Question re: psychedelic guitar chords


faith83
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faith83
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03/26/2021 8:44 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm back after awhile... I've been doing a deep dive into writing, recording, setting up websites, etc. and haven't been on social media much this winter. But I missed all of you and will try to be back doing my best to work JD into every possible thread soon...

A quick question, then: I'm writing a song in which I want to insert an eight-bar late 60's/early 70s style psychedelic guitar break. The song itself is basically contemporary country.

My question is, having never written anything in the psychadelic style and being somewhat less than familiar with its inner workings, are there specific chord progressions in that style I should be looking at using, or is it just a matter of interpreting the usual chords that one might use in a song in a specific way (which would be more up to the session player and I'm off the hook for figuring it out). The song is in G.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. I've missed you guys!


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

# 1
moosehockey18
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moosehockey18
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03/26/2021 9:39 pm
Originally Posted by: faith83

Hi everyone!

I'm back after awhile... I've been doing a deep dive into writing, recording, setting up websites, etc. and haven't been on social media much this winter. But I missed all of you and will try to be back doing my best to work JD into every possible thread soon...

A quick question, then: I'm writing a song in which I want to insert an eight-bar late 60's/early 70s style psychadelic guitar break. The song itself is basically contemporary country.

My question is, having never written anything in the psychadelic style and being somewhat less than familiar with its inner workings, are there specific chord progressions in that style I should be looking at using, or is it just a matter of interpreting the usual chords that one might use in a song in a specific way (which would be more up to the session player and I'm off the hook for figuring it out). The song is in G.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. I've missed you guys!

Welcome back ! Missed you on this forum. Glad you`re doing OK. I`ll let others more well versed in songwriting answer your question but it`s good to hear from you.


# 2
mjgodin
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mjgodin
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03/26/2021 9:42 pm

Well hello there stranger. Thought we lost you. Glad to see you're back Faith. I don't really have an answer for you in terms of psychedelic guitar chords. I don't know anything about that error or that particular style, but hopefully someone here can help you. Hope your time away was productive and well. [br][br]

Moe


# 3
faith83
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faith83
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03/26/2021 9:49 pm

Thanks, fellas! I'm glad to be back as well.

Here's why I've been gone. Been building this:

https://michelecurrent.com/


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

# 4
manXcat
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manXcat
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03/27/2021 12:42 am

Followed your hotlink. Wanted to express that everything about your recently designed website presentation exudes talent and spirituality in spades.

Kudos and admiration in equal measure.

A psychedelic instrumental middle eight in a country tune!? Above my current pay grade, but having lived the psychedelic era at an impressionable (teen) age, perhaps I can steer you towards inspirational material (not country) which comes to mind.

Can you offer a verbal or otherwise glimpse of the intended style of tune and tempo? Soft and evocative or upbeat and feelgood?

In any case, check some of the material from these guys for inspiration and ideas. They produced quite a psychedelia catalogue during that period. "A Day in the Life" in G but see what they did with the verses, and bridge (E), and "Tomorrow Never Knows" (originally C) particular favourites. Also have a look at/listen to the Mona Lisa Twins original material for their interpretation ideas, much of which derives inspiration from that period.

All the best with your project.

Peace & love!


# 5
moosehockey18
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moosehockey18
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03/27/2021 1:19 am

Checked out the website. Well done ! I especially like your "about me " section. Evocative and beautifully written. Life is meant to be lived and you`ve certainly done that.

Best of luck with it.


# 6
mjgodin
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mjgodin
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03/27/2021 12:58 pm

Yes I agree with the others. That's a great Web Site Faith. Or is it Michele? Confused. Anyway love the new tracks you added and that About Me section I agree is so insightful and well written. Keep us updated.


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William MG
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William MG
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03/27/2021 2:04 pm

Beautiful work Faith. I read your bio and looked for names I thought I heard in your music. Have you ever felt influenced by Gordon Lightfoot or Tom T Hall? I might be hearing wrong but you have a way of telling a story that reminds of these 2 gents.


This year the diet is definitely gonna stick!

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faith83
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faith83
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03/27/2021 2:14 pm

Thanks for the welcome back, everyone. And Moe, just consider Michele my alter ego... it's my middle name. I just felt that Faith was a little too cliched/obvious for country music.

manX, definitely upbeat and feelgood. And duh, Day in the Life, of course. I can't believe I didn't think of it as a model!

William, I, of course, am very familiar with Lightfoot and Tom T Hall. I haven't felt directly influenced, but they keep company with my primary influences, for sure.

The best advice I've found so far re: the pychedelic style is this: "Psychedelic rock has a way of staring intently at just one chord and going Woooowwwww, duuuuuuuude, and never feeling the need to go to another one."

That's helpful. I'm hopeful that someone here will have some additional pearls of wisdom.


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

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snojones
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snojones
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03/27/2021 2:26 pm

I would think that getting a skilled guitar slinger should be your next goal. Do you know any such musicians? I would think looking around locally for preforming guitarist could be useful. I suspect there will have to be a lot of back and forth between the guitarist and your self. Expecially since you could both be reaching into forign territory (Country and Acid Rock) to have a productive meeting of the minds. I applaud your willingness to leap in novel directions. Good hunting!


