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Author Topic: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning  (Read 15132 times)

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Online Johnm

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Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« on: September 18, 2006, 02:16:33 PM »
Hi all,
It occurred to me that we have threads devoted to non-slide tunes in Spanish and Vestapol, cross-note, and F in standard tuning, but have never had a thread devoted to song played in dropped-D tuning.  It's a tuning that I believe has been used much more in the post-'60s performance of Country Blues than in earlier years, but is still encountered a fair amount in older recordings.  Just to get the ball rolling, I'll name a few, but limit myself to four.  Feel free to add to the list.
   * "Statesboro Blues"--Blind Willie McTell
   * "Overtime Blues"--Walter Vinson
   * "I Get Evil when My Love Comes Down"--Gabriel Brown (from the new JSP set, "Shake That Thing!  East Coast Blues 1935--1953")
   * "Goin' Down Slow"--Mance Lipscomb, played in A
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2006, 02:29:00 PM »
Hi Johnm

I've enjoyed the threads discussing tunes in Vestapol and Spanish a lot, since I'm very inexperienced with open tunings. I've gathered courage for some time to propose a thread with dropped D. Thanks for starting one!

Two songs come to mind: William Moore's One Way Gal, and Old Country Rock (which of course are more or less the same song).

Yours

Pan

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2006, 05:14:18 PM »
Two that come to mind, stemming from a recent Blind Blake binge, are Bad Feeling Blues and Chump Man Blues.

There are songs that could be played in dropped D but I don't think we're played that way originally. Tommy Johnson's Canned Heat Blues is certainly one that's been covered in dropped D (I play it that way too sometimes). I originally thought Papa Charlie Jackson's We Can't Buy It No More was in dropped D but have decided it isn't and is more likely using the 5th string A as the bottom bass string as is common in songs in D, for example in John Hurt's playing. But it could easily be done in dropped D.

Bo Carter is another person I believe played in dropped D, though I can't think of anything right now.

The Mississippi Sheiks' songs based around Stop and Listen Blues, itself an resetting of Big Road Blues, and Vinson's Overtime Blues, have several similar songs. Church Bell Blues, She's Crazy 'bout Her Lovin', Kitty Cat Blues, Somebody's Got to Help Me, Good Morning Blues, Lonesome Grave Took My Baby, Pop Skull Blues (thanks to Frankie for a quick reminder of the songs with this tuning :)  at www.donegone.net).

Offline waxwing

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2006, 07:54:18 PM »
One Bo Carter song in Drop D would be Policy Man Blues. Must be more. I'll check wih Chezz, as he does a lot of Bo.

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Yves

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2006, 07:30:57 AM »
There are so many Lonnie Johnson's that they can't be listed here.
Almost his complete repertoire !!!

I'll check Bo carter's when back home

Yves the froggy

Online Johnm

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2006, 04:55:02 PM »
Hi all,
When I first listened to the JSP set "Shake That Thing!  East Coast Blues 1935-1953" I was struck by how many tunes Gabriel Brown recorded in dropped-D tuning.  Going back today and listening more carefully, that impression was corroborated.  Out of 41 tracks Gabriel Brown has on the 4-CD set, 14 (!) are played out of dropped-D tuning.  They are:
   * I Get Evil When My Love comes Down
   * You Ain't No Good
   * Going My Way
   * Down In The Bottom
   * Bad Love
   * I've Got To Stop Drinkin'
   * Not Now, I'll Tell You When
   * That's Alright
   * I've Done Stopped Gamblin'
   * Baby, Boy, Baby
   * Mean Old Blues"
   * Hold Me Baby
   * Youngster's Blues
   * I Am Playing The Game
Apart from the sheer volume of songs played in dropped-D, Gabriel Brown's songs played in that tuning are interesting in that they are all in D and are in a variety of tempos, forms and rhythmic feels, so he was not just recycling the same accompaniment and soloing ideas over and over again (though there is certainly some repetition, with so many songs played in the same tuning).  If any of you are particular fans of the dropped-D sound, you would be well-advised to pick up this set.
All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2006, 07:18:30 PM »
Hi all,
I thought of a couple more played in this tuning:
   * New Lovin' Blues--Buddy Moss
   * Dark Road Blues--Willie Lofton
   * Little Woman, You're So Sweet, as played by John Jackson
All best,
Johnm

