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kontiki

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Posts: 256
Reply with quote  #1 
Out of curiosity, but also for personal research, I decided to take a Ted sheet and tally up the number of visual roots for each string. It's impossible to differentiate between a visual root for the 1st or 6th string, so I bunched them together.

The sheet I (more or less randomly) chose was: Body and Soul - Comping (middle four strings)

and here are the results:

out of the 88 chords on the sheet

strings 1 and/or 6 : 33
string 2              :  24
string 3              :  14
string 5              :  11
string 4              :  6

Judging by how many there are on the 2nd an 3rd strings (and how few on the 5th and 4th), it might be safe to say that this is the case because these are the typical melody strings (1, 2, and 3) and that Ted found it more natural to see the visual roots there. This would also mean that a good number of the visual roots for strings 1/6 were being considered by Ted as being on the 1st string.

Of course this sheet could be an exception and not the rule. Perhaps sheets with more bass notes present would show a much different result. But more tallying would need to be done.  

I was comforted to see the large number of visual roots on strings 2 and 3 because I've been recently putting work into seeing them, but was dismayed by the paucity of visual roots for string 4 since it's what i'm working on at the moment.

Your thoughts?

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James

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm still not great at following visual roots as I play.  So I must continue to work at it.  I tend to see them on the bass strings even when there is a root present in the chord on the trebles.  If there are two reasonable visual roots (something probably always true since an octave of any note is always available in any position) I nearly always favor seeing the lower one.  Maybe this comes from the fact that most of us learn root position chords first and then continue to relate new shapes to well-known shapes?

When the tritone between 3 and b7 is in the bottom two notes, as is often the case for dominants, I will look for roots a M3 below or whole step above those notes.  Sometimes a chord is clearer to me when transferred to a higher set of strings because a root on low string is now apparent that wasn't on the other set of strings.
PaulV

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Reply with quote  #3 
Doesn't sound like a fair test because the comping page was for the middle 4 strings only.
Instead, you might get different statistics if you chose a full-blown arrangement that uses chords from all over the fretboard.

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kontiki

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Posts: 256
Reply with quote  #4 
Paul, you're probably right. I'll try to look at an arrangement next time. But these results are still interesting in that Ted wasn't always thinking of visual roots on the two lower strings as we tend to believe. This is of particular interest to me because I was always (and to a certain extent still am) looking at the two lower strings for my roots. But I've slowly been trying to get away from that way of thinking and i'm finding that though it takes time, this method yields, little by little, wonderful and useful results.
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PaulV

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Reply with quote  #5 
Mike,
Yes, I believe that Ted's method of placing numbers by the side of his grids evolved over the years, and he starting putting them across from "visual roots."
I seem to recall him talking briefly about this in one of Mark Levy's audio recordings of his Ted lessons, but I would be hard-pressed to find that quote.
I also try not to become chained to the 6th and 5th string root anchors.  If the root is present in the higher strings I certainly will use that as my focal point.
In the beginning we learn the names of the strings on the lower strings quite well, but often guitarists stop there.  One needs to become very comfortable with immediate reference to any note on any string.
Obviously you (and many who visit this site) are beyond that point...yet we often hang on to those lower string anchor points for our chords.
When playing chords on the top 4 strings, it certainly makes more logical sense to be watching those notes, rather than the lower ones which we're not even playing.
Thanks for bringing this subject up for discussion.

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James

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Reply with quote  #6 
I would be careful about assuming that where Ted put the fret number is indicative of which visual root from which he saw the chord.  Think of the most basic open C major chord.  You instantly see both root notes.  

For other chords, Ted may have favored one or the other root but I remember from lessons that he could very quickly find the other.  (This is pretty easy for anyone.)  You are correct that sometimes he would see roots on higher strings first when I saw them on lower strings more readily.  But I don't think that where he put the fret number in a diagram is necessarily the final say for how he thought.  Or for the only way he thought.
kontiki

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Posts: 256
Reply with quote  #7 
James, i agree. The obvious example would be a visual root that he would see as an open E or A. He would write 2 and not 0. It just makes more sense that way.

As for the comping sheet, I thought it would be interesting to see where he "apparently" saw the visual roots when bass notes weren't present on the 6th string. And even though notes were always being played on the 5th string there were very few 5th string visual roots in this sheet. And though i didn't count how many times the visual root was or wasn't present in the chords, there were quite a few where they weren't present, so it wasn't just a case of indicating them on higher strings just because the 6th or 5th string visual root wasn't present.

Paul, I too remember hearing Ted speak about Visual roots in lessons with Mark and Kevin, and just about each time he seems to be seeing the Visual root on higher strings. This is what first got me thinking about the whole issue. I recall a lesson with Mark where Ted is talking about a chord scale in V.2 and using 2nd inversion diatonic chords going up the major scale on the top string set. And he's suggesting to Mark that he should see the visual root on the 3rd string. I remember being surpised at that because up until that time i never considered seeing or working at seeing a visual root other than on the 6th, 5th, and occasionally on the 1st.

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