~ Americana blues ~

'examining the historical origins of Americana's three chords and the truth ...'

'finding original pitches and their tuning ...'

~ the blue notes ~

~ open G tuning origins ~

~ G D G B D :)

~ blues in 'E' ~

~ concert tuning and the blues ~

~ fast Four too easy not to know ~ the 'fast Four' ~

'yep, the Americana original ...

three chords and the truth :)

 

 

In a nutshell / 'open G tuning.' Into the waybac in more ways than one, for we've a new tuning starting point for the discussion to follows. Tuning up to open 'G' just takes a minute or so depending, but the 'new' ease in which the blue coolness comes off the thing is nothing short of pure stunning. That the same licks discovered on guitar here will also work on any old banjo is beyond just being a bonus. That we get one and two finger chords and easy slide potentials makes it a winning trifecta plus. So all good. The open 'G' tuning in our Americana musics goes back to the very beginnings of our tale.

Some blues origins history. Luckily in these studies of our blues musics, we've a clear tie to its historical roots. For back in early days America, our blues musical ancestors played four and five string banjos, and tuned them various ways, the 'open G' sequence of the pitches just one of many common ways.

Along around the 1800's, the Spanish guitar, with its six strings, made its way up north into Texas and eventually all points USA beyond. Its six strings were tuned in Euro 'concert E', today our cool standard tuning, so enough of a difference to throw banjo players off a bit as to where the pitches are located. Compare the tunings. Example 1.

So maybe we've got an extra string now, that the low 'E' might get in the way? Just figure out your own easy way to deal with it as you'll probably want it back at some point, though maybe not after ya dig the magic to follow. So, take the string off maybe? Or tune it down to 'D', or way loosen it and tape it out of the way. I just way loosen mine and push it around the edge of the bridge. Easy.

So now that we've got our strings tuned up to sound a very bright, tight and oh so cool open chord, what's the benefits of such an earthly arrangements? And what do we lose ? Well first to the gains and all this coolness :)

Free the motor. Right out of the gate our 'motor' hand is now completely free to strum away and create rhythm, as freely as our imaginations might ever allow. Becoming a 'one handed' star. Got a thin pick or a super strummer ? Example 2.

super strummer

video

There's no end to this really, endless ways to start the strings in motion. Got a fave? Ready to bust out on some power chords.

a fingerstyle
'width of the pick ... '

Two for a nickel' ... and learn some banjo. So everything we discover on our guitars tuned to open 'G' works on banjo too? Yep. same pitches different timbre.Got one? Not yet? Me niether, they are very loud instruments. Well' so are some guitars :) However it shakes, next time you get a spin on a banjo, open 'G' the thing and off ya go :)

local music shop

video

There's some $ in all the frets. So since all of the strings are tuned to a common chord are all the notes in all the fret locations cool? Pretty much and way more than in standard tuning. For while in both tunings there are total sweet spots, there's way more 'forgiveness' in those non sweet spots in open 'G.' Remember, when all else vanishes, just strumming the open strings INSTANTANEOUSLY returns us to the complete coolness of where we started the song and probably where it will end too, sounding through the open strings to ring on ... :)

video

The 'Muddy' lick. Here's a new beginning for us in open 'G', the handful of pitches that sets the whole Americana blues hue into motion and has now for a couple of hundred years or so. Got these under your fingers yet? Example 5.

wiki ~ Muddy Waters

Reverse 'Muddy' lick. Jumped the line there a bit, here's the flip side of the last idea. Example 6a.

Rote memorize these last two ideas in a couple of keys. Now cliche and deep in our vocabulary, they really strenghthen our sense of direction to an event in the music as well as getting everyone on the same page ASAP :)

Mixolydian pops right out. Nice hammer-on right out of the gate sets the Mixolydian mode off and running. Very common riff here in open 'G.'Second idea even more so with some open strings added. Example 7 and 7a.

The ease of which ... gotta love it.

Easy core mojo lick. This next idea is pure banjo really, just pulling off on the notes located on the 3rd fret, moving from 3rd fret to open string, on each of the top four strings. Here with a banjo tone. Example 8.

Exact same shapes, strings frets etc., yet on different gitfiddles makes for two unique ideas, now with a guitar tone ... just gotta love it. Exmple 8a.

Again the ease of which ... gotta love it.

First chords evolve. While there's many ways into this, we'll simply borrow the chord from the last idea to kick this off. Get a banjo book for more chord shapes and ideas. This first riff is an early blues rock cliche. First banjo tone then guitar. Example 9.

Got a pedal to stomp on to bring the big roar ... ? Not that ya need it :) One finger barre ... hmmm ... could that become a slide ya think ?

slide video

Gospel chords evolve. So not at all even remotely sure if this is historically correct but it sounds perfect so we're probably cool. For this becomes a perfect background for "The Saints", which goes way back into Americana. This next chords starts to 'warm up' the whole sound and are an easy One to Four motion. Two versions really, both based on the same one finger barre basis then adding additional fingers up to a total of three. Example 10.

