Playing chords and melody together on guitar can be challenging for a beginner. As I mentioned previously in the Easy Solo Guitar post, you do not need to become an overly accomplished guitarist to enjoy this style of playing. With a few open chords and a simple melody, you have all the workings to create and enjoy guitar as a solo instrument.
Melody to chord relationship is best understood when reading notes
Unlike the previous post where the chord names were written above the melody, this time, I’d like to play specific notes within each chord. Because this requires me to be more exact, everything is written out in note form. I added tablature, as well, to make understanding the harmony (chords) within the staff easier for those of you who are unfamiliar with reading music.
Let’s begin with the first four measures of our solo piece.
The first three measures introduce a hammer-on on the 1st fret, 2nd string (B to C note) after strumming each chord. These chords are then outlined in each measure via an arpeggio. Arpeggios are notes within a chord that are picked separately. This type of playing is commonly used for creating intros to songs.
Moving on to measures five through eight, notice that I kept the same chords that occurred in measures one through four. This creates continuity in the song because the harmony (chords) is the same. This time, though, you’re playing a simple melody instead of an arpeggio.
Also, notice that the highest note of each chord is typically the melody note in the song.
The third line now takes the song into a different direction.
To create more dynamics, I added a tie to the + (and) of the 2nd beat in the first three measures. This adds a quality of professionalism to the piece. I then move back into arpeggios with a G/F to an Em in the last measure. The G/F means to play a G chord with an F note in the bass. This F note then moves down a half step to the Em chord at the end.
There is nothing fancy about measures 13 through 16. They are the same as measures five through eight except that we end the piece with an F to an Am.
That’s it! This is a simple and fun way to play guitar as a solo instrument. I hope this lesson sheds some light into how you can create fantastic music even at the beginning stages of your playing.