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Diatonic chord-play

Posted by Jeff Belding on Thursday, July 15, 2021

G - Amin - Bmin - C - D - Emin - (and poor little left our F# diminished). I've recently been working with these diatonic chords in the key of G (What else?). First, I set up a blank chord chart of 8 measures. I might begin the first measure or two on G, though it's not a hard and fast rule. I then fill in the other measures with whatever chord I want to choose from this palette of 6 (or 7) chords. Any order, sometimes a full measure, sometimes two chords in a measure. 

I'll play the 8 measures back with some basic accompaniment to see how it flows. Once I'm happy with it, I'll tab out a melody based on the G major scale, mostly in 8th notes and quarter notes. Before I know it, I've written a new fiddle tune for banjo! Allow me to get you started:

G       C            D Emin D                   
C                 Bmin Amin        D7 G


Make a tape of yourself playing Rhythm. Play back the tape, and start "noodling' on your G scale. If you hear something you like write it down! Working on my new banjo book (Jeff Belding, New Techniques for 5 String Banjo Volume 3, out this Fall of 2021), I used this technique for an entire chapter. I surprised my SELF with the new tunes that I pulled out of thin air! 

Give the above progression a shot. I'd lke to hear what you folks come up with! And remember, you can't steal a chord progression so long as you write your OWN melody to it. I invite you to visit for more ideas and other stuff. 

Pick with Purpose friends! Catchya, Jeff Belding

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