collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

* Support Weenie!

Shop on Amazon using these search boxes and Weenie earns a small commission:
USA
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

United Kingdom
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

Canada
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

* Weenie's CD!

I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time - Orson Welles, 19151985

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 84846 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline David Kaatz

  • Member
  • Posts: 252
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2014, 02:08:46 PM »
I think that when in doubt about positions and tunings, going with the easiest, least stretchy, and most open strings is probably what most original country blues players were doing.

Dave

Offline Norfolk Slim

  • Member
  • Posts: 960
    • Moonshine - Available at Bandcamp now...
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2014, 02:19:07 PM »
Sounds and feels like a long A shape capoed at the 3rd fret to me.  Which makes it sound in C (assuming my guitar is in tune!) Never goes to the E chord.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 02:20:43 PM by Norfolk Slim »

Offline mr mando

  • Member
  • Posts: 254
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #62 on: June 03, 2014, 04:15:50 PM »
Now that I tried to play along, I have to revise my previous statement. I now think that it's in half spanish (D-G-D-G-B-E) tuning capoed at the 4th fret. No V chord, and the IV chord is only hinted at: quick hammer on from open 6th to 2nd fret/6th string, then open 5th droning away under neath the boogie line on the 3rd string (open, second fret, open, 3rd fret, open, 2nd fret). The signature lick over the I chord starts with a thumb roll from open 6th to open 5th string, then moves to the first string 3rd fret, 1st fret and open, then bent note on 3/3 and open 3rd string.

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1874
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2014, 04:28:17 PM »
I don't have much to add, others have pretty much said what I believe I'm hearing; that is A-position, capoed to sound at around B.
The signature lick could be played up from the 5th position, I believe, but since the "long A" thing is very much happening, I assume the lick is also played out of the 2nd position as well.
And no V chord, although the melody occasionally goes down to the V note, on the B part of the AAB blues form, while the accompaniment just repeats the IV - I chord. changes heard before.
Nevertheless, a great tune, whether I'm right or wrong!  :)

Cheers

Pan

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2499
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #64 on: June 03, 2014, 06:33:31 PM »
It seems like there was some confusion over what Johnm meant by "Where his signature lick that he keeps returning to in the third bar is fretted.  Choose the one that he plays most often;" To me it sounded like, at least in the sung verses, the first line was sung over two bars and there was a lick that followed quickly in the 3rd bar that didn't appear anywhere else in the form. Those occurred at 0:22*, 0:42*, 1:03, 1:26, 2:03*, 2:34* and 2:56. Those with an * sound pretty similar and the one at 1:03 is pretty close. The other two, one the hummed verse and the other the final verse, he doesn't play the lick at all. Is this the one you meant, Johnm, or was it the decending lick that he plays much more frequently but never in the 3rd bar?

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10158
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #65 on: June 03, 2014, 11:45:21 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks to you all for participating.  It's great to see so many responses.  Otto Virgial did play "Seven Year Itch" out of A position in standard tuning, sounding in the neighborhood of B to C.  It's probably worth pointing out that in terms of identifying the playing position/tuning that a song is played out of, the pitch at which the piece ends up sounding is not usually that much of a help in determining the playing position.
It was good to see everybody noting that Otto Virgial never plays a V chord in his rendition.  This sort of "V chord avoidance" is not as rare as you might think.  It's one of the things that makes him sound as much like Garfield Akers as he does, since Akers avoided the V chord, too.  Other players who are notable for avoiding the V chord include Dr. Ross, Sam Collins on his slide material, and Rev. Pearly Brown.
I'm sorry that the way I described the lick I wanted the fretting for was so imprecise and open to interpretation.  I should have related it to specific times in the rendition.  In any event, the lick I was thinking of occurs most often, I realized, in the third bar of the second and third phrases, not the first phrase, and is a descending phrase.  The lick I'm thinking of happens at :18, :30, :36, :50, :58, 1:12 and many other times in the course of the rendition.  It happens in the first bar back in the I chord after Virgial returns from the IV chord.  It is fretted at, and sits relative to the pulse like so:

|        1             +               2 (triplet)                       3               +              4              +              |
                     fifth            fifth      third    second     fifth          second       
                     fret             fret       fret        fret       fret            fret
                     first            first       first       first       third          third
                    string         string     string    string     string        string
                                                                             (bent)

