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Miller's Breakdown

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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,

Prof Scratchy:
Amazing! Off to try that now! Thanks for a great puzzle. Next one soon please!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

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!



Thank you Johnm .
I too am stumped by half Spanish .

Hi guys,
Half-Spanish and G6 tuning are the same thing.  I think I usually just call it DGDGBE tuning.
All best,


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