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Mark Gunter
Jan-21-2018, 11:19pm
Here's an amateur attempt to improvise on Wayfaring Stranger. I'm relatively new at mandolin, and completely new at improvisation, so there's nothing fancy here. Also, I still suck at tremolo.

I've been playing this tune on guitar and singing it for years in Bm, so for this exercise I played it in Bm (capo 2) as I normally do, and attempted to improvise scale tones, then the melody, on mandolin.



Let me know what you think :mandosmiley:

Guitfiddle Mike
Jan-22-2018, 5:57am
Very nice Mark. I'm still working on a beginner version of that myself but I'm not quite ready for the big screen.

MissingString
Jan-22-2018, 6:25am
Great job on the tune and the video. Thumbs up.

Mark Wilson
Jan-22-2018, 6:47am
That's a cool minor chord progression to improvise over. In our jam we played the A part endlessly while taking turns improvising. I like it in Am using c major scale
Well done!

yankees1
Jan-22-2018, 9:36am
Thumbs UP ! You got it !

Mark Gunter
Jan-22-2018, 10:33am
Thanks guys. It was fun playing without a script.

JL277z
Jan-22-2018, 1:39pm
Sounds great! :mandosmiley:

mtucker
Jan-22-2018, 2:15pm
I think you sound pretty darn good. If you pinky plant, it'll make it way harder to get home. Try tucking in your fingers (more fist-like) with a loose(r) grip on the pick, almost falling out of your hand.

bluesguy63
Jan-22-2018, 8:06pm
Sounding pretty my friend...keep it up!

Mark Wilson
Jan-22-2018, 8:59pm
Improvising is fun and scary once you begin to step in, I'm right there with you. It seems like it comes down to your imagination vs your ability to reproduce what you hear in your mind. Both have to function. :cool: Thanks for posting!

Mark Gunter
Jan-23-2018, 2:07am
I tried it last month in the jazz group that Pete Martin leads, and again yesterday on this tune. It seems to me that I can hear phrases that work in real time but I can't play them in real time, if I try to play some of what I hear I come in behind where I should be, if that makes sense. Anyway, I know the only way to get better at improvising is to do it, and maybe start learning some stock licks too.

Mark Gunter
Jan-23-2018, 2:17am
I think you sound pretty darn good. If you pinky plant, it'll make it way harder to get home. Try tucking in your fingers (more fist-like) with a loose(r) grip on the pick, almost falling out of your hand.

Thanks for the feedback mtucker. I'm not a pinky planter at all. Sometimes when I'm practicing or goofing around noodling I get everything right on tremolo - relaxation, just the right amount of looseness on the grip, etc. etc. and have gotten to where I can do it with either a pointy like JTPix or slightly rounded and thicker like Wegen - but I still seem to tense up and worry about and struggle with tremolo when I up the stakes a bit like in a jam session or public performance or video. I keep telling myself that eventually I'll get some consistency if I just keep trying.

smokinop
Jan-23-2018, 6:18am
Sounds good, great job Mark!

MMorgan9812
Jan-24-2018, 6:58pm
Sounds great!!!!

mrneil2
Jan-26-2018, 5:41pm
Very nicely done

Jesse Kinman
Jan-27-2018, 12:35pm
Very clean pickin’ :mandosmiley:

Mark Gunter
Jan-27-2018, 12:56pm
Thanks for all the comments, guys. This tune is pretty special to me, as a little kid I used to listen to Burl Ives records; Burl really popularized this song back in the day and was actually nicknamed the wayfaring stranger for a time - I've been singing this song since I was five years old!

My favorite line in this song: "I'm going there to see my mother; she said she'd meet me when I come"

Caleb
Feb-02-2018, 11:43pm
Thanks for all the comments, guys. This tune is pretty special to me, as a little kid I used to listen to Burl Ives records; Burl really popularized this song back in the day and was actually nicknamed the wayfaring stranger for a time - I've been singing this song since I was five years old!

My favorite line in this song: "I'm going there to see my mother; she said she'd meet me when I come"Great job, Mark. I love Burl Ives and have a couple of box sets of his that I pull out from time to time. I kept one of them in nearly constant rotation for a couple years. Something about those old songs and the purity of his delivery. His autobiography, also called WAYFARING STRANGER, is wonderful as well.

