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  • Writer's pictureJay EuDaly

Chord Melodies: Preview!

Have you ever wondered how guitar players can play chords and melodies at the same time!?

I'm Jay EuDaly, the creator of and author of Vertical Truth: Chordal Mechanisms for the Guitar.

I've been a professional guitarist since about 1970 and a teacher since the mid-eighties. I've played thousands of gigs (approximately 10,000 shows), and taught thousands of students.

You can find my bio here.

You can read the backstory of how my guitar method came to be at A Little Story.

This blog is previewing the upcoming launch of Unit 6 of my guitar method, Vertical Truth: Chordal Mechanisms for the Guitar. Unit 6 is called, 7th Voicing.

Creating chord melodies is the main focus of this brand-new lesson series!

As with all the lessons on, much value can be gained from a stand-alone perusal of the Unit. However, its optimum value is obtained by having gone through the prerequisite lessons.

The essential prerequisites are these:

First and foremost is the 5-Lesson Foundational Series. Everything I teach, and I mean everything, presupposes you can find any note anywhere on the guitar neck. It is SO important that my students and Site Members have it under their belt that, though it retails for $39, I give it away for free. I believe in it so much I even give it away for free to readers of my blog, who don't have to be my students or Site Members.

So...these 5 lessons will enable you to find any note, anywhere on the guitar neck, without memorizing note names on every string (that's a beautiful thing!) and will provide a mechanism which ensures that you practice everything in every key (also a beautiful thing!). You can download the PDF for FREE right here with no further commitment or obligation:

Secondly, one of two previous units on 7th chords:

If you want more info (a lot of info and tons of free content!), go to the link above for the Unit but don't buy anything! If you want Unit 4, be patient and wait for the launch of Unit 6. I will offer Unit 4 as a very cheap upsell with the purchase of Unit 6.

Now let's talk about Unit 6: 7th Voicing:

If you're knowledgeable about 7th chords (Unit 4), you'll know that they consist of 4 notes; root, 3rd, 5th and 7th.

7th inversions (Unit 5) use the same 4 notes, just stacked in different orders.

7th voicings eliminate the 5th so they are 3-note 7th chords consisting of the root, 3rd and 7th. The term, "voicing" is used because the 3 notes are spoken of in choir terms as in, "alto," "tenor" and "bass." The "soprano" voice is reserved for the melody, whatever it may be.

This concept is roughly the same as what's known as the 4-Part Bach Chorale Style that is taught in most music schools. I've written a blog on the subject called, Back to Bach if you're interested. It will give you some more background that pertains to 7th Voicing.

There are two voicings we'll be working with, "Close" and "Open."

Close Voicing (or Close Position) retains numerical order from low to high; root-3rd-7th. The notes are "close" to each other. In Open Voicing (or Open Position) the 3rd is raised an octave; root-7th-3rd, from low to high. So...

The first thing we do is learn the 3-note 7th chords in both close and open position in every key, in every position; 4 positions for Close, 3 positions for Open.

The application should be obvious; we add a melody note to each voicing. It's a way to harmonize melodies, also known as, "chord melodies."

Harmonizing the melody of a given song with Close and Open voicings is the main focus of the Unit 6 lesson series!

However, there are several other things that happen as a result of applying Open and Close voicings to melodies:

  • It combines the strengths of root-position 7th chords (root in bass/parallel voicing) and 7th inversions (common-tone voicing). For a preview of this concept see the blog, Back to Bach.

  • It provides vocabulary for comping to Blues, Jazz standards and also the Gypsy Jazz genre, but can be - and is - applied to all styles of guitar playing.

  • It lays a foundation for adding 11ths, 9ths and 13ths, as well as all the alterations of those extensions - which will be covered in Unit 7: 9th Chords (launch will be next year!). For a preview of this concept, see Quick & Dirty Altered Dominants.

  • It provides the most common types of chord voicings that are used with walking bass lines. Walking bass lines will be taught in another lesson series - possibly a blog, but knowing the material from Unit 6 will be necessary to understand it.

The product is a PDF download containing:​

  • 11 Lessons

  • 22 Pages

  • 45 Fretboard Diagrams

  • 21 Notation Examples

  • 11 Demonstration Video Links

PLUS...Every demonstration video has dozens of embedded dynamic fretboard diagrams.

Want to know what all the above looks like? Check out this promo video:

Want to get started? Good!

Here are fretboard diagrams for all the close-voiced 7ths. Fingerings are variable; it all depends on what the melody note will be, and the melody note could be anything. The fingerings below are what I use for the current context:

If you've gone through the 5-Lesson Foundational Series, you have a method to put all the above chords into the same key - in every key. That is, all the roots have the same letter name.

  • Hint: the 4th-string root is the octave of the 6th-string root and the 3rd-string root is the octave of the 5th-string root.

If you were a personal student of mine, I would require you to play the above 16 chord shapes, in every key, before proceeding to the next lesson. Check out this clip from the first lesson for what that looks like:

This has basically been half of the 1st lesson in the're welcome!


If I've piqued your interest, please sign up as a Master Guitar School Site Member. The launch of Unit 6: 7th Voicing will be offered to Site Members ONLY!

Sign-up is free. If you want more info on site membership, see Why Become A Site Member?

Next week (October 11, 2021) begins the pre-launch countdown. There will be 3 emails (M-W-F) with info about the Unit 6 lessons, including TONS of free content! Want to receive those emails? Sign up by clicking on the button above!

I hope to see you for the launch of Unit 6: 7th Voicing from!


Sign up as a Master Guitar School site member - it's free! - and get access to dozens of free site-based lessons, a monthly newsletter that contains a brand-new free lesson, and DEEP discounts on lesson series downloads - plus more!

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