Category Archives: Songs

Prekop Approximate

Some days I can't get anywhere close to the music that got me thinking. But some days I can hit it pretty squarely - or at least I can hit the things that define the style to my ears.

So here's a sketch called "Prekop Approximate" - named for Sam Prekop. He's the singer for The Sea And Cake, but also has a bunch of solo records that I love.


A couple of weeks ago, I was watching this video from Paul Davids in which he describes a couple of simple ways to do arpeggios on guitar.

The method he describes is nice because it lets you do an arpeggio for any four-note chord on just two strings, using a couple of simple patterns.

Ex. to do an arpeggio of an Amaj7:

E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ——————————————
D ——————————————
A ————————7———11
E —5———9————————

Start at the root note (A), go up four frets to play the major 3rd (C#). Go down a string and up two frets from where you started the last bit to the 5th (E), then up another four frets to get the major 7 (G#).

It's two major third intervals (four frets each).

And if you want to do an A minor 7th:

E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ——————————————
D ——————————————
A ————————7——10—
E —5———6————————

Two minor third intervals (three frets each).

So, it's:

  1. If you chord is major, the first two notes are four frets apart. Otherwise, they're three frets apart.
  2. Move down one string and over two frets for the next two.
  3. If your chord has a major 7th, the third and fourth notes are four frets apart. Otherwise, they're three frets apart.

That's pretty nice. But, that four fret stretch is tough for me - maybe I have stiff little fingers or something.

But, it's easy enough to refactor this idea into something that takes no reach at all:


E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ——————————————
D ———————————6——
A ————4———7—————
E —5————————————

If you can play a basic open G (or C) chord, the shape here will feel completely natural: root on middle finger, major third on index finger. Then drop your fingers down a string and up two frets and play that same shape.

Similarly, for a minor 7th (ex C#m7):

E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ————————————4—
D ————2———6—————
A —4———————————
E ——————————————

Again, it's a simple shape (though maybe not one you're used to): root on ring finger, second note (minor third) is one string down and two frets back on your index finger. Then down a string, up two frets and repeat.

And, as with Paul Davids' method, you can mix the two shapes. First two notes in the G shape and next two in the G minor shape gives you a classic 7th chord.

Ex. E7:

E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ————————————7—
D —————6———9————
A —7————————————
E ——————————————

So, mine is:

  1. If you chord is major, use the G shape for the first two notes. Otherwise, use the 'G minor' shape.
  2. Move down one string and over two frets for the next two.
  3. If your chord has a major 7th, use the G shape. Otherwise use the 'G minor' shape.

And if you do those three arpeggios (Amaj7, C#m7, E7, plus one for Dmaj7) on a bass, you get HFY.

If you mix the shapes the other way around - minor third then major third - you get the lovely 'minor major 7' chord:
Ex. Am maj7:

E ——————————————
B ——————————————
G ——————————————
D ———————————6——
A ————3———7—————
E —5————————————

A minor major 7 chord is an unusual one in popular/rock music. But, this chord does appears (incidentally, I'm guessing) in at least one very popular tune. It's in the chords at the end of the verses in The Beatles' "Something":

Am "I don't want to leave her now"
Am maj7
A7 "You know I believe and how"

  Am AmM7  A7  D7
E 0———0————0———2————
B 1———1————1———1————
G 2———1————0———2————
D 2———2————2———0————
A 0———0————0———————
E ——————————————

That G string just walks down from the octave, to the major 7 to the minor 7. AmM7 is just something that happens by virtue of that walk down - that's why I assume it's merely incidental.

By what can't be a coincidence, a similar G string walk down same happens in the first set of verse chords: C, CMaj7, C7, then an F.

  Something in the way she knows          ... attracts me like....
  C                        Cmaj7      C7
E 3                        3          3
B 5                        5          5
G 5                        4          3
D 5                        5          5
A 3                        3          3

Which brings up another fun use of arpeggios!

Put all that together and you get my rendition of that song, "Something Else".

Verses are picking on these shapes:

  C          Cmaj7      C7          F      D           G
E ——3—————3  ——3—————3  ——3—————3   5—6—8  ——5—————5   7——8——10
B ————3—5——  ————3—5——  ————3—5——   6—6—6  ————5—7——   8——8——7
G 5————————  4————————  3————————   5—5—5  7————————   7——7——7

Here, walking the low note down (while strings play the root) gives those three C chords.

