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I learned when I was fifteen that a show, a live show, has to have an opening, a middle, and an ending. If you know that, your shows will sound like the highlights of an average show all the way through - Miles Davis

Author Topic: Scrapper's Back Door Blues  (Read 2331 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« on: January 29, 2005, 02:40:06 PM »
Thought I'd put up a sample of where I'm at with Back Door Blues. What a great song, Ever since I heard Ari play it at PT '03, I've been wanting to learn it. I just love the line "Blues and trouble, both runnin' hand an' hand", and the last verse is really deep, too. I think Ari hinted to me once that it had a III|VI|II|V|I progression, but I had forgotten when I started to try to transcribe it a few months back. Serendipitously, in response to a post by Elijah Wald, on the PWBL, that he didn't consider Scrapper all that sophisticated, someone pointed out that he did have a couple songs with this progression, including BDB. Pretty much fell into place after that, altho' he does revert to a more standard progression in the 3rd and final verses. It's played in D (not Drop) and both he and I capo 3 frets. It's great that Scrapper's singing range seems to coincide with mine pretty much.
So I'm starting to get the feel of it, but it's still pretty rough. This was maybe the best of about 20 attempts. Had the best pace. Not the best intro or outro, tho'. And I think I need to get more snap in the treble fills. Anyway, I'm looking for what things you folks think I need to change or work on to polish it up. Thanks.
I'm playing my little concert Stella, which is about to go in to get the first 5 frets either milled or refretted, 'cause it's got some deep grooves and startin' to buzz a bit. Not so much capoed up 3. Guess I been playin' her a bit since I had her refretted about 2 1/2 years ago.<G>
Hope y'all like it. All advice gratefully received.
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2005, 01:44:48 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline Slack

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2005, 03:43:52 PM »
Sounds real good John - you've made some substantial progress!

A few suggestions to polish it up? - I think I would concentrate on the bass - try to get more of that Chunnk-a-Chunk sound - I think that is what is hard about his style - it's pretty much straight up and down, hard down strokes that brush several bass strings.  I think the treble snap is easier to get - you know, jsut lower your action.   ;D

Johnm will be sending me my recording equipment back in the near future -  so maybe I'll work on "Trouble Blues" and try to put it up sometime.  An easier Scrapper form than Back Door Blues - so you can give me suggestions back.   I must go dig out my Paul Rishell lesson on Back Door Blues - Rishell really has Scrapper nailed (and playing it for 40 years helps I'm sure).

Cheers,
slack

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2005, 07:48:16 AM »
Hi John - Sounding good so far. It's a real nice guitar part. Good job figuring it out! I love that III|VI|II|V|I thing.

Couple things. I agree with Slack. The bass could use more drive and generally a longer brush stroke. Scrapper is playing lighter than usual on this tune (or the recording quality makes it seem that way at least) but I'd give a listen to Kokomo Blues for a better idea of how he hits these on a better sounding recording with more characteristic power on the brush strokes.

I'd also listen to Back Door again (like you haven't done that a thousand times already) focussing specifically on treble note bends. He does a fair amount of them throughout - those first notes in the intro for instance, and even on those backwards treble brush strokes. A lot on the 2nd string. You're doing some of them already but I think there's more throughout the song, and it will give it an edgier sound.

And yes, as you mention, I'd get a bit more snap in the treble fills. The intro as well (though you did say you weren't happy with it). Anyway, like I said, Scrapper is relatively subdued on this one, but I still think it would really benefit from playing it hard.

cheers,
Andrew

Offline a2tom

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2005, 09:00:55 AM »
Some really nifty guitar parts in there, and great playing.? To follow up on the others (and your) comments - and taken from someone who doesn't have an idea in his mind of what you SHOULD sound like when playing Scrapper Blackwell - I'd say that you do have a basically clean sound going in here.? I don't think that is bad necessarily - in fact it sounds great.? But it could also sound good rougher, snappier, more drive, all that - there are a few moments when you get a bit more aggressive (e.g. 2nd time on "sun gonna shine in my back door some day"), and it sounds really funky.

I don't know if this is part of what is going on with you here, but I find playing hard and playing clean at the same time is particulartly challenging.? I can often get one but not both.? Sometimes I just let 'er rip and don't worry so much for that moment about the occasional buzz or muffed note.? I wonder about this issue a fair amount, and have heard all sorts of advice, but I figure, at many times this just isn't gentle music, so why baby the thing.? I sometimes put myself back in the mindset of an Texas or Mississippi teenager with his still relatively new guitar sneaking into juke joints to play, and imagine him playing something clean and "nice", in control and all that, or something with lots of extraneous guitar noise but great feel.? I can then hear the audience hooting and hollering for the latter, and throwing (empty) whiskey bottles at the former.

