Dylan blues tone

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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby allanlummox » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:41 pm

Bigtime .


I've been playing a version of 'Man of constant sorrow' for many years - my version has mutated considerably from the Dylan recording I first heard. Of course, the song was suddenly a frequent request after the film 'Oh Brother where art thou' - and audiences who were unfamiliar with the Dylan version had a completely different expectation of the song.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Les Forgue » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:31 pm

I never knew Dylan recorded that. It is one of my favorite non-Blues songs I play and sing. My favorite version, I cannot decide between the original by Emery Arthur and the 1960's version by Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers. (The second recording by Emery Arthur, it does not sound so good as the original, it has a piano figure that makes comes out Latin) Arthur's original, which was probably the first recoding of the song, had just vocal, banjo, and guitar. I love that one. It is much simpler than the New Lost City Ramblers version; theirs has more complex music in it.
allanlummox wrote:Bigtime .
I've been playing a version of 'Man of constant sorrow' for many years - my version has mutated considerably from the Dylan recording I first heard. Of course, the song was suddenly a frequent request after the film 'Oh Brother where art thou' - and audiences who were unfamiliar with the Dylan version had a completely different expectation of the song.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby jeffl » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:05 pm

allanlummox wrote:Bigtime .


I've been playing a version of 'Man of constant sorrow' for many years - my version has mutated considerably from the Dylan recording I first heard. Of course, the song was suddenly a frequent request after the film 'Oh Brother where art thou' - and audiences who were unfamiliar with the Dylan version had a completely different expectation of the song.
We did that tune when we got started back in the late 60's. We basically did it "coffeehouse" style, mainly 'cuz that's where alotta the music scene took place in the late 60's. In fact, the first place I caught Dylan "live" was at the old Scholar coffeehouse on the West Bank in Minneapolis, Mn; It was a gathering spot for the upper midwest, frequented by the likes of Willy Murphy,Pat Hayes (Lamont Cranston) , Koerner/Ray and Glover, Leo Kottke, Lazy Bill Lucas, Dakota Dave Hull,etc... Come to think of it, I do a number of Dylan songs in more than one version.... Lummo, yer right, when you've been playin' some of the same tunes for 40 years (in MY case, whippersnapper, lol!) they can mutate on ya'.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Rhambama » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:02 am

So, I guess I have a new question. I've been wanting to put together a compilation of hill country tracks that Dylan did.

Here's what I've got so far: Bucket's Of Rain, The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, and It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).

Are there more out there that I'm missing?
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Lo-Fi » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:57 pm

Back to the tone thing -

The best advice I ever got was way back in the mid-1960s when I managed to grab a couple of lessons for the price of a box of cigars and a bottle of whiskey (both of which I "borrowed" from my grandfather - caught hell for that one) from an old bluesman/preacher living in NYC. I kept asking him questions about why he favored a certain guitar over another. I figured he would say something about how deailed it sounded or the tone that came out of it. The only answer I could get out of him was "so they can hear me at the back of the church." I guess my questons finally annoyed him a bit because he turned to me and said "just play the song" and then to reinforce it shouted - "NOW."

Anybody interested in the blues should read Langton Hughes review of an early 1942 Memphis Minnie show published in the Chicago Defender (Minnie had started playing her electric geetar around 1938). Hughes describes a sound so loud and distorted that you could not even hear the invidual notes. But what did come through was the rhythm which Hughes described as being as old as Minnie's most remote ancestors. Hughes likened the sound that came out of Minnie's electric National New Yorker to "Negro heartbeats mixed with steel."

What came out of Minnie's guitar that night had nothing to do with her ability to dial in this tone or that. It had everything to do with her being in the pocket and, as Hughes stated, being able to tune memories of being back home in Mississippi and the feeling on the streets into the strings of her guitar. It did not hurt, of course, that here was a women who was so good that she once got into a cutting contest with Big Bill Broonzy and walked off the prize of a bottle of whiskey.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Rhambama » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:36 pm

So riddle me this, what happens when I feel like I have my own style and technique for blues and would really like to focus on learning more blues tone?

