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The musicians that didn't know music could play the best blues. I know that I don't want no musicians who know all about music playin' for me - Alberta Hunter

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 84845 times)

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Offline Gumbo

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #75 on: June 08, 2014, 06:29:44 PM »
Now I guess i could try to put into words why I feel it's not standard. That seems to be the point of the thread? To begin to describe what we actually hear? pan has come up with chord voicings and tomorrow I may even retune but tonight it's as much as I can do to just describe my thought process (minimal as it is)

Ok the I chord is fairly easy to find with an E shape at the 3rd fret but the other chord soundings are awkward and the fills don't flow (in standard). The open strings don't help. I haven't tried retuning but open G seems to be a possibility- it sounds familiar

that's all I got.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 06:30:46 PM by Gumbo »

Offline ScottN

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #76 on: June 08, 2014, 07:46:40 PM »
A vote for Spanish but haven't worked out much beyond that - great tune though - just need more hours in the day.

Offline dunplaying

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2014, 03:59:43 AM »
Perhaps G6 up half a tone.

Jolly good idea Johnm.

Offline Pan

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« Reply #78 on: June 09, 2014, 04:31:28 AM »
Hi all

To add to the conversation, what also originally made me think of standard tuning, G-position, is that around at 0:38, I believe that Kirkland is playing a brief bVII chord (F) before the IV chord with the 3rd in bass (C7/E). They could be fingered x-x-3-2-1-x, and x-x-2-3-1-x in standard tuning. However the strings 4,3, and 2 are not changed from the standard, when tuning to Spanish, so the same chords could be played with the exact same fingerings in Spanish as well.

Later on at around 3:48 he's playing an descending chromatic figure on the 4th string, from the 3rd fret to the 2nd, 1st, and open string, with the 3rd and 2nd string ringing open on top of the bass notes. Again this could be played with the same fingering in either standard tuning or Spanish.

I'm still sticking with Spanish, though!

Keep the conversation going folks!

Cheers

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #79 on: June 09, 2014, 10:23:49 AM »
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses on the Eddie Kirkland song.  It's good to see that all of the tunings/positions proposed are very close to each other in sound.  Here are the answers to the questions that were posed, with explanations to follow:
   *  Eddie Kirkland's playing position/tuning was Spanish at Aflat, with a follow-up;
   *  The voicings he used for his V7 chord at 1:38 and 1:41 were  X-5-4-5-3-0 for the V7 chord and X-3-2-3-1-0 for the IV7 chord;
   *  The position he played behind his I chord at 1:50--1:56, and at the beginning of the tune was fretted at 7-6-5 on the top three strings, from third string to first string.
Congratulations to Pan for having figured these all out spot on, and for reasoning out his choices so well, too.  Well done, Pan!

Going to the V7 and IV7 chord fingerings first, these are both fingered just as Pan said, exactly like a C7 fingering you would play at the base of the neck in standard tuning.  Because in Spanish tuning you have not altered the the second, third and fourth strings in the tuning, but you have lowered the fifth string one whole step, when you finger this position in Spanish where you would normally play a C7 in standard tuning, you still get a C7 chord, but with its seventh voiced on the fifth string, where you would normally have a root in that shape.  So on those interior four strings in Spanish that chord ends up being voiced bVII-3-bVII-R.  The same effect is achieved relative to the V7 chord when you move the shape up two frets.  I've always associated the sound of that IV7 chord in Spanish with Fred McDowell.  Here he is playing "Kokomo Blues".  Listen from :20--:25, and that's when he first hits that chord.  It has such a distinctive sound that I think if you put your own guitar in Spanish and finger it a bit, along with the V7 chord two frets higher, you'll recognize that sound when you hear it from now on.



The position that Eddie Kirkland used for his I7 chord at 1:50--1:56 is a sound that I've always associated with Lightnin' Hopkins playing one of his E blues.  If you play a blues in E position, standard tuning, and brush the top three strings with the first string open while sliding into the fourth fret of the third string and the third fret of the second string, you'll get the exact sound that Eddie Kirkland gets in his song, where he's transferred that sound to Spanish tuning.  In E, Lightnin' is voicing those top three strings V-bVII-R, and Eddie Kirkland has transferred that very voicing to Spanish when he fingers it 7-6-5 on his top three strings. 
The same position could be played in G6 tuning, but it would be a much more reachy 7-6-3, and what would make it next to impossible to duplicate Eddie Kirkland's sound is that he's holding the first string still but sliding into the third and second strings.  In Spanish, you can fret the first string fifth fret with your index finger, and use your second and third fingers to slide up to the sixth fret of the second string and the seventh fret of the third string, respectively.

