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Author Topic: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning  (Read 2480 times)

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Offline Prof Scratchy

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Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« on: August 14, 2008, 12:20:02 PM »
Johnm mentions Tarheel Slim playing a tune in B, standard tuning. The only person I ever saw doing this live was  Brownie McGhee. Were there others who played blues in this key?
Are there tips for fingering the B chord (without using the B7 shape). I watched BMcG closely (30-odd years ago) but never figured out what he was doing in the first position...
Prof S

Offline Pan

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Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 02:43:13 PM »
Johnm mentions Tarheel Slim playing a tune in B, standard tuning. The only person I ever saw doing this live was  Brownie McGhee. Were there others who played blues in this key?
Are there tips for fingering the B chord (without using the B7 shape). I watched BMcG closely (30-odd years ago) but never figured out what he was doing in the first position...
Prof S

You could try a B6 chord in the 1st position:

x-2-1-1-0-(2).
  R-3-6-R-(5)
  B -D#-G#-B-(F#)

The bass can alternate to the F# on the 2nd fret of the 6th string.

Please note, that I'm not saying that this is what BMcG did.  :)

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 01:25:44 PM »
Hi all,
I thought it might be a good idea to split this out from the Blues in Minor thread, since it is really a different topic.  Apart from the B6 position Pan suggests, you might also use a version of the Bflat6 position Papa Charlie Jackson used, moved up one fret, to:   X-2-4-4-4-4, or B7, working off of the same idea:  X-2-4-4-4-5.  In the Tarheel Slim tune mentioned earlier, he uses the most commonly employed B7 position at the base of the neck:  2-2-1-2-0-2, rocking his middle finger from the second fret of the fifth string down to the second fret of the sixth string.  In his case, it works out fine to use a dominant seventh chord for the I chord.
All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 03:06:47 PM by Johnm »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 02:19:53 PM »
BTW here's a clip of Brownie and a young Scottish gent in B...as embedding isn't supported, just double click the screen below to go to the clip on the youtube site...

« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 02:22:46 PM by Prof Scratchy »

Offline Pan

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 03:24:05 PM »
Hmm.

This video is indeed showing Brownie McGhee playing in B major.

The footage showing his hands is very short, but I think I'm seeing him moving part of the chord up a whole step. Could this be a thirdless B7 chord in a sort of a Charlie Patton style? What makes things more complicated, is of course, the second guitar.

x-2-x-2-0-2

with the top notes slid to:

x-x-x-4-x-4 ?

Whatever, playing a blues in B major, with a guitar, makes sense, since you have plenty of open strings to be used.

Prof Scratchy, thanks for the video.

Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry were the few of the original CB artists that I have had the pleasure of seeing in person, and I'll allways cherish the memory of it.

Cheers

Pan

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2008, 06:24:53 PM »
Hi all,
I realized after thinking about it that my favorite country Blues performance played in B position, standard tuning is Robert Pete Williams' version of "Louise", one of the coolest covers ever.  If I'm not mistaken, there was a video posted of him playing it elsewhere on this site.  I haven't seen it, but by the sound of it, I don't think Robert Pete employed a "home" chordal position at all for his rendition of "Louise", choosing instead to free-hand the whole thing.
all best,
Johnm   

Offline Pan

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2008, 04:49:02 AM »
Hi all,
I realized after thinking about it that my favorite country Blues performance played in B position, standard tuning is Robert Pete Williams' version of "Louise", one of the coolest covers ever.  If I'm not mistaken, there was a video posted of him playing it elsewhere on this site.  I haven't seen it, but by the sound of it, I don't think Robert Pete employed a "home" chordal position at all for his rendition of "Louise", choosing instead to free-hand the whole thing.
all best,
Johnm   

FWIW, I tried to look for the video in question, but couldn't find it. Apparently, some RPW videos have been pulled out of YouTube, which might explain the situation.

However, fellow forum member Jobster mentioned the song, and an album by the same name on this thread a while ago:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4540.0

You can hear a sample of Louise on this site: http://wolfrec.com/releases.php

It sounds like RPW is tuned a half-step down, but playing in B-position, as Johnm said.

Cheers

Pan

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 07:03:50 AM »
Hi all,
Roy Dunn played his "Pearl Harbor Blues", which we looked at in the "What Is This Musician Doing?" thread, out of B in standard tuning, and for his I chord did a thumb-wrapped F shape up at the seventh fret.
All best,
Johnm

Offline alyoung

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 06:05:06 AM »
Robert Lockwood had a version of Roosevelt Sykes' "Driving Wheel" that he played in B. It was deceptive because when he played up the neck it sounded like one of his standard pieces in A, and it was only when he came down to the lower frets that the difference became apparent (and the hapless oik trying to learn it realised he wasn't playing in A with a capo on). In this one he used the basic B7 shape as the root chord, rather than a B natural; Brownie McGhee did the same thing on some of his B pieces, one example being "Life Is a Gamble".

Offline oddenda

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Re: Blues in B position, Standard Tuning
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2016, 11:58:43 PM »
TRIX records live! Roy Dunn! Tarheel Slim! Robert Lockwood! The stuff's right there!!

pbl (modestly!)

 


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