Moen Music Method

Chord/Melody playing in 4ths


The Goal


It’s said to begin with the end in mind.  If we know where we want to end up we can make sure our activities bring us there.  The Method goal is simple:  play tunes with chords and melody.  Along the way I’d like to improvise the tunes to make them interesting for me and my audience.  I’d also like to bring enough variety of rhythm, improvisation, harmony, dynamics…to keep people interested in the music and not just the novelty of the technique.  One of my mentors told me that his goal was to be able to play solo guitar for 3 hours without repeating songs and in such a way that the audience stays with you.


How do I get there?

  • Simple 3 note chords
  • Regular melody fingerings
  • Learn chord progressions and 4ths patterns
  • Play songs you like as exercises

The method I use to accomplish this goal is a “simplified patterns” approach.  I breakdown the music into recognizable chord progressions and chord building blocks that form the basis of most popular and classical music.  If the hand and ear can recognize the patterns they can play more effortlessly and with more understanding.  The free flow of music is my goal.  I enjoy improvisation and find that my knowledge of chord progressions helps me know what melody notes to play that will go well with the chords.  Jazz and other improvisational musicians do this every time they play whether they’re aware of it or not.  I’m still the young kid practicing hoping that my audience will hear the melody and relate to the song.


  • 4th Tuning, gauges,setup – This is fundamental to the whole exercise.  How do the dots match up? 
  • Separation of rhythm and melody. 
  • Fourths tuning gives many advantages:  Easier grips, vertical voicings, clear patterns
  • Left Hand Rhythm Chords – Arpeggios, cycle of fourths, chord simplification
  • Simplify chord progressions – Jazz, Pop and Rock Tunes chord progressions, identify the patterns.
  • Right Hand Melody positions – The second finger is central to the positioning.  3 or 4 finger scales.
  • Right Hand chords – comping during solos, bass left hand/right hand chords, slash chords e.g. G/B
  • Bass lines – appoggio, fifths, flat fifth movement.
  • Songs to use as examples:  Europa, A Whiter Shade of Pale, Desperado Black Orpheus, Blue Bossa.