dulcimerroo
@dulcimerroo
5 years ago
15 posts
  1. Thanks Lisa n Ken, happy to know I am on the right track and if Stephen Seifert says it works then I defenatly am. Will continue working on bar chords. 
Lisa Golladay
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
5 years ago
101 posts

I was lucky enough to attend a class where Stephen Seifert taught us how versatile bar chords are in a 1-5-8 tuning like DAd.  When you play a bar in this tuning, you're playing the root and 5th notes of the chord.  Since it's the 3rd interval that determines whether a chord is major or minor, you simply don't have to worry about that.  The other instruments will fill in the missing notes. 

If the chord is D (or Dm or D7 or D13...) strum the open strings.

If the chord is E (or Em or E7 or E9sus4...) strum a bar on the 1st fret.

If the chord is F (or Fm or F6 or...) strum a bar on the 1.5 fret (if you've got it)

And so on up the fretboard.  The only outliers are diminished chords (fret the middle string one half-step down because in a diminished chord the 5th is flat) and augmented chords (fret the middle string one half-step up).  If you don't have a half-fret where you need it, you can play the root strings and mute the middle string.

This was a class about chromatic dulcimer, and I got positively gleeful when Steve started calling out obscure random chords (G#13!  F-minor 9th!  E-flat augmented!) and we all responded by playing the appropriate chord.  Now I know ALL THE CHORDS .  Which for an MD player is quite a rush.

In most ensembles it sounds good to reinforce the root and 5th, which is what you're contributing by playing those bar chords.  Rock players call it a "power chord." 

Ken, thanks for reminding me about the Ebony Hillbillies.  I would love the chance to hear Norris Bennett in person.  I found this video where he's playing without a noter and without bar chords, but inspirational nonetheless!  (Memo to self: get a really great ring to wear on my fretting hand.  Also practice.  Very, very much practice.) 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
1,892 posts

I don't play that style, but a number of years ago I had the privilege of meeting and watching Norris Bennett of the Ebony Hillbillies, a New York City string band, do his thing with a noter -- he basically used the noter across all the strings much like a slide guitar or a lap steel.  Very interesting technique when used with the right kinds of music.


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/26/17 10:17:48AM
dulcimerroo
@dulcimerroo
5 years ago
15 posts

I play in an Old Time String Band and play melody when I can, recently I have been experimenting with bar chords when we play tunes that I find the melody difficult to play and found it quite successful and to me easier than fingered chords.

Has any one else tried this technique and foumd it useful? Better add that I tune DAD.