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So much is happenin' in this old wicked world Lord. Everytime you pick up the paper, listen to the news, so much is happenin' in this wicked world - Robert Pete Williams, So Much Is Happenin' In This Wicked World

Author Topic: Charlie Patton's Guitar Style--Queries and Tips  (Read 49422 times)

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Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2006, 11:30:08 AM »
Hi all

Just a minor detail on the tag # 5 lick.

Originally I played just a choked bend D# to E to the G7 lick.

Since then Waxwing has corrected me in that there's a lower voice too.

Introducing (what I believe is) the open G string got me thinking that the 2nd string can't be bent in this, so I opted for the hammer on.

This, however, is incorrect thinking, since the G and D# to E notes are both cut short and are not played simultaneously.

So after re-listening, I think I'm personally going back to bending and choking the higher notes, it just has a "truer" sound to me. I think there's maybe a "slowness" in the changing of the pitches, that just might indicate a bend.

Of course you could experiment with the hammer-on, a bend, and also a slide, which I think Waxwing suggested originally.

Yours

Pan

Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2006, 11:44:51 AM »
Hi all

The discussion over the "percussion" bit of the the Down the Dirt Road Blues got me thinking of something I've once read on an old jazz history book by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, called "Hear Me Talkin' to Ya".

Apparently when one of the first New Orleans jazz band recordings were made in some N.O. hotellroom, after the first test take all the musicians were ordered to remove their shoes, and  a bellboy was sent running to find all the available pillows in the local stores, to be put under the musicians feet :D.

So whatever you might do to produce the "percussion" bit, I'm afraid the "sound people" are not going to like it... ;)

Cheers

Pan

Offline Pan

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Re: Patton and Tommy Johnson licks in C
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2006, 10:28:30 AM »
Hi all.

I have edited my "tag" posts to point out some mistakes, in case anyone is interested.

Tag # 6 could technically be played with a bend instead of a slide (I personally still think it's a slide, though).

Yours

Pan

Offline banjochris

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Pony Blues
« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2006, 01:47:21 AM »
Here's the way I play it -- although this is a little too fast and with a very half-hearted and moderately out-of-tune vocal (it's late).

The V lick I play is roughly this -- 2nd fret of 5th string followed by open 1st string, then a slide from xxx3x3 to xxx4x4, then the 4th fret of the 5th string, followed by that same slide lick, then the open 1st string (briefly) followed by the descending damped bass lick: 2nd fret 4th string, 4th fret 5th string, 2nd fret 5th string (interspersed with damped plucks of the open 1st and 2nd strings), and then hammering on into an E chord.

Hope that makes sense -- let me know what you think.
Chris

Offline uncle bud

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Pony Blues
« Reply #49 on: August 26, 2006, 11:52:34 AM »
Nice job guys. I've been working on this one for ages as well myself and agree with Cheapfeet that although you hear a lot of people playing it, you don't hear people playing Patton's arrangement really. Which is strange because it's such a great guitar part. I think Alvin Youngblood Hart is the closest in spirit, though he too does some different things.

I think the tag Patton does is slightly different than what folks usually play. Paul Geremia talked a bit about this at PT.

I'd try and get a recording of me doing it up here but am neck deep in work and can't right now. Once things calm down, I'll return to this subject!

Offline Pan

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Pony Blues
« Reply #50 on: August 28, 2006, 08:01:36 AM »
OK so I couldn't resist this, since you guys are unveiling the playing of Patton  ...and doing a very good job at it! :)

I think especially Chris is very close to what's happening on the record. Actually I disagree so far with only one very minor item; after the descending single note line in the first 4 bars of the 2nd chorus, I believe Chris is arpeggiating an E chord, if I'm not mistaken?  I hear in this place an incomplete A chord with the 9th, or B added: (0) 0 x x 0 0. This would also make sense to me, because this is normally where the IV chord would be played in a roughly 12 bar blues form. The difference is very slight; I don't hear Patton playing the G# on the 3rd string, but he also avoids the G natural that would come with an A7 chord.

What do you think?

Anyway thanks for everything you've got so far, keep it coming!  :)

Yours

Pan

Offline banjochris

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Pony Blues
« Reply #51 on: August 29, 2006, 12:13:17 AM »
Mixed reply here to Pan and Cheapfeet:

First, as far as Stone Pony goes, although it is nowhere near as intense a performance as Pony, it is a good source for some of the licks, although the tag he plays is generally more complex in Pony.
Going back and listening, Pan, I think you're right about that second line of the Hello Central verse in Pony -- I'm playing it the way he does in Stone Pony, when he definitely sounds that G-sharp in the E chord. It's easier for me to sing it that way since I'm singing and playing the same note.
Also listening again to the lick over the V section -- I think what he does is this:
hits the 2nd fret of the fifth string, does the xxx3x3 to xxx4x4 slide, and then plucks the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings while holding an E chord, then launches into the descending bass lick. He does this the same pretty much on both versions of the tune.

Cheapfeet -- I'm a little confused -- is the lick you're asking about the "anchor" lick he plays all the time? If so, it's this:
open 1st string, followed by the xxx3x3 to xxx4x4 slide. then the 5th string, 2nd fret, plucked top two strings (make an E and an E6 chord) xxxx00, xxxx20, xxxx00. then open 6th string, xxx200 twice, then 4th string 2nd fret, followed by a hammer-on of the 3rd string 1st fret -- the E chord. Finally, make an E7 chord the easy way -- 020100 and then go back to the regular E.
Sometimes he omits the E6 part of the lick.
I posted a slow version of the lick that I hope helps.
As far as bending the strings, he might be a little, but I think it's mostly that he hits the xxx3x3 very hard and only slides up a fret for an instant at the end of that little bit of time, if you see what I mean.
By the way I play this with thumb and two fingers, no picks.
Let me know what you think
Chris

Offline Pan

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Pony Blues
« Reply #52 on: August 30, 2006, 03:29:02 AM »
Hi all.

