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I don't want this ever published while I'm alive, because if I did get any money for it, I would just drink myself to death - Blind Willie McTell On His 1956 Recordings

Author Topic: Charlie Patton's Guitar Style--Queries and Tips  (Read 49421 times)

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Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2006, 04:43:50 AM »
Good morning to you too Waxwing.

This is a fantastic job you are doing here! I can't thank you enough! I have saved all the files to my computer, and will try to burn them into a CD, so I will be able to listen to them in various settings and all my stereo equipment available. I will get back to you after some very serious listening.

The notation program I'm using is called Finale. I usually only use standard notation, so excuse me if my tabs are clumsy. I'm not very good with the computer stuff.
I have to turn the Finale files into TIF files, which I can then open with Windows Imaging, and then again save as JPG. I don't know if this is completely stupid and unnecessary laborious way to do things, but it's the only way I know how to do this ::). Your pdf file came through just fine and I have it printed in my desk, waiting to be worked with.

Thanks again

I'll get back to you all

Pan
« Last Edit: April 16, 2006, 03:00:14 PM by Pan »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2006, 12:57:41 PM »
Amazing work by everyone in dissecting this tune -- that tagline has frustrated me for years and the tab and discussion really helped me get a grip on it. I'll just offer a few comments on how I hear that tag line:

The D note (3rd fret, 2nd string) is barely audible and isn't sustained at all. It sounds to me that he does not do a pull-off exactly, but that he lifts his finger off that note almost immediately, since when the thumb hits the open G string it often sounds the C at the first fret along with it. If you listen to '34 Blues, he plays that Down the Dirt Road tag right at the end of the tune, and there he is doing a pull-off from the D to the C, so maybe he is here and it's obscured by static and his much stronger vocal.

At the end of the tag lick, when he comes back to the C chord he plays it just from the E note (4th string, 2nd fret) up a couple of times before adding the C bass. I think one of Patton's great gifts is making you think he's doing something very fancy when he often is just isolating a particular cluster of notes in a simple chord. Pony Blues has a lot of that as well.

The most frustrating part of the tune for me at this point, besides the vocal, of course, is the "response" lick at the end of the first two sung lines. I'm still trying to get the feel of that -- one thing though -- I don't think he plays the G (1st string, third fret) during that lick at all.

Anyway, I think I've figured out how to do the opening lick of the tune, and I'll post it here rather than the back porch because it's just an abbreviated version and I don't want to call attention to my hideous singing on this piece. It's a little hard to tell what's guitar slapping and what's foot tapping on the recording, and I'm not tapping my foot, but I think I'm pretty closely replicating that part of the tune. The notes could be a little louder, but I'm working on that. Let me know what you think.
Chris

Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2006, 10:27:28 AM »
Hi all

I've worked with the slowed down audio Waxwing has provided us. I must say I'm amazed how good the sound quality is even with the music slowed down so much.

Anyway, I think I've made some progress with the help I'm getting from Waxwing. I will post a tab of each individual Tag/turnaround lick complete with an mp3 with first Patton and then Yours Truly. You can then yourself decide if I'm anywhere close to the truth.

I have come closer with my views with Waxwing, although I still see/hear the licks a little different. I think that Waxwing is right in that Patton is basically playing a set arrangement, and plays what is basically the same lick every time. However I think he plays the lick a little differently almost all the time, which is IMO why we have had such a hard time trying to pin it.

I agree also with Waxwing in that the movement on the 3rd string during the lick G - A - G is absolutely fundamental to this lick, and Waxwing has got that right to begin with. However I also agree with Uncle Bud, in that the high E note should also be in there for the most of the time. Finally I agree also with BanjoChris in that the D note is rather faint, and is almost like a pull-off, in fact I must constantly remind myself not to pull it off.

The Devil lies in the details, as they say. I think Patton plays the high E note in these licks bending it, sliding in it and also as the open 1st string, depending on his whims.

