"idiot mode" bottleneck

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"idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby nicerain » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:56 pm

ok, i 'm not sure how to say this.
i have been playing bottleneck slide for 2 or 3 years and play in the "idiot mode". i use my thumb for rhythm and play the melody with the slide on the first and second strings, sometimes others. the thing is, almost all my melody notes are played OPEN :wha:. i play mostly in open D and sometimes in open G.
i don't know how to play with chords, etc. i was never able to learn to play the guitar with it's chords, circle of 5ths and all that music theory stuff. i just can't wrap my head around it.
i'm a fiddler, play by ear, don't read music.....the slide seemed like a natural progression from the fiddle, no fret's to worry me, just rely on my ear for the right intonation.
even though people say what i''m doing sounds good and it gives me a thrill i still feel like i'm CHEATING....
the other thing is, i only know about 8 tunes and can't seem to crawl out of this rut. i love to listen to fred mcdowell, his playing is actually pretty simple, but, his magic is untouchable......sometimes the simplest tunes are the hardest to play.
i guess what i want to know is, are there others out there that play this way and have they taken it further than me and don't feel like they are cheating and haven't hit a wall in a rut?
another question, when trying to pick out a tune, is it alright to play it on a different string in a different place, even in a different key than the recording, if in the end it sounds good?

....please, be gentle with me!
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby Jane fromLondonUK » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:34 pm

No such thing as cheating, or right and wrong, when making music IMHO -- if it feels (and sounds) good, do it! :)

If you're stuck in a rut though, maybe it's time to learn something new. Why not roam around Youtube a bit? There are some great videos of slide players on there, and I've learned a lot from them. That might give you a boost.

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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby ricochet » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:37 pm

Yep. If it sounds good, it is good.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby CashWiley » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:42 pm

nicerain wrote:when trying to pick out a tune, is it alright to play it on a different string in a different place, even in a different key than the recording, if in the end it sounds good?

Absolutely not, the police have been dispatched, please do not leave your seat.

Jane nailed it, do what feels and sounds good. Nothing else matters. I've been playing guitar for 25 years and still can't apply the cycle of 5ths.

As far as the rut, youtube is a good suggestion. Or find some like-minded folks and jam and trade ideas. Or an instructor (who won't force you to learn to read music!). Myself, I like to crack a new book (but then, I work at a library). I usually get a couple pages in and get so inspired I spend the next couple hours applying it and stretching out what I know to incorporate new stuff.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby ricochet » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:56 pm

CashWiley wrote:I've been playing guitar for 25 years and still can't apply the cycle of 5ths.

Drink 5th. Pass out. Wake up hung over. Get another 5th. Drink 5th...
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby boogiechillun85 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:09 pm

I don't think a little theory would hurt. I'm still not sure what the circle of 5ths is for, but I know my scales and I know my chords. But just to get you started in the right direction, it wouldn't be a bad thing to know D,G, and A in open D, you know?

And as for playing things in their original keys. If I had to do that, I think that would make about half my repertoire unsingable to me. Do it in whatever key is good for you.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby nicerain » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:19 pm

hey,
thanks to all of you for the advice....i feel a little better now, just keep on keepin' on, learn a few chords, in spite of my own self,........ drink a few 5ths :mrgreen: and if it feels good don't worry about it.....i can do that.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby allanlummox » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:35 pm

The cycle of fifths is just a way of showing the relationship between chords in different keys. Having one handy while working on arrangements can make it easier to transpose. It's also a handy reference for understanding the "cross keys" for blues harmonica.

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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby jellyroll baker » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:34 am

boogiechillun85 wrote:And as for playing things in their original keys. If I had to do that, I think that would make about half my repertoire unsingable to me. Do it in whatever key is good for you.