All said, I still think Neko Case has the best version of this song I’ve ever heard:
https://youtu.be/-99BM_GG8gQ

Caleb
Feb-03-2018, 12:12pm
Thinking of this thread, I got my copy of Ive's autobiography off the shelf this AM and thought I'd share a passage he wrote about the nature of a song:

I dropped the Diary (Samuel Pepys, mid 1600s) in my lap. I thought of how long this gal Barbara Allen had been around. Sven said she was Swedish, Grandma found her in Kentucky, and here old Sam met up with her back in 1665. Quite a gal this Barbara Allen.

It occurred to me, on thinking of the long existence of this song, that any singer is only a moment in the life of such a great song. I saw this great ballad going back in time, a part of the lives of many people in many generations, and I knew it would live on and on. I thought: a song differs from material works of art in that it only shines when sung. It shone for Samuel Pepys when he heard it in 1665, it shone for me when Grandma sung it. It will shine just as long as there are singers to present its beauty. I thought of "Barbara Allen" and other beautiful songs, some of them equally old, and I knew that it was a loss they were no long sung.

DataNick
Feb-03-2018, 6:51pm
Nicely done Mark!

chibuck
Feb-16-2018, 2:06pm
Very nice. Great job!

Jim1hays
Feb-27-2018, 2:05pm
That was Great!

Mark Gunter
Feb-28-2018, 9:16pm
Thanks Nick, Buck and Jim :mandosmiley:

atsunrise
Mar-05-2018, 4:17pm
Really nice, I like the two instruments together. I hear you about the vibrato. Athough itís in 4/4 time D-, D-, DUDU there is a swing ie. an implied 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3 for each measure. I try to play the measure DUD UDU DUD UDU as the vibrato and then switch to down strokes 4 per measure when I mess up/ forget how many DUDís Iíve done. This happens a lot.
Thanks for the motivation to do a recording.

Jim1954
Mar-05-2018, 6:25pm
Sounds great, nice job! For some reason I wasn't checking the Video section much at all. Today I noticed "Wayfaring Stranger Improv" on "Last Post" so had to check it out since that's a favorite of mine.

I've also been playing that with my guitar and mandolin but so far I just have the mando and singing recorded to practice for when I get together with a guitarist, which for now is just my nephew who visits at Christmas. I would of recorded us then but he couldn't make it last time. For my vocal range, I do it in Dm. One of these days I'll refine it all and record all parts on my little Tascam since I'm a one-man band for now.

This brief Mike Marshall YouTube video about tremelos instantly helped me immensely, if you havenít seen it, you may enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7vqNh5k96o

That guitar sounds great for this kind of song, a nice woody old tone to it. What kind is it?

Mark Gunter
Mar-07-2018, 12:19pm
atsunrise - Thanks for the analysis on playing tremolo for a tune with swing rhythm. I have never really thought about the swing angle regarding tremolo timing. I'm a novice with tremolo. At least food for thought.

Jim1959 - Thanks for the comments. That song is old as the hills, been covered by so many people it would be a task to list just the ones I've heard. I mentioned in an earlier post that I heard it first from Burl Ives, because my Dad had folk music records and country music records, and played folk music, country (think Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash). But as you can tell by the sound I use with it, my later influences are more prominent in my own playing than that Burl Ives version.

It's great that you are playing this one! It remains popular with acoustic musicians to this day. I'm looking forward to hearing what you do with it.

Yes, I've watched Mike's video on tremolo numerous times. Also, a whole bunch of others. I also started a thread about tremolo a year or more back and got a lot of input and a lot of other references for help. It's something I continue to struggle with, but on a good day I can have it sounding OK, so there's hope!
:)

You asked about the guitar. It is a Harmony Patrician. I call it a 1949, but I'm not sure of the actual age of it, because the Harmony date stamp is pretty much illegible in there. The Patrician was (is) a nice guitar, with solid wood construction: Mahogany neck, back & sides, carved spruce top, rosewood finger board, MOP dot fret markers, trapeze tail piece. I found it in a local pawn shop and was impressed by the decent action and the sound, and it became a gift to myself at Christmas 2016. To record this, I used an AT PRO 35 condenser clip-on mic, and I have to say that the end result actually sound better to me than my acoustic-electrics (Breedlove Atlas and Washburn WD10SCE) with their piezo pickups and built-in preamps.

