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Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?

SuperDave 26 Oct 18 - 02:08 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 18 - 02:54 PM
Johnny J 26 Oct 18 - 03:02 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 18 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Oct 18 - 03:31 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 26 Oct 18 - 04:02 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 18 - 04:16 PM
Stanron 26 Oct 18 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Oct 18 - 06:11 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 27 Oct 18 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Jerry 27 Oct 18 - 07:58 AM
SuperDave 28 Oct 18 - 09:49 AM
Stanron 28 Oct 18 - 11:13 AM
GUEST 28 Oct 18 - 12:39 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 18 - 12:44 PM
The Sandman 28 Oct 18 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Jerry 28 Oct 18 - 01:47 PM
Mooh 29 Oct 18 - 06:51 AM
leeneia 31 Oct 18 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Thumbpick 31 Oct 18 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 31 Oct 18 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Jerry 31 Oct 18 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Thumbpick 31 Oct 18 - 08:15 PM
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Subject: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: SuperDave
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 02:08 PM

I have noticed that most guitar chord diagrams (especially for A or Am chord) have an x on the bass E string, even if the treble E string is played open. This doesn't make any sense to me - they are both playing an E note.

Anyone have any ideas why this might be?


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 02:54 PM

Brexit.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Johnny J
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 03:02 PM

Dave,

Are you talking about diagrams in chord books etc or those provided for particular songs?

There may be a reason why the bottom string isn't played... e.g. in a particular arrangement of a song.

It's not something I've ever really noticed before otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 03:30 PM

So A is the first note.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 03:31 PM

Excellent question, Dave.

The reason is that playing the "fifth" as the lowest note of a chord, e.g. E for the A chords you mention, is considered awkward in most situations (second inversion), in particular at the end of a song. In some situations, however, it is tolerable, for example when followed by an E major chord in your case. But then the empty A string is best omitted, which is difficult if you are strumming through.

Guitar strummers are often unaware of the beauties of a consistent bass line and other subtleties of counterpoint, which is a bit of a shame. If you are lucky, you have a bass guitar or double bass "below" you.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 04:02 PM

Most chord diagrams assume the chord will be strummed using a downstroke. So, as Grishka says, the Low E as the bass note sounds awkward. But, and this is a big but, if you play that same A chord using an upstroke, that open low E sounds just fine as the final note. And if you fingerpick and incorporate the low E into picking patterns, it also sounds fine.

BTW, I've never had any problem with the sound of the low E as bass note in an A minor chord, just A major.

The usual disclaimers (YMMV etc.) may apply


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 04:16 PM

It may well be that the arrangers/composers of the music or diagrams simply prefer the chord to start with the tonic note - so the A string (rather than the E string) in the A chord - and the D string (rather than a lower A string) in the D chord.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Stanron
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 05:02 PM

It depends on what kind of guitar playing you want to do. If you are fingerpicking your chords can be quite precise and bass notes that work in one bar may need to be different in another.

When strumming what used to be called 'Rhythm Guitar' in a band, the bass notes are the province of the bass guitar and not all that critical for the guitarist.

If you are playing solo guitar with a pick and doing 'Dum Chick', ie bass note then chord, then again selecting specific bass notes makes sense.

It all depends.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 06:11 PM

OKAY.

So the chord A major has in it the notes A C# and E. If played with A as the lowest note, C# higher and E highest in steps of a third then this is called 'root position'. The tonic is 'at the bottom' in such chords. Put simply, if you put these notes in a different order or use bigger steps you get different inversions and voicings of that chord. These affect the sound.

My pet 'thing' is when people play the bottom E string with a D chord; it often sounds 'wrong'.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 06:23 AM

This issue is tangentially related to the problem with Open G "Spanish" tuning (DGDGBD). In other common open tunings (Open D, Open C) The lowest string is the tonic. When you want a bass note, just reach up and grab that open 6th string. But in Open G the lowest string is the 5th (D) and it doesn't always work as an appropriate bass note. So you have to learn to avoid it and play the 5th string (G) instead.

Dobro players nullify this issue by tuning GBDGBD, but that tuning requires special string gauges that can't be used for standard tuning without risking broken strings (or broken guitars). You pretty much need a dedicated guitar that you use for no other tunings.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 07:58 AM

With the common D chord shape, you have to fret the low F# with your thumb, unless the sixth string is already dropped to a D note. Even so, it is still a weak bass note, being the third of the scale, and best used sparingly.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: SuperDave
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 09:49 AM

I am usually doing some form of fingerpicking pattern (like Travis, Arpeggio or Carter Lick) with an alternating bass, so yes, as pointed out by several people, the bass E is not an appropriate note to start the A chord. But with that said, the thumb pick usually alternates between two strings, and the bass E is fine for the alternative thumb pick.

