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Author Topic:  Let's talk about rootless voicings
Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 2 Jan 2019 8:20 pm    
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I'm in the process of really learning the neck of my tuning and part of that process is becoming familiar with all the various grips for all the chords possible on my steel.

Suddenly occurred to me, when I looked at my grips, that a rootless Fmaj7 chord is the same notes as an Am chord. So I loaded 4 bars of each in band in a box and just improvised using only the notes of Am. And that opened up doors that I'm now exploring.

So, thought I'd get the collective wisdom of the group to learn more about rootless voicings. Any words of wisdom?
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 5:01 am    
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Quote:
Any words of wisdom?


Rootles voicings? Bill Evans!

https://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Bill-Evans-Jack-Reilly/dp/0793531527/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1546606787&sr=8-6&keywords=bill+evans+piano+book
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 5:49 am    
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I never knew Bill played to the steel guitar? Smile

Oh well, I guess the topic is not that interesting to folks.
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 6:28 am    
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A rootless Am7 is a C major chord. I'm all theoried out now. Oh Well
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 7:09 am    
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When I stared learning C6 I soon realised that the same bunch of notes can serve more than one purpose. The more theory you have, the easier they are to spot. That book looks interesting.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 8:42 am    
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Bill, I don't know much about music (and you're probably way above this anyway) but I'll throw it in. I use the site below to help me with chords. It doesn't tell everything (like using an Am for a D7), but it is helpful for more complex voicings.

https://www.scales-chords.com/chord-namer/?notes=C;Db;E;F%23;A&key=&bass=

`
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 9:53 am    
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The Am triad can be used as rootless Fmaj7, D9, Dm9, F#m7b5, and if you really want to get out there, G#7b9#5.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 4:14 pm    
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So there.
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Rich Sullivan


From:
Nelson, NH 03457
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 4:36 pm    
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Expanding a little on Fred's post - F#m7b5 or Am6, which are really just two inversions of the same four notes (F#, A, C, E) are both equivalent to either a rootless D9 or a rootless G#7b9#5.
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 7:06 pm    
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Andy,

I downloaded that bill evans book on my kindle. It is pretty interesting
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 4 Jan 2019 7:28 pm    
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Nice little quote from Bill Evans book Andy turned me on too.

Quote:
But the real commitment and challenge that faces the jazz player comes when he is alone with his instrument. He must sit (or stand) with that instrument and improvise hour after hour, day after day, year after year, with NO LET UP! He or she must be convinced that there will always be a deeper level of creativity that has not yet been tapped. He or she must have the faith of Saints that these deeper levels will be reached, sometimes by leaps but mostly in upward spirals. He or she must sense, feel, and visualize a light shining inside the body and mind that grows ever brighter as each new level is mastered; and only when that light completely engulfs one during a performance will he or she know the meaning of Joy: a joy beyond description, one that will be felt by all, and that Joy shall be called MAGIC.

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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 4:46 am    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
Nice little quote...

Little?! Wow, Bill I don't suppose you expected that just for mentioning Am7 Whoa!
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Chuck Hamilton


From:
Flower Mound, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 9:14 am     Chord relationships demonstrated by C6 tuning.
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Interesting to note that each of those chords is located at the same fret, the open position, on the C6 neck with pedal 5 engaged. The roots are also there if you want to play them, or you could use a rootless voicing. You have the F#m7b5 using the F string as the root; you have the Am6 with the A string as the root; and you have a D9 with the low C string as the root raised by pedal 5 to D (or the open string 1, the D string).
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 10:23 am    
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Going further for the cause....

On the E9 neck, Bm6 is open strings 10-9-7-6 (no pedals), with an inversion on 6-5-2-1 if you have a half step lower for string 2.

Various inversions of F#m6 on E9 neck are with E’s lowered and A+B, on all the home grips. Or B+C for Day setup.

Dm6 is with E’s raised + B, strings 9-8-6-5. Add String 2 lowered 1/2 and you have an inversion on 6-5-4-2.

