IF YOU HAVEN’T TUNED ONE OF YOUR
guitars to open G yet (D, G, D, G, B, D low to high),
you’re missing out! Last month, Bob Brozman
showed us how to play a righteous fingerstyle blues
using simple, two-note shapes. As promised, this
lesson goes global.
“These chords are found in so many kinds of
music,” says Brozman. “For example, they work great
for Hawaiian music.” He plays the swinging Ex. 1, an
awesome V-IV-I turnaround in G. Use a little palm muting on the low notes to maintain thumpitude
and snap the high notes to make them
jump out. Get comfortable with the moves in
these four bars and you’ll find it easy to riff
through entire tunes that follow these types
of changes. Partake in a little poi and pakalolo
and you in da islands already, brah!
Brozman then takes us halfway around
the world with the sprightly Ex. 2, showing
how with a different groove and attack, these
shapes work for African music. Clip the notes
short and hit them hard for the proper feel.
This one moves pretty fast the way Brozman
plays it, but start slow and tap your foot.
The muted “scritches” in the 1st bar keep
the line percussive and lively and also make
it easier to change positions smoothly.
“With these exact same two-note mini
chords,” he continues, “we can play Mexican
music. He gets the fiesta started with Ex. 3.
To get the tone you hear on the companion
video, Brozman strikes the double-stop triplets
with his thumbpick way up on the neck, giving
the notes a tinny, tinkly sound. As with
Ex. 2, our double-stops here are on adjacent
strings, but it all still adds up to a harmonized
G major scale. This example is the first one
we’ve seen that doesn’t involve bass notes,
but once it’s comfortable, there is nothing to
stop you from accompanying yourself. Just
about any of the open low strings are fair
game because, as Senor Brozman tells us,
“The background of the tuning makes everything
Check out another feature from this GP Flashback series: Paul Simon, June 1970 . BONUS: Phil Ramone In The Studio With Paul Simon!