I brought this up because I noticed that, in chord books/sheets, the bass E is usually shown muted, even though the treble E is played open, and that seemed counter-intuitive to me.

If you use alternative bass picking and do NOT play the bass E in an A chord, you would most likely alternate between the fifth and fourth strings, and in an A chord, the fourth string would be playing (gasp!) an E - so it would seem to also make sense to start on 5 (A) and alternate to 6 (E). When I do this, it sounds just fine. So why do my chord diagrams seem to indicate that this is verboten?

Probably I'm just being picky (no pun intended), but isn't that - to some extent, at least - the privilege of the Mudcatter?


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Stanron
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 11:13 AM

Chord diagrams are for beginners. If you are doing Travis Picking I think it is safe to say you are not a beginner.

As well as alternating thumb there is double alternating thumb. On an A chord the thumb picks;

5th string, 4th string, 6th string, fourth string.

Perhaps that is what you were mentioning in your last post. If so you are definitely not a beginner.

Cheers

Stan.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 12:39 PM

When I was learning to play,
Songbooks were mainly for piano players,
and guitar chord boxesbincluded as an afterthought.
Usually completely wrong and crap sounding
when played along on guitar.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 12:44 PM

E.g. that bloody useless Beatles complete songbook we all bought.
Which sounded absolutely nothing like the records,
totally wrong key.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 01:35 PM

however the idea of not using all six strings at once is a key to progress, for example using c7 shape andnot playing six string on third fret d7 plus 9, on fifth fret e7 , also useful for b 7 shapes up and down fret board.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 01:47 PM

I think the point has been made here that the chord diagrams referred to are presumably meant to be first inversion chord shapes, with the main note being the lowest sounding one, and so the sixth string would be muted for the A (and also B bar chord) shapes. However, if you are picking rather than strumming you can safely ignore them, which are for rhythm players and not necessarily the chord shapes you would use when finger picking.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: Mooh
Date: 29 Oct 18 - 06:51 AM

My observation is that untrained ears often hear intervals of something less than an octave (like fourths, fifths, and sixths) played in the lowest octave of the guitar range as muddy and indistinct.

This is not to say that this is the reason that guitar chords are diagramed as they are, I think that's mostly because the makers of chord charts want to simplify chords with the root as the lowest pitch.

The trouble with some open chords having four strings (like the D major is most often shown) and others having six strings (like E minor) is getting the same volume dynamics from strumming them. It's a good argument for playing D major 200232 so that a consistent range and dynamic is available...assuming that's what's wanted. There are other examples excluded here for the sake of brevity.

I also prefer certain barre chords, B minor for example, diagrammed 224432 with an F# as the lowest note rather than X24432 because few people seem to be able to consistently miss the sixth string. Adding an indeliberate low open E to a B minor chord sounds like crap...even worse with a Bbm.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: leeneia
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 10:41 AM

SuperDave, where art thou?


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Thumbpick
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 03:45 PM

Thanks, Mooh, for rooting the discussion of inversions with correct terms. Root, Jerry, not main.   I like Eb 66504X
Continue …


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 03:45 PM

Eventually you will tune it to D for 99% of your songs and wonder what all the fuss was about.

The many “three chords are all you need!” books and websites dumb down a beautiful instrument. In fairness, it’s more to do with knowing where to begin a strum or picking phrase, as some of the diagrams acknowledge that beginners may think you have six strings therefore every string must be plucked.

The E as a bass pedal doesn’t really work for many “shapes” and if it wasn’t for the blues / rock playing in E, I’m sure it would be D as a standard.

Incidentally, I have always made use of my thumb. For simple first position chords, try it. If I am playing a D, I usually “thumb” F# etc. F for F if barre chords aren’t your thing. You mention Am. Pinky finger on the G.

A guitar is such a chromatic instrument in normal tuning, it’s a shame to be rigid. Experiment. If it sounds good, use it. A nerd like me may point out that’s be use it’s augmented, suspended or some other reason why it sounds nice but don’t get hung up.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 06:00 PM

Sorry, Thumbpick, yes I muddled my nomenclature (which must be illegal in some States), and Mooh and Some Bloke have explained it better than I did.


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Subject: RE: Chord Diagrams Exclude Bass E string?
From: GUEST,Thumbpick
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 08:15 PM

“Eschew obfuscation” & thumbs up to everything Some bloke said.
keep on picking
Thumbpick


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