Gary Talley has been around a while. He played lead guitar for the Box Tops back in the sixties and has worked with artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Doctor John. This video is a set of three lessons which also cover a lot of ground.
Even though Mr. Talley says somewhere close to the start of the tape that he doesn’t want to get too deep into theory, he does spend enough time discussing a number of aspects of music theory, from basic chord formation, chord voicing (he uses the G and G7 as a fine example of this) and determining the primary chords of any given key, which are the focus of the first part of the first lesson, to augmented and diminished chords (actually diminished sevenths) in Lesson Two.
And if you are interested in learning the Nashville Numbering system (which we talked about in a recent newsletter – Volume 1 #31), that’s here, too. And Paul, for the record we were right in our assumptions!
Mr. Talley is assisted in the video by Kimberly Craft, who serves as “student” to Gary’s “teacher.” They discuss basic chords and progressions throughout Lesson One, even covering chords with moving basslines (C/E or G/B for example – he calls these “connector” chords because of the function they serve in chord progressions) and the importance of steady strumming techniques.
Lesson Two deals with what Gary terms “color chords.” Besides describing how these add9 and sus4 chords are formed, he also takes the time to go over different voicing and relates their particular function in progressions. Diminished and augmented chords get a once over and even power chords are examined.
It’s in Lesson Three that the “Songwriter” part of the video really comes to the fore. What Gary is interested in is not so much in teaching you how to write songs (although you can get a lot from listening to the first two lessons about this) as much as he is interested in getting the songwriter prepared to present his or her songs. And in the music business, this is pretty much where you can use all the friendly advice you can get. The main thrust of the last lesson is in refining rhythm technique, realizing the importance of being able to showcase your song to its best advantage. He and Ms. Craft then wrap things up be detailing common mistakes Gary has seen in his teaching. As a bonus, he gives one of the greatest explanations for using a capo that I’ve ever heard.
The video comes with a “workbook,” which is a number of well designed chord charts and chord progression formulas that follow along nicely with the lessons. There’s also a few “bonus” charts, such as a capo position guide, as well.
You may not agree with some of Mr. Talley’s ideas concerning rhythm and presentation or even go along with everything he says about chord progressions, but you have to remember that he makes his living doing this and in the music industry there is a reason why things follow certain formulas. There’s a lot of solid technique and theory taught here in a relatively short space of time.
Gary Talley’s website: Guitar Playing For Songwriters