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Thread: Nice Variation on the G7 Chord

  1. #1
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    Default Nice Variation on the G7 Chord

    Quite by accident the other day, I stumbled onto a nice variation on the G7 chord. It won't necessarily "fit" in every situation, but it's fun to "sneak it in there" occasionally for a pleasant sonic effect, in a spot where the normal first-position form of the G7 chord would otherwise be played. I'm sure this variation has a formal name, but I have to confess I don't have a clue what it would be; to my ear it sounds nice, though, perhaps because there's a feeling of "unresolved tension" to it.
    It's a two-finger chord, created by putting one finger on the 1st string, second fret, and another finger on the 3rd string, fifth fret. The 2nd and 4th strings should ring "open". -Bill
    Last edited by Bill Sheehan; 08-10-2018 at 05:57 AM. Reason: clarification...

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    I'm not sure that I would call that a G7. I'm reading it as A-C-A-A as the notes being sounded. That's closer to an Am without the E note. The tension could be altered by going to the E and resolving it. Or go to the F... so on and so on. The problem with a two note chord is that its not so much a chord but an interval.
    Last edited by SandChannel; 08-10-2018 at 06:50 AM.
    My Ukuleles: A Hawaiian, an Oregonian, and a Kiwi.

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    Nice find. It's a voicing for G13.

    SandChannel, you've numbered the strings in the opposite direction to the convention. The notes (running 4th string to 1st, the usual way to "spell" chords) are G F E B—root, 7th, 6th (=13th), 3rd—forming G13. This set of components is a common way to play 13th chords. In general, you can form a 13th from a typical 7th chord by pushing the 5th up two frets, replacing the 5th with the 13th. Thus, another way to form this chord is 0412, which in re-entrant tuning happens to sound exactly the same; it also converts into a not-too-stretchy movable shape (1523 = Ab13, 2634 = A13, etc.) The same tweak works for m7 and M7 shapes, producing m13 and M13 chords respectively.

    Another common way to color 7th chords, and which can be used in most cases where 7ths appear, is to use 9th chords. There are two simple conversions of 7th shapes into 9th shapes: either raise the root two frets or drop the (major) 3rd two frets. In both cases, the new note is the 9th, equivalent to a 2nd; the latter shape also serves as 7sus2. There's a third 9th option, which omits the 5th rather than the root or 3rd, but it takes two tweaks: after dropping the 3rd, drop the 5th three frets; but this will only be possible if your starting 7th shape is positioned away from the nut. So G9 can be played as 2212 or 0210 (the first two variants applied to the 0212 G7 shape), or as 4555, 2535 or 2532 (all three variants applied to the G7 shape 4535).

    Yeah, I know, a bit "technical" and more information than you wanted, but highly pragmatic. I form most of my chord shapes in a similar manner, and decipher shapes by reversing the process.
    Last edited by ubulele; 08-10-2018 at 08:09 AM.

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    I like 0535 for a G7 variation.
    Keep Strummin'

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    Thanks for your observations, guys! Very informative indeed! And yes, SandChannel, just to make sure we're on the same page, I'm fingering the A string on the second fret, and the C string on the fifth fret. The G and E strings remain open.

    Ubulele, I hadn't yet come to discover that this chord could also be executed with the fingering you mention, and will contain the exact same pitches as mine; I guess it's a matter of settling on which version you prefer! To my ear, the "sonority" is darn near identical as between the two, so I may opt for the two-finger version if for no other reason than the fact that it requires only two fingers!

    SailingUke, I like your variation as well, although I notice that two of the notes within that chord are the same. I may be a little weird on this, but I'm not a big fan of chords that utilize the same note twice (a conventional G chord, for instance). This isn't a criticism, to be sure, but I guess I just feel that if we only have four strings to work with, we get more out of it if we construct each chord with four different notes. I know that many folks will not see it that way, however! Everyone have a good Friday night!

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    I would call 0202 a G6 chord. GDEB As Ubulele said, it could be used as a partial G13 chord, missing the F or flatted 7 note.
    0232 or GDGB is a GMa chord.
    If we drop the extra G half a tone, we get 0222 or GDF#B which is a GMa7 chord.
    If we drop it another half tone, we get 0212 or GDFB which is a Gdom7, commonly called G7.
    If we drop it another half tone, we get 0202 or GDEB, a G6 chord.

    Similarly, 0231 or GDGA# is a Gmi chord.
    Drop the extra G one fret and get 0221 or GDF#A#, a GmiMA7 chord
    Drop it one more fret to get 0211 or GDFA#, a Gmi7 chord.
    Drop it one more fret and get 0201 or GDEA#, a Gmi6 chord.

    For some reason, when we add an E to a GMa chord it becomes a G6 chord, but when we add an E to a G7 chord, it becomes a G13 chord. Can anyone explain why?

    1/G 2/A 3/B 4/C 5/D 6/E 7/F# 8/G 9/A 10/B 11/C 12/D 13/E . . .
    Last edited by Jim Yates; 08-11-2018 at 02:12 AM.

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    Personally I prefer the 4535 formation for the G7. Different strokes etc.
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    Thank you, Jim, Ubulele, Sand, Sailing, and JJ for taking the time to offer your thoughts and observations, as they have really shed some light on how all of this "stuff" works! I especially like the way you guys express how you're fingering a chord, by the use of a simple four-digit number. And just to clarify, using that presentation for the "G7 variation with the unresolved feel" that I initially wrote about, it would be 0502. THANKS, and I hope everyone has a good weekend!

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    0502 (GFEB) This one would be a G13. Ubulele was right. (It would need a D to be a full G13, but as we know, a ukulele has its limits - four note chords.)

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    Thanks, Jim! Being a non-reader (of music, that is!), the technical part of things is a little beyond me, and I tend to live by "shapes" when it comes to playing the uke. Either way, I think we can all agree that a big part of the fun is the never-ending process of discovery and, accordingly, refinement that takes place every day of the journey. Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to discuss. -Bill

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