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Old 16th February 2019
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Originally Posted by Timothy Lawler View Post
My recent experience with the chords G and A:

I was just playing guitar with some folk guitarists who only use first position basic chords. They played beautifully, by the way, regarding sensitivity to intonation. I asked them about it.

I'm putting this in my own nerdy way. They said it more plainly.

To them a G chord has a unique sound based on the fact that there's a root at the top and bottom. (So does a first position E chord, but this thread is not about that chord, heh.) The major third (B) on the open second string of that G chord (pesky because it can so easily sound too sharp - well, it IS sharp in equal temperament anyway) is fixed sometimes by playing the second string pitch D (third fret) in the chord instead. The 5th string B isn't much of a problem. It's somewhat masked.

The A chord has the root in the bass (skilled folk guitarists will mute the open low E string - the 5th) and the 5th at the top. Having the 5th at the top gives a totally different sonority than the layout of the G chord. Also the fact that that 2nd string C# (major 3rd) can be pulled a bit towards the bridge to be more sweetly in tune.

I should mention we were tuned a little less than a half step below A440. So for those who have hardwired Hz tuning standards in their ear and terminology, please disregard the above.

Great post! Spot on!