Watch the Electric Gypsy Progression online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
So that was essentially three courses of Electric Gypsy and employing a few different techniques that we've talked about so far. Just a reminder of the chords, the chord progression again. It's D major to A major to B minor to G major. And I'm considering each section two times through those chords as one section. The first section, something we didn't talk about, is just open harmonics, which is the natural harmonics produced. Like if you have the note D and you play it harmonic on the 12th fret, it's called a natural harmonic. Where on the 7th fret you get the note A. Then the octave above that, D. So what I did was I constructed a melody using purely open harmonics. The easiest frets to produce these harmonics are the 12th, 7th, and 5th. But every now and then you might need a melodic note that isn't produced on those open strings in those sections. Like over the note A, over the chord A, I played a melody that I wanted to hear the third of that A major chord and that's C#. And you can produce that note by playing harmonic on the A string in the 4th fret. So let me demonstrate that first phrase and we'll go from there. I start on an up beat. One, two, three. So it comes in on the and of three. So one, two, three and - that's that first melody. It's a nice little melody and it's purely just D major chord tones adding a passing ninth. So, you've got the A and the D and I love being able to get these things to ring together as much as possible. Lifting the fretting hand off the string and that's that C#. That one's a little bit more difficult to get to sing out. But with a little practice I think you can get it. And sonically, I should point out that I'm playing this on the clean channel of my amp with just a slight gain in front of it with a pedal on the floor, and I'm downing my volume knob considerably. If I turn my guitar full up it's a pretty bold sound, but I love the sound of my guitar with the volume way down on a gain setting to get that really clean but with just a little bit of grit in there and it gets a little bit of that sparkle to come out, which is handy for these harmonics. Also I'm on the neck pick up. I really love that sound. If I was on the bridge pick up I don't think it would be quite the right vibe and feel for this. So sonically thats what's happening.
I should also point out that on my volume knob on my guitar there's what's called a high-pass filter. So when I turn down the volume of the guitar it does maintain the treble some. If its normal circuitry sometimes gets a little muddy down there. So if you want to replicate that you would need that treble bleed mod, it's called. So I'm basically just outlining the chord tones and I'm achieving that voice leading over the A major with that D to C#. Then I play the same melodic phrase. So we know that the D major chord is the relative major of B minor. So when it goes to that B minor, the same notes of the D major chord will sound nice over that B minor. So you've got the fifth and the third of that B minor. That D. That D is a really sweet note. I love that melody, down to that third of the G major chord. So that's essentially a study in harmonics, but it's also a study in voice leading to the third of each chord as it comes. The D major. There's that third, but I delayed it slightly with the E. That's the tension part of the line. Release. Tension. Release. Tension. Release. And this is that tension. It wants to resolve.
The second section of this song we went back to the artificial harmonics of tapping 12 frets above the note. So you can actually practice this by just outlining the actual chord shapes first. You might just go straight up the D major. Then try tapping up the A major. It's kind of easy because you can visualize what that chord shape looks like just up the octave if you were fingering it. The B minor and G major, and then maybe smaller triads. The A major. It's easier to get the notes to speak out that I find on the B, D, and G strings. They just sing out a bit better in this particular technique. It's also nice to find other inversions. That time on the G major I played it at the 7th, 8th, and 9th fret. A major up here. So, let me play the melody that I played with that technique. It's motivic development as well. Voice leading through the thirds, but I made that initial statement then I repeated it with a slightly different resolution or different tag ending. So I'll play it again. See now I'm repeating. So it's an A B A C form if you like. If you call this the A section, and then B, and to A again, and then a C. It's just a nice compositional shape. And there's a couple tricky things as far as some of the sliding that I'm doing. Then I want to get the melody. I'm tapping on that 4th fret up here, the octave above. So a little positional sliding and then I'm bending up that half step. It's a little tough to get it on that 22nd fret, but the more gain the more easy it might be to get it to leap out. I like the delicate quality of hearing the fingers on the frets when there's not so much distortion.
Then in the last segment I reverted back to playing a melody that I actually recorded on the original Electric Gypsy track years ago. So many of the elements that I'll be repeating, but it's such a part of my playing that it's unavoidable. I'm bending up to the third of that D major chord, thinking positionally here at that 10th fret and it's resolving down to an A major chord. Again that slight tension and release to the third from the fourth. It's that same kind of D major chord position and I'm just giving a little ornamentation to that chord by sliding it up a whole step. The chord change is B minor. It's that D major shape, again as I mentioned, that D major sounds beautiful over that B minor chord. I play that phrase and land on the big ol' B natural of that G major, which is the third again, and there I resolve back into the D major chord. That again is just ornamenting on the D major chord tone. You'll hear that a lot in my playing. I'm always doing half step bends from the third to the fourth when I'm on a major chord. And I do it on minor chords bending from the ninth to the minor third. That'd be nice on the B minor and then I can't really remember the specific lick at the end from the record, but it is where I'll play into the B minor but outlining an F#7 chord, with a flat 9. Playing that A# or B flat, which is that leading tone major seventh end of the root of B minor. It happens to be the third of the F#. So that's giving that the V to the I chord. Which you can really add before any chord to give it a little bit of emotion and sonic variety.
So that's what I'm alluding to and it's a triplet-y over the bar line lick, but I play it a little different every time, but you get the flavor - it's reverting back to the B minor each time. But those two phrases, the B to the B flat and the G to the F#, it's giving the impression of that chord. And I'm just bending to the note B from A. And that wraps up the phrase. Again, resolving to a pretty third of the G major. So hopefully all that will illuminate when I'm playing this song live, these techniques will be utilized, and again, a lot of it's voice leading through the third to those chords. Really simple chord progression, but it's nice to have that to give to the listener. Where even if the bass or backing chordal instruments weren't happening you'd really hear the chord changes and the melodic choices that I'm making. So have fun playing over those chord changes. They're beautiful and you almost can't go wrong and now with a little bit of direction you can spice up your playing a bit with that.