Welcome to the Blues Chords Workshop Lesson 9.

Having completed the top voicings in this series, we shall now begin exploring the voicings for D Blues on the bottom set of four strings. We will begin by examining group of voicings between the 3rd to 7th frets on the bottom strings. This is the bottom structure of Group D Voicings (Blues).

Click on the video below to watch the lesson.

Learning Aids

The TABs and chord diagrams for the Lesson 9 are presented below.

Blues Chords Workshop Blues Group D Voicings (Bottom)

Primary Takeaways from Blues Chords Workshop Lesson 9

The main takeaways of lesson 2 are as follows:

1. Common Ring Finger 

The ring finger plays an important role in this voicing group. It holds down the 5th string on the 5th fret and is the common finger between the I and IV chords. Therefore use this finger as your pivot finger when changing from D7 to G7 and vice versa.

When changing from the I to V chord, the ring finger functions as a movable pivot. Therefore, do not lift the ring finger off the string when changing chords. Instead, slide the ring finger up 2 frets and form the rest of the chord with your other fingers.

Obviously when changing from the V to IV chords, simply slide the entire shape down 2 frets. 

2. Watch Low End

The bottom strings on the guitar are thicker and therefore have more low end content. Therefore, certain voicings may sound muddy or indistinct. It is mostly apparent if we are playing on the lowest frets such as in this week’s lesson. However, that does not mean that it is not a viable option. For instance if the soloist is soloing up the neck, then comping on the lower strings will avoid clashing frequencies. This therefore makes ‘space’ in the instrumentation. We only need to use our better judgement as to how loud we need to comp and whether we need to play all the strings. 

Tips for Better Learning

Listening to Others

Guitarists often fail to consider other players in the room. How often do we encounter a guitarist with his amp blasting so loud that it drowns out pretty much everyone else? This is something we as guitar players need to be aware of particularly in the context of a band. 

Obviously when we are learning our chords, most likely we are learning alone. However, we apply what we learnt when jamming or at a gig. In this context, we must be mindful of how loud to comp because the role of accompaniment is to hold the harmony while the soloist takes the lead. If the harmony is louder than the lead, then this creates a sonic imbalance that can ruin you gig. 

Furthermore, excessive levels when comping results in unnecessary frequencies particular if we are comping on the lower strings. These voicings will ultimately clash with the bass player or keyboardist. Hence a simple solution is to simply lower our levels when comping as this frees up the low end in the mix. Sometimes we do not even need to omit certain voices and play just shell voicings if we are soft enough. However, it may be prudent to avoid the bottom voicings if the ensemble contains a lot of instrumentation. 

The reverse is also true in that if instrumentation is sparse for instance in a power trip, then comping on the bottom voicings might be necessary. For instance, when the bassist takes a solo on the upper registers, it might be useful for the guitarist to comp on the lower register.

Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Youtube.