The keys to differentiating the sound in A position in standard tuning as it occurs in this song versus Spanish, G6 tuning or G position in standard tuning are as follows:
   *  G position in standard tuning would not work because as a number of you noted, Virgial does a hammer on the sixth string into the third of the IV chord, then rolls his thumb up to the fifth string, where he hits the root of the I chord for the song.  In G position in standard tuning, the open sixth string is the third of the IV chord so a hammer into that pitch is not available. 
   *  If you look at what notes Virgial hits in the treble over the IV7 chord, they are located as follows: second fret of the third string, open second string and first fret of the second string, while the thumb is wrapped, fretting the second fret of the sixth string and the first string is open.  It's the same position that Robert Johnson used for all of his tunes played out of A position like, "Me and the Devil", "Kind Hearted Woman", "Little Queen of Spades" and the rest.  If you analyze what those notes in the treble are relative to the IV7 chord they happen over, D7, the second fret of the third string is the fifth of the D7, the open second string is the sixth of D7 and the first fret of the second string is the seventh of the D7 chord.  Because the notes are phrased on two different strings, you can flow from the note on the third string into the notes on the second string, continuing to let the note on the third string sustain as you play the notes on the second string.  That same sound of the line flowing from the fifth of the IV7 chord up to its sixth and then its seventh is not available in the same way in either Spanish tuning or G6 tuning because in both of those tunings, all three notes would be played on the same string, with each note in the ascending line effectively erasing the note that preceded it as it is played.  Those three notes, the fifth, sixth and seventh of the IV7 chord would be found at the open third string, the second fret of the third string and the third fret of the third string in both Spanish and G6 tuning.  So it is, that in those two positions it would be impossible to have the first note of the ascending line sustain against the next two, and the line would have a choppier sound, with all three notes played on the same string.
What you end up with, then, is a situation where the line has much more flow, sustain and ease of execution in A position standard tuning than it would have in Spanish or G6 tuning.  It also sits so easily and gratefully for the left hand in that little thumb-wrapped D7 with the open first string--it's a real rocking chair kind of move, the position just gives it to you. 
In the treble in his long A chord, 0-0-2-2-2-5, Otto Virgial may have been adopting a strategy of assigning a finger to a fret in the left hand, across the neck, so that his little finger fretted the fifth fret of the first three strings, his index fretted everything at the second fret on the top four strings, and probably his second finger fretted the third fret of the first string, though some folks prefer to use the third finger there.  Assigning a finger to a fret this way makes for a very quiet left hand, practically still.  Without having seen Virgial play the song, though, it can't be said for sure how he fingered  the long A phrases.

I hope my descriptions above are clear.  I've been enjoying finding these songs and listening to them and hearing people's responses.  At various different times in figuring out this music I've had to remember that the players were not trying to camouflage the sound of the playing position/tuning they were working in--rather they were going for the very heart of the sound of whatever position they were working in, looking for the stuff that sounded the best and was the easiest to play, the stuff that the position "gives" you.  Things that sounded good and were easy enough to play dependably while singing at the same time were what everyone was looking for.

All best,
Johnm     
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 08:42:33 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10158
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #66 on: June 06, 2014, 12:16:19 PM »
Hi all,
I've got another performance to work out, if anyone is interested.  It is Eddie Kirkland's "Going To the River, See Can I Look Across".  The questions would be:
   * What tuning/position is he playing the song out of?
   * Where is he fretting his V7 chord at 1:38 and his IV7 chord at 1:41?
   * Where is he fretting the voicing he is playing for his I chord at 1:50--1:56?
Here is the song:



I'm goin' down to the river, and I'm gonna look across
I'm goin' down to the river, Lord, and see, can I look across
Oh, can I see the end of my trouble, Lord, I b'lieve my luck is lost

I woke up early this mornin', 'bout the break of day
I looked down in my bed where my baby used to lay
I'm goin' down to the river, Lord, to see, can I look across
Oh, I know my luck is lost, baby, I know my luck is lost

SOLO

Oh, baby, do you ever think of me?
Oh, baby, do you ever think of me?
Oh, when you lovin' your other man, do the feelin' come across me?

SOLO

All my friends look at me and tell me what a fool I am
All my friend look at me and tell me what a friend, a fool I am
All my love has been for you, oh baby, I just don't know what I'm gonna do

SOLO

I'm goin' down to the river, oh Lord, and see, can I look across
I'm goin' down to the river, oh Lord, and see, can I look across
I'm tryin' to find my luck, Lord, I know my luck is lost

OUTRO

Once again, please don't use transcription software, just your ears and your guitars, to answer the questions and please don't post any answers prior to Sunday, June 8.  And I promise not to be too gabby when I post the answers.  I hope you have fun with it, and answer as much or as little as you wish.
All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 04:15:36 PM by Johnm »

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2499
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #67 on: June 06, 2014, 03:47:05 PM »
I, for one, would hope that you don't succumb to the "anything but a sound byte is to(o) much" mentality that is prevalent on the web and continue posting your highly informative and inspiring posts, Johnm. Otherwise this thread will lose much of it's educational value, I'm afraid. I've clearly proven that I don't have the chops to compete, if that is all that is intended, but am at least encouraged when shown why I am in error.

