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Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 84842 times)

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Online Johnm

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2014, 10:51:50 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks to all who participated.  I really like this song and Little Brother's performance--it's a shame that it concludes with him still singing and playing.
Everybody got the key at which the piece sounds correct, it is sounding in A.  He played it out of E position in standard tuning, capoed up to sound at A; more on that in a little bit.  Uncle bud figured out the length of the first vocal phrase perfectly.  Little Brother phrased it like this, assuming four beats per bar unless otherwise indicated:

|    I    |  Idim7   |    I + 2 beats  |

So it is that for the first phrase only, Little Brother's instrumental response is six beats long rather than 8 beats, or two full measures of four beats each, which is the way he concludes the second and third vocal phrases.
The fill that he plays following the IV chord in the seventh bar of the form starts on beat two of that measure and works as follows:
       1    +    2       +        3       +           4 (triplet)     
    |             3rd   open    3rd    open      2nd       open    2nd   |
                 fret,    2nd    fret     2nd       fret        3rd      fret
                  3rd  string    2nd   string     3rd       string    4th
               string            string              string                 string
              (little bend)                         

The only thing that makes a positive ID of the playing position as being E in standard tuning as opposed to EAEGBE tuning is the sound of his V chord in several places in the course of the song.  At the :03 point in his rendition, you can hear Little Brother drag his thumb from the root of the V chord, fretted at the second fret of his fifth string, to a minor third of that root, played on the open fourth string.  He does the same thing at :23--:24 and at the end of his rendition.  The fact that he hits that minor third above the root of the V chord eliminates the possibility of the tuning being EAEGBE, because no minor third above the root of the V chord can be articulated that way in that tuning.  In E position in standard tuning, it's a relatively common move which you can make just by fingering a Bm7 chord, X-2-0-2-0 and doing the thumb roll from the fifth to the fourth string.  Geeshie Wiley used the same Bm7 chord in "Last Kind Words Blues".
A couple of other neat touches Little Brother utilizes during the course of his rendition:
   * On the + of the sixth beat of that long fill measure at the end of the first vocal phrase, he does an ascending slide on his sixth string, probably fretting it with his thumb and ending up hitting the open fifth string on the downbeat of the second vocal phrase.  He really nails the timing on it, and lands it so beautifully.
   * In the first two bars of his first vocal phrase he fingers his I chord in the first bar just like a D chord moved up two frets, relative to his capo placement, 4-5-4 on the top three strings.  For his I dim7 chord in the second bar he uses a really pretty and unusual voicing, 3-5-3 on the top three strings.  He then returns to his I chord and walks it down two frets before resolving to his IV chord.

Everything in the song with the exception of the drag-through move into the Bm7 chord could be played in EAEGBE tuning where Waxwing had it, and in fact everything apart from that move would live in the same place as it does in E position, standard tuning (with the exception of the fourth string).

I really think Little Brother's playing on this song is exceptionally strong, inventive and well-played.  It's good to be reminded some times that there were really terrific players who never ended up recording commercially, but who were just as strong a musician or stronger than lots of people who did record.

Thanks for participating, folks, and I hope this is fun and interesting for you all. 

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 11:32:47 PM by Johnm »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2014, 04:15:09 AM »
Well, that was a tricky one! These are great learning tools and much fun! Next please....

Offline uncle bud

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #47 on: May 31, 2014, 08:37:39 AM »
Yes, a good one. Lesson learned: take yer time!  :D


Offline Old Man Ned

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2014, 01:05:46 PM »
Yes, definitely lesson learned.  I'll put something in the oven that takes longer to cook next time ;) Would just like to say though that I'm learning so much from this.  Ranging from: I can't expect to get it spot on first time, to my ears aren't as rubbish as I thought they were.  Much appreciate the posts John.  Thanks.

Offline Pan

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2014, 01:51:33 PM »
Excellent choices for study!
I too, would have thought of A-position in standard tuning! The absence of the low E, or in fact, any note below the root A, should have been a clear warning sign, even if I didn't catch the voicing on the V chord.
I strongly recommend these puzzles for everyone who wishes to improve on his or her transcribing skills.

Cheers

Pan

Online Johnm

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2014, 04:52:43 PM »
Hi all,
I'm glad that those of you who've been participating in the thread have been enjoying it.  I've got another tune picked out.  It is Otto Virgial's "Seven Year Itch".  Please identify as many of the following as you care to:
   *The playing position/tuning Virgial used for "Seven Year Itch" and the key in which it sounds;
   *Where his signature lick that he keeps returning to in the third bar is fretted.  Choose the one that he plays most often; and
   *What commonly played chord for the position he's playing in is notable for Virgial's not playing it in the course of "Seven Year Itch"?.

Here is the song:



I woke up this mornin', clock was striking four
I woke up this mornin', clock was striking four
I was itchin' so bad, had to pack my things and go

I run and said, "Hear this, babe, I'm goin' cross-town to crash."
Said, "Hear this, babe, I'm goin' cross-town to crash.
Now, if I don't quit itchin, babe, I won't be back."

