collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

* Support Weenie!

Shop on Amazon using these search boxes and Weenie earns a small commission:
USA
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

United Kingdom
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

Canada
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

* Weenie's CD!

He carried a pearl-handled .44, and he could shoot the head off a chicken - Ishmon Bracey remembering Blind Lemon Jefferson

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 60759 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9359
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:19:12 PM »
Miller's Breakdown
What Is this Musician Doing? -An Ongoing Quiz.

PERUSE the indexes: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90978#msg90978
                         and: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg98102#msg98102

Hi all,

I have a sort of different idea for a new thread here.  I'm in the practice of pretty much always saying what tuning or position a musician played a tune out of, and while that information can be really helpful in figuring out how to play a piece on a recording, my always supplying it doesn't exactly help those of you who would like to build your own skills in doing that.  So, I thought it might be interesting to have a thread in which a performance is posted and then specific questions are asked to the Weenie community at large about how the song is being played.  I would have two requests for how to make participation in the process work better for everybody:

   * Please don't use transcription software of any type in figuring out what is being done.  Try to do it just using your own ears and listening.  If you'd like to do it with an instrument in your hands or handy nearby where you can try out things on it, by all means, use your instrument to help you figure things out.
   * Please don't post any responses or suggested answers to the questions about how the song is being played before Monday, May 19th.  This will allow more folks to work on the song and see if they can figure out the answers to the questions before any responses to the questions are posted.

The song I'd like you all to listen to if you care to is one recorded by a musician named Andrew Dunham, from Detroit, in the late 1940s or early 1950s.  Professor Scratchy first posted this song on the "Country Blues-Related Tunes on YouTube" thread a couple of years ago.  Since first hearing it, the sound of "Sweet Lucy Woman" has really stuck with me.  I think it is an amazing sound and Andrew Dunham really had a Country sound, despite recording in an urban environment.  The two questions I have about the tune are:

   * What tuning and playing position did Andrew Dunham play "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of?, and
   * Where on the neck is the lick fingered in the intro from :05 to :06 to :07, that moves up from :05 to :06 and back down from :06 to :07?

That's it.  I hope you enjoy this and think it is a worthwhile endeavor, and please remember not to post any responses to the questions until Monday, so that a lot of folks can try to work out the answers.  Thanks!



All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 10:19:05 AM by Slack »

Offline Gumbo

  • Member
  • Posts: 829
  • So Papa climbed up on top of the house
    • I'm in band called The Fake McCoys
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 04:51:03 PM »
Excellent idea, John. One of the most frustrating things about trying to figure out playing positions is not knowing how to spot different tunings, so even though I play mostly in standard I look forward to following the discussions here, and it'll be worth trying to work out positions knowing there will be discussion after a few days of bent-mind syndrome.

Offline Prof Scratchy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1388
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 01:42:52 AM »
Great idea for a thread!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk


Offline Prof Scratchy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1388
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 05:32:55 AM »
Right - it's Monday afternoon, so I'll venture a guess: DADGBE tuning a half step up. The second question is harder, but I'll say second string 9th fret and third string 10th fret. Am I close?

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1823
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 07:09:30 AM »
A great thread! I certainly hope to improve my poor skills with open tunings with this.

Here's my theory: I suggest that the tuning is Spanish in A flat, and that the triplet chords are fingered something like X-X-X-0-2-5, and X-X-X-0-0-3. The flat 5th note on the 2nd string of the 1st chord is striking to my ear.

I seem to hear the E flat (the 5th) being the lowest note on the bass lick that follows, which makes me think of Spanish.

Of course, I could be completely wrong!  ;D

Looking forward to hear the verdict!  :)

Cheers

Pan

Offline harvey

  • Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 12:08:47 PM »
I really like the idea of this thread it forced me to focus on one song rather than a few half heartedly.

I don't think I got very far just ran out of time. I had Spanish like Pan however I thought that the top two strings were barred at the 3rd and 5th frets........then the kids inturupted.

Offline ScottN

  • Member
  • Posts: 308
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 01:27:23 PM »
I'll put in another vote for Spanish up about a half step. Playing with some of the bass licks seemed to fit a fingering better with the 6th and 5th string intervals a fourth apart (D to G) as opposed to a fifth apart like Drop D (D to A).  As for the lick, I think the 1st string is at frets 3 and 5 but at this point in listening I'm not hearing how to spell the rest of the chord. Anyway, that's my guess at this point. 

Thanks,
             Scott
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 01:29:13 PM by ScottN »

Offline jrn

  • Member
  • Posts: 148
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 01:42:21 PM »
It sounded like spanish to me too.
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline dunplaying

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2014, 02:41:46 PM »
I only looked in to find any comments on the Hopkins JSP Box set and was sidetracked.
I will say open G capo 1st fret and for the lick slide up xxxx65 down to a barre xxxx33.



