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OldCrow
06-29-2008, 11:16 PM
Jim,

I am trying to learn a Gordon Lightfoot song, "If you could read my mind". All of the tabs I find are just arppegiated chords for accompaniment, no melody line as you have in your Fogelberg sample.

Here is the process I am using:

1. I started to pick out the melody and realised I needed to learn the first position scales for the key in order to find the notes on the fretboard.

2. Then, I started to learn the chords so I could find the melody notes in relation to the chord shapes.

3. I expect, then, to add the bass line since the bass will be pulled from those chords, as well.

My questions are:

1. On the bass line, am I looking at a bass note on the first and third notes in the measure? (4/4 time)?

2. Should I learn bass and melody and then fill in the other notes from the chords?

3. And, am I going about this correctly? LOL

Thanks,

OC

Jim.Deeming
06-30-2008, 01:35 AM
Oldcrow,

First, let me just say that as an instructor, it is extremely cool to hear you are trying to take a principal from one of my lessons and use it to go after a song you want to learn on your own. That, as they say, is what it's all about!

I'll try to answer your questions and then give you my impressions about that particular song after briefly checking it out online...

1. On the bass line, am I looking at a bass note on the first and third notes in the measure? (4/4 time)?
Yes. The reason you find all those tabs with arpeggiated chords is because that is the rolling, flowing feel of the original tune. But it does have a palpable emphasis on beats one and three, and that's where you'll want your thumb on a bass note. And it may or may not always fall into a perfect "alternating" bass pattern on any particular chord, for the reasons I'll talk about in the next question.

2. Should I learn bass and melody and then fill in the other notes from the chords?
There's not really a right or wrong here - you may make progress coming at this a different way than I do. But - for this song at least - my approach would be to focus on chords and melody first, and worry about bass last of all. The reason is, if you want this to be recognizable as the pretty tune it is without someone singing it, there is nothing more important than the melody. So Job One is to find a key and corresponding chords that provide you ready access to the melody - hopefully mostly on the first and second strings.
You may find that there will be times that the melody will force you into positions or chords that simply do not allow you to fret 100% of the chord and keep a perfect thumb pattern going. It took me years to learn this, but this is NOT A PROBLEM. If you stay in tempo, and do not lose the melody, it is perfectly acceptable (and even can appear as a deliberate change in dynamic) to briefly forsake chords and bass. You must not lose the melody, and the tempo has to stay true. Everything else is secondary.


3. And, am I going about this correctly? LOL
YES!!!!
You didn't mention what key you're working on. I found tab - probably the same ones you did - that have you play in the key of G, but capo'd on the second fret, making it actually the key of A - as in the original recording. For simple accompanyment to vocals, that's fine.
But when I tried to dissect the recorded version I have access to, I believe I hear two guitars in the intro. The predominant and "lower" sounding guitar is probably playing G with a 2nd fret capo. But there's another guitar doing a little high-note ditty right before the singing starts, and I believe that guitar is playing without a capo. Why? Because to my ears one of the notes it is playing is clearly an open first string E note. Can't do that with a capo on.
So it got me to wondering how accessible the melody would be, playing with A in first position. Turns out, I really like it there. I didn't finish it all out, but the readily accessible open 5th and 6th string bass notes that the key of A provides makes it sound really good to me. That's where I'd flesh out the rest of it.
Keep me posted how it goes for you!
Jim

OldCrow
06-30-2008, 02:29 AM
Thanks, Jim!!!

Yeah, my copy is in G with capo on second to match recording written in the instructions.

Key of A in open position here I come.

Cool!

OC

OldCrow
06-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Well, here is my first update:

I have printed music for this song that includes the melody line in traditional notation. I transcribed it into Guitar Pro (well, I got finished with the verse and stopped as I think that is a good chunk to start with).

I let GP transpose it up two half-steps to get Key of A in first position which worked out fine - everything is on the first four frets. (I set the guitar in GP up with capo at second fret as the music instructs and checked it against my effort at transposing and it is right on the money.)

Lowest notes on the melody line hit on the fourth string.

edit: corrected file to move up one octave

OC

mikehalliday
07-01-2008, 10:56 AM
I am inspired by this. It sounds like something I could actually do also! hmmmm

I learned this song a while a go BTW, the version I had was in Dropped D tuning. (the only alternate tuning I will use as I am too lazy for anything else ;-) I just learned the arpeggios as an accompaniment.

I may have to think about a song in this vein that I could try …Thanks for the inspiration ;-D

OldCrow
07-01-2008, 12:34 PM
If i get it sorted out, Mike I'll give you the tab...:)

OC

mikehalliday
07-01-2008, 04:23 PM
THANKS DUDE< Hopefully someday I will be able to return the favor....hmm perhaps we should add a file share to facilitate this sort of sharing to the "what do YOU want" thread.....
http://www.jamplay.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2281

OldCrow
07-03-2008, 03:30 PM
Well, I am stumped at the moment...

Following the example of th fogelberg sample it looks like I need to pick the melody line around the chord shape and position. Haven't been able to sort that out for this one.

OC

Jim.Deeming
07-07-2008, 02:42 PM
Keep in mind that you are working around the chord "shape", but that does not mean you have to keep the entire chord fretted AND play the melody. Dabble a bit with cheating - only finger a part of the chord.

The beauty of the key of A and 5th position chords is that you can let go of many parts of the A, D and E chords up there and the open strings work just fine. This gives you mobility to reach for melody or harmony notes.

When I get to film again, I'll treat this one as a Q&A video and show you a little bit of what I came up with so you can see what I mean.

Jim

OldCrow
07-09-2008, 07:25 AM
Thanks, Jim. I am buried at work at the moment so I won't be touching this again for several days.

OC

Jim.Deeming
07-09-2008, 01:03 PM
Thanks, Jim. I am buried at work at the moment so I won't be touching this again for several days.

OC

Aha. Now we get to the root of the problem. Letting work take precedence over picking.

Solution: Take a guitar to work. I keep one out in my truck almost all the time and hit it on lunch breaks whenever possible. It's my old beater Washburn that doesn't mind the heat, or cold, or banging around.

OldCrow
07-09-2008, 04:36 PM
Honestly, the Alvarez Folk guitar is in the room where we have our IT equipment at this very moment. I have a chair and guitar stand and metronome in there with it. That is where it lives during the week. I visit it during lunch.

OC

mikehalliday
07-09-2008, 06:18 PM
My method on this is to have a solid body electric in my office. NO Amp. I can noodle around during conference calls and it is quiet enogh that no one is the wiser ;-)




Honestly, the Alvarez Folk guitar is in the room where we have our IT equipment at this very moment. I have a chair and guitar stand and metronome in there with it. That is where it lives during the week. I visit it during lunch.

OC