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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Aren't chords amazing?

Total randomizer on this blog post, but I was just sitting around re-learning some wonderful tunes that I've learned in the past when I just felt the need to share some Guitarings with you guys.

Anyone familiar with a tune called Unfaithful Servant by The Band? If you're not, please give it a listen.. It's truly incredible.

Ok, now that you've heard it, here's the mind-blowing part of the tune. The chord movement is nothing short of genius and I'll tell ya why. Not that this hadn't been done before, but whenever you play around with different bass notes on your chords it opens up a world of chordal possibilites far beyond that of the normal majors, minors, and basic extensions you may know. This song is a great example of this. (Capo it at the second to play along with the recording from the brown album.) The tune opens on a G chord.. You could play it like a normal G - 320022. Then the next chord is a stacked chord you've seen before. It's D/F# - That's D with an F# in the bass, played like this - 2X0232. The next one is an A/E - Pay it like this - 0X2220. (Doesn't it move so nicely? Notice the chords move from G to D to A, while the bass goes from G to F# to E). And then the final chord is the absolutely genius substitution chord. It's an Amin7. Played like this - X02010. The A/E to the Amin7 is so freaking beautiful by itself, let alone with Rick Danko's moving tenor on top of it. 

So then the second half of the verse goes G - D/F# - E7 - A. Which releases the tension and sets up another verse. Truly genius songwriting. 

Those chords more than likely came from a piano before they made their way to the guitar. On the piano it's not much more difficult to experiment with different bass notes, because that's the purpose of your left hand. On the guitar however, you have to sometimes completely rebuild your fingering to accomodate, but when you find those great stackers on the guitar, it can really elevate what you're playing! 

Anyway, I hope you dig that tune, because to me, it's an example of a perfectly crafted song! 



Very cool song! I agree that A to Amin7 sounds really nice.
I have to comment because I was just thinking about this same thing playing "The Long and Winding Road." There's a couple times when instead of going from a V to a I, they use the V as the bass note over the IV chord. So like instead of going Bb to Eb, they play Ab/Bb to Eb. They also do a Db/Eb to Ab. It's a cool trick that really resonates.
Cool post, but 320022 is a normal G?
Cool post, but 320022 is a normal G?
The D/F# chord has always been one of my favorites. Also, I just wanted to say thanks to you guys for reigniting my passion for guitar. I had kind of strayed away from it for a while, but the passion you guys show for it, along with the insightful lessons(the hilarity doesn't hurt either), has really inspired me to remember how much I love playing the guitar. Thanks.
Truly a great song and the written chord structure is great. Often used and abused...and seldom done well. This is a great example of doing it right. Thanks for the share John. See you soon...somewhere! (:
I love working out new chord inversions. Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks for that written Guitarings, yes the song is quite nice to listen, i only knew The Weight, fro mthat group.
The chrod progression explained here is just so moving thanks alot for explaining it. Thanks also for teaching us guitar your way, you two are the best teachers i've ever had, imade so much progress over the past few weeks !
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