Beginner Guitar Course Week 3

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The reversed Chromatic Exercise and Redemption Song!

Welcome back, today we move away from ‘Talking About A Revolution’ as we start looking at another acoustic classic in ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley.

As well as this we look at how to play the Chromatic Exercise backwards, let’s get right to it.

Week 3 – Step 1 – 10-20 min

When playing the Chromatic Exercise, you move up the string as you go from low to high, you move down the string as you go from high to low.

Either way, the exercise keeps going up the neck.

Here’s the TAB for what the Chromatic Exercise has been so far:
Chromatic Exercise 1 Beginner Course Week 3
What this means is that you practice playing up a string as well as playing down a string.

The simplest variation we can build from this is to simply start high up the neck and move down instead.

This concept can be applied to all future Chromatic Exercises. Here’s what it looks like in TAB:
Chromatic Exercise 1 Beginner Course Week 3 p2
There are no set rules for where on the neck you have to practice the chromatic exercise, you could do it all between fret 5 and 12, or 1 and 8. It really is up to you.

Find a routine that suits you where you can increase the BPM steadily and get the job done in under 20 minutes.

If you practice this exercise for more than 20 minutes you might strain yourself so be careful.

When you played the exercise up and down for a while, try playing along with the video again.

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Week 3 – Step 2 – 20 min

We are going to spend two weeks learning ‘Redemption Song’ in all its detail, today we tackle the basic strumming pattern and the basic chords.

The first Verse moves:

| I | VI | IV I/III | II | x3 followed by: | I | VI | IV | V | V | before the Chorus arrives. So what do these numbers mean?

We are in the key of G here, all chords from the key of G are:

G (I) Am (II) Bm (III) C (IV) D (V) Em (VI) F#m7b5 (VII)

If the first part of the verse is: | I | VI | IV I/III | II | in roman numerals, then the chords are:

All the chords of G major

| G | Em | C G/B | Am |

The G/B or I/III is just that, chord I (G) with chord III in the bass (the note B). This means that you play a G chord from string 5, just leave string 6 out.

Before the chorus we play: | I | VI | IV | V | V | or | G | Em | C | D | D |

The two bars of D (chord V) really build tension and make you feel as if you want you to play G (chord I) again.

What’s important to understand here is that each chord number has a sound. Chord I feels like home, chord V feels like it wants to go back to home.

The chorus of ‘Redemption Song’ employ the most common chord progression around, the I – IV – V or G – C – D.

Play chord I for a bar and let IV and V share a bar like this | I | IV V | or | G | C D |.

When you have played this twice, swap chord I for chord VI, like this | VI | IV V | or | Em | C D |.

Following this, play I – IV – V again.

Should you put the chords over the lyrics it would look like this:

(D)                        G
Won’t you help to sing
C        D             G
These songs of freedom
             C   D      Em
‘Cause all I ever have
C  D              G
Redemption songs
C  D              G
Redemption songs

Verse Variation

During verse 2 and 3 we find a variation. Rather than moving | G | Em | C | D | D | before the chorus we instead play: | G | Em | C G/B | D | D I.

This may seem like a small variation but as the saying goes; genius is attention to detail.

Chord progressions is the most important cornerstone when understanding music, literally everything starts with understanding chords as numbers.

Strumming Pattern

Now that you know what the chords are, let’s look at the strumming pattern, it’s very simple as it’s almost identical to ‘Talking About A Revolution’s strumming pattern.

In the notation you can see how the only difference is over the first beat.

Beginner Course week 3 Talking vs Redemption

Using the strumming pattern and the chords, play along with the video lesson below for the Verses and the Chorus.

There are three new chords to learn here, the C chord and the Am chord, as well as the G/B. Here they are all in TAB:

Redemption Song chord C Am G G B amend

The G chords fifth string is muted by the flesh of the finger that play the G root on string six.

Play along with the video to try out the strumming pattern and the new chords you’ve just learned.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson, we will spend two weeks learning this song in all it’s detail. So no need to panic if you don’t get it all today.

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Today you’ve learned:

  1. How to play the Chromatic Exercise backwards
  2. How to play C and Am
  3. How to play a slash chord, a G/B
  4. The basic strumming pattern for Redemption Song
  5. How a chord progression is better understood by being in numbers

If you want to practice more before the next lesson, simply retake this lesson again tomorrow.

In three days time we will continue this weeks lesson and look at ‘Redemption Song’ in greater detail, see you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)