Quit asking "what key?"....

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Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby jeffl » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:56 am

I went down to listen to a few buddies of mine playing a straight blues gig at a local bar, mainly to hear their harper whom I hadn't heard play in about 20 years. The lead guitar player owns the music store I use, and the bass player bought a van from me a couple of years back. I had never played with any of them.
When I got there, the harper was playin' rhythm guitar and keyboards, and occasionally pickin' up a harp. I could tell he was a little rusty and was not really playing well, and he didn't seem to be enjoying it. At the first break he asked me if I wanted to play harp the rest of the night, so I got my case outa the car.

I had to ask what key every time, 'cuz nobody would offer it up. About 6 times in a row, the answer was "A". I guess I was really surprised that a bunch of accomplished veterans would stay in the same key for so long. I've never been a big fan of doin' that at a gig... I always thought it put the audience to sleep.

No harm though. I knew every tune they did and it was fun to play with guys who knew me but who had never played with me. We had an absolute blast and it was ass-kickin'.
Veterans are great: I didn't miss one double-stop, turnaround, or ending (I know; I got lucky).
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby goldbrick » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:12 pm

hey nice to have to carry just one harp anyway
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby jawbone60 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:05 pm

i either take my case or no harps at all. sitting in is fun even with guys i've not heard or met before. sometimes depending on our levels of experience, it's just no sweat and all good, and isn't that why they call music a universal language!

cool for ya bubba!
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby goldbrick » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:19 pm

Guess I am guilty too -cause when i play guitar its usually slide in open d-so a G harp is about it.
But then again I am only doing about 2 songs per set and the rest on drums to give our guitar guy a break
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby jeffl » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:40 pm

It must be a "pet peeve" of mine. I was at an outdoor music party Saturday and when the headlining band played 2 songs in a row with pretty much the same beat, it caught my ear and I brought it to my wife's attention.
I think one of the functions of musical embellishments-- i.e., creative intros and endings, key modulations, etc. -- is to keep peoples' interest and change things up a little. That stuff's gotta be rehearsed though, and therein lies the problem.
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby jawbone60 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:12 am

variety is definitely the spice. sometimes hard to put together unless you know a lot of material and can get a band or partner on board. one saving grace i've seen is that with a band each member can bring something different to the table. this provides some great vatiety when it works right.
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby Honeyboy » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:41 pm

Do you really think the audience knows what key it's in. If it was the same kind of shuffle over and over that might be boring to them... but the key. I doubt anyone but musicians would even notice.

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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby JakeFirebirdV » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:56 am

Were the guys Canadian, "A??"
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby jeffl » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:52 pm

JakeFirebirdV wrote:Were the guys Canadian, "A??"

:lol:
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby j bird » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:36 pm

Happens in my band sometimes too. I think it erks me and our harp man sometimes and we call our singer out on it sometimes when he starts taking the same key for a run. He had a good point though that some keys are easier for him to stay in than others so sometimes he has to do that to survive a 3 hour gig vocally without loosin it. With that in mind I can tolerate it better. I definitely think this is something that bothers players more than it does general audience...unless it were all a stream of shuffles in the key of A at 100BPM.. :blink: or even worse ....boogies
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Re: Quit asking "what key?"....

Postby maxx england » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:46 pm

Just lately my mate Clive has taken to mixing up his keys a bit. The only thing now is I have to find out what he's using, instead of going straight to the A.
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