Mar 7 2010

Common Chord Progressions and you…

by Josh

Over the last two months, I’ve been working on a lot of song practice.  Most recently, I have discovered the newest offering by one of my favorite bands: Barenaked Ladies.  For some reason, their new song “You Run Away” has burrowed into my brain and I have been listening to the single I purchased from iTunes frequently.

After some discussion with John, he pointed out that the guitar parts of this song are pretty easy.  I was somewhat skeptical, knowing that Ed Robertson’s guitarwork is on average far more advanced than what I would consider pretty easy, but I asked John to get me the chords for it anyway.  He quickly hit me back with details that as far as he could tell, the song used a capo on the 2nd fret and the chords were G, Dsus4/F#, Em7, and Cadd9.

That sounds like a mouthful, I thought… but I tried it out and quickly realized that these were the EXACT same chords that I use to play Eve, The Apple of my Eye.  I was but a few hours of strumming practice away from getting the pattern and with little effort I had another song in my repertoire!  John pointed out that this is one of the more common chord progressions in pop/rock music today and there is probably 100 more songs that follow the same pattern.  We’ve started work on a list that we will post up here, but it’s fun when skills from one song directly transfer to another!

Thanks to John for the chord tab and to Barenaked Ladies for a great song that inspired me to look deeper.  Their new album arrives in Canada on March 23rd and the US on March 30th, so be sure to check it out!


Jun 29 2009

Video Lesson: Bell X1’s “Pinball Machine”…

by Josh

This video lesson is brought to you by my cousin, John.  He has been waging an ongoing war against poor Internet tablature and put this video together at my request.

I had been working on Bell X1’s “Pinball Machine” today using this tablature and noticed that while the chords sounded close there was a lot more intricacy to the actual song.  I asked John what he thought about the tablature, and he put this video together in only 45 minutes to help me get straightened out!

I still have to work on the strum pattern and getting the changing fingers more natural, but this certainly helped me on my way.  I hope you all enjoy it!

John specializes in a service that helps aspiring musicians get the unique sound of popular acts.  He’s also darned good at working out simple guitar lessons and tablature as seen above.  If you would like to contact him, you can do so by emailing him at this address.


Jun 23 2009

Practice: Eve, The Apple of My Eye

by Josh

Tonight I decided to work on one of my favorite songs from a band most of you have probably never heard of: Bell X1.  Their song “Eve, The Apple of my Eye” has been featured in several shows in recent years, most noteably on Fox’s The O.C.  I’ve listened to this song a lot, which made it easier to practice with.  I have found that trend to remain true… if you can hear the song in your head as you’re working on it, it plays much easier.

Luckily, this song only appears to be around six chords all together (excerpted from the tablature, provided by Ultimate-Guitar.com) :

	   EADGBe
G	  (320033)
Dsus4/F#  (2x0233)
Em7	  (022033)
Cadd9	  (x32033)
C         (x32010)
D         (xx0232)

The C and D chords are used in the bridge only, which makes switching from the main song to the bridges easy. For the rest of the chords, I learned from my previous experience with Free Fallin’… it makes switching chords easy if you anchor the two fingers on the B and e strings while playing.  That makes it much easier to move just the index and middle finger to form the chords as the song progresses.


May 13 2009

Practice: Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty

by Josh

As I mentioned yesterday, I picked up the tab for Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty and gave it a shot.  Free Fallin’ is a song that is well suited to beginners like me because its only three chords and they’re very easy to switch between.

The song is comprised of a D chord, a Dsus chord, and an Asus chord.  The strum pattern is pretty easy to figure out if you listen to the song, and I learned an important lesson from this song: often, a finger or two will remain anchored and will not move as you move from chord to chord.  In the case of Free Fallin’, your ring finger will stay in the same spot on the B string.

You can see this by looking at the chords I listed above:

e|---2----3-----0---
B|---3----3-----3---
G|---2----2-----2---
D|---0----0-----2---
A|---x----x-----0---
E|---x----x-----x---
     D  Dsus  Asus

To move from the D to Dsus, simply add your fourth finger to the e string. To move from the D chord to the Asus chord, leave the ring finger where its at and then shift your index and ring fingers to the D and G string as indicated on the tablature above.  Anchor that ring finger and don’t let it move as you transition your chords, it really helps.

This is a very fun song to play and provides both chord switching practice and strumming practice. With a little work I think I can have this one down!