I'm gwine up on the mountain, I'm gonna root just like a hog
Gwine up on the mountain, root just like a hog
I'm gonna drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log

Mmm-mm-mm-hmm,
Mmm-mm-mm-hmm
I'm gonna drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log

SOLO

I'm goin' to the river, sits right on the ground
I'm goin' to the river, sits right on the ground
If I start itchin' too bad, jump overboard and drown

Once again, no transcription software, please, and please don't post any responses until Tuesday, June 3.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 06:23:15 PM by Johnm »

Offline Gumbo

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2014, 02:42:42 AM »
OK. I'll have a go. It sounds in B and is played out of long A position at the 4th fret in standard. Probably capoed at 2? (I don't here the low E string)
The signature lick is in that long A played on the 1st and 2nd strings at the 7th fret, and the 2nd and 3rd at the A position.
He doesn't play an E position chord

edited to correct string numbers  :P
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 03:31:26 AM by Gumbo »

Offline mr mando

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2014, 02:50:34 AM »
Thanks for reminding me of this tune. I listened to the "Worried All The Time" LP on Whoopee 104 a lot some years ago and this is one of two Otto Virgial tracks on that LP.

Again, I've got no guitar at Hand, but from listeneing I would guess as follows:
*Standard Tuning /A positon, capoed up a couple of frets, can't tell how many without a guitar, so don't know key.
*signature lick comes out of a long A: 5-5-4-0 on the first string , 5(b)-2 on the 3rd string (relative to capo position)
*There's only A(7) and D7 (fingered 2-0-0-2-1-x low to high, the second string open for melody notes) chords played, no E7 common to this Position in A.

So obviously, besides  "one-chord-blues" and "three-chord-blues", there are also "two-chord-blues" in existence!

Offline mr mando

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2014, 02:55:47 AM »
Oops, Gumbo posted, while I was typing. I hear thumb rolls from the low E (6th) into the 5th (A) strings. Gumbo, I think you might have the string numbering upside down.

Offline Gumbo

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2014, 03:05:48 AM »
Oops, Gumbo posted, while I was typing. I hear thumb rolls from the low E (6th) into the 5th (A) strings. Gumbo, I think you might have the string numbering upside down.
That is quite likely  - the numbering always confused me ! :)

PS I edited my first post - thanks Mr Mando :)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 03:32:02 AM by Gumbo »

Offline David Kaatz

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2014, 08:49:38 AM »
I've got it quite different. But I never really tried to replicate this in standard tuning.

Key of B approximately - it is a sharp B or a very flat C.
Open G tuning, or open A tuning (G tuned up a step) capoed up.
I thought the lick John was referring to was over the 4 chord, so:
The lick over the 4 chord is a hammer on the open 6th string: hammer to 2nd fret, then hammer to 3rd fret.
Then the higher part of the lick is on the 3rd string: open, second fret, open, third fret.
Each is individually picked.

I'm not hearing a 5 chord.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2014, 10:20:36 AM »
I'm going to go for A capoed at the second fret, no E7 chord, and the lick being something like (String/Fret) 2/7; 1/5; 1/7; 1/6; 2/7; 3/7; 3/5 - with a slight string bend on the 3/7.

Offline waxwing

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #57 on: June 03, 2014, 11:07:15 AM »
Totally guessing, but to me it seems to fit nicely in G capo 4. The 3rd measure lick I'm hearing most is the one that starts low and goes something like 3rd str. 3rd fret (bent), 2nd str. 3rd fret, 1st str. 3rd fret (accomplished neatly by bending then laying the finger down in a mini barre), 1st str. 1st fret, 2nd str. 3rd fret, 3rd str. 3rd fret (bent), 3rd str. open. I can't really hear the bass licks at speed but it kinda sounds like he is rolling hammer-ons up from the E to the G but then thumbing from the G to the C in the IV chord?? I don't know. Agree, no V chord.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline banjochris

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #58 on: June 03, 2014, 11:50:28 AM »
I agree with the folks who've said A position and no E chord; I haven't checked the pitch. It sounds to me like his D7 chord lick starts with a thumb roll from the sixth string to the fifth while he's playing a quick slide from open to the 2nd fret of the sixth string and then hitting the open fifth, then the rest is just based around an open D7 chord with no F# on the top.

Whole thing sounds like Garflield Akers!

Offline Old Man Ned

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« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2014, 12:50:18 PM »
Yeah, Garfield Akers...it had been bugging me who this sounded like.  I too am going for playing out of the A position capo at the 2nd fret.  Also looking for the E7 chord but the more I listen the more it's not there.  Not sure about the signature lick, could be played out of a long A or an A at the 5th fret, can't decide........I find myself over listening after a while and hearing all sorts!