Diminished Chords

(Note: If you’re just starting out, then I recommend you begin with this quick lesson on basic guitar chords)

Another great lesson from Reverb. In this one, chord progressions are discussed and show how they serve as set pieces in a theater changing every act without any actors or dialogue. Add in the right emotional or melodic narrative on top, and a stale I-IV-V or ii-V-I progression seems endlessly fulfilling.

One way to liven up a progression is to use diminished chords to connect more common chord patterns.

In this lesson, we learn a few reasons to use diminished chords, and use examples like “My Sweet Lord” and “Til’ There Was You”.

More on Diminished Chords from Reverb…

A diminished triad is simply a minor third stacked on a minor third. It’s like a minor triad but with the fifth knocked down a half step. For this reason, diminished triads are sometimes called minor flat five chords. You can add a seventh on top for a more jazzy feel, but the fundamental color of a diminished chord is expectant, uncertain, yearning for resolution. This makes them great for getting from one chord to another while adding a bit of unexpected movement and momentum.

As a Pivot Chord
One use for diminished chords is to connect two independent progressions. This is especially useful when the end of one progression would not smoothly connect to the beginning of the next, often when it needs to resolve to a minor chord. The sample in the video above from the George Harrison tune is a perfect example.

As a Passing Chord
Another use actually works the diminished chord into the fabric of a common progression. This is especially common in jazz. In the context of a common ii-V-I progression, a passing diminished chord can provide extra suspense and movement, allowing for more interesting melodic movement.

Learn some Prince guitar riffs

Prince has left a hole in many hearts. He was an icon, a musical visionary who experimented with gender, sexuality and race in a way that included and celebrated everybody. I’m thankful for Reverb’s “Guitar Riffs in the Key of Prince” guitar lesson video.

For all his talent, Prince was underrated as a guitarist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible, appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of best guitarists, and leveled the room when he performed a guitar solo (during a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame show) on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”


Learn Minor Pentatonic Scale Tricks on Guitar

Reverb is an awesome site to buy and sell used guitars. They also have some great free online guitar lessons. This is a more advanced lesson around the pentatonic scale that I reference on the basic ‘how to play guitar’ post. Anyway, it’s well taught and easy to follow so get ready to up your guitar game.

Watch as Joe teaches some nifty bits of information on the versatile minor pentatonic scale. After a quick rundown on the basics of the scale, Joe shows us how to descend four notes and ascend three for a classic sound, play the fifth note above every note in the scale, and add a non-pentatonic note for subtle color and flavor to a riff or solo. Yeah, that sounds like a mouthful but, trust me, you will understand!

Ukulele E chord

Well this is bizarre–was checking Google Trends to see what you guys are interested in these days and interest in ‘ukulele e’ has been on a tear for quite a while. So, I found the best video to show you how to play the e chord on the ukulele. Rock on.

Here’s the interest in the Ukulele E:

Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

OK, forgive me but this has very little to do with learning guitar, however, I’m a huge fan of Frank Sinatra and I especially love good documentaries and interviews with famous musicians and performers.  In this case, Jonathan Schwartz (to whom, because of the my parents, I grew up listening to on WNEW AM in New York) talks about the night that Frank Sinatra recorded one of his biggest hits, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. It’s a 1 min listen but you’ve got to read this Vanity Fair article (includes gorgeous photos of The Chairman)