Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

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Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Orange Crush » Mon May 19, 2008 12:16 pm

Need a little help here. I like Bukka White and I was trying to figure out his tuning on his song “Got Sick and Tired” from The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969, Vol. 3, video. I think the 6th string is a C# but the 1st string is an F#. I can clearly pick out the F# from the video but I’m not sure about the rest. I have a Johnson 996 which sounds nothing like the National so it is hard to get that thumpy metal sound from my resonator on the low strings. But, I think he plays a low C#. Any ideas what key this is, or am I wrong and he is playing in D or G? Thanks.
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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby boogiechillun85 » Mon May 19, 2008 12:40 pm

Don't know the specific song, but he mostly played in open D and was pretty loose with the tuning. So it was most likely open C#-ish.

Maybe someone else can chime in here...
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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Robin » Mon May 19, 2008 1:26 pm

I'm pretty sure that Bukka White tended to use a similar tuning to Skip James - crossnote or Em. The guitar would be tuned to itself so the exact tuning on any performance could vary from DADFAD up to EBEGBE or lower or higher! The important aspect is that it was a minor tuning - and if you watch his left hand on many of his video clips you can see he frets the 3rd string at the first fret most of the time to give him the root major chord. Also he mutes the 3rd string regularly when using the slide.

I'm not sure where the F# 1st string comes in - perhaps for that song he is using a different tuning? - Could be that someone on the tour has just given him a light set of strings so he has had to wind the guitar up to F#CF#ACF# to stop the cone rattling :shock: I have those AFB festival DVDs so I'll check it out later today.

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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Robin » Mon May 19, 2008 8:13 pm

Hi Orange Crush,

Just checked out the video. He is using the open Em tuning I mentioned above (EBEGBE) but wound up just over a tone to a sharp F (or flat F#). I sugest you tune to just slightly flat of EBEGBE and capo at fret 2. If you hold down the 3rd string at the 1st fret you'll find the other chord shapes will natrally fall to your fingers :wink:

Enjoy!

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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Orange Crush » Tue May 20, 2008 12:01 pm

Robin,

Thanks, I will try that tonight!

I really like listening and watching him play but I'm a beginner so trying to figure out what key he is playing in was frustrating. I had my chord cheat sheets and tuning sheets laid out. I tried G and D, then lowered them a half step. When I got the F# the rest of the strings didn't match and the chords I saw him playing on the video just didn't fit. Thanks again.

Bill
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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Orange Crush » Thu May 22, 2008 12:11 pm

Well I tried the minor chord and it wasn't it. I got the video out and all the strings are flat but the 6th string and the 1st string are a flat F#. After playing around with it I think I have the tuning but it was late last night when I finished so I did not write down the final tuning. I will do that tonight and post it for those who are interested. Also, I believe the 5th string is also tuned to F#. More later.
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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Robin » Thu May 22, 2008 5:05 pm

Mmm...

I'm not so sure Bill. Bukka White was definately a cross note tuning player, and he is holding and hammering that 3rd string at the 1st fret in the video. Also his bass riff is comming from a hammer on on the 5th string second fret with a response at the 2nd string 2nd fret, so both those strings are tuned the same - 4th above the F#. This is consistant with the EBEGBE tuning intervals of cross note Em.

Also I can play the piece, in tune and time with the video, with the same fingering and slide pattern if I tune EBEGBE slightly flat and cappo at fret 2.

I can't sing it though :(

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Re: Bukka White "Got Sick and Tired" key

Postby Orange Crush » Fri May 30, 2008 5:21 pm

Robin,

Thanks, I will try it again. I have been out on vacation and sick but I will try it again. I got close with F#F#C#F#bF# but I will try what you did and see how I sound.
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