I think I would regard the 4th "tag" lick as the "prototype" lick, if I had to choose one. But I get 6 different ones...

I'll post them one by one, for clarity's sake and because I'm not sure of the file sizes. I'll also comment on them individually.

Yours

Pan
« Last Edit: April 16, 2006, 12:57:13 PM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 1
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2006, 10:41:02 AM »
Here's # 1

It's perhaps the most difficult one

I agree with Waxwing that the pick up 8th notes are C and G. I also agree on the C bass note on beat 1, however I think also the top G and C should be played, maybe as a pinch, because I don't hear the E on the 4th strg played.

The next note I hear is open E, then D# on the 2nd strg. This then bent up 1 fret to E and released again to D#. At the same time as the bent E I think the open G is played, so this is a pinch, which is different from what waxwing plays. I hear that pinched G note everywhere except on the last chorus. This is very hard to execute, because if you bend the 2nd string normally that would deaden the open 3rd string. You must instead bend the string quickly downwards, and then release it (I'm not kidding)!
The notes marked X are ?too damped to hear, and I'll put them into paranthesis in the Tab. Note that I don't repeat all the chord notes all the time in the tab. You are intelligent People ;D ;.

Yours

Pan

Edited to correct: The second damped note (marked x) should be an A instead of G. I have it corrected in the tab, but the audio still has the mistake.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:34:34 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 2
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2006, 10:48:11 AM »
# 2

Here I think Patton stays down to the open C position, because I hear the C note after the D#.
This is of course a point for Waxwing in that the lick can be done in C position.

The D and G notes muted in the previous lick are IMO more audible here.

Pan

Edited to correct: The 1st sixteenth  note ( right after the eighth note A) in the beat three should be an A instead of G. The mistake is now corrected in the tab, but not in the audio.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:37:27 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 3
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2006, 10:52:31 AM »
# 3

is very much like # 1, but the bent note is plucked, not just bent after sounding the D#.

Pan

Edited to correct: The 1st sixteenth  note ( right after the eighth note A) in the beat three should be an A instead of G. The mistake is now corrected in the tab, but not in the audio.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:38:59 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 4
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2006, 10:56:47 AM »
# 4

is one of my favorites. It's also easy, because I believe it stays in the open C position, and the pinched strings are open G and E. At least I don't hear any bending on this one.

You guessed it, it's Pan :o

Edited to correct: The 1st sixteenth  note ( right after the eighth note A) in the beat three should be an A instead of G. The mistake is now corrected in the tab, but not in the audio.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:39:59 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 5
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2006, 11:02:15 AM »
# 5

is different. Waxwing you are right, I had the licks after G7 all wrong. However instead of two low note slides and two high ones I hear one low slid note, and then a staccato open G against the hammered on D# to E notes.
The D# note is bent just very slightly, so I'm noting it with a + on top, because I can't think of any other way to note a microinterval.

Pan

Edited to correct: In the 3rd bar, the 1st sixteenth  note ( right after the eighth note A) in the beat three should be an A instead of G. The mistake is now corrected in the tab, but not in the audio. Also I now believe the D# to E notes are bent rather than hammered-on.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:42:26 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Tag # 6
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2006, 11:07:42 AM »
...and finally # 6.

This one's also very different from the rest. I think Patton slides from the D# to E on the 2nd string, while the open E stays ringing. Here you don't have the open G pinch. This sounds very beautiful IMO. Again the D and G notes are muted. The lower notes (especially the C:s) are very faint on the final ending lick.

There, what do you all say, except of course that I'm crazy :D?