As far as additional places in the song that might help you identify the tuning as Spanish, at 2:54-2:55 and at 5:16-5:17, Eddie Kirkland slides up on the first three string into a major chord voiced R-3-5 on the top three strings, pretty high.  When he does this, he is essentially playing slide without a slide, for he is sliding on the top three strings into the twelfth fret just like you would do with a slide.

One peculiarity of the sound of the song that I sort of semi-registered when first listening to it but didn't remark on strongly until listening more carefully has to do with his never hitting the low V note normally available in Spanish on the open sixth string.  What I discovered listening more closely is that at various times in his rendition, 1:08-1:09, 1:59, 2:09-2:11, 3:51-3:52, 4:10, you can hear him hitting two strings in unison at the pitch of his open fifth string.  How was he doing that?  Either he was fretting the sixth string at the fifth fret while brushing it and the open fifth string together, or he actually had the sixth string tuned up, to a unison with his fifth string, G-G-D-G-B-D and was brushing the two strings open.  The second option is what he did, because the first option would require him to hold down that fifth fret of the sixth string while doing a lot of free-handing activity in the treble--not plausible.  Having the two lowest strings tuned to a unison low I note explains both how he could sound that pitch relatively easily on two strings at once and why he never goes to the low V note that is normally available in Spanish tuning.

I had no idea Eddie Kirkland was using the customized Spanish tuning when I selected the song.  The only person I had heard using the G-G-D-G-B-D tuning with the fifth and sixth strings in unison prior to Eddie Kirkland was Roscoe Holcomb, (and people copying Roscoe) who used it routinely.  Another Spanish tuning off-shoot that I've only heard the Louisiana musician Herman E. Johnson (or people copying him) use, is G-G-D-G-B-D, but with the sixth string tuned an octave below the fifth string.  It's an amazing sound, and you can hear him use that tuning on "She Had Been Drinking". 



Thanks, folks, for participating.  I can't tell you how valuable I think doing this kind of close listening is--I think you learn so much when you really get into it.  Hearing these different sounds also provides lots of ideas for utilizing different licks, chordal positions and tunings in places we've never considered using them before.  Please don't feel like the discussion of this particular tune has to stop at this point either, if you have further questions or points you'd like to make.

All best,
Johnm 

   
   
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 07:14:59 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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« Reply #80 on: June 09, 2014, 12:23:17 PM »
Hi all,
Apropos of the last post, here is a tune where Roscoe Holcomb played in his G-G-D-G-B-D tuning, with his fifth and sixth strings tuned to a unison.



All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #81 on: June 09, 2014, 01:03:12 PM »
This may be of interest, especially the bit from 8.25 where he retunes his guitar. He certainly had a few tricks  up his sleeve:

Offline Johnm

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« Reply #82 on: June 09, 2014, 05:58:54 PM »
Thanks for that, Prof.  He really did have some tricks up his sleeve.  That last tuning is altogether new to me.  And it doesn't help all that much to see someone's hands when he's playing in a tuning that is so alien that you're not equipped to make any sense of what he's doing!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #83 on: June 10, 2014, 10:26:55 PM »
Hi all,
I've got a couple of tunes with only one questions apiece.  The first is a field recording by "Big Boy" called simply "Blues".  I discovered it today and can't stop listening to it.



SPOKEN:  I was travelin' South, see, I was goin' a hobo trip.  Home flyin' freight come up through the yard, see, they always tone a bell in the yard.

GUITAR TONES BELL

Gettin' near the crossing, I mean she always give four blows on the whistle, which is two long, two short.

GUITAR BLOWS WHISTLE

When she gets clear of the crossing, I thought I'd catch this freight.  I caught this freight when she stopped.  Detective came over, a-runnin.  Cast my eyes at his, at which he was suspicious, then here's the song I sing for him.
SUNG:  Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee

Nearer my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee

SPOKEN:  He passed me up.  The brakeman come along, the brakeman says I am accusin' him.  Quite naturally, when you get a long way from home you take the blues, and here's the blues I played for the brakeman.