Here's my first feeble attempts to do the 1st chorus (just the guitar). I think I'm doing some things slightly differently from Chris or Cheapfeet.
Tell me if you think I've got it completely wrong. :-X

Cheers

Pan

Edited to remove the mp3; for an update check my later post.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 03:15:14 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Pony Blues
« Reply #53 on: September 01, 2006, 02:05:29 PM »
Hi

Cheapfeet, after some serious re-listening, I think you're right about there being a bend in the chorus end lick. I think instead of a slide, Patton bends the G note up to G #, releases it quickly back to G natural, and follows with a pull off to the open E string. This is done with a simultaneous movement of B and Bb notes on the 2nd and 3rd strings, which makes the lick a little tricky to play.

About the V chord, at the moment I have a "working hypothesis" of a sort of incomplete B13 chord: x2x204, but what Chris explains in his post is could be more likely, I just can't make up my mind. The difference is just the A note on the 2nd string, and whether it is really played or not is really hard to tell. Maybe it's just lightly brushed with the thumb when the bass B note is played.

I'll add another little mp3 about the lick in question.

Let me know what you think

Yours

Pan

Edited to add: about the implied A chord: yes I believe it's just open strings. I think he plays an alternating open E on the "&" of the 4th beat preceding the A in some instances. The A note is quite short and you might want to consider playing it also on the 6th strg  (on 5th fret, of course).

Edited to remove an incorrect mp3 , for an update see my next post.

Edited to correct: I now think the V chord is x2x202 followed by xxx4x4 and then xx2x0x followed with the E6 bass note walk down
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 03:19:40 AM by Pan »

Offline Pan

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Pony Blues
« Reply #54 on: September 04, 2006, 06:08:00 AM »
Just tidying up here a little... :P

FWIW I'll add a tab of the lick in question.

And yet another mp3 of what I now hope is the correct lick.

I also think that (as one might expect) Patton varies the lick; in some places he starts with the open E 1st strg as the first melody note. Also the note on the 2nd beat gets to be a quarter note at times.

Pan
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 06:20:06 AM by Pan »

Offline banjochris

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Pony Blues
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2006, 11:15:09 PM »
Pan -- I'm still not convinced on that ending lick -- especially I don't hear that full B7 sound in there... it is very hard to hear with both the static and him shouting over that lick, though, and unfortunately he plays it a little differently on the less-staticky Stone Pony. I'd like to hear your ending lick with the rest of the tune, though, because maybe I'm just hearing the rhythm wrong with it being on its own.

Cheapfeet, on the "I got something to tell you" line -- it's basically played around the D-shaped G chord at the 7th fret, playing a bent 2nd string 8th fret, open 1st string and then the 6th fret of the 3rd string -- interspersed with the open 6th string a couple of times. At the end of the lick I then go from xxx787, bending the top 2 strings (esp. the 2nd) to xxxx70 before going into the partial A chord.
Hope that makes sense -- I'm starting to fiddle with this tune and one of those slowdown programs -- who knows what'll happen?
Chris

Offline Pan

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Pony Blues
« Reply #56 on: September 07, 2006, 02:43:51 AM »
Hi Chris

About that B7: with repeated listening I still think Patton changes from E chord to some sort of B7. I think I'm hearing a change in the chords character, mostly the G# note turning to an A, after the strumming of the E chord, when he plays the bass note B, before going up to  the B - G# 6th interval. Maybe he doesn't do the B13 thing as I thought earlier, though. He could play just an incomplete B7, like x2x2(0)x, and then abandon the chord altogether to get up on just the 6th interval B - G#, as you describe it. ::)

I'll have to do some serious practicing, before I can present the rest of the tune to you :-X

When we were discussing "Down the Dirt Road Blues" on another thread, I was impressed by the work Waxwing did with a program called "Transcribe". I have since downloaded it, and after my 30 days of free trial period expired, decided to buy it. I'm very happy with the sound quality even when the audio slowed down considerably. You can also fine tune the audio tracks rather than your guitar. Also the EQ possibilities help sometimes to find out what's happening on the bass or treble end of the music. Highly recommended (and yes, thank you very much Waxwing!). Beware that there seems to be another program wit a similar name "Transkribe", or something like that, which isn't the same thing. The program I'm talking about comes from a company called "The Seventh String".

Yours

Pan

Edited to correct: I now think the V chord is x2x202 followed by xxx4x4 and then xx2x0x followed with the E6 bass note walk down
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 03:23:02 AM by Pan »

Offline Marco

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Re: Charley Patton - A Spoonful...
« Reply #57 on: September 07, 2006, 06:51:11 AM »
Hello, Guys!

This is my first post here!
Compliments for the site: very nice and interesting!

Listening this song I can not understand the bass notes (the hight part is simple, following the suggestions of Mr. Mando) of the chords.
Please, could you help me?

Many thanks!

Marco.

Offline Slack

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Re: Charley Patton - A Spoonful...
« Reply #58 on: September 07, 2006, 06:59:01 AM »
Welcome Marco!

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Charley Patton - A Spoonful...
« Reply #59 on: September 07, 2006, 07:52:35 AM »
Hi Marco -

Without actually having tried it on a guitar, I'd say Patton is alternating mostly between the 6th and 4th strings, and staying on the 4th string without alternation to introduce the form each time. So the bass notes would follow the chords, on the 6th and 4th strings all the way until the end of the form when you get that 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 etc. He probably varies that a little, not necessarily maintaining strict alternating bass throughout. A rough guess anyway.

UB

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