Those comments aren't really directed at you so much John, just seemed in line with the discussion in this thread.? Honestly, I like this recording a whole lot the way it is.? Makes me wanna learn that guitar break.? I need to play in D more.

tom
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 10:50:41 AM by waxwing »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2005, 10:06:07 AM »
Thoroughly enjoyed this recording, and I thought the snaps were -well- snappy! I once sat in on a Paul Rishell  workshop and the thing he does really well is keep that bass F# note driving away in a way I've never quite managed. I'm guessing that's the key to getting Scrapper's sound right. Now - a plea on behalf of the musically illiterate who've forgotten all their Latin! Any chance of revealing what the chords are by their names rather than their Roman numerals???? I know the rest of the world understands this system, but I've never quite got the hang of it!! Confessionally yours,
Prof S

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2005, 10:18:54 AM »
I need to play in D more.
tom

Yes, especially cool the way Scrapper plays in D. This recording got me digging into the memory banks and playing some Scrapper-like stuff in D. Very fun. I could play that I III|VI|II|V|I part all day. That's D / F#7 / B7 / E7 / A / , Scratchy.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2005, 10:50:50 AM »
Aaaah! A happy man am I, now someone speaks to me in letters!! For those of  brought up on Bert Weedon's "Play In A Day", a most welcome departure from the Latin!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2005, 01:11:11 PM »
Great stuff, gang. Thanks.
I do think the fact, as you say UB, that Scrapper is a little subdued in the bass is part of what attracted me to this number and indeed, he hardly hits the F# at all ( altho' I did miss a very prominent bar of them after the 1st line of the 1st verse) But I've got my thumb on it the whole time.. Mostly now I'm just getting the A and D together while in the D chord, and just trying to reach over and get the thumbed F# for emphasis at a few places. Using it more would certainly be more representative of Scrapper's style, but not necessarily of this piece. Like you say, could be the recording quality. I'll definitely give it more thought, and more work. Partly it is what you're talking about, Tom, perhaps I am trying to be a little too clean, so's you guys can hear all the cool licks I picked out (ego talking) when I really need to play and sing with more abandon and let things fall as they may, In some ways I'm still not confident enough with all the parts to really let go yet. Need to make sure I have everything before I let go or it'll never be there. Make sense? But that's what's holding me back with the string snapping, too. Whenever I really concentrate on snapping I lose all kinds of other stuff, especially any drive in the bass. Practice, practice, practice!
You're definitely right about those bends, UB, I've been so caught up in whether or not to use a hammer-on or to pick the middle note of all those 1st and 2nd string trills (which I sorta just let happen) that I wasn't listening to the bends so much. Gotta listen a lot more.
Thanks again, folks. I'll get another version up when I get the little Stella back from the luthier. That'll give me plenty of time to practice.<G> And the action'll be a little lower so those snaps should come a little easier.
And yeah, I love playing in D (standard or Drop). I think I do as many songs in D as in E.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2005, 02:47:16 PM »
Great stuff, gang. Thanks.
I do think the fact, as you say UB, that Scrapper is a little subdued in the bass is part of what attracted me to this number and indeed, he hardly hits the F# at all ( altho' I did miss a very prominent bar of them after the 1st line of the 1st verse) But I've got my thumb on it the whole time.. Mostly now I'm just getting the A and D together while in the D chord, and just trying to reach over and get the thumbed F# for emphasis at a few places. Using it more would certainly be more representative of Scrapper's style, but not necessarily of this piece. Like you say, could be the recording quality. I'll definitely give it more thought, and more work.

Hi John - I wasn't referring to the F#  but to the A and D strings, especially on the I chord (that's a D, Scratchy, ;) ) at the beginning of the first phrase. Even though the piece is more subdued by Scrapper standards, he's still brushing those pretty good I think. It gives it that chordal bass/midrange sound he gets, though not as pronounced as some of the other tunes. I hear you hitting the A but not so much the D at times, particularly in the first half of the tune. I think he hits both pretty good, especially as the tune moves along (which you're doing more as well in that last verse).


Offline waxwing

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2005, 03:16:02 PM »
Thanks for the clarification UB. I was kinda replying to all of the discussion on that aspect, but I am trying to do what you're pointing out. Just not quite making it, yet. I also think I'm missing quite a bit of the syncopated beats in the bass, which he doesn't play all the time, but much more than I am. The Ch- in Ch-Chunk Ch-Chunk. I've got it strong in the IV7 chord section (G7 chord, Scratch) where he has a distinct pattern of when he leaves it out, but other spots where he's more subtle I think I'm losing it too much.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline a2tom

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2005, 04:16:56 PM »
I also think I'm missing quite a bit of the syncopated beats in the bass, which he doesn't play all the time, but much more than I am. The Ch- in Ch-Chunk Ch-Chunk.

What is the rhythm of Ch-Chunk, i.e. the syncopation you are referring to?  And how is it being picked by the right hand? 

tom

Offline waxwing

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2005, 05:01:44 PM »
Hey Tom,
It just the basic shuffle rhythm of the third and first beats of tripled eigth notes:
3 1 (2) 3 1 (2) 3 1 (2) 3 1
In the part you said you liked, the IV7 section of the 2nd verse, the bass goes:
ch-chunk ch-chunk ch-chunk chunk ch-chunk ch-chunk ch-chunk chunk.
It's just played with the thumb brushing, in this particular spot, 3 or 4 strings. When you get up to tempo your thumb is really flailing away while you're trying to pick out clear individual notes in the treble.
Make sense?
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
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Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

dcjones

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Re: Scrapper's Back Door Blues
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2005, 09:48:56 AM »
John, got back from San Fran. this week and finally had a chance to check out the Weenie campbell website. I'm not familiar with the original version of the song but your version sounds really good. That Stella sounds great, very authentic.
Dave 

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