Every song we write or cover has very basic origins. Simple chords and rudimentary fingerstyle motifs with little to no frills or embellishments. Our goal, as guitarists and songwriters, is to take that song and transform it into a more ornamented, creative version that will ultimately pique the interest of our audience.
In his course, Creative Fingerstyle Transformations, Joe Robinson covers six of the most tried and true song progressions and shows you how he approaches transforming each of these progressions from their simple existence into an embellished masterpiece. Here are 7 free videos from this course. For the full course, check out Joe Robinson’s Creative Fingerstyle Transformations on TrueFire!
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Overview
Here we’re in the key of B major, and we’re playing these beautiful sounding suspended chords over a sequence that just descends from the I to the (kinda) V/VII, to a vi, to a V, to a IV…to a iii/I, to a ii and to a V! Don’t let the numbers scare you off from playing this beautiful progression that’s used in so many beautiful songs!
I love B major, because you get so many possibilities with the open E and B strings; the E being the 4th note of B major, which gives it the suspended quality we’re hearing here. I’ll start with a basic version to learn the progression, then an embellished version and finally a version with some higher voicing of the same chords.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Performance
Now we’ll go through the basic pattern for our “One-Seven” walkdown in B. Try to get the chord shapes under your fingers, and we’ll break it down slowly in the next video. Let’s get to it!
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Breakdown
Let’s break that down. We’re starting with a B chord, using the thumb of the left hand to fret the 7th fret and then kind of making a barre chord except you have the two open strings up top, creating the suspended sound. A really beautiful and ethereal sound.
From there, we’re just moving down to the next suspended chord up the neck, letting the notes ring out on top. Our pinky is on the 8th fret of the D string, with the first finger on the 6th fret of the G string. Then, we move that shape down two more frets – kinda like a G#min(sus) thing.
Then, we change shapes to something with the F# in the base, wrapping the thumb around the neck to hit the bass note. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, it’s a great moment to learn! It’s kind of like a barre chord again, but we’re letting the top two strings ring out (similar to our B shape).
Our next chord is another two finger shape, kind of like a B chord with a third in a bass. The first finger is barring the fourth fret of the D, G, & B strings, then the ring finger on the 6th fret of the A. Moving from there, we go to a C#minor barre chord and then to that F# shape again.
Get these shapes going, and then we can work on adding some embellishments to the pattern in the next segment!
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Embellishment 1 Performance
Now we’re ready to add in some embellishment to our basic one-seven walkdown pattern. Take a listen to our new melody part, and move on to the breakdown when you’re ready to have a go at it.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Embellishment 1 Breakdown
We start off with that same Bsus chord using the thumb on the 7th fret of the E string, using a hammer on to lead us into 3rd note of the chord. Then, go back down to an open B note. It’s important to get the chord ringing out over the hammer-on move – it can be a little difficult at first with this shape, but don’t tense up and persevere through the shape.
The next chord is a barre on the fourth fret over the D, G & B strings with a B in the bass on the low E string. The pinky comes down to the 6th fret of the G string, and we let the high E ring out on top. There’s a few options for playing this one too – doesn’t matter how you barre it!
From there, you go to a chord shape on the 2nd and 3rd frets, hammering on the middle and ring fingers at the 3rd fret at the same time. This leads us into a little riff, going back up the neck.
From there we go to the F# shape again, still keeping the thumb up over the neck. For the melody over this chord, I like to use the thumbpick – giving it a little more brightness. Descend down to E from there, and then we slide up to a B with the third in the bass. This takes us into the C#min shape, descending into a B barre chord at the second fret. We arrive again at the F# shape, but this time we’re playing the actual 5th, with the first finger on the 2nd fret of the B string (not suspended like the first time through).
Let’s go through it a few times all together so you can hear how it sounds with everything in place. Then, when you’re comfortable with this embellished version, we’ll go through a different pattern that has some higher voicings in the next segment.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Embellishment 2 Performance
Let’s check out our chord progression played with higher voicings. You’ll see that we’ve got several new chord shapes here! Check it out, and let’s break it down in the next segment.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: One-Seven Walk Down in B – Embellishment 2 Breakdown
The key of B is a lot of fun to play in because you have an open string to play with, which we’re taking advantage of with our chord shapes. You’ll see that it stays open no matter where we are in the sequence. You’ll also see that the whole thing is just on the first four strings as well, changing up which notes we’re voicing.
Digging these free lessons? Check out Joe Robinson’s full course, Creative Fingerstyle Transformations.