awoolmd

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2006, 08:14:14 AM »
Tommy Johnson-Big road blues
Blind Arthur Blake-Chump man
And, the entire repetoire od Bahamian genious Joseph Spence, starting with Great dream from heaven

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2006, 11:12:31 AM »
And what about Lonnie Johnson? I ask because I've read he played a lot in Bo Carter tuning (G6) but in the key of D. I don't get this, as all of that stuff seems accessible in dropped D to me...does anyone have a definitive view??
Prof S

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2006, 09:47:19 AM »
Prof.:

Some of LJ stuff, in the IV chord sections (G) is impossible w/o G6 tuning. That doesn't mean by any streach that he did all his stuff in G6, but some for sure. "Life Saver Blues" is one that's in G6 for sure.

BTW, lately I've been expreimenting with a partial capo to play dropped D tunes. Place capo on standard tuned guitar at fret 2, capo does not touch low E string, giving dropped D sound (in E). But when playing the IV chord, G, the chord is complete, you dont have to avoid the low E string. Really cool.

Alex

Offline SteveMcBill

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2006, 11:11:48 AM »
"Old Country Rock"

Steve

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2006, 02:16:16 PM »
Quote
Some of LJ stuff, in the IV chord sections (G) is impossible w/o G6 tuning. That doesn't mean by any streach that he did all his stuff in G6, but some for sure. "Life Saver Blues" is one that's in G6 for sure.
Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this track which I've listened to several times now. Sadly, I'm still not getting this at all -and I'm sure I must be missing something pretty fundamental. So Ghostrider, how are you fingering the G chord here? In dropped D it's : first finger second string third fret; second finger third string fourth fret; third finger sixth string fifth fret. This sounds to me like what he's doing on this track. No?? Tell me the secret here! I know I'll be kicking myself when the penny finally drops!

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 09:05:18 PM »
Prof:

Thanks for your analysis.

I think most of the G6 stuff is in the bass.

D: fingered
1 string  5 fret
2nd string  3 fret
3rd string  5 fret

the rest open (D(4), G(5), D(5)

G: fingering
1 string  5 fret
2 string  3 string
3 string  4 string

The rest open D(4), G(5), D(not played)

In the D section (first bar) the bass goes:

D(6 string open), D(4 string open), F#(6 string 4 fret), D (4 string open)

The second bar (IV chord, G) goes:

G(5 string open), D(4 string open), F#(6 string 4 fret), D(4 string open).

I respect your analysis. I just hear a root (G bass) at the beginning of the second bar. To get a G bass in Dropped D, you'd need to fret the 6 string at the 5 fret. Whereas this is not impossible, I think its easier in G6. What do you think?

Alex

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2006, 10:46:16 AM »
Thanks Ghostrider - I can't wait to give this a try. I think you're right about the importance of the bass in this number...I'm slow at hearing these nuances, and it's only when I see someone actually doing it that I usually pick up on these things. I'll give this a try and let you know how I get on.

Online Johnm

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Re: Adventures in Dropped-D tuning
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2006, 06:53:56 PM »
Hi all,
There is a dropped-D piece on the new JSP "Blind Boy Fuller, Volume 2" set, performed by a musician who was new to me.  Sonny Jones, who was evidently from Wilson, North Carolina, plays "Dough Roller" in dropped-D tuning, and it is really excellent with some nice individual touches and a voicing of G up the neck that I have never heard anyone else play.  This one is worth seeking out.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 18, 2006, 10:32:41 AM by Johnm »

 


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