Hammer ons and pull off's.

of many different hues. That each of these hues presents a different sha

Only rock and roll. Luckily innts beyond. Its six strings were tuned in 'concert E', so a bit different from open G.' Compare the tunings. Example 1.

Hammer ons and pull off's.

of many different hues. That each of these hues presents a different sha

One idea per chorus. Luckily innts beyond. Its six strings were tuned in 'concert E', so a bit different from open G.' Compare the tunings. Example 1.

 

of many different hues. That each of these hues presents a different sha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some blues origins history. Luckily in these studies of our blues musics, we've a clear tie to its historical roots. For back in early days America, our blues musical ancestors played four and five string banjos, and tuned them often to an 'open G' sequence of the pitches. Along around the 1800's, the Spanish style guitar with six string made its way by up north into Texas and eventually all points beyond. Its six strings were tuned in 'concert E', so a bit different from open G.' Compare the tunings. Example 1.

Win some lose some is the way of life eh ?

Cant' win them all as the saying goes and it is the same with our tunings here.

uckily in this blues music, we've a clear tie to its historical roots. For back in early days America, our blues musical ancestors played four and five string banjos, and tuned them often to an 'open G' sequence of the pitches. Along around the 1800's, the Spanish style guitar with six string made its way by up north into Texas and eventually all points beyond. Its six strings were tuned in 'concert E', so a bit different from open G.' Compare the tunings. Example 1.

Just reverse enginnering here :) Wow, fairly dramatic difference yes? So instead of working out new fingerings and such, early blues artists simply tuned their guitars with the pitches of 'open G.' And as generations passed and the musics gradually evolved, we've migrated back to concert tuning. So while 'concert E' mostly rules today through all our guitar musics, the 'open G' tuning is still a historical core DNA for our blues. And that the blues is through all of Americana, getting some of this 'roots' under our fingers can grow a ton of coolness on down the road.

That it is easier to learn for newly minted players helps. That in rock and roll there's a solid library of .

Open 'G' tuning is diatonic and blues hue. Luckily

Concert E open 'G' tuning is diatonic and blues hue. Luckily

Starting point with the blues guitar. That it is just easier to play in open 'G' for newly minted players helps. That in blues and rock and roll music there's a solid library of memorable songs played in open 'G', a few that went top 10

bonus: pick up any banjo tune it to open g and off ya go. :)

.

One handed star

two handed with one finger star one movable shape

the ultimate ease in moving one shape

built in harmony to support any melody

1 4 5 is a breeze

perfect mix of major and minor of the blue notes

easy to find all the blue notes / low string

easy to find all the blue notes / middle string with a slide

easy to find all the blue notes / high string

easy to find all the blue notes / 1 finger open scal shape

easy to hammer on and pull off bend slur all of the above

blues chord hammer on b3 3 etc.

diatonic passing chords easy / wild horses

minor keys are tough open G is just a very bright sound

That it is just easier to play in open 'G' for newly minted players helps. That in blues and rock and roll music there's a solid library of memorable songs played in open 'G', a few that went top 10

bonus: pick up any banjo tune it to open g and off ya go. :)

.

So in the following discussions we migrate back to conventional concert tuning. Example a.

get after a few of the core elements that get the blue colors into our ears and under our fingers. In most of the biographies of the recognized blues greats and personal favorites I've read, the same thread always appears; that through emulating recognized masters we learn to craft and conjure up our own stories and their magic.

Same, totally true process for learning all the arts of course, in our music we often do this through listening to the music we each dig, which most likely got us here in the first place anyway. We love to listen to music :) So a totally easy do. Now we just begin to listen closer, same spot over and over if needed, wanting to understand why that note in that spot is so cool, or what makes this groove fell so in the pocket, ya hip? RO !

We add the additional challenge here as guitarists as we'll need to find the pitches we hear, to emulate on our guitars. That in beginning blues guitar, there's only a handful of pitches, a couple of chords and a song form that is readily understood, and easy to hear the top of, players take or a chorus or stronger artists two. This narrowing focus simplifies and flattens out our learning curve. That said, when we hear the blues, we know there's something extra, that added juice that brings the stories and testimonials to life. The blue notes already hold this magic but the artist still must find their nuance with the color and set it in motion in time. So with a narrowing of our pitch resource, we've all the more need to 'bring it.' And as quipped by our blues and jazz king immortal Mr. Louis Armstrong, 'what we play is life.'

Jazz blues. While all blues styles share common roots, if you're leaning towards jazz artistically please take note. A jazz styled blues is often unique in a couple of ways from a traditional blues, blues rock, country rock etc. First, there's really no slower tempo, jazz blues ballads, tempos are usually bright and up, scootin' right along. Second, there's way more chord substitution in the jazz approach, so we can 'nick' more of our 12 pitches in our lines, increasing our pitch resource and cats are more inclined to solo through the changes than over them.