All those other previously mentioned chords are also there in rootless form. Spelling them out here would be pretentious of me, and it would remove the mystery and the joy of discovery. But the magic of using them in a musical context remains.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 12:00 pm    
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Fred Treece wrote:
Or B+C for Day setup.
Still A+B - they're just in different places, Fred.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 3:29 pm    
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Thanks, Ian. I still don’t know things like that. But I will put people to sleep talking music theory 😴
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 3:44 pm    
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I don’t think you are putting anyone to sleep Fred. Keep going
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 4:21 pm    
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It's midnight here so I'm going to sleep anyway Smile
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Franklin


Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 4:33 pm    
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The C6th is the easiest tuning to learn....No pedals

Omit the 9th string and all strings are C6......

Omit the 9th string and use the A string as the root.....its now and Am7th tuning

Using the F (9th string) as the root...Its now an Fmaj9th tuning

So without pedals its a 1 chord, a 4 chord, and a 6m chord

PF
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 5:52 pm    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
I don’t think you are putting anyone to sleep Fred. Keep going

Okay, you asked for it!

The basic principle of dropping the root can be applied to any 4- or 5-note chord, of any inversion. In your Fmaj7 example, the chord formula is 1-3-5-7. Dropping the root, you are left with 3-5-7, a minor triad. If the chord was Fmaj9, the formula is 1-3-5-7-9. You could still play 3-5-7, but you also have 5-7-9 (C-E-G), a major triad.

I think this is what Paul Franklin is referring to when he talks about triadic and intervallic improvisation.

Things get squirrelly with altered dom7 voicings. Raised 5ths, flat 9ths, even regular 13ths can lead to some strange sounding 3-note triads on top of the basic dom7. Try playing a Bbm triad (Bb-Db-F) over an A7 chord. This creates an A7b9#5. Sounds pretty awful, right? Now remove the 5 (E) from the A7 chord, and play your Bbm over it. Should sound a little better, but still a little weird. Now resolve it to Dmaj9....

Happy joy magic! Bill Evans would be all grins.
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 6:18 pm    
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Love this stuff. Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Keep it going. I am learning a lot
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 6:11 am    
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Bill, that is one hell of a quote from Evans!

Few players have used the rootless voicing approach with the artistry of Bill Evans. As another way to think about improvisation, exploring triads over differing bass notes is another strategy a lot of modern guitar players have exploited. Mick Goodrick's book has a lot of info there.

https://www.amazon.com/Advancing-Guitarist-Mick-Goodrick/dp/0881885894/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546783853&sr=8-1&keywords=mick+goodrick+the+advancing+guitarist

I gave my copy to Mike Neer 'cause I felt it was permanently over my head!

Guitarists Larry Carlton and Johnny Smith are two musicians who thought about complex chords in terms of the more basic triads and other basic intervals contained within. Johnny outlined his approach years ago in a Guitar Player mag interview.
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Franklin


Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 9:27 am    
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Fred,

Thanks for the interest in my teaching ideas.....I have started delving deeper into the intervallic concept in the PFM.....I hope you join so you can learn exactly what I mean pertaining to the neck of the steel guitar...In the December lesson I analyzed some Chic Corea, Buddy Emmons, and one of my own to showcase what it is and how its applied to introduce the concept....Its a (Non Scale) approach to improvisation....
Anyway, I am teaching how its all applied. Tuesday I will be shooting a lesson applying the concept to "Giant Steps"....The way the instrument is tuned is absolutely perfect for this concept and that song.

Happy New Year!
Paul
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 10:13 am    
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The Ted Greene books were my harmony bibles. The material from those has been painstakingly archived on this legacy website- https://tedgreene.com/default.asp

In the Guitar Lessons section, there is a subcategory called Chord Studies, where many of the lessons have been transcribed into standard notation (inaccurately on occasion, I have noticed after a quick glance over). Most of the other material is presented in guitar fingerboard chart form, which doesn’t help steel players much unless you are fairly adept on 6-string.

You will find every guitar chord voicing known to man on that website, usually used in a musical context like a short progression or song. When the root is in the bass, it is easy to figure out which note to drop.

To have this MOUNTAIN of information available for the clicking is a true gift to the guitar world, and profound statement of Ted Greene’s humanity.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 10:17 am    
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Franklin wrote:
Fred,

Thanks for the interest in my teaching ideas.....I have started delving deeper into the intervallic concept in the PFM.....I hope you join so you can learn exactly what I mean pertaining to the neck of the steel guitar...
Happy New Year!
Paul

I hope to be there soon, Paul. Thank you for the personal invitation.
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