SUNG:  Ever been down, you know 'bout how'd I feel
You ever been down, know 'bout how'd I feel
Like a soldier laid me on some battlefield

---------------, had it all my days
Trouble, trouble, had it all my days
Yes, trouble, trouble, had it all my days
Lord, I b'lieve to my soul trouble follow me to my grave

-----------, baby, explain this lonesome song
Won't you run here, baby, explain this lonesome song
Won't you run here, baby, explain this lonesome song
'Cause I'm worried and troubled, I don't know what to do

Lord, I'm standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
Lord, standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
Lord, I'm standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
For I haven't got many, got so far to go

I'm Georgia-raised, but b'lieve Alabama bound, Lord knows
I'm Georgia-raised, b'lieve I'm 'Bama bound
Georgia-raised, b'lieve that I'm 'Bama bound
'T'ain't no need of talkin', that's no way to do

Edited 11/19 to pick up corrections from Waxwing
Edited 11/20 to pick up correction from dj
 

The second is David (Honeyboy) Edwards doing "I Love My Jelly Roll".



Jelly roll, jelly roll, you can hang it on a mind
You hypnotized my Daddy just to run my Mama blind
I love my jelly, I love my jelly roll

Jelly roll, jelly roll be layin' on my mind
Gon' hypnotize my Mama just to run my Daddy blind
Jelly roll, people, hangin' on my mind
I might hypnotize my Mama just to run my Daddy blind

Mama's got the rub-board, sister's got the tub
Sister's got the rub-board and brother's got the jug
Jelly roll keep hangin' on my mind
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

SOLO

Look here, Mama, can't you see?
Shakin' that thing never killin' poor me
I love my jelly, I love my jelly roll
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

Look here, Mama, why don't you look at sis?
She's standin' 'round the corner doin' the dirty dirty twist
Jelly roll, keep hangin' on my mind
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

SOLO X 2


The question for each of these tunes is:  What tuning/position is it played out of?

Please don't post any answers until Thursday, June 12, and just try to figure them out by ear.  Thanks!

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 06:11:50 AM by Johnm »

Offline mr mando

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« Reply #84 on: June 12, 2014, 04:26:59 AM »
Too bad I missed the Eddie Kirkland tune challenge by being out of town and away from the internet. The 5-6-7 G7 chord voicing is something I would have recognised because of the Robert Johnson association this sound has for me.

Anyway, here's how I would answer the current question:

Big Bo - Blues: Vestapol tuning (don't know the key as I don't have a guitar to check). The V chord at 0:25 sounds like the V chord in Blind Blake's "Police Dog Blues", so it has to be Vestapol.

Honeyboy Edwards - I Love My Jelly Roll: Standard Tuning - C Position. Sounds like he borrowed from Blind Lemon's (and maybe even Blind Blake's) playing in C.


Offline harvey

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« Reply #85 on: June 12, 2014, 05:00:21 AM »
Completely agree with Mr Mando

Vestapol for Blues

... and really like the Honeyboy Edwards song. Agreed it sounds like a strong Blind Lemon influence. The turnaround was the key for me on the 1st and 2nd strings down from the 3rd and 5th fret. back to the C
 

Offline Prof Scratchy

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« Reply #86 on: June 12, 2014, 05:10:54 AM »
Agree with standard C for the Honeyboy, but I'm going with cross note for the other one, on the basis that I haven't been right on any of these yet, and I don't want to spoil my record.

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Offline mr mando

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« Reply #87 on: June 12, 2014, 05:35:22 AM »
.... I haven't been right on any of these yet, and I don't want to spoil my record.

Hey, I know exactly what you're talking about! A couple of pages back, I have even changed my (correct) opinion about a tune cause I was too sure I was right.

Offline Norfolk Slim

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« Reply #88 on: June 12, 2014, 06:03:23 AM »
I'm cheating a little because I've only listened now- having already seen others' comments.  I'm also listening on a rotten telephone headset in the office...

But fwiw, I would have leaped straight for vastapol on the first one.  I've strained to hear something odd in case its a trick question but haven't managed to hear anything so far.

Second one more tricky, but there are some distinctly blakeish motifs to my ear which shout C.

So I'm basically agreeing with what others have said.  But would have gone for those anyway (honest!)

Offline dunplaying

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« Reply #89 on: June 12, 2014, 06:18:01 AM »
My guess for the Big Boy was Vestapol pitched at E b because I think I hear some Robert Wilkins licks  from "No Way To Get Along".