Country Blues > Country Blues Licks and Lessons

jig head blues tuning

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Mike p:
Hi all, Im new here. Perhaps you could help me. I was trying to learn JIG HEAD BLUES by willard thomas today and I'll be damned if I can figure out what his key, tuning and capo position (if any) are. Seems i try this every decade or so, SMH, and give up, (which probably means it's simple, and I just can't see it).  If anyone has got this down and could share it I'd appreciate it.  The playing on this track is superb. I love Ramblin' Thomas.

Blues Vintage:

Jig Head Blues - Ramblin' Thomas

https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?Itemid=128&topic=7666.msg61671#msg61671

Mike p:
So... I've spent some time with this tune in the last couple weeks.  Seems he is playing standard tuning with a dropped D in the key of D.....But.... somehow it translates to C#. Is the guitar tuned down a half step? Was the speed of the master altered? I don't know. I suspect the master was altered. I thought at first he was playing with a capo on the fourth fret and playing the song in the key of A....but that's not the case.

Johnm:
Hi Mike p,
There is no reason to assume that the speed of the master was altered. It was commonplace for Country Blues guitarists of whatever era to tune down or up from standard pitch to put the tuning or playing position in which they wanted to play a song in the key at which they were most comfortable singing. There are a considerably greater number of Country Blues guitar-accompanied recorded performances in which the guitar is not tuned to concert pitch than ones in which the guitar is tuned to concert pitch. For a solo guitarist, being at concert pitch cut no ice one way or the other--the only incentive for tuning to concert pitch would be if you were playing with a fixed-pitch instrument like a piano that was tuned to concert pitch (not exactly a given, either). I hope this helps.
All best,
Johnm

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