Watch the Purple: 5 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed
Guitar 1 kicks things off with a “fragmented” Cm7, which simply means there’s no 5th in the chord. There’s merely a root, b3rd and b7th and that’s all you need. In bar 2 that 1st position voicing is altered at the top by lowering the Bb down a half step to A creating a biting Cm6. The goo that makes that chord stick in your head is the tritone (b5th) between the b3rd (Eb) and 6th (A), which by the way is the very essence of the Dorian mode (1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7). Playing the same rhythmic pattern in bars 3 and 4 the harmony gets some extensions added on for color and variation. In bar 3 the Cm7 becomes a full-fledged Cm9 (not only was the 9th added, but so was the 5th) while the Cm6 played in bar 2 graduates to a Cm13 in bar 4. Speaking of full-fledged status, this a great example of a true m13 where the b7, 9, 11, 13 are all in the chord (notice, there’s no 5th again nor does there need for official m13 status).
Rhythmically speaking the most important aspect to keep in mind when playing both halves of Guitar 1 is the absence of scratches that are so common to 16th note-based groove playing such as this. In this instance the complementary interplay between Guitar 1 and the kick drum is heard especially at the upbeat of beat 3 where the Cm7 chord meets the second 16th of that syncopated snippet talked about in the Rhythm Track Analysis. When it comes to the overall rhythmic delivery of Guitar 1 the secret is in the pick hand and how it keeps the 16th note ghost motion rolling along as the things progress. This practice allows you to play the chopped up Cm7 and Cm9 bits at the upbeat of 3 and 2nd 16th of beat 4 in bars 1 and 3 respectively with ease.
While Purple is another two-chord jam, the cool part is the interval between the two changes--a b3rd. This is a very cool sound when applied to just about any combination of chord qualities especially the two minor tonalities we have here. The second half starts at bar 5 where a root position closed-voiced Ebm fretted on the 5th-3rd strings is played. Like the Cm7-Cm6 change the Ebm drops it’s top voice from Bb down to A creating an Ebdim chord. This voice leading connection is what ties the two sets of four bars together and it continues in bars 7 and 8. Adding a D to the Cm7 in bar 3 made a Cm9 and now the added D to the Ebm in bar 7 makes a sinister-sounding EbmMaj7 chord. For those of you not familiar with these chord sounds: Be prepared--you’re gonna get hooked. Following suit with the voice leading established, the lowering of the Bb to A happens once again in bar 8 making a really cool Ebdim9, which is spelled 1 b3 bb5 9. To get that chord to happen be sure to place your thumb sorta northwest (diagonally up towards the headstock). To add to the difficulty of fingering that chord you have to get your fret hand 3rd finger to touch the unwanted adjacent 6th string to make sure there’s no major clams being sent out to the universe.