Adding a new chord to my repertoire, and the latest update on the progress of the Poetry Album

I potentially should be working on you know, the songs I already have that need work and/or memorization, or learning a few cover tunes, or any number of things, really, but I’ve got it in my head to get a new chord in my guitar repertoire. G, A, Am, C,D E, Em…it covers a lot of ground but there’s a whole wide world beyond it, and so, this weekend I’ve decided to add Dm to the mix. I’ve technically learned it before, but it doesn’t count unless you practice it in context with other things, so I grabbed a couple other chords, and roughed up a little progression to practice.

On the agenda this week is smoothing this out, switching in and out of Dm a bit of an easier transition. For the moment it’s still in the ‘wait, think about it, place one or two fingers at a time’ stage. I’m messing the ring finger up the most, and the middle finger tends to follow it. When I mess up the chord at this moment it’s almost always because I place the ring finger on the 3rd string instead of the 2nd.

Even though it’s an easy chord to form in and of itself, with it all jammed up on the highest strings, I do find the muscles in my hand are really feeling the unusual position, like it’s a little too stretchy. This is partially due to my habit of using my thumb to mute the low E string. I’m well aware that if I slide my thumb down onto the back of the neck more, there wouldn’t be as much of a stretch to make, but since it’s not actually a painful stretch, I also think there’s a benefit in doing it with the thumb muting the top string because it will help with training flexibility, in theory, which will be beneficial down the road when I get into more stretchy chords.

I’ve been neglecting talking about practice lately, because most of my practices have been something like this when I’m not working on ironing out some tune or memorizing some other one – just taking one small thing and picking at it. The past several weeks, that one small thing has been playing with a pick and I’ve made a lot of progress with that. This week I’m combining the pick with properly learning the Dm Chord; it doesn’t count as knowing a chord if you aren’t able to pair it with other chords and get a smooth transition, so far as I’m concerned.

Over the next week or two, knowing me, adding a new chord to my repertoire will probably result in a new song, but for now I’m just grabbing Dm and 2 or 3 other chords at a time and working on little chord progressions for a minute at a time, then putting it aside for a bit, then doing it again, putting it aside for a bit, to build the muscle memory I need to make the transition smooth.

So, that’s where things stand in the learning process right now.


As an aside: regarding the poetry album, the first pass at noise removal on all of the tracks is complete, so from here I have to really sit and listen to them carefully and make whatever other small adjustments each track needs. Things are coming along well, and if my attention span sticks with it, a June release remains a realistic possibility. Since the recordings themselves are complete, I can do the rest of the work with headphones, and don’t need to wait until the house is quiet enough to work, so things should progress at a fairly steady clip from this point as long as I don’t get distracted.

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