Or are you guys arguing that tone is meaningless in blues?
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Rhambama » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:47 pm

Or wait, I can just plug in any guitar into any amp and I'm just good to go huh?
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby jeffl » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:15 pm

IMO in the case of nearly all the guitar players I've been around, tone is almost like your vocal tone...there's parts of it that are nearly genetic; that is, your fingers have their own tone; they're YOUR fingers and nobody else's. I've got a buddy who's been a guitar hacker all his life; he hasn't practiced much for many years, but he's always had great tone 'cuz he's got great fingers. Your own signature tone is what will carry you through your music journey. You can modify it with different circuitry, but if you get YOUR tone down good nobody will care if you don't use reverb,flanger,delay,wah,fuzz or whatever. But, I think your search is something most of us go through at one time or other. I think if you find a guitar amp that you really like the sound of, you'll just expand from there. I do think it's good to be able to effect different tones by manipulating your instrument slightly differently, so as to be diverse in your ability to play different styles. BB King only plays his style of blues, and you can tell his tone as soon as you hear him... but he only plays one style of music. I play harp, and the tone I need for hard drivin' Chicago blues is entirely different than the tone I need for Sonny Terry type country blues, so I need to learn how to shape notes differently for different styles of music. Guitar can present some of the same challenges.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby birddog » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:54 pm

Tone, I can't say its meaningless. I can say to much emphasis is put on it. To many trying to sound like someone else. Tone "IS" who you are. You have to be happy with your tone and it does come from your fingers first. The same song played by 2 different people dosen't sound the same. Like has been said, your left hand is your brain, your right hand is your personality.
(Right hand players of course)
When I started playing again it was recommended to me this time around,(after a 30 year hiatus) get yourself an acoustic and really learn to play first before going back to the electric.
At first I didn't understand, after starting with the acoustic I did. :mrgreen:
Good tone is essential but maybe it sould be called "signature tone" cause your tone, is your tone.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby rustyslide » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:16 pm

Rhambama wrote:Or wait, I can just plug in any guitar into any amp and I'm just good to go huh?


You have to like it. If you like it, then it's good. But it's mostly what and how you play.

Little self-aggrandizing anecdote:
Buddy picks up my '54 RI Strat which is plugged into an amp that's set very clean (Marshall-style circuit gain all the way down), plays some stuff on it (blues licks, whatever) and asks "Why do you like this? it doesn't sound very bluesy".
"It doesn't? Let me see that."
I play it without adjusting anything.
"Oh. Now it sounds bluesy."


I don't know what you would do to get a tone like Bob Dylan, but maybe you won't like it when you do find it (maybe you will). My little Tech 21 amp (the one mentioned above) came with a diagram with sample settings. I dialed in the one called "SRV", plugged in a Strat and started playing "Pride and Joy". I stopped, complaining to my dad that the tone sounded wrong, and he said that it sounded pretty damn close. I've since learned I play SRV stuff best on a Les Paul's bridge pickup on any number of amps that sound nothing like that. I play BB King stuff on a Les Paul with both pickups on and out of phase. I play jump on my '54RI.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby 1armbandit » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:11 pm

birddog wrote:Like has been said, your left hand is your brain, your right hand is your personality.
(Right hand players of course)


Well at least I found my problem. All brain and no personality! :lol:
Certain people would argue that I have neither.

Jack
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby birddog » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:05 pm

Sorry Jack, you're certainly the exception to the rule.

Wally
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Lo-Fi » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:48 pm

Your left hand is what you know but your right hand is who you are.

The right hand is the wellspring of rhythm and without that ya ain't got nuttin'. It is also where much of an individual style comes from. It is the right hand that made Robert Johnson sound like he had a hellhound on his trail and Eric Clapton sound sterile playing the same tunes.

I mean I love guitars but I sometimes think that many players are overly obsessed with gear and do not really ever figure out how to coax sounds out of an instrument by using their fingers and the knobs on the guitar and amp - learning how to pull the music out of a guitar and amp. It is much easier to buy another amp or put some box or something in your signal chain.

But yeah, you can play the blues just plugging into anything.

Just my little rant for the day - don't pay me no never mind.
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby Bournio » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:18 am

Lo-Fi wrote:But yeah, you can play the blues just plugging into anything.


You sure?

Wanna try a B3 into a little amp? Reckon you'll manage "the blues?" and not comment about it being summat learnt?
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Re: Dylan blues tone

Postby allanlummox » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:54 am

That's just specious, we're talking guitar here. And the truth is, you can play the blues on any guitar, through any kind of amplification.
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