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Monday Morning Blues - Grigorian Chance plays Diggin Holes

  09/13/10 04:36, by , Categories: Don't Suck at The Blues, Monday Morning Blues, BFMN Exclusive, Dan Grigor , Tags: 12-string, blues, blues in d, blues in e, dan grigor, gregorian chants, guitar, key of e, music, sister grizzly, tom grigor, tuned down

Grigorian Chance is a pet project I have on going with my son, Tom, who lives in San Francisco. Whenever he comes down we try and do a recording. He is the guitar player in an awesome indie band there, “Sister Grizzly.” Check ‘em out on YouTube. Playing guitars with my son is one of those things in life that is special for so many reasons. He is so talented and we push each other a little. It’s good for us.

To really understand the play on words, google “Gregorian chants.”

Click through for your Monday Morning Blues video playlist…

This time around we decided to do a Monday Morning Blues song. Though blues may be in his blood, Tom doesn’t play the blues much, and that was the focus for the guitar lessons this session. Every guitar player should go “Back to Basics” now and then in regular practice. To focus on it for a few days is a really good way to improve all your playing. Understanding the simple things makes the difficult things easier to swallow.

To stretch him this time, I had him play a standard 12-bar blues progression in D. I really like the key of D. It is the lowest note I can sing comfortably.  I like the way a low D resonates through the guitar to my chest. It is also what I tune my 12-string to.

I tune the 12 a whole step lower than regular tuning, making my top string a D rather than an E. What I don’t like about a blues in D is that a normal D chord is only a 4 note chord (if you want a D in the bass.) An E, though, is a 6-string chord, full and rich with the lowest note on the guitar as its root. When I tune a whole step down that note is a D.

With Tom’s 6-string tuned normally and mine tuned down, we can take advantage of the different chords to fill out the sound in a most interesting way. While Tom played the 4-string D chord I played a standard E chord shape on the 12. The big 6-string chord fills out the half-empty D chord. The second chord for Tom is G, a big 6-string chord, while I play an A7 shape in my key. The walk-down pattern picking on the two different chords is a really interesting sound. I like it a lot. The third and final chord of the 12-bar progression is A. Tom’s play is as normal while I finger a B7 shape. The two shapes create a very cool finish to the turn around.

Watch as our hands play the different chord shapes and listen to how well they blend, even with the quite different right-hand styles.

Your Monday Morning Blues Playlist.
Make it a part of your Monday morning.

Click here for the lyrics

You can fool around with this technique by playing with a tuned-down 12-string or putting a capo on one guitar and using different shapes to play the same chords on the other tuned to pitch. It’s fun and soon you’ll find how to use the trick to fill out parts of your songs that need a little bump in intensity.

In the meantime, here is my new song, “Diggin’ Holes.” It’s what I call a redlight song -written in minutes as if at a red light. Sometimes songs take months, sometimes minutes. This is one of those that just “fell out.”

I love this song, I love my guitar and I love my boy. Playing with him is a treat and it makes me think of days gone by. We have many days to come so I won’t dig any holes thinking about the time I’ve missed with him. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. The times we share now are few and far between. We try to use that time in better ways now than when we took our time together for granted.

Stay tuned, there’s more.


Thanks for listening

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