Over the years, we’ve brought you many west coast gospel musicians – Jonathan Powell, Jason White, Kevin Nickelson, Mike Bereal, to name a few – and without a doubt, they all share a commonality in their playing.
Don’t get me wrong… they each have their own distinct way of doing things but there is, undoubtedly, this west coast “feel” underlying their playing.
And when you add to the mix 7 more professional, west coast musicians we’re bringing you in our new Musician Breakthrough (14 discs / 17 hours), it not only shows you what each uniquely brings to the table but what they all share as well.
(Don’t worry east coast folks… I haven’t forgotten about you. Since we’re out here on the west coast, it’s just a lot easier and practical to access this incredible pool of talent. But in the future, rest assured we’ll be going on the road!).
One simple technique that is common out here is to take a chord, pull out the middle note, and simply play that middle note on your left hand.
It could be done to practically any chord.
For example, C major. Instead of voicing it like this:
You may find it voiced like this:
It’s commonly done with diminished 7 chords too.
For example, here’s a normal C# dim 7:
Now take out the “E” and put it on the left hand:
You can also do it with the “G” in the chord. Simply take it out and put it on your left hand:
Works well with half-diminished 7 chords too. Here’s the normal way to play an Eb half-dim 7:
Now with “A” moved to left hand:
Or you can try it with the “Gb”:
I can go on and on but here’s the principle:
Take chords you normally play and experiment with taking notes from the middle of the chord and placing them in your left hand bass. That’s it! Some will work really well, others won’t but let your ear be the final judge.
I hear some folks saying: “But what about my normal bass note?”
These would act as substitutes. So, for a quick moment, you don’t play your normal left hand bass and you’d play whatever this strategy calls for (whatever note is in the middle of your chord that you’re moving to the left hand).
Or better yet, if you have a bass player, you can do whatever you want on left hand because they’re always holding down the bass.
Alright, hope this helps. See ya soon!
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- How to add flavor and spice with the power of chord substitutions
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