• A Quick & Easy Way To Add West Coast Flavor To Your Playing

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Gospel music,Piano

    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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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    { 23 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Devin

    Thanks for the post. Using this technique definitely helps add flavor to the way I play and the way some of my students are playing.

    I really enjoyed watching all of the different styles on the Musician Breakthrough teaser videos.


    2 Louis Hogan

    The concept is to use a “weak” note in the left hand – the fifth, or for really weak, the third or some other note, rather than the fundamental. This makes the chord want to “resolve” to a stronger chord, and thus creates momentum.
    The main concept of Gospel is satisfaction. Make the listener want something, then let them have it. Set ’em up, knock ’em down. More advanced chordings still follow this concept, except they maintain a certain level of tension (weakness) all the time.


    3 ernest

    please sir how we use it?


    4 seun

    Thanks for the good work you’re doing to bless others. I live in Nigeria, and get some of your products, like the ‘musician breakthrough’ has been a challenge. I’ll like to know if you have a sales representative in Nigeria. Thank you.


    5 Ronald

    Thanks Jermaine, Good to know that I am using this method and glad to know that you endorse it. I’ve always liked the sound when I use the third of the chord as the bass not. It has always sounded good and also the fifth at times. Thanks for confirming that I’m in the right direction. God bless.


    6 Tamars

    Hi Jermaine, great tip! People on the east coast use this method very very often. I love how it sounds open and full at the same time! Keep ’em coming Jermaine, and God bless ya.


    7 Joshua

    As an Australian(not being from the west coast) I almost have no idea what is being explained in the article!:P

    But after reading it over, I realised that it is more simple working it out this way!



    8 matthew

    hi Jarmaine, I really enjoy your motivations and article it really helps alot thanks. I will like to knw if u have a sales representative in Nigeria, cos I stay in Nigeria and I’ll like 2 purchase your text books in order 2 take my playing 2 d next level.


    9 precious

    jermaine thanks a lot for the lectures how can get voice training


    10 Geneva

    hi jarmaine ,this help me lot. i play gospel music and hymns my problen is fill in
    chords need help on fill-in chords that i can use in any key


    11 emmarson

    takes 4 d tip it really worked tank u ar a gift 2 d world


    12 Ebimo

    Thanks Jermaine. I really love your website, books and videos. I live in Nigeria and I’d like to know if you have sales reps in my country, Nigeria. I really want to purchase your lessons.


    13 Bradford Jobs

    salutations from across the ocean. detailed blog I will return for more.


    14 .Lynn

    Jermaine. Thanks a lot I am playing around with this method and really like it.

    Be Blessed,


    15 soft close drawer runners

    I love your wonderful site. topnotch contribution. I hope you release others. I will carry on subscribing


    16 Momoh

    I just cant thank you enough you are just incredible God bless you sir


    17 Reeves Josiah

    Dats really so cool.thanks


    18 cedric gordon

    Thanks bru. This is topnotch music. Give me a sale rep in south africa. And I buy the books and dvd’s. C.G.


    19 king solomon

    hi professor griggs. thanks, u are the best music lecture in the world.
    i am on a world music tour and hope to invite u to chair my gospel music show in miami when i land there, hope to hear from u,
    god richly bless u, the world is proud of u, ur name is gone international and it has covered the earth.


    20 ernest

    tanks to u Germaine God bless u


    21 ernest

    tanks to u Germaine God bless u


    22 Annie

    Thank you so much for your prolific contribution to gospel music. Please, how can i get some of the CD’s here in Nigeria?


    23 uwem

    your videos are very scarce here in Nigeria. And I really want to learn because my playing abilities have gone down and I am just empty. And music is also what I am doing for a living. I really need your SOS.


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