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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation - Henry David Thoreau, who had the blues and couldn't be satisfied

Author Topic: McTell on 6 string  (Read 1296 times)

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Offline big joe weems

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McTell on 6 string
« on: July 16, 2017, 04:12:44 PM »
Howdy,

I was wondering if any of you play any of Blind Willie McTell's 12 string tunes on your six string guitars, or if you've heard others play them as such? And if so, how do they sound to you? What are your thoughts about doing this?

Thanks,
Joe

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 05:51:00 AM »
I play "Ticket Agent Blues" on a six string. An 8 bar out of A position. Although I learned it from Curley Weaver's version who played it on a regular six string guitar.
I think he learned it from Mctell, or at least partly. McTell possibly recorded it out of E position now that that I think about it.

I think you can make any song played on a 12 string sound good on 6 string if it's done right.

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 06:29:28 AM »
Writin' Paper, Stole Rider, and Mama Tain't Long For Day were all recorded by McTell on a 6 string if I'm remembering right, and they sound great.

Offline banjochris

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 09:21:07 AM »
Writin' Paper, Stole Rider, and Mama Tain't Long For Day were all recorded by McTell on a 6 string if I'm remembering right, and they sound great.

Plus Mr. McTell's Got the Blues -- in other words, his whole first session.

No reason not to play McTell on a six-string, but the vocal feel is going to change quite a bit unless you change positions or tune/capo accordingly.
Chris

Offline big joe weems

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 10:55:41 AM »
Plus Mr. McTell's Got the Blues -- in other words, his whole first session.
No reason not to play McTell on a six-string, but the vocal feel is going to change quite a bit unless you change positions or tune/capo accordingly.
Chris

Thanks Chris.  Why do you say the vocal feel would change?  Also, I understand that McTell played several songs on 6 string; but I'm wondering about how his 12 string pieces would translate to a 6 string?

Offline banjochris

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 04:42:16 PM »
Thanks Chris.  Why do you say the vocal feel would change?  Also, I understand that McTell played several songs on 6 string; but I'm wondering about how his 12 string pieces would translate to a 6 string?

I meant that because he tuned down so much, especially as time went on. So if you play something on a 12-string the way McTell tuned it, say in C position, you have the vocal coming out maybe in A. Then you go to play it on a 6-string tuned normally and you're going to have to sing it in C.

If you tune down, of course, not a problem (or capo way up). It might be fun to change the arrangement and play out of the position of the pitch you're singing in, say playing "Southern Can Is Mine" out of A position, which would change things up right away, even though the vocal could be in the same place. Hope that makes sense!

For his early pieces, McTell doesn't tune down as much as he did later on, so not so much change. He's about a half-step to a step flat of concert pitch on that whole first session, if memory serves.
Chris

Offline big joe weems

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 06:43:06 AM »

I meant that because he tuned down so much, especially as time went on. So if you play something on a 12-string the way McTell tuned it, say in C position, you have the vocal coming out maybe in A. Then you go to play it on a 6-string tuned normally and you're going to have to sing it in C.


I see, thanks Chris.

Offline harriet

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 06:03:19 AM »
I studied several of his slide pieces in the lower tunings that he played them and started out on a 6 string flatop that I set up with baritone strings which I don't think you would want to do with non slide - but I was thinking that maybe a baritone 6 string would enable playing at the lower pitches so I thought I'd post the thought.

Offline banjochris

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 01:10:35 PM »
I studied several of his slide pieces in the lower tunings that he played them and started out on a 6 string flatop that I set up with baritone strings which I don't think you would want to do with non slide - but I was thinking that maybe a baritone 6 string would enable playing at the lower pitches so I thought I'd post the thought.
I've done that and played Leadbelly tunes and it sounds pretty good, actually.

Offline EddieD

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Re: McTell on 6 string
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2017, 04:36:00 PM »
I learned many of his songs on my 12 string but I had to sell the 12 string so I play them on 6 string and they sound great. I Got To Cross That  River of Jordan sounds great on a 6 string. Statesboro Blues doesnt sound as good on the 6 string to me but it certainly doesnt sound bad!

 


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