Legendary British guitarist John Renbourn teaches his version of the English ballad "Lord Franklin".
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You would have noticed that the accompaniment for Lord Franklin has got elements of a traditional American playing and it sounds a little bit like finger picking but not quite and the chord shapes used are basically familiar chord shapes but they’ve just change slightly. It change in the way to wide open string drones to the basic chords which gives a little bit more sustain and just kind of makes the mortality of the chords coming through in the song.
Let’s take a look at the type of chords that I used in that song. As I say, we’re in the key of E. We’re in standard tuning but rather than use this shape, I prefer to use this one which means that I got my little finger down on the third string. There’s no third in this chord. All we got is roots and fifths, so it gives a nice drone sound.
When I’m moving my chord around or need to be harmonizing my voice in it, I find that I can get away often with very simple moves rather than make full chords, pluck chords, I can suggest the harmony and keep the open strings ringing which I think that’s to the accompaniment.
We’ve got an A chord without the third which also has a nice open sound rather than—sounding. And for the B chord, what I think is quite nice is to keep the top string in their as well, so you have the B sharp and the E ringing. You don’t actually sound it together. It is now the position up here where you can get the same effect. But when you introduce a right hand pattern to it, you can get some nice effects in the accompaniment.
There isn’t a so much strict right hand pattern but let’s just have a look at the right hand now. The right hand mainly plays with the thumb playing a support line to the melody and the two top strings are played with the first two fingers and the thumb covers the bass strings here. So, if I’m playing either one of the link passages or a line under the voices, so if I play something like this:
So, the thumb is in fact playing a line in there, in the string and the same thing works when I’m singing. Okay, well let’s move on now and see if we can play it together on the split screen.
Just try a pattern going up on the fourth string. This will bring us into the song. Try sliding nearly always with the first finger of the left hand, sitar style, thumb swinging across the string in the sixth. Let’s try the song.
To the A and then the B with the top three notes, stay there, top E, running down to the A and run down to sharp minor. Keep the top string ringing, once more; stay there, up the top A, keep the top strings open.