Watch the Cry For You Progression 1 online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
I played a couple choruses of the verse of Cry For You, one of my favorite tunes to play live. It's different every night I play it. It's always a good emotional release. It's just a nice set of chord changes. It's fairly easy to create a really cool mood with. I should review what the chords are in this section. It's basically D minor to B flat major. I consider it major seventh. That repeats. You can consider it a major seven with a sharp eleven. The E natural in the chord. Then it goes to G minor and from G minor it progresses up a whole step to A minor for a bar, and then it's considered A7. And that's something, it's a nice pivot springboard for some really nice melodic voice leading, and we'll talk about that.
So in this solo section I utilize several different techniques that we've talked about, maybe a couple that we haven't. I just want to underscore some of the more important things. Another thing I like to do is using an open string as an available drone string. Now this is in the key of D so the open D string is quite handy to be able to use that, and this is a double stop idea, it's two notes at once. And this is where it's handy to delve into getting comfortable with horizontal playing, because with a drone string you're creating tension and release all along the way. Every chord tone - there's the fifth, there's the A of D minor, and there's that B flat. That's the melody, and you hear that release. It's a wonderful way of further underscoring the harmony for the listener. And I'm pretty sure I ended up on that D natural when it changed to the B flat chord because that's just where my ear wants to go. It wants to hear the third of that chord. It wants to outline that harmony. So that was the opening phrase. And it's a great exercise because it gets you into playing horizontally. And basically, all the notes I'm playing, I'm playing throughout this entire section except for the A7, that last chord, is all D aeolian, coming from the key of F major.
So I'll just speak harmonically about when it gets to the A7 chord that takes it out of the aeolian mode for just that chord, and the reason being that C#. It's the major third of that dominant seven chord. If you think about it, you've got an A major chord to make it a dominant seventh, just take your pinky off and that reveals the G natural, and that's the seventh. So a dominant seventh chord leading to a minor chord can come from a couple of different harmonic scale choices. In this case, you can use D harmonic minor, which is basically like the aeolian. You're just raising the seventh scale degree of the key from C to C#. That's straight D aeolian. But if you raise that seventh, you don't even have to get that involved. You can just think about what the chord tones are, again by looking at that shape. And that's what's happening when I'm playing, I see that C#. And you hear that resolution, and you're back, and I'm going to land on that ninth because I love that beautiful tension of what that creates. So experiment with that, but just start with finding the chord tones. And then if you want to get into the tension tones, it's a really beautiful sound, then resolving back into that D minor chord. So that's something that I alluded to on the two times that happened in that chord progression.
Now I did also utilize a very simple thirds, double stop idea. And that's something that I'll commonly do. If I'm in D minor and I'm thinking about that chord shape, I see that as the root, the tonic. So I've got that C and E, just like we did up here in that pentatonic exercise from earlier. I'm just playing it down in this position, and that's nice because it leads right into that chord shape. A couple little things I want to isolate. I realize that when I'm on either the E or the B string I do a lot of up picking, and it's for some harmonic content that I'm getting. It's not like the pinch harmonic that we talked about at that one point, but it's to see if I pick the note normally, if I'm picking up underneath it. So I'm almost scraping the underneath of the string. Again, you can hear some of the upper harmonic content of the note. The beauty of me doing these lessons is I'm discovering things about my own playing that I had no idea I was doing. It just happened naturally over the years. But this is something that I think is a big part of my playing, because again it's giving me a way of giving the line a shape, a kind of a dynamic. It's still a nice melody, but I can see where my ear and my musical melodic direction is wanting to hear that because it's giving it some weight. It's giving it more importance. It's giving it soul and more expression.
I also employed some of the hybrid things we were talking about. Not so much specific pick and then fingers, but I'm digging up underneath the string again, but this time with my finger. And it's something a lot of us heard Stevie Ray do, and it's something he heard Albert King do. I was playing horizontally. That's something I commonly do. I'm just doing the unison bend up the pentatonic, the minor pentatonic scale. There's that bending from the third to the fourth and there I am up picking the top note again. I never thought about it, but that's what's happening. Then when I got the octave of that D, I went from the minor third to the fifth so it's a major third bend. And I'll bend back up on it a little bit at the end of the phrase. Then I might have bent up to that B flat. See how slow you can do it to build the strength. It's a very soulful expression. I just did some sixths leading down to that D minor chord. So hopefully that'll give you some ideas of how to add on to some of the basic minor pentatonic shapes that you're probably already playing. Those things sound great too, but this just gives you a few extra ideas to give it some variety, give it some shape to your lines. So have fun with that.