And then there's that Am section, which I do as:

  Am       AmM7     A7       C
E ——6————————6————————6——————8
B ————8————7———7————6———6————8
G 7—————7————————7————————7——9

Again, just walking that one note down - root, maj 7, min 7 - on the B string this time.

Any other simple arpeggios in there? Of course!

The "You're asking me will my love grow" section:

"You're asking    me will my love   grow  
  A               C#m               F#m               A
E ——9——————9———— ———9————9————      ———9———————9———— ——9————————9——
B ————10————10——  9———9—————9—      —————10——————10— —————10——————10
G 9——————9—————— ———————9—————      —11—————11—————— 9———————9—————

I don't know              I don't             know
        D                 G                   A, G# ,G, F#, F, E.... start over at A
E       ———10———————10    ———10———————10———   12 11 10 etc.
B       ——————10——————10  ——————12———————12   14 13 12
G       11———————11       12———————12—————    14 13 12

Same picking pattern, different chord shapes.

Fun, right?

Lamp Post


Originally Titled "Bong 33", because the default title for a new song on the Boss BR600 is "SONG ##", where "##" is simply an increasing number - so this was "Song 33" when I initialized it - and I just changed the S to a B, because it's a pain in the ass to change each letter one at a time by spinning the little jog wheel. And so it was called "Bong 33" for the last 12 years. Now it's "Lamp Post"

Except for my mumbling about Italian fascists, all the sounds are guitar into the BR600.

Pretending the danger's not real

Got my first YouTube 'copyright claim' !

Back in 1997, I with help from Mrs, did a 10 minute version of Pink Floyd's "Animals" album. The first part, "Pigs On The Wing (Part One)" we did fairly straight, and so I'm assuming that's what attracted the attention of the copyright bot. The rest of it wouldn't be mistaken for the original.

[Cued-up on the offending track]

Right now, they are giving all 'monetization' proceeds (ad revenue) to the copyright holder. That's fine. Take it all! The video has 1 view, and that was me spot-checking to make sure it was posted correctly.

YouTube Stardom Awaits

I went and posted most of my music-like sonic product to YouTube (as 'full albums').

[Link to playlist]

Now, I guess I just sit back and wait for the monetized clickthru engagements to make the Bitcoins start filling up my digital wallet? Am I an influencer? Sure. Let's say I am.


A key point of the first chapter in David Byrne's latest book ("How Music Works") is that music is written with a view of the place it is to be performed and by whom it will be listened to.

In a sense, we work backward, either consciously or unconsciously, creating work that fits the venue available to us. That holds true for the other arts as well: pictures are created that fit and look good on white walls in galleries just as music is written that sounds good either in a dance club or a symphony hall (but probably not in both). In a sense, the space, the platform, and the software “makes” the art, the music, or whatever. After something succeeds, more venues of a similar size and shape are built to accommodate more production of the same. After a while the form of the work that predominates in these spaces is taken for granted — of course we mainly hear symphonies in symphony halls.

Which got me wondering. Where do I expect this stuff to be heard, do I even expect it to be heard? The answer is: it will be heard in my own headphones, once in a while. Sometimes I'll send a CD of stuff to a particular friend who was part of it all when I started. Sometimes I'll post it here. Sometimes I'll play something for my wife. Mostly it goes unheard by anyone but me. And yet I keep on making it, because it's fun to make.

So I'm posting it on YouTube because, even though it's not something I do for other people, I want it to exist somewhere besides just F:\Smaller Animals\Albums\. To be maudlin, I want it to outlive me. And now it's out there in the world, sharing space on YouTube with every other song ever written.

Demon & Demon v...6!

A day off = a new song.

Behold Demon ('cause it's in D-minor-ish)


[Now on version 6! Drums have been reworked multiple times, room noise cleaned up, delays added here and there, finger-picked guitars emboldened, loud section beefed up with limiters]

The drums are lovingly hand-crafted MIDI. Everything else is: Telecaster+ → effects [Grand Orbiter, Spatial Delivery, Dirty Little Secret] → Princeton Reverb → mics [SM58 & P170] → Scarlett 2i2 → Reaper.

Here's the original version: