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Now, said, once ain't forever, baby, two times ain't but twice - Brownsville Son Bonds, Weary Worried Blues

Author Topic: Songs you should be able to play and can't  (Read 6809 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2004, 04:22:13 PM »
Hey Slack and Pyro,
I'd like to get some stuff posted, but at the moment I don't have the capability to record to computer, or to transfer from MD to computer. I need to get some kind of audio capture to USB device as my Mac Cube only has a video card with no audio input and no space for a sound card. Unfortunately, due to my continued unemployment (somewhat voluntary, actually, but...) I don't really have the funds at the moment. But I have a plan. Frank has agreed to do a transfer from MD and will mail me back an audio CD which I can then download, edit and post as I please. Hopefully I'll get to this soon, but while at camp I was blissfully avoiding thinking about the fact that Gre and I are going to have to pack up all our belongings, put them in storage, and find alternate housing while our basement apartment has its floor jackhammered so that new plumbing can be laid for the entire building. All repercussions of the flooding last rainy season. All very stressful. We don't even have a schedule yet, but are trying to create our own timetable, as we are both deadline dependant, if you know what I mean. I'm also trying to pick up odd jobs to bring in some funds, and also looking to play out more. Who knows, I may become an itinerant blues singer for a while. For sure we'll probably spend some of the time back east with our folks, so I'll definitely get to spend some time with Frank and Kim, and Ari, too. Tonight's my monthly Boat Club gig so I'm practicing a set's of songs. Maybe I'll put some on MD tomorrow. Sure appreciate all the kudos you guys have been sendin' my way. Really helps my confidence performing.
As to M & O Blues, without a doubt the hardest song I have put lyrics and guitar together on. Literally took me weeks to get the first verse. I wrote the first verse in under the tab and worked very slowly, note by note. Coupled with the fact that the vocal stretched the top of my range by about a note and that that's the note he starts on made it really tough. All I can say is, perseverence is the only way. And thank you JohnM for encouraging me to sing at the top of my range. It keeps stretching.
Well, the song I've taken two passes at and had to back off of is Blind Blake's Georgia Bound. But that isn't really on topic because I think it's really beyond my skill level yet. C is not my best key. But, I was a lot closer the second time around. OK, I admit, I've been working from various GW tab, of which I've accumulated the first verse and all the breaks. But clearly Blake plays something different behind each verse, too, so there'll be some stuff for me to transcribe eventually. Maybe if I make it my goal for the participant's concert next year I'll have the motivation to get it. Worked for Broke Down Engine. But right now I have so much to work on from this year, and all the above mentioned life issues, so it'll be a while before I tackle it again. Maybe the year after next.
Good idea to bring this topic back, Alex.
All for now.
Barbecue John C.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2004, 03:19:14 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline GhostRider

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2004, 04:02:45 PM »
Hi:

I was just thinking of Blue Day Blues and Kokomo Blues, both by Scrapper Blackwell. Ive tried to get these down for years, and I could never figure out how SB get's that combo of brushed bass and snapped treble. Ther must be some trick I'm not getting.

Have any of you had success with these?

Alex

Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2004, 04:53:01 PM »
Yeah, I agree. I've looked at these two also, with tab, and it's just really frustrating. I think it must be that I need to develop a technique that I don't yet understand. It's similar to the "scrunch", I guess, but different. 'Course I can't do that either. Anyone have any insight. I'd sure like to add some Scrapper to my set list. I've worked on Back Door Blues a little, too, inspired by Ari.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Online Slack

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2004, 05:32:20 PM »
I've worked on Scrapper stuff and it is tough to nail the technique.  Paul Rishell did some great PT classes that include a couple of SB's tunes - and he had the technique down... he played very hard. So, I think it boils down to impeccable timing, very strong thumb and pulling hard up on those trebles.  Scrapper also capo-ed which probably lowered his action - so low action would help get the snapping sound. 

My 2 cents.

Cheers,

Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2004, 08:17:57 PM »
Well, another reason to try and get Paul and Annie back next year, eh, Reso1?
So I'm wondering if using a thumb pick might be a hindrance? And if he was capoed up, maybe he was also playing up close to the end of the fretboard, where the bass strings would be looser, to get that treble string snap? Hhmmm. (note to self: take Scrapper CD and tab to retreat next weekend) So maybe we could get a group effort goin on working out this style. It'd be killer if we could all play a Scrapper song or two next year.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Offline Johnm

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2004, 12:16:11 AM »
Hi all,
I think one thing that can help get the Scrapper sound in the right hand is to rotate the thumb so that is striking the strings at a much flatter angle, so you can rake them.  If you experiment around with this, I think you will soon find an angle that produces the sound that you are looking for.  Best of luck with this.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2004, 04:14:36 AM »
Echoing JohnM's advice - think *across" the strings, not *into* them.? I think that it's easier to get the sound you're looking for without a thumbpick, but not impossible with one.? Just need to work with it.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 05:07:31 AM by Johnm »

Online Slack

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2004, 08:50:20 AM »
Rishell's advice was to take the thumbpick off.  (Very interesting to watch him either take the thumbpick off or put it on depending on the song he was teaching - he mostly had it off.)

Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2004, 09:03:01 AM »
Well, I managed to get the fingerpicks off this year, partly due to the fact that not working as a carpenter I can keep my nails right. But I'm keepin' 'em fairly short, too, gettin' some good callous as well. Maybe this will be impetus to remove the thumbpick when appropriate. Cool.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2004, 07:48:55 PM »
So, as I reported in the Circle of 5ths thread, I've been workin' on Scrapper's Back Door Blues a lot lately and am making some headway with the technique. I got 3 verses and the break transcribed before I headed out east to visit family. Took me a while to find this thread but I thought I'd report on my progress. Normally my "home" position, at least for tight fast picking, is with the heel of my hand resting lightly on the bass end of the saddle, ready to move up and damp if necessary, and?with my ring and pinky slightly curled under (relaxed) and loosely resting on the top. I mostly pick with thumb and index and sometimes bring in the middle if needed. To get Scrapper's sound I have found that I have to rotate my whole hand down so that the side of the palm is resting more toward the treble end of the saddle and the two little fingers are out straight (but still relaxed) so that I can bring my palm in closer to the face of the guitar. This causes the thumb to be reaching back up toward the bass, giving an attack angle more suited to the brush stroke. Also, the base of the index finger is moved out past the high E string which makes the snap very natural. Scrapper's pick is not all that complex and pretty much everything can be handled by the index alone, except for the little 3 string pinch on the III7 chord, but that could easily be a brush from either side to get the middle string. I've had lots of time for practice on the little Stella in the last week (driving everyone crazy) and it's starting to come along. I hope this will get some of the rest of you over the hump on some of Scrapper's great material.
All for now.
John C.
Edited to add:By the way, I've been having no trouble doing this with the thumb pick. Rotating the hand causes the pick angle to change so that it is easy to brush, but I can still get that crisp sound for the single note bass/mid-range riffs. Also, Scrapper doesn't seem to damp at all (why would he damp when trying to be heard over a piano, eh?) so giving that ability up for the bass strings isn't a problem.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 05:08:23 AM by Johnm »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Offline Johnm

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2004, 12:09:23 PM »
Thanks for the detailed technical walk-through on "Back Door Blues", John.  It is interesting to read and illuminating.  It sounds as though in the very near future "Back Door Blues" is no longer going to fit appropriately in this thread, for you.  Way to go!
All best,
Johnm

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2004, 11:29:21 AM »
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I now realize that I have to add another to my list, "Bye Bye Blues" by Tommy Johnson. Again I think it's a timing thing, and this time there is no regular bass to keep me on track.

It's such a great tune, both the original and Rory Block's cover. I'm going to give it another crack tonight, so if you never hear from me again, you know what happened.

Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2004, 02:52:16 PM »
Hi Alex,
If you are wanting to pick up Tommy Johnson's "Bye Bye Blues" (which is definitely a great one), you might want to check out Shirley Griffith's version on the Juke.  It is considerably easier to hear than Tommy's version, and I think Shirley was a real stickler for staying close to Tommy's versions of the songs he played that he got from Tommy.  I haven't listened to it in a little while, but isn't the original by Tommy a duet with Charlie McCoy?  I always find it hard to separate out the parts on those duets, just as I do on Ishmon Bracey's original recording of "Saturday Blues".  Just a thought, and Shirley sings and plays the hell out of it, too.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2004, 03:43:27 PM »
John:

Thanks, great advise. I have a Shirley Griffith album at home, on vinyl, that I picked up years ago. Hopefully its on there. Don't think I've listened to it in many years.

Alex
« Last Edit: November 29, 2004, 03:44:41 PM by pyrochlore »

Online Slack

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Re: Songs you should be able to play and can't
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2004, 04:33:25 PM »
Hang in there Alex, I have similar problems currently with Carl Martin's "Crow Jane" ---  singing on top of these diverse and different parts is a challange - I just keep breaking it down to smaller and smaller segments and hope for the best.

cheers,
slack

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