Yeah, I've never understood why there are people out there who are obsessed with playing things in their original key. It's just making things hard for yourself.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby nicerain » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:29 pm

[quote="allanlummox"]The cycle of fifths is just a way of showing the relationship between chords in different keys. Having one handy while working on arrangements can make it easier to transpose. It's also a handy reference for understanding the "cross keys" for blues harmonica.

when i say "idiot mode" i really mean it.......thanks for posting the chart but i know i'll never get it :blink: .
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby allanlummox » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:19 pm

It's something to take a peek at every once in a while - sometimes understanding sneaks up on you.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby rustyslide » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:27 pm

nicerain wrote:when i say "idiot mode" i really mean it.......thanks for posting the chart but i know i'll never get it :blink: .


Look at chart. Pick a key (which will be the I chord). The letter counter-clockwise from it will be the IV chord, and the letter clockwise from it will be the V chord.

Take D. The IV chord is G, the V chord is A.

Why does one care about the I chord, the IV, V chords? because a song might use those chords. Take a 12-bar blues in D— it'll go something like: D for four bars, G for two bars, D for two, then to A for a bar, then G, then D, then A, and that's 12 and you start over.

As for playing those chords? In an open tuning, if the open strings form the I chord (as they would when playing in the key of D on a guitar tuned to open D), then the IV and the V are at the 5th and 7th frets, respectively.


Not to dissuade you from drinking or pleading a 5th. :D


boogiechillun85 wrote:I don't think a little theory would hurt. I'm still not sure what the circle of 5ths is for, but I know my scales and I know my chords.


As above. If you want to change keys in mid song, you're going to want to bounce through keys in the order they appear in the chart. If you wanted to go from G-major to E-major, play G, D, A, E.
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby leftyguitarman » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:24 pm

nicerain wrote:i was never able to learn to play the guitar with it's chords, circle of 5ths and all that music theory stuff. i just can't wrap my head around it.


Don't worry, I'm the same as you. If you're a fiddler and you can play by ear, then try and get inventive with the slide. Just move it up the neck some. Follow the fret markers, for starters. :D

nicerain wrote:i guess what i want to know is, are there others out there that play this way and have they taken it further than me and don't feel like they are cheating and haven't hit a wall in a rut?
another question, when trying to pick out a tune, is it alright to play it on a different string in a different place, even in a different key than the recording, if in the end it sounds good?


I don't play that way, but I have hit a rut with slide playing. I used to be terrible at it, I mean, absolutely awful. Then one day slide playing just kind of clicked and I got a lot better. But now I seem to have hit a rut. What I know sounds pretty good, but I can't go any farther. To answer the second part, yes, if it sounds good in the end, then why not play it that way? You don't always have to play like the recording. That's just boring, IMO.

Best of luck!
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby nicerain » Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:04 am

once again, thanks for all the input.
what i think is happening with me is i have figured out, by ear, where certain sounds are and just go there when i am learning a tune, i can even fill in by hitting certain open strings (kinda like an arpeggio?) between bass beats....does this make sense?
i think what i am doing is approaching it backward, in my true dyslexic manor....finding what sounds right and not bothering to put a label on it, ......instead of calling it this chord or this key and then systematically figuring out where it will fit in.
....like life, i just blunder forward and figure it out as it hits me between the eyes.......also there is this linier thing going on......playing old time fiddle is linier,....the tune travels in a straight line, without analyzing it.....the same with the slide.....to me anyways.....
i'm glad to hear you guys say if it feels right, sounds right, do it......i guess there is no right or wrong way.....just some ways will take you further than others......
all i know is i love it, i loose myself into it and i guess that's all that matters.

here is my tune list....
open D:
come into my kitchen
baby please don't go
sittin' on top of the world
sleep walk
theme to paris, texas
summertime
john henry
keep your lamp trimmed and burnin'
parts of highway 61
you got to move
....and a couple in open G i forgot the names of, duh....... :mrgreen:
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Re: "idiot mode" bottleneck

Postby DeFord Harp Slider » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:46 pm

I am an idiot or to lazy to learn chords.... When the circle of fifths is related to harmonica 1st and 2nd position, it came together for me and makes sense.
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