Pan

Edited to correct: The second damped note (marked x) should be an A instead of G. The mistake is now corrected in the tab, but not in the audio. Also, instead of a slide, you could also bend (upward) the 2nd strg D# note up to E, if you prefer. I play the audio example very poorly, and my open high E string isn't ringing as long as it should.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 05:43:53 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2006, 04:13:09 AM »
Hi

I think I might have the resolution from A to G on beat 3 too early. Re-listening I think Patton stays in A until the beat 4. So on beat 3 you should have an eighth note A, a sixteenth-note A (which is marked as "x" in the 1st and 6th licks) and then the sixteenth-note D.
This is very hard to hear, but I think in  Tag # 4 for example it's a little more clear. The G to D jump I'm playing on the audio just doesn't sound right anymore to me. What do you think?

Also I'm not sure anymore if the bend in # 3 is really pinched, or is the plucked D# just simply bent up after while plucking only the open G. That would make tag # 3 practically identical to # 1, except of course for those damped notes.

Any comments on these, or any other mistakes, are welcome!

By the way, if you can decode the mp3's Waxwing posted to wave, you can burn them into regular CD and practise your licks with none less than Charlie Patton! Use the "repeat" and "repeat1" options if you have them. This should also drive your family and neighbors completely nuts ;).

Yours

Pan

Offline waxwing

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2006, 08:08:54 AM »
Pan, Looks like your doing some great work. I've only had time for a quick look and listen and I'm off to work now. And you're no crazier than the rest of the participants in this thread.-G-

BTW, if you are enjoying the slowed down versions, you should really check out Transcribe! at http://www.seventhstring.com/index.html. You can download it for free and check it out for 30 days before you decide to pay the $46 US. Free upgrades for life once you do. Created by a guitar player for other musicians.

Hope to check your work in more detail later today or tomorrow. Maybe some of the other folks will have some time, but it seems like we are all pretty busy. Good to see banjochris getting involved, too.

All for now.
John C.
"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 Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2006, 10:09:49 AM »
Hi all

Thanks for the heads-up with Transcribe, Waxwing. I visited the site and I'm definitely going to try out the software -the work you have provided us with goes to show how useful this software can be. I still have my old Lenco turntable at the attic, I never really had the heart to lose it, because I used it to slow down vinyl LP:s from 33 to 16 rpm's when I was a kid. Of course the sound was like a drunkard's nightmare, wailing a mumbling an octave too low. I guess the technology has taken a few steps forward since those days :D.

Banjochris, I quite like your vocals, especially how you handle the end of the very difficult 1st line against the "response" lick. As Waxwing has said this is the real challenge with this song, and I must confess that I myself haven't even started to deal with this. I may never be able to play this song to my satisfaction.
I too have been playing with the idea of producing the percussive part with the guitar. I think you are playing only the backbeat 8ths of the actual high C notes, the way you do it? Not that it's bad, but I think Patton plays all the 8th notes, whatever it is, he does to produce the percussive bits. I also still think I hear a high G in the "response" lick, although I find the way you handle it very convincing.
I absolutely agree with you on what you say about partial chords/chord inversions in the end of those licks.

Yours

Pan

Edited to add: I was mistaken here, Banjochris is actually playing all the 8th notes in question.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2006, 07:56:57 AM by Pan »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2006, 01:19:11 PM »

I too have been playing with the idea of producing the percussive part with the guitar. I think you are playing only the backbeat 8ths of the actual high C notes, the way you do it?

Actually, I'm playing all of them, or trying to. I'm just trying to work on making them equally loud, which I can do sometimes but not always, and that recording was done with a terrible little mic. The note that comes with the slap on the guitar I'm playing with the back of my index finger, just like you would frail a banjo, then immediately picking up with the same finger. Don't know if that's how Charlie does it, but that's true of many things. It's easy for the down-picked part to sound quieter -- maybe in a couple of days I'll post it again and see if I've improved it any.
Chris

Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2006, 01:45:18 PM »
Sorry Chris :(

I just couldn't hear it from your initial post!

No offence ment!

Yours

Pan

Offline banjochris

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2006, 12:00:14 AM »
No offense taken Pan  :) -- I just realized I had forgotten to say what I was doing with that section. Maybe someone has a different or better way of doing the percussive part.

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