I bought the AT mic for use with my mandolins, but am seriously considering about buying another clip-on just for this guitar.

Edit: Describing the guitfiddle - I forgot to mention the binding (body only, front & back) is a cheesy but charming celluloid imitation tortoise shell, and on the front it has a WBW purfling as well.
Also, the tops were pressed, not carved, as I wrote earlier. Sorry, the Demont site refreshed my memory on that.

Harmony 1407 (http://harmony.demont.net/guitars/H1407/69.htm)

Jim1954
Mar-10-2018, 12:00pm
Jim1959 - Thanks for the comments. That song is old as the hills, been covered by so many people it would be a task to list just the ones I've heard. I mentioned in an earlier post that I heard it first from Burl Ives, because my Dad had folk music records and country music records, and played folk music, country (think Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash). But as you can tell by the sound I use with it, my later influences are more prominent in my own playing than that Burl Ives version.

It's great that you are playing this one! It remains popular with acoustic musicians to this day. I'm looking forward to hearing what you do with it.

Yes, I've watched Mike's video on tremolo numerous times. Also, a whole bunch of others. I also started a thread about tremolo a year or more back and got a lot of input and a lot of other references for help. It's something I continue to struggle with, but on a good day I can have it sounding OK, so there's hope!
:)

You asked about the guitar. It is a Harmony Patrician. I call it a 1949, but I'm not sure of the actual age of it, because the Harmony date stamp is pretty much illegible in there. The Patrician was (is) a nice guitar, with solid wood construction: Mahogany neck, back & sides, carved spruce top, rosewood finger board, MOP dot fret markers, trapeze tail piece. I found it in a local pawn shop and was impressed by the decent action and the sound, and it became a gift to myself at Christmas 2016. To record this, I used an AT PRO 35 condenser clip-on mic, and I have to say that the end result actually sound better to me than my acoustic-electrics (Breedlove Atlas and Washburn WD10SCE) with their piezo pickups and built-in preamps.

I bought the AT mic for use with my mandolins, but am seriously considering about buying another clip-on just for this guitar.

Edit: Describing the guitfiddle - I forgot to mention the binding (body only, front & back) is a cheesy but charming celluloid imitation tortoise shell, and on the front it has a WBW purfling as well.
Also, the tops were pressed, not carved, as I wrote earlier. Sorry, the Demont site refreshed my memory on that.

Harmony 1407 (http://harmony.demont.net/guitars/H1407/69.htm)

Yes, very old song, love those that are so old that the writer is unknown so it's just known as "Traditional". Only info I found was it "likely originating in the early 19th century". I think I first heard it in the film Cold Mountain which has a lot of great old songs and great musicians too, love the CD soundtrack. My DVD has a concert with most of the songs. Great High Mountain is on it, another old song I'm working on.

That's great that you were able to grow up with a Dad that played Folk and Country albums and played too. Mine were into jazz and Frank Sinatra, etc. Dad played washboard in polka band and Mom sang in church choir 45 years with a natural ability to find harmonies instantly, I always feel I got that from her genes.

So, a good ol' Harmony guitar, and trapeze bridge, a cool old look with old tone too, I was guessing all mahogany but some spruce top guitars, like old Gibsons, have that nice old, dry, woody tone. String type matters a lot too of course. I'll have to check pawn shops, forgot about looking there, probably a good place to find old guitars sometimes.

Your mics sound good, I think they always sound better than pickups, especially for music like this. Martin is making some high quality acoustic-electrics these days though, for some people that's much easier. So far for recording, I just use the 2 built-in stereo mics on my 8 track DP-008 Tascam which sound surprisingly good and can adjust EQ and reverb on it too. I put my SoundCloud page with some songs in profile.

Mark Gunter
Mar-10-2018, 3:32pm
Yeah, the Harmony guitars were and are cheap guitars. I think the 1407 Patricians can have a lot of redeeming value if you find one in good condition though.