Question re: this video -- what's he playing?


faith83
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faith83
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07/09/2020 9:46 pm

Almost overnight, I seem to have developed a fixation (to put it mildly) on John Denver and this video/song in particular, so here's my burning question...

In the video link below, is he playing power chords between the lines of the chorus, when he's moving quickly up and down the neck? I looked at the tabs and I think it's just a G chord (unless the chord charts and tabs I found are simplifying it), but what JD is doing sounds much much more interesting and I wanna know what it is!

Most notably at the 2:30 mark, or a few seconds thereafter (the turnaround and into the first part of the bridge)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgU_emE5_so


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 1
Carl King
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Carl King
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07/09/2020 10:18 pm

He's playing some two or three-note harmonies (diads or triads) moving down the neck, highlighting the chord changes / scale. It's kind of muddied up in the recording / performance, but that's basically what it is.

E---10---9----7---5

B---10---10---8---5

G---11---9----7---6

D---12---11---9---7

A--x

E--x

In this case it would be various positions / inversions of D major, A Major, G Major, and back to A Major to create a melodic line.

Something like that, anyway. It looks like he's making some mistakes in the video so hard to tell exactly.

-Carl.


Carl King[br]GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

# 2
Carl King
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Carl King
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07/09/2020 10:24 pm

By the way, Schlegel has a giant multi-series mega-tutorial on this exact thing:

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=13042

You can find all of them on his instructor page.

-Carl.


Carl King[br]GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

# 3
faith83
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faith83
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07/09/2020 10:30 pm

Thank you! I'm "supposed" to be learning just for songwriting, but I'm getting all distracted by the cool things that can be done down the line...


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 4
Carl King
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Carl King
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07/09/2020 10:42 pm
Originally Posted by: faith83

Thank you! I'm "supposed" to be learning just for songwriting, but I'm getting all distracted by the cool things that can be done down the line...

Cool -- what he's doing is just a way of adding some fills and secondary lines to decorate the song. It's not so much the core of "songwriting" but it helps add some more interest to the music for sure.

-Carl.


Carl King[br]GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

# 5
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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07/09/2020 11:25 pm

Throughout the song he's playing a combination of major triads & inversions, walking bass lines & partial barre chords.

Originally Posted by: faith83

In the video link below, is he playing power chords between the lines of the chorus, when he's moving quickly up and down the neck?[/quote][p]Triads & inversion voicings. Chorus starts on the IV chord. Notice he's using drop D tuning, so the G in the bass is up 2 frets. Starts with G to D, then a quick move through D, Emin (which is really an inversion of G6), D then back to the G.

|--------2----5---3----2-----|[br]|-3-----3----7---5----3-----|[br]|-0-----2----7---4----2-----|[br]|-0-----0---------------------|[br]|-5----------------------------|[br]|-5----------------------------|

That happens 3X then the answering phrase lands on the V chord, playing A, Asus4, then a 1st inversion D with a line from F# to E to root D.

|-------------2---2---2------|[br]|-2-----3----3---3---3------|[br]|-2-----2----2---2---2------|[br]|-2-----2----4---2---0------|[br]|-0-----0---------------------|[br]|------------------------------|

[quote=faith83]Most notably at the 2:30 mark, or a few seconds thereafter (the turnaround and into the first part of the bridge)

He starts that section by alternating between the open low D string & triads & inversions of D, A, G, then A major chords.

|----10-----10-----8----5-----|[br]|----10-----9-------7----5-----|[br]|----11-----10-----8-----6----|[br]|----12--------------------7----|[br]|---------------------------------|[br]|-0-------0------0--------------|

Next D to G in the lower positions already mentioned. Then some quick walking from C, C/B, Amin, G, F#/D, Emin, E, A.

|-----------------------0--------|[br]|-1--1--1-------------0---2----|[br]|-0--0--2---0-0--0--1---2----|[br]|-2--2--2---0-0--0--2---2----|[br]|-3--2--0---5-5--2--2---0----|[br]|-------------5-4--2------------|

I cover triads & inversions (voicing chords like this) in this collection of tutorials.

https://www.guitartricks.com/collection/triads-and-inversions

Specifically you will find those voicings on the upper strings in these tutorials.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=733

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=734

I think this might show you how useful it is to at least be able to visualize barre chord shapes even if you don't intend to play the full chord. It will certainly show you how useful the frets beyond the 3rd are. :)

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 6
faith83
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faith83
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07/09/2020 11:45 pm

Thank you, Carl and Christopher.

I learn best when I understand the foundational structure underlying practical applications -- I'm always the student pestering with "why why why"... I did study music theory years ago in college but I'm very rusty... I don't think GT has a music theory track per se, though I know it's woven into the lessons. Is there a place either of you might recommend if I wanted to more seriously study theory? (I think that will help with songwriting as well)


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 7
Herman10
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Herman10
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07/10/2020 12:19 am

Beautiful guitar that Ovation Elite and the shallow bowl version playes almost as light as an electric guitar, don't know if the American made still exist?

Herman


# 8
faith83
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faith83
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07/10/2020 12:22 am

You can still buy them. (I checked, because I love it too!) Pricey, though.

The one he's actually playing in the video sold for $65,000 at auction in 2015... the regular ones are around $5K.


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 9
Herman10
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Herman10
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07/10/2020 1:23 am

Are that american made? this one in the 80ties was made by a company called Adamas Guitars, they sold the company after to Kaman industries and they sold it to the Japanese Takamin company and I thought that since it was in Japanese hands that all Ovations were built in Japan with lesser quality then the early American ones.

Could be wrong though.


# 10
faith83
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faith83
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07/10/2020 1:26 am

Oh, good point -- I missed that in your post. I suppose we'll have to save up the $65K and buy the one in the video...

This is making me think about whether I should wander over into the music store and just take a look... (yeah right) at some smaller/lighter acoustics. I didn't really know what I was doing when I bought the one I have. Probably not a $5K one, though...


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 11
Herman10
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Herman10
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07/10/2020 1:39 am

https://reverb.com/item/15029863-ovation-american-lx-custom-elite-deep-contour-natural-6-string-guitar-w-hardshell-case

2500 US so we don't have to safe 20 years anymore, only 15 now LOL


# 12