Third, with the brighter tempos, stronger players just take longer solos, often into the 5 to 10 range in number of choruses. In advanced art, in 10 choruses the knowledgeable listener often hears a wide range of our Americana historical timeline of blues history, as they build up a solo over a few minutes of improv.

Do remember that at m.m @180 or so, an 'up' tempo for jazz , it's less than 20 seconds per 12 bar chorus, so 10 choruses is just a few minutes in real time. Yet often enough time to tell a tale and climax the ride if appropriate. Mastering the turnaround is key. In this method we use one turnaround lick in all of our styles, fully master it, then flip it over and master that, master the 'turnaround blues' song and then it'll just all just evolve on its own further on down the road.

That's all for this chapter folks. All good with the idea of a 'blues rub?' That's the gist of the method and theory here. Finding the blues rub with a couple of pitches with in a couple of super select spots. The Pushing the pitch a bit to see if there's some blue hue in its magic.

And tritones away as they say ... the rest is just making DANCE music with a couple of pitches and a couple of chords to tell the stories. Once mastered and the evolution begins, no limits to the influence to and fro for the blue colors in the Americana fabric of musics.

Review. We theory artists types get to rub two different tritones, a one pitch octave scale splitter with a two pitch'er from within V7, to provide the initial built in aural rub for magic the blues. As the 'three chords and the truth' that help power the blues are all each V7, we get the built in blues hue every beat of the way, ole !

In our Americana fabrical weave of all things musical, we get a nice array of blue colors all through to many different hues. That each of these shades emots uniquely, helps the blues essence to weave its color into any way of telling our stories, through all of our music styles. Surely some styles weave way more blue than others, but we Americana's do love to play dance with music, have for a long time now. Just seems a hint or a honk of the blue ... always brings a smile or two :)

Spiritually, the blue notes help to bring things to common ground, and will do so even with just one note. The craziest zaniest jams come to ground on one beat with one note. Ground the music back to an understanding, sentient peopled earth in common share. The blues is personal, it helps us each remember that we can refresh, start anew and renew ourselves. That in life, we each must renew to continue in our shared sentient evolutions towards the light.

The good stories of songs are the reminders, always have. And in playing the music we get to share these magics with the dancers and listeners of all stars and stripes, help wash away some of that every dust that life sends our way, while under the lights on the bandstand. Talk about a hoot ... we're talkin' superhoot :)

"Music washes away the dust of everyday life." wiki ~ Art Blakey

“To keep the music alive,” she said, “is the most important thing there is in my life.” Lorraine Gordon

"Live every second of every day to its maximum potential, but also to accept the inevitable. Always look ahead, always assume you will live forever, and if you don’t, you don’t."

from NYT / 08/22/2018

Footnotes:

(1)Burns, Ken. Jazz, vol.1, Gumbo @ 32 minutes. www.pbs.org

(1) Isacoff, Stuart. Temperament ... The Idea That Solved Music's Greatest Riddle, p. 40-42. USA Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 2001

(1)Duffin, Ross W. How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony, p.32. USA W.W.Norton and Company, NY, New York. 2007.
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.

Russell, George. The Lydian Chromatic Concept Of Tonal Organization. USA Concept Publishing Company, Cambridge, Mass. 1982

Burns, Ken. Jazz. USA Concept Publishing Company, Cambridge, Mass. 1982

~ in a nutshell ~
~ historical sourcing the pitches ~

~ free the motor and gallop ~

~ some real good news learning some banjo too ~
~ and even better news $$$ money in every fret for like petatonics there's no wrong note ~~ completely diatonic so there's $ in every fret :)
~ let's retune shall we :) ~
~ the 'Muddy' lick ~
~ the reverse 'Muddy' lick ~
~ early 'Elmore' lick ~
~ early 'Elmore' / 'Sun House" slide lick ~
~ mixolydian pops right out ~
~ easy core mojo at the 3rd ~
~ chords / the core of the gospel harmony saints motion barre and 2 fingers~
~ just some rock and roll ~
~ one idea per chorus ~
~ fast Four too easy not to know ~ the 'fast Four' ~
~ moving just the one shape a la slide ~
~ half step lead in ~
~ just a half step away from our nearest tritone ~
~ blues turnaround ~
~ review ~
~ to points beyond ~
~
~ for guitar ... it starts with two notes ~
~ the elevator lick ~
~ blue notes over the changes ~
~ one shape to rule them all ~
~ made in the U.S.A. ~
~ theorizing the blues rub a wee a bit ~
~ blues chords ~
~ major blues / V7 chord shapes ~
~ minor blues chord shapes ~
~ blues chord voicings ~
~ jazz blues harmony ideas ~
~ blue harmony / quick review ~
~ three / 4 bar phrases = 12 bars ~
~ the 'reverse Muddy' lick ~
~ the 'Muddy 12 bar blues chorus ~
~ "Elmore intro' ~
~ the gallop ~
~
~ call and response ~
~ get your own mojo lick ~
~ moving just the one shape ~
~ half step lead in ~
~ blues turnaround ~
~ review and points beyond ~