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It's not what you play that's important. It's the notes you DON'T play - Miles Davis, Les Paul, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe et al

Author Topic: playing in A in dropped D  (Read 3104 times)

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Offline a2tom

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playing in A in dropped D
« on: June 12, 2005, 05:15:56 AM »
Hey all - I've been messing around with a tune lately that I'm playing in key of A but in dropped D tuning.  I've found this fun - the low D comes in handy and gives a nice effect  when you pick it up as the bass note on the IV chord.  I can still get the E bass on the V chord by just thumbing the 2nd fret 6th string. 

What country blues tunes out there do this?  I bet there must some, probably many, but I don't know any offhand.  I'd like to take a listen to some and hear how different folks used it.  I tried searching WC, but it is hard to search the letters A and D!  I did see in the threads on the Bo Carter G tuning comments that people did the A in dropped D thing, but no specifics.

I'd be especially interested if any of the Texas dead thumb players did this. Mance Lipscomb?  That seems likely to me, but I haven't learned any Mance tunes yet.  This tune I'm messing with was specifically part of my "make the thumb more versatile" campaign - I have been working hard to get my dead thumb going steady (which is more tricky than I would have thought...).  It seemed to naturally fall into this A over dropped D, so I'm wondering...

Thanks,

tom

Offline Slack

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2005, 11:06:34 AM »
Hi Tom,

If I am remembering right, I think Mance Lipscomb's 'Bout A Spoonful - has a dropped D.

Bo Carters 'Policy Blues' is in dropped D - but key of D (but has a nice descending A part).

I'll keep my ears peeled.

Cheers,
slack

Offline Johnm

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2005, 11:28:52 AM »
Hi Tom and John D.,
You guys are both right.  Dropped D was Mance Lipscomb's preferred tuning for playing in the key of A, and he used it on many tunes, "'Bout A Spoonful", "Goin' Down Slow", "Boogie in A", among others.  It really does bring the change to the IV chord out; that low D note just honks.  Right now I can't think of any other Country Blues players (especially from the pre-War era) who did this.  It is a great sound.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 05:29:44 PM »
Hi all,
Come to find out almost six years later that Lightnin' Hopkins and Carolina Slim (copying Lightnin') both did this.
All best,
Johnm

Offline sustaireblues

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 06:11:34 AM »
Hey John, thanks for bringing this back up, I'd never seen it.
What a great idea, I'm going to go play around with that.

Thanks,
Joe

Offline Dakota Red

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 09:25:10 PM »
In open G one can also drop the lowest string to C, same deal.  Thumb-hook to get the low V or hit it open an octave up.

Offline LB

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2011, 07:51:31 AM »
Thanks folks, for the comments. I played around with this for past few days and eventually a bunch of Mance style stuff bubbled to the surface but I also worked this into a lot of the McTell drop D stuff. Very nice to be jolted back onto these things. So much to remember and keep herded into your playing.

Offline Johnm

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2013, 09:24:49 PM »
Hi all,
I was very surprised recently to see a video of Jack Owens on YouTube playing in A in dropped D tuning.  So much for the Bentonia sound!
All best,
Johnm

Offline frailer24

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2013, 10:33:51 PM »
Interesting. I thought Mance Lipscomb was the only practicioner of that. It is quite useful, though.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline zoner

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 04:51:23 AM »
Dave Van Ronk did a lovely version of "Jesus Met The Woman At The Well" in this tuning....

Offline MTJ3

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 09:24:31 PM »
I may be completely off base as I haven't listened to Larry Johnson's Blue Goose album for literally decades (so apologies if I am), but I believe he has one such piece on the album.

Offline Johnm

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Re: playing in A in dropped D
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 05:53:14 AM »
Hi all,
Here is the song that Jack Owens plays in A out of dropped-D tuning, cited earlier in this thread:



All best,
Johnm

 


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