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When you go down on Deep Ellum, keep your carburator clean, 'cause the women on Deep Ellum sell you dirty gasoline - Bill Neely, Deep Ellum Blues documentary

Author Topic: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning  (Read 230 times)

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Online Johnm

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The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« on: March 07, 2021, 06:24:30 AM »
Hi all,
D position in standard tuning was altogether avoided by a number of great Country Blues guitarists in their recordings, including Charlie Patton and Blind Lemon Jefferson, but there were players who gravitated towards it nonetheless, and used it for many songs in which they showcased original and imaginative approaches to using that playing position. For D position in standard tuning, I'll start with:
   
   * Scrapper Blackwell
   * Tommy McClennan

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 07, 2021, 07:47:11 AM by Johnm »

Offline Lignite

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2021, 09:54:53 AM »
William Harris

Mississippi John Hurt

Offline jostber

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2021, 12:43:07 PM »
Rabbit Brown

Frank Stokes

Reverend Gary Davis


Online Johnm

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2021, 07:47:10 AM »
Robert Pete Williams--so original in this position

Offline eric

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2021, 09:12:27 AM »
John, I think you posited a rationale for relative dearth of D postion tunes in this genre, but I have forgotten it.  Lack of bass options, maybe?
--
Eric

Online Johnm

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2021, 09:37:46 AM »
Yes, you're remembering right, Eric. Of all of the commonly played positions in standard tuning used by Country Blues guitarists, D has the highest-pitched lowest root, if that makes sense, the open fourth string, D. If you routinely do an alternating bass hitting the root of the chord on beats one and three and the third or fifth of the chord on beats two and four, alternating bass towards treble, that means in your I chord in D position you'd essentially be playing a four-string guitar, and missing the fifth and sixth strings altogether.

Of course, most players who played in D position in standard tuning, got around that limitation by choosing to voice the bass in the D chord differently, with Scrapper Blackwell doing a thumb wrap at the second fret of the sixth string, John Hurt playing his alternating bass in D as a V-I alternation from the open fifth string to the open fourth string. One person who used an inventive work-around was Rev. Davis, who essentially played in D using a C shape to do so, so that he could hit the root on the fifth fret of the fifth string and alternate to the third at the fourth fret of the fourth string.

I sure wish Lemon, in particular, had recorded some tunes in D position in standard tuning because I would have loved to have seen and heard how he would have gone about that.

All best,
Johnm   

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 05:25:23 PM »
Rev Robert Wilkins

Offline GhostRider

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Re: The Guitar Stylists--D position, standard tuning
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2021, 04:51:04 PM »
Gosh, can't forget Henry Thomas.

Alex

 


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