Mickylee - jazz guitar expert

Tension Over Shell Voicings

More tips about shell voicings on guitar

In this second video about shell voicings, Mickylee goes deeper with more fascinating techniques to master.

Released on March 3, 2021

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, my name is Mickylee. And in this video, I want to extend the topic we talked about last time. If you didn't watch the previous video, please check it out. But just as a short reminder, we talked about shell voicings and how and where we can play them on guitar. We play shell voicings, which would be mostly third and seventh on the middle two strings, D and G. Now, I want to see what notes we can play on the first two strings, E and B. For that purpose, we are going to take A major seven, A minor seven, and A seven.

Let's start with A major seven. So first I need a root, I'm going to take the open A string. Then on the sixth fret of the D string, I have G-sharp which is seventh. And on the sixth fret of the G string, I have C-sharp, which is third. So this is my A major seven with root seventh and third. I'm going to check all the notes on the first and second string now and see how they relate to this chord. For that purpose, I'm going to take all the notes from the third fret all the way up to the eighth fret. The reason I chose the bass range is because you don't need to stretch that much and I think it's doable for everyone's hands.

Let's start with this note, that would be D on the third fret. If we play it with A major seven, we get this sound. This note D, would be eleventh, and it is something we consider avoid note. Avoid note is a note that lies one half step above the chord note, which in this case would be C-sharp. And if you play it, you need to play it with caution, so I wouldn't really play this voicing very much. Then we have D-sharp or E-flat, which would be either sharp eleventh or flat five, very nice sound, which is often used. On the fifth fret, we have E which would just be the fifth, so it's A major seven. Then we have A-sharp or F which would be either sharp five or flat 13. That sound, it's used pretty often in jazz. Then we have F-sharp on the seventh fret. That would be A major 13, also very often used. And then we have G here. This is not really a chord because we have G-sharp as major seventh and G as seventh. These two don't really go well together, so this is not very practical.

Now we move on to the first string on the third fret. We have G again, so same thing, not very practical. Then you have G-sharp which is major seven, but I don't really use that because I avoid doubling the notes in my voicings. So that would be G-sharp and G-sharp twice, I don't use that that often. Then we have A on the fifth fret. A is a root, so nothing wrong there, but we already have it here, so doubling. And we have G-sharp here and A here, which would be minor ninth. This is also not that desirable, although it's been used pretty often. So it's on you to decide if you want to use it or not. Then we have B-flat which would be flat nine and this is not really common extension to use with major seventh chords, so not really. And then we have B which would be ninth and this is really nice sound that we use very often.

So practically for this chord on the second string, we can use the notes D-sharp or E-flat, E, F, and F-sharp. And on the first string, we can use A and B. Let's combine all of these and hear how they sound. So we have E-flat with A, E-flat with B, E with A, E with B, F with A, F with B, and F-sharp with A, F-sharp with B.

Now let's move on to A minor seven. We'll take the same root, A open string. Then we have G on the fifth fret of the D string which will be seven. We have C on the fifth fret of the G string and this is our A minor seven with shell voicing. And we'll repeat all the notes we had in the previous example. So first would be D on the second string, third fret. This is 11th, A minor 11, very often used. Then we have E-flat which would be flat five and that makes A minor seventh flat five or half-diminished. Then we have E again which is just A minor seven. The next one would be F or E-sharp which will be either sharp five or flat 13. Then we have F-sharp which is A minor seven 13. Sometimes it's used in funk music but also in jazz. And then we have G which is seventh but doubling so I don't use it that often.

On the first string, we start with G which is, again, seventh but doubling. Then we have G-sharp which makes no sense because we already have G as seventh, major seventh, doesn't go with that. Then we have A which is root, but we already have it here. B-flat is flat nine that doesn't really go with this chord, but B as nine and that really sounds very nice. So on the second string, we have the notes with practical meaning, which would be B, E-flat, E, F, and F-sharp. And on the first string we have, again, A and B. Let's combine them and hear how they sound. With D and A, D and B, E-flat and A, E-flat and B, E and A, just A minor seven, E and B, A minor nine, F and A, F and B, F-sharp and A, F-sharp and B.

The last chord we are going to take a look at is A seven. And we need A, G on the fourth string, and C-sharp on the third string. And now, you know the drill already. We start with D. This would also be technically avoid note because it lays halftone above C-sharp, which is chord note, but especially guitar players play this sound pretty often.

Then we have D-sharp or E-flat which is either sharp 11 or flat five, very often used sound. Then we have E which is, again, just A seven. We have F or E-sharp, that would be either A seven sharp five or A seven flat 13. Then we have F-sharp which is A seven flat 13. On the first string, we have G which is, again, doubling. Then we have G-sharp which doesn't work. Then we have A which is just A seven. Then we have B-flat, flat nine, which is very often used with this chord with dominant seven chord. And we have nine, B, which would be A seven nine, and that's also very often used. Here, we have C as well which would be sharp nine, and then it goes very well.

So now we've seen here practical notes to use with B. E-flat, E, F, F-sharp, on the second string. And on the first string, we have A, B-flat, B, and C, so much more combinations in the dominant seven chord. Let's try them all out. First, we start with E-flat and we put A on top of that, then E-flat with B-flat, E-flat with B, and E-flat with C. The next one is E on the second string. We'll repeat that with A on the first string, just A seven chord. Then we have B-flat, then we have E with B, and E with C. Now we have F on the second string and A on the first, now with B-flat on the first, now with B on the first string, and C on the first string. Now let's see, F-sharp with A, with B-flat with B, and last but not least, with C. So that would be all for me for now. I hope you had fun. Thank you very much for watching and see you next time. Bye.
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