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    Posted on August 21, 2009 by Paul | 6 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    By Paul Baloche

    Walkdowns describe the bass movement in a song, creating interest and emotion. A “one chord” with the root in the bass makes the listener feel “at home”. But a “one chord” with the third or the fifth in the bass is a totally different animal, usually evoking a majestic, anthem like quality. These are very useful tools in writing and arranging songs.

    Almost every song ever written has either a walk-down or walk-up. Think of how the bass walks down in choruses like “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”, “There is None like You”, “As the Deer”, or “Mr. Bojangles”. Sacred and Secular, Classical and Contemporary, all employ this timeless musical device.

    So here we go. By learning the walkdowns in the five “guitar keys”, you will be equipped to play nearly 90% of all music ever written. Or at least most of the music you ever hope to play. Of course then, by using a capo, you will be able to play in all twelve keys with ease. That is one of the cool things about the guitar—if you learn the “shapes” of certain chords, those shapes can be moved up and down the neck forming different chords in different keys. Something you can’t do on a piano I might add. :)

    Look at the examples shown below. In the key of C, look at the F/G chord. That “shape” is a “moveable shape”. If you move that shape up 2 frets, it becomes a G/A, which sets you up for the key of D. It’s a great shape to use when you’re modulating from one key to another. Another moveable shape that will serve you well is the A/C# in the key of D. Move it up and down the neck and figure out what chord you’re playing. Bb/D, C/E, etc. Go ahead and try them. Ouch!! It’s tough at first. The guitar is a very physical instrument. Take heart. Your hand muscles will grow stronger through repetition so keep practicing.

    The examples shown start with the easiest key, C, and progress to the hardest key, E. If you are striving to be a better guitar player, I truly believe this is time well spent. Learning these walkdowns will prepare you to play hundreds of songs and enable you to enjoy your instrument more fully. “Play skillfully…..” Ps. 33:3


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    Kelly Perkins 21/08/09

    What a great lesson…this is one of the most important things to know and unserstand in music…anykind of music. Otherwise, the song would be restricted to just a tight structure, moving only as the chords dictate.

    A great lesson in theory, not to be underestimated!

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Kelly Perkins
    Tyler, TX

    Sloan 24/08/09

    Finally! I have been looking on here for a few weeks for some postings and am now able to indulge on a ton of great stuff! Its really appreciated Paul.

    From a fellow Worshiper

    Erick Marshall 23/09/09

    This is a great resource to beginning guitarist trying to get to playing in theur church.

    Thank you for posting! God Bless.

    Kelly Perkins 12/10/09

    Be sure and check out Paul’s outstanding DVD guitar series. Paul, Ben Gowell, and Glenn Pierce really explain how to use chord structure, theory, effects, etc. to enhance the guitarist’s worship expression.

    Kelly Perkins

    Tyler, TX

    Joe Dorsey 24/11/09

    That was an excellent lesson. Here are a couple of walkdown songs I have learned from over the years.

    Piano Man – Billy Joel
    Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce
    Aubrey – Bread
    Jesus, You Alone – Tim Hughes

    Ben 01/03/11

    Let’s not forget “Stairway to Heaven”! That’s one huge, chromatic walkdown!

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