Thanks for explaining.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10158
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #68 on: June 07, 2014, 09:44:29 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, waxwing.  It's helpful, and I appreciate it.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1544
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #69 on: June 08, 2014, 02:37:26 PM »
For the Eddie Kirkland  one I'm going to say (erroneously) DGDGBE tuning a half step up, with the IV chord being a regular tuning C shape, the V chord being that shape moved up two frets , and the chord at 1.50 being third fret strings one and two. Klaxon denotes abject failure...

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2499
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #70 on: June 08, 2014, 03:14:06 PM »
Again, I can't hear much of the bass except the dead thumb on the tonic, which I took to be the 5th string, leading me to think he is in standard tuned down step and playing in A giving the same Ab pitch as Scratchy suggests. I don't ever really hear anything on the 6th string. I agree about the C7 form chords, but in A that would put the V reaching up to the E on the 7th fret of the 5th string and the IV7 reaching up to the D at the 5th fret, 5th string. But I'm not sure 'cause something sounds a bit out in the bass of that IV7 chord. Possibly that has to do with him fretting or damping the 6th string and pulling strings out of pitch. At 1:50-1:56 I think maybe he brings a 4 string F chord up to the 5th fret A (or maybe XX5655 A7) and then goes on to play around with licks reaching to the 8th fret.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2499
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #71 on: June 08, 2014, 03:24:24 PM »
It also occurred to me that later in the song he goes all the way up to the high Eb with a B on the second string, which I have fretted at the 12th and 13th frets. If he were in DGDGBE up one fret these would be at the 14th and 15th frets. Since it sounds like he is playing a resonator, I'm remembering that Peter L. (oddenda) often loaned a resonator for players to use. I just can't remember if it was an early 12 fretter or a later 14 fretter. But I'm sure there is something about the licks down at the nut which someone will show can rule out one or the other? I just can't hear it.

[Edit] I see I have this reasoning backwards and it would be fretted lower in DGDGBE up one fret, at frets 10 and 11. Nevermind.

Wax
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 05:13:51 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10158
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #72 on: June 08, 2014, 03:48:28 PM »
Any other takers for the Eddie Kirkland song?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Gumbo

  • Member
  • Posts: 873
  • So Papa climbed up on top of the house
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #73 on: June 08, 2014, 05:03:43 PM »
I'm fairly sure it's not in standard ...

is it open G a little sharp?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 05:05:17 PM by Gumbo »

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1874
  • Howdy!
Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #74 on: June 08, 2014, 05:10:01 PM »
Well, it seems that we are going to have a nice dispersion of opinions here!

I started out hearing this being played in standard tuning, G position, pitched somewhere between G and A flat.
But having tried it out a little more, I think I'm going with Spanish. I do think that most of what I hear could be played in standard tuning, but it seems that Spanish gives you easier and more natural fingerings.

I hear the V and IV chords as having the minor 7ths on their bass. You could play them in standard tuning with the moving fingering x-3-4-5-3-x, and x-1-2-3-1-x, but in Spanish you could play them with what we normally associate as the "C7" fingering; x-5-4-5-3-x, and x-3-2-3-1-x. Since in Spanish, the 5th string is tuned down a whole step, that would give you the minor 7th on the bass, while playing the common C7 fingering. Playing a chord shape form from another tuning, and finding new interesting voicings seems more like a country blues musician thing, rather than trying to figure out difficult new fingerings. On top of that, I think I'm hearing the 5th of the IV chord being played in the bass, an eighth note early, before the chord is played. In Spanish this would be the open 5th string, a much easier note to play in between changing the chords, than in standard tuning, where it would be on the 3rd fret of the 6th string.

The I chord seems to have the perfect 5th, the minor 7th, and the root stacked on top of each other, as far as I can hear. Again, you could play this in standard tuning with x-x-x-7-6-3, but in Spanish this becomes x-x-x.7-6-5, which is much easier, especially since I think I'm hearing the chord being slid in.

I must add, however, that if the song is played in Spanish tuning, I can't hear a single note being played on the 6th string, so I can't be sure whether it is tuned down a whole step from standard, or not.

And, of course, I could be completely wrong with all this! :)

Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: I see Gumbo posted just before me, and seems to agree with open G / Spanish.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 05:17:03 PM by Pan »

 


anything