Chord voicing affect sound?

Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 432
Hi all. I've been experimenting with different voicings. Maybe I'm crazy but it seems like when I barre several notes (like the D9 in the second pic) I'm better able to get a dry crunch on the 2 and 4 of the rhythm. Same thing with some other chords like the min7. It does seem like most of the GJ players use these barred forms. I had been using fingerings where a single finger covered only one note. Any thoughts?


  • Posts: 4,802
    For a granola crunch you really need to bar the low E and A strings with your middle finger.
    And then barre the top strings with your ring finger like the second picture so that way pinky is still free to play extensions if needed.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    I usually do it with the thumb. I can't seem to bar the E and A strings without deadening the D. But then maybe that's why my crunch is not quite there yet!
  • I have no problem with crunch on either. Just a matter of careful SLOW practice
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited January 2018 Posts: 3,320
    Shouldn't make much difference. Your tone should not vary that much from one chord to the next. For example if the next chord was G you want your tone to be the same on the G chord as the D7, right? Don't squeeze too hard. Makes it easier/faster to damp and change chords. Use a light touch with the left hand. From the pics it looks like your grip may be really tight??? You really just need to touch the strings pretty lightly onto the fret until you get a clean fretted note. You don't need to press them into the fretboard very hard. You don't want too much ringing anyway so no need to squeeze too much. In reality you need to focus as much on releasing the grip as squeezing it, maybe more so.

    For ease of practice just to develop technique you could just use this inversion (below) for the D7 (or Am6) until you get the sound you want. This should free you up. If you are not getting the tone you want you may just be struggling with the left hand fingerings. Use a simpler fingering to work on tone. More complex grips will make you tend to tense up and harder to focus on tone.


    You can even just concentrate on the 1 and 3 separately from the 2 and 4 if that helps you break it down and get the sound you like on each beat.

    Also, find a recording that you like the sound the rhythm player is producing and play along with it until you can get the same sound and see how that feels in your hands. Plus it's fun. And like Jazza said, slow down a bit for practice.
  • Posts: 4,802
    I think the difference you think you're hearing is perceived but not really there. At first I thought "wow that's strange, it does sound different", but I closed my eyes and listened while switching between the two, sort of trying to make a blind test as best as I could, and there wasn't any difference.

    Playing those two bass notes with a middle finger is something that needs to be worked on for quite a while before it's clean and instant. It took me a long time to get that and the Maj6 voicing, maybe a year but at that time my practice wasn't consistent so it could be a matter of couple of months if you work on it daily.
    By the way, to say that those strings are barred isn't completely accurate. It's more like you're putting your finger between the two so that the part of the tip of the finger is pressing on both. But it's still the tip that makes the sound, not the flat part of the finger.
    Hopefully these pics are going to Illustrate better than words. Actually you can see that my middle finger isn't even completely flat and the notes ring clear.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • AndrewUlleAndrewUlle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 541
    @Buco - does the nut width of the particular guitar affect the ability to fret two strings with one finger? It doesn't look like a huge difference, but on the rare occasion I pick up my Gibson J-45, or even worse, a Fender Strat, My fingers feel extremely crowded when fretting chords (compared to my DiMauro).
  • PetrovPetrov ✭✭
    Posts: 125
    what @Buco said about putting your finger in between instead of a bar is what made a big difference for me in the beginning.
  • edited January 2018 Posts: 3,707
    Or @Andrew Ulle you could have fingers like mine which feel comfy on a classical neck and crowded on a wide style GJ neck. Part of the less crowded feeling on GJ relates to the longer scale length I suspect
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,802
    @Buco - does the nut width of the particular guitar affect the ability to fret two strings with one finger?

    Not particularly, no. Maybe a few minutes adjusting to a different neck but that's all.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 62
    Potentially heretical beginner question: why does everyone or nearly everyone play these 6-string chords when with many players you don't hear the actual pitches of the 2 high strings? At least I don't. I'm having difficulty understanding why I should bother to fret them while playing rhythm in this style. Those chords are pretty hard to control, but when I manage to do it, I seem to get basically the same sound as from the easy variants with just 4 fretted notes. I can understand playing a fuller voicing on a dominant chord, so the upper strings are there for a cross-accent, but why do it on a major chord?
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