How to Link Guitar Chords using Scales

I’m sort of exaggerating … one million and one acoustic-singer-songwriter-folky-style songs (Neil Young Bob Dylan and all other artists in that territory).
:slight_smile:

Another suggestion - Donovan - Catch The Wind

1 Like

Hi @elenathanasiadou , the notes you use to connect the chords should be in the scale of the key that you are playing in, if possible. For C-G, the key is likely C major or G major and the connecting notes B, A are in both of those keys. For the Am-Dm change, I’m guessing the key is A minor, which contains the connecting notes, B and C.

Also, can someone explain what exactly is a chromatic scale?

The chromatic scale contains all 11 notes (e.g. C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, …) , i.e. all notes are just a semi-tone apart. When you play a few notes (usually 3 or more) in a row and all the notes are separated by just 1 semi-tone, that’s referred to as a chromatic run.

2 Likes

That makes sense, thanks a lot!

1 Like

Does that answer the question though? You’ve described how to join two major chords together, and two minor chords together; but Helen’s question was how do you link a major chord with a minor chord.

1 Like

I was using Justin’s examples to illustrate the concept of taking notes from a specific key.

In any case, I would say that what matters is the key you are playing in and the note choices should try to stay in the key, regardless of whether the chords are major or minor or one of each.

3 Likes

12 notes in the chromatic scale.

Connecting Major and minor chord is done by using the key of the song. For example C to Am notes from the C major scale.
Am to C notes from the Am scale. In this example the notes are the same.

3 Likes

Doh! Thanks for the correction.

1 Like

I think the quality of the chord (major, minor, dominant, sus, …) doesn’t really matter. The root note of the chords and the interval between them is important here, as well as the context (key).

Let’s say we’re in the key of G major and want to link the A minor chord with the D major chord. The notes B and C are the obvious choice because they’re in the G major scale and fit perfectly between both chords.

Likewise, you can perfectly link the D minor chord with the F major chord. There’s only one note (E) between these two chords, so we’ll have to use another approach here:

  • use a chromatic run: D minor, Eb note, E note, F major chord
  • step down using scale notes: D minor, A note, G note, F major chord

And feel free to experiment with other notes that belong to the key you’re in. Chances are some combinations will sound sound good / interesting. Or not - let your ear be your guide.

2 Likes

Thank you all for your input, it’s been very helpful!

1 Like

Everyone has provided good suggestion for linking chords. For myself, I have remembered Justin’s suggestion to play what sounds good to your ears. I’m sure most of the folk guitarists that first played this style of guitar were not thinking about theory, but just playing what sounded good. So I have played around with the linking notes, in the same approach as the chord explorer lesson. I have even found that you can sometimes get some cool note linkages by playing notes outside of the scale interval between the chords you are linking.

For example, going from G to C chords, you could play the 2 finger G chord with an up down strum, then play the E (4th string, 2nd fret) with your ring finger and then continue with the open 4th string D, then B (5th string) , back to open D (4th string), then the C chord strumming up and down a couple of times and linking notes B to D to go back to G chord again. It sounds a little melodic to my ears.

It occurred to me that this description is too hard to follow so here is a tab:

I realized that I was just using G major pentatonic notes to link the chords (also called E minor pentatonic that you have done in grade 2). After thinking some more, I realized that the Wish You Were Here riff in Grade 2 is just a series of E minor pentatonic notes linking the Wonderwall chords. So I thought why not make this linking exercise into a song. Not a great song :slight_smile: but it sounds like a song.

P.S. I saw the song writing lesson in Grade 2 module 11, so I know this is not a complete song, but more like a potential first verse. I guess I’ll have to pull out the dice to create a chorus :slight_smile:

1 Like

Toby,

I looked through the Grade 2 material and couldn’t specifically location the alternating bass line lesson by reading the descriptions of the lessons.

I had learned the alternating bass line technique from watching the song lesson videos. Early on in the Grade 1 song “I Walk the Line” , Justin demonstrates the alternating strum technique in the Strum 2 part of the lesson. He has demonstrated the technique in other song videos, including playing an alternating strum with the B7 Chord in one of the song lesson video.

1 Like

Thanks for hunting around Steve. I know it was not in the old BC, could not find it in the new Grades but like you had encountered it in many songs. Maybe he dreamt it up or thought yeah I must have done a lesson on that but his reference is pretty specific.

Don’t every recall the mods (@LievenDV @Richard_close2u @DavidP ) responding to the question of the missing lesson but it needs following up with the team.

:sunglasses:

1 Like

He covered it in Strumming Techniques 1, Rust pattern 17.

Edit: In the classic course he demonstrated RUST pattern 16 which is playing root notes for the open chords and barres. That was one pattern short of showing the root to fifth movement in the bass.

@Richard_close2u if it helps I could take a snapshop of the text in the pdf stating what strings to play for the root to fifth movement in the bass?

1 Like

I have hunted high and low and can’t find a specific lesson either.
I have raised this with @larynejg

1 Like

I’ll dust down the DVD player then :wink:

2 Likes

Thank you kind sir. :+1:

1 Like

I’ve just found I had burnt (?) an MP4 from the DVDs back in Jan 2015, thought I only had the PDFs on the PC cool !
:+1:

2 Likes

:rofl: High tech graphics with mini white board and marker pens. Love old skool.

1 Like

Good catch @Socio

Hold off with posting a screenshot of the pdf for now. Let’s give Laryne the opportunity to follow up first. Thanks. :slight_smile:

1 Like