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Thread: Unusual chord help

  1. #1
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    Default Unusual chord help

    Been trying to play Gillian Welch’s “Tennessee” on my GDAE tenor guitar. The unusual chords I have found are as follows:

    D6/9/A: (x04430)
    B11/A: (x05550)
    D7/F#: (2x021x)

    The song is in Am—capo on the 2nd fret, but I’m not sure how to voice the above.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    I'm not the best at naming chords but I think this tune is easier than those chord names make it seem.

    She's moving the "guts" of the Am guitar chord up two frets while still droning the open A and E Strings. (I would have called it Bm/A but I'm no theorist. maybe Bm11/A?). No matter what it's called it's a very easy move on the guitar.

    Then she is moving into that x05550 shape which is essentially a C chord droning the A and E Strings. (I would have called this C/A but what do I know).

    I think they basic chords there in the verses is Am, Bm, C, Bm.

    Now how to do it on a tenor? Good question!
    I'd probably play 2200, 4400, 5500, 4400. OR 2230, 4450, 5500, 4400. Or 2200, 2420, 2530, 2420 Or something like that.
    And for the D7/F# I'd just play a D7 chord - 743x or even 7430 because ringing the open E will sound good. Let the guitar or bass have the F# in the bass. Good Luck and trust your ears! Put the capo wherever it helps you sing it best.


    Last edited by Ky Slim; Nov-07-2017 at 12:22pm.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    Thanks—I didn’t think it was that simple. Perfect.

  4. #4
    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    I think where you went wrong was believing the tab site for the chords. The song in that video is in C#m and it goes to E for the chorus and the chorus ends up on a C# major. x05550 is not a B11/A. In this context it can be called C/A, but it's just an Am7. My advice is avoid tab sites and try to figure songs out by ear. If you capo 4 you'll get it with Ky's chords, but I guess you're aware that there are a few more chords than you listed.
    Last edited by Jim Broyles; Nov-17-2017 at 8:45pm.
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  5. #5
    Emando lover David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    The trick I've found with most string instrumentalists is that they're lazy. A master such as Thile, or Grisman, or Bush does far less work than you think to get the incredible sounds they get. Whenever I see chords like that, the first thing I think is: 'That's a piano player!) Many extended chords on guitar are really just playing an open string and fingering something else.

    Jim Broyles is correct when he says practice your aural skills, but in my view the web gives you a start point. But don't believe anything you read on the net. Test it out first.
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    David and Jim:

    Thanks for the insights. I’ve found that “by ear” suggestions are among the most common I see throughot this forum. And I appreciate all suggestions; however, it’s only helpful if I hadn’t been trying to do just that. Learning chords playing by ear with an instrument with a different voice isn’t simple for some of us. My first, second, and third attempts are always to figure something out for myself. But when that fails, it’s nice to get some chord help elsewhere.

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    It's always a pleasure to watch a Gillian Welch and David Rawlings track.

    D6/9/A: (x04430)

    I think of this as Bm+4/A. You have the three notes of Bm with the open A string as bass and the open E string as a 4 on top. Its very easy to mute the open E in which case it would be Bm/A.

    B11/A: (x05550)

    Much simpler is Am7. The notes are A, G, C, E, The open E. A, C and E are Am and the G is the 7.

    D7/F#: (2x021x)

    This is a standard shape.

    The capo is on the fourth fret in the video so those chords would be

    C#m, D#m/C#, C#m7

    To play in this key you could put a capo on the sixth fret and play

    0 0 1 3

    0 2 3 3

    0 3 5 3

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Unusual chord help

    Good call Slim .... yes keep it simple whenever you are able. If something sounds complex listen again at a slower tempo if possible. R/
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