But I was not blessed with a WC ear......not even the standard issue.

Offline frankie

  • Member
  • Posts: 2285
    • DoneGone.net
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2014, 06:23:13 PM »
   * What tuning and playing position did Andrew Dunham play "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of?

To my ear, everybody here is half right! Andrew Dunham sounds to me like a roughed up Lil Son Jackson, and I think he's playing in half-spanish, tuned to about A-flat.

   * Where on the neck is the lick fingered in the intro from :05 to :06 to :07, that moves up from :05 to :06 and back down from :06 to :07?

That being said, simplest move to get that sound would be a little parallel motion on the first two strings: open 2nd string against the 1st fret, 1st string and the 2nd fret, 2nd string against the 3rd fret, 1st string.

Could easily be spanish, though...  the general "chordlessness" of the song makes it tricky.

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9359
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2014, 10:30:44 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks to everybody who participated and took an interest.  I should say that making the identification was trickier than I thought it was originally or intended it to be.  I was just hooked on that lick Andrew Dunham plays near the beginning of the song and keeps returning to.
It turns out that the position he played "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of was A position in standard tuning, tuned a half-step low, so it sounded in Ab, but you have to listen to almost the entire rendition to get enough information to make that determination with any degree of certainty.  Both Pan and Frank figured out the fingering for the signature lick spot on for the tunings they selected.  And Scott noted that the interval between the sixth and fifth strings was a fourth as it would be in Spanish, half-Spanish or G6 tuning and in standard tuning.  Frank's observation that the "chordlessness" of the song makes a positive ID tough captured it in a nutshell.

Andrew Dunham starts out playing with a rough touch, but basically clean, hitting just the strings he wants to hit, and he's never hitting more than two notes at once in the treble--no full chords, just little two note figures like the signature lick or single note runs.  As the rendition goes along, he starts to play his runs rougher and less precisely.  If you listen in the 1:22--1:23 area of the song, or around 2:02--2:06, or 2:52, he plays runs in which he hits the bVII note of the scale on the first string while free-handing, and brushes the open second and third strings while he's doing it.  In both Spanish and half-Spanish tunings, if you fret the bVII of the key on the first string and brush the second and third strings open, you end up with a I7 chord.  In Spanish, it would be fingered 0-0-3 on the first three strings and would be voiced R-3-bVII.  In half-Spanish, it would be fingered 0-0-1, and would similarly be voiced R-3-bVII.  In A, standard tuning, though, if you play the bVII note on the first string and brush the second and third strings open, you wind up with this fingering (same as Spanish) 0-0-3, but this voicing:  bVII-9-bVII.  And that's the sound Andrew Dunham plays at those times cited above--it barely sounds like a chord, more like a melody note played over semi-unrelated open strings, which is exactly what it is.  His signature lick ends up being fingered on the top two strings: 2-3 to 4-5 back to 2-3.  It's like playing the top of an A7 chord going to the top of a B7 chord and then going back to an A7 chord, but in an A blues!  That fourth fret of the second string is what gives it that eerie sound.  He starts most of his verses by going from 5-5 to 2-3 to 4-5 back to 2-3 in the treble.
I think one reason I love this song is that it proves you don't have to do something technically challenging to get a really arresting sound that catches your ear.  I'd venture to say that if you put your guitars in standard tuning a half-step low and start fooling around playing along with the cut out of A position, you'll have it pretty quickly.  This isn't to say that the tuning/position identification was an easy one to make, though, that's for sure.  You pretty much have to listen to the whole track to figure it out for sure, and that's rare.  And you could get the main aspects of the song's sound in Spanish, half-Spanish or A position, so there you go.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 10:33:48 PM by Johnm »

Offline Prof Scratchy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1388
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 01:21:38 AM »
Amazing! Off to try that now! Thanks for a great puzzle. Next one soon please!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk


Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1823
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 03:07:02 AM »
Ha! The solution, as usual, was simple and elegant!
I should have known, that trying to figure out weird fingerings in an open tuning, is a clear sign that I'm on the wrong track!  :)

While I have the chance to pick your brains and learn, could you guys explain what is the difference between half-Spanish and the G6 tunings? I searched the forum and if I'm not mistaken, the half-Spanish in G would spell out D-G-D-G-B-E, which could also be seen as a G6 chord?

Thanks, and I too would like to see another puzzle when time permits!

Cheers

Pan


Offline dunplaying

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 03:54:51 AM »
Thank you Johnm .
I too am stumped by half Spanish .

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9359
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 06:24:31 AM »
Hi guys,
Half-Spanish and G6 tuning are the same thing.  I think I usually just call it DGDGBE tuning.
All best,
Johnm

 


anything