass runs.

Matt is an exceptionally clear instructor… as evidenced by his ability to explain theory to me, a relative beginner.

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I’m with Jimi Limpet (above) on this. The thread was started a week ago and so far no respondent has really figured out what the OP actually wants to know - even though there are clearly several people who could possibly offer useful ideas. Is it about using different chord voicings to create textural variety? Or ‘cursive’ phrases that aren’t bass runs to join one chord to the next? And what tuning: DADGAD or EADGBE? Plectrum or finger picked? More details please, magjam.

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Having looked at the OP’s earlier posts and session listing I suspect that s/he is asking the question on the wrong site.

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Re: Guitar accompaniment

“Does anybody know where I can get instruction for adding guitar runs between chords. Not talking about bass runs - but more for when I am accompanying myself in copyright songs.”

The OP is looking for help doing singer/songwriter stuff. Not thesession.org stuff.

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Which is what I’ve been trying to stress (the irrelevance of all the DADGAD stuff, etc.), but I’m guessing the lack of response suggests either magjam doesn’t log in all that often or they have found answers elsewhere.