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faith83
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faith83
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03/27/2021 2:33 pm
Originally Posted by: snojones

I would think that getting a skilled guitar slinger should be your next goal. Do you know any such musicians? I would think looking around locally for preforming guitarist could be useful. I suspect there will have to be a lot of back and forth between the guitarist and your self. Expecially since you could both be reaching into forign territory (Country and Acid Rock) to have a productive meeting of the minds. I applaud your willingness to leap in novel directions. Good hunting!

I have the guitar player (also my co-producer) and he's phenomenal. We work really well together, but fundamentally, as the writer and esp doing it virtually, it's up to me to first write out the arrangement for us to work with, so I have to at least have the chord progression and then we'll collaborate from there. The advice about lingering on one chord for awhile and not having a lot of movement at least gives me a toehold.


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

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snojones
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03/27/2021 2:56 pm

Can the instrumental be in another key? like a parallel minor, or a relitive minor. Or would that be to dark?

If you are currious about what is Psychodellic... I would add to what ManXcat's suggestions that, you also listen to Jimmy Hendrix, Jeff Beck (From the sixties and early seventies) Jefferson Airplane, The Yardbirds, & QuickSliver Messanger service. These might provide some examples of the kind of sound you are looking for. It could also provide a comon ground language for you to use when talking to the Guitarist, since they have probably listened to those artists.

Good to have you back!


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mjgodin
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mjgodin
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03/27/2021 3:00 pm

Again, I'm probably not the person to help you write a song, but when I think of it in terms of how you described it then the first musical performers of the Pchychedellic style that come to mind would be Jim Morrison and the Doors. "Riders on the storm" would be a perfect example. In fact, just listening to any sixties Woodstock era performers like Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, even Hendrix and Pink Floyd would certainly give you some ideas about what your describing, but like Snojones stated trying to incorporate them into a country groove is gonna be your biggest challenge. Good Luck.

Moe


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snojones
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03/27/2021 3:05 pm

Do you know any local guitarists that you might jam with? That is the only way I have ever worked out the particulars of an arrangement. Making noise is a great way to mine music for the expressive ore you seek. Alot of it will be trash but that is still a good place to explore the limits of your composition. Mistake are where many classic songs got their hooks.

Where does your producer/ guitar player live?


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ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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03/27/2021 4:13 pm
Originally Posted by: faith83

A quick question, then: I'm writing a song in which I want to insert an eight-bar late 60's/early 70s style psychadelic guitar break. The song itself is basically contemporary country.

[p]You can achieve that kind of sound with musical elements or timbral elements. Often the most effective is to combine them.

1. Use chromatic chord motion (G-F#-F-E) along with moving harmony. While the chords descend or ascend have the vocals (or another instrument) stay on parallel major thirds decsending following the chords. Examples: Pink Floyd 'Astronomy Domine'.

2. Use "exotic sounding" chord progressions or scales: harmonic minor, phyrgian dominant. Use distantly related chord changes (G-C#) & again melodic motion that follows. Don't resolve the melody or progression in any standard way.

Both of those can create a sort of floating, non-grounded musical approach.

3. Use timbres assoicated with that era. Drone tones (like a sitar), lots of swirling chorus, phasing, echoing reverb or delay. Drone tones & weird timbres are often helpful when there is static harmony or melody (none or a minimum of chord changes). Beatles 'Tomorrow Never Knows', Hendrix 'Are you Experienced'.

I think the timbre aspect is most important in evoking a specific sound era.

Consider a song that combines some of these elements: 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. Notice that even when the chords & melody are fairly standard the sound of the instruments & production used make it sound very unusual.

Notice that in 'Tomorrow Never Knows' if you played just the melody & one C chord throughout it's a pretty basic, simple tune. But it's the timbral effects that make it sound so unusual.

Since you are inserting this into an otherwise standard song format you could probably just write the song as you would any country song, then add a sitar or drone string sound, or some sound effects to the existing music. If you do that & add just one non-standard chord change in the bridge you'll probably get the result you want.

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
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faith83
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03/27/2021 7:51 pm

And Christopher saves the day once again -- exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

To the rest of you, thank you for the suggestions. I'm, of course, familiar with all of those artists and I definitely know what the psychedelic sound is (hence why I want to use it). I was specifically looking for some quick shorthands and techniques in terms of chord progressions to get there in eight bars. It's difficult to sort through chord charts and pick out what's native to the style and what's not. Christopher's advice gets me there, I think.


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

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ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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03/28/2021 3:36 pm
Originally Posted by: faith83

And Christopher saves the day once again -- exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

[p]Good deal! Glad it helps.


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faith83
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faith83
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03/29/2021 12:53 pm

UPDATE: Using Christopher's advice as a guide, I went with eight bars starting in G, then sliding the G shape down the fretboard for six measures, building the discord and intensity, and then a break and back to regular old G.

This works exactly as I needed it to. I expect we'll add something more complex in the formal recording, along the lines of the underlying harmony and a sitar or such, as you suggested, but this simplified approach has the extreme benefit of requiring only an acoustic guitar to create, so that I can replicate it playing live at a writer's guitar with just my guitar.

Also it's super fun for this country/folk girl to play. :-) Makin' noise... I feel like JD when he covered Chuck Berry (see how I worked JD in there...)

Thank you again, Christopher -- I wouldn't have thought of simply sliding a chord shape down the fretboard without your help!


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

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ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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03/29/2021 5:08 pm
Originally Posted by: faith83

Thank you again, Christopher -- I wouldn't have thought of simply sliding a chord shape down the fretboard without your help!

You're welcome! Glad it helped. :)


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