I’ve always been attracted to the sound of chords and harmony.
My guitar playing began initially by trying to emulate the Shadows. This progressed to Deep Purple, discovered through my parent’s record collection and was followed by Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath. Around the age of 12, I discovered Steely Dan and was fascinated by the sounds they produced, it was the chords, they were so unusual. I tried copying them but my playing just wasn’t up to it, I just didn’t have the knowledge. I was also fascinated by the guitarists Barney Kessel and Joe Pass who I discovered around that time also, they could seemingly play a different cinterhord on each melody note. From then on I was hooked on the guitar. I collected early blues records from record fairs, listened to every jazz guitarist I could and I enjoyed fusion, particularly bands like Return to Forever and Weather Report.
I studied classical guitar and did all the grades. I went to rock gigs and still copied Hendrix as well as Van Halen and Richie Blackmore. In fact the only music I didn’t really care for was the pop music of my day, this was now the early 80s and the charts were dominated with either ska bands or watered down disco. There were exceptions of course, I particularly liked the Police and Joe Jackson, both demonstrated superior musicianship and the harmony was a bit more unique than the other bands my mates listened to. Even now 30 years down the line I’m still a collector, massive music fan and guitar obsessive and my tastes are still quite varied too, as long as it is skillfully played.
It’s taken me a long time to truly come to grips with the chord melody style in a way that I really wanted. Even now, though the mystery has gone, I can put on a Barney Kessel or a Joe Pass album and know exactly what they are doing. I still love the style, the sophisticated chords and the beautiful way in which the harmony works, to me it is still mesmerising.
In this book I hope to give you an insight into how chords are constructed and how to use them more effectively. Through video tutorials and written examples, all the main chord substitutions are explained. The theory as to why the substitutions work is discussed as well as practical applications of the substitutions in familiar songs. Each chapter concludes with a chord melody arrangement of a popular song incorporating all the techniques discussed in the chapter. These are fully notated and include a backing track to play along with. They are also supported with a video tutorial explaining how the arrangement was created.
Whilst all players from all standards would benefit from working through this book, it is ideally suited for players of an intermediate to advanced level.
It has been a lot of fun writing this book. Hopefully you can use the techniques discussed and take them somewhere exciting and unique. You never know, some kid might just listen to your music and develop a fascination and obsession with it enough to pursue a life long quest to master what you are playing.