New chords in beta: m6, 9, and m7b5

By popular demand, I’ve added a few new chord types to v333, currently in beta testing:

  • minor sixth (m6)
  • ninth (9)
  • half-diminished, aka m7b5 (ø)

You can use these by logging into with your existing account. The new chords won’t show up on the main site or the mobile app yet; waiting to hear feedback from those of you who try it out on the beta site.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

As an aside: I realize that these chords are mostly used in more jazz-like contexts, and Strum Machine’s “boom chuck” pattern isn’t exactly ideal for these situations. I only added these chords because many folks asked me to, even knowing they’d be strummed with a boom-chuck. That said, I do plan to offer a more suitable strumming pattern in the future, hopefully later this year. Thanks for your patience!

Thank you Luke! They work like a charm. Onward to Gipsy jazz now. :partying_face:

I’m going to try the beta.
Regardless of groove, it will be a major upgrade to have those chords.
For me, the alternating bass is more an issue than the guitar. That’s out of the style of just about any songs with those chords.
Ideal would be a a simple walking bass. If that is not possible, then an option for the bass to not alternate. Even easier would be for the bass to play and hold when the chord changes. Just marking the changes.

Hi John, you probably heard this before, but just in case. When I need a walking bass, I change the bass with a slash chord. No matter what note you choose, the chord remain the same. The only issue is that you cannot change the octave. I posted a De-Lovely chart and there is some of that going on with the chord progression.

I have entered about 60 jazz tunes so far, many of which draw on this new chord set (sorry not shared yet, but I hope to get there). Most of these are old American songbook standards and I am surprised at how well the existing rhythms work, at least in a practice setting. It’s not a huge leap to go from 4 to the bar to boom chuck (just take a bit of imagination). I find it works better to use just the mando and bass…and if Luke could just pay the mandolin player to play on every beat, it would be very useful for any older jazz style including gypsy. I think the alternating bass words great, at least for vintage jazz.

One caveat here is that the mandolin chords haven’t been updated to reflect all of the new chords. Sorry to create so much work for you Luke!

Not sure if you’re talking about the standup bass or the bass note of the guitar. Definitely going to have an option to disable the alternating guitar bass notes. Walking standup bass would be cool; not sure how well I’ll be able to pull it off but I will give it a shot at some point. Four-to-the-bar strumming will come first, though.

Argh, of course! I’ll fix that this coming week.

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I was trying to explore simple bass solutions. One that might help would be to simply reverse the order (first bass note on the V and the second on the tonic). There are other interesting variations…start a halftone above or start on the maj/min 9th (1 or 2 tones above the tonic).

The ultimate would be to allow the user to custom select the relative chord tones for each beat of the alternating pattern and this could be varied by song. This would be pretty cool for practicing solo ideas…say targeting the 3rd of each chord tone. And it would also allow the user to stop alternating notes, simply by choosing the same note for both beats.

All of this contingent on how you are creating your backing instruments. But fun to think about!

I would like to tackle an automatic walking bass (which I am defining as four notes per bar) one day. Doesn’t seem like it’d be very straightforward to implement, but I would enjoy the challenge. Allowing the user to customize a walking bass line note-by-note could be doable too, but it might be a bit tedious for the user and it would be a UI challenge.

But in re-reading your post just now, I think you’re focusing only on the main bass beats (the two notes per bar that are currently being played)… did you know that these can now be specified for each chord? Either press the slash key (/) or use the Chord menu to change the bass note. There’s definitely room for improvement here – for example, the octave can’t be selected yet – but I think you’d find it useful. That’s on the main site too, not just the beta.

Also, the beta mandolin player now knows how to play those 9, m6, and m7b5 chords. :smile: Thanks for the heads-up on that!

Your mandolin player is a fast learner! Thanks for the update, sounds great.

Thanks for pointing out that slash chords can be used to denote the bass notes. Guess I should have known that! Truth is, I like my charts to be clean and stripped down, so rarely use the slash chord option. I should add that maybe 90% percent of the jazz tunes in my collection work reasonably well with the existing alternating base backing. Your option to adjust the timing of the guitar pattern sort of works to add a little swing feel. Just like playing with real people, I might need to adjust my playing to fit the backing, but it’s perfectly good for practice.

For sure, a walking pattern would be nice (there must be open source algorithms out there?). An alternating pattern that can add some swing to the mix would also be great. In theory, a bass line with just the R/5 should be more than adequate for any style (hard to go wrong with chords tones). I think it’s just a matter of timing? But I still like the idea of letting the user pick the two tones as a general setting…and even better if the beats the tones fell on was an option. Again as a global / song setting. This would be a good time to enlist a good bass player for the advice!

I hear ya. Someday I’d like to have some sort of option for hiding those bass notes - not sure if I should make it an all-or-nothing toggle, or something where you hide the slash notation for whichever chords. But that’s for further on down the road.

I’m excited about the possibilities here, and I think that in the future Strum Machine is going to become a much richer and more capable tool for jazz musicians. For now, though, I need to shift my focus back to my primary audience – bluegrass, old-time, etc. musicians. Although many of the improvements on my list are going to benefit everyone to some degree…

Thanks again for testing! If no further issues get reported I imagine I’ll bring these new chords to the main site and the mobile app by the end of the month.

I agree with you that Strum Machine has tremendous potential…for any improvising musician! With the recent additions, you have created a powerful practice tool. I have other options, but yours is the one that I find the most convenient and enjoyable to use. Big thanks from my end!

Luke, looks like you pushed the new chords into the mainstream! Nice and thanks!

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Yup, these are available on the main site and mobile apps now. :blush:

Next up: 5 chords, aka root-fifth, aka no-third, aka modal-friendly chords!