Week #439 ~ Come West Along the Road

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Come West Along the Road, which was submitted as an Irish Traditional Reel. According to The Session, it is also known as Arboe, Over The Moor To Peggy, West Along The Road.

    Here's a link to five settings of this tune on thesession.org







  2. JL277z
    JL277z
    Found this also on YouTube, these guys are pretty good,
    fast-forward to 2:48:


    (or direct link)
    Might not be exactly 'traditional' (whatever that means, 'cuz fiddles were a newfangled thing at one time too if you go back in time far enough) in some people's views, what with the upright bass and occasional jazzy fiddle licks and clawhammer banjo, but the sound is cool and that's the important thing (IMO). That accordion gives it an almost Cajun-like cool groove, although I have no idea if it's the same kind of accordion. Definitely got my feet tapping!
  3. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Oh, nice find - I enjoyed that!
  4. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    I wondered why no-one had a go at this bouncy little tune until I tried to play it.It is tricky; as someone on The Session suggests, probably not written by a fiddle or mandolin player. Anyway here is my attempt.
  5. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    Thanks for the post. I thought I'd be able to play along, but you are correct; the fingering is just a tad tricky and I can't play it fast enough to keep up with you. I'll keep working at it.
  6. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    I tried different fingerings of the A section but in the end decided barring the g and d notes with my ring finger was best. Took a lo tof practice to get up to speed.
  7. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    Thanks for the tip; I can't do that effectively. I do keep my index planted on the B note for most of part A, and I see you do that, too. I'm not a fast, up-to-speed player on any reels or jigs, so I'll just be content to enjoy this one slower.
  8. Mike Floorstand
    Mike Floorstand
    Here's another one I just found, I guess this is the correct dancing speed since there are people dancing in it! Bit fast for me at the moment though. I think that is John Carty on banjo.
  9. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    FINALLY got something decent to record videos with - a ZoomQ8, very impressed with it so far! Here's my go at "Come West Along the Road":

  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Loved the very subtle but powerful ornaments here, Jill; just enough to enhance the tune and not too many to intrude.
    Your new recorder gives excellent results too.
  11. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Cheers John! The recorder is the business - easy to use and the onboard mic is quite good! It also allows you to plug in a proper mic and I've a decent one arriving in the post this week so can't wait to hear the results using the combination of it and the new recorder!
  12. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite
    Very nice, Jill. I've just started having a go at this tune again. The B part was a bit too much for my poor pinkie, which was injured a couple of years ago, and (I've finally realized) isn't likely coming back to full functionality. So I've changed my fingering of the part, and it sounds pretty good. Not quite your speed, of course, but not bad. Our session plays this tune with Last Night's Fun, another good tune. A couple of questions: 1) what recording software do you use?, 2) what's your favorite pick?
  13. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Hi Colin,
    I've gone back to using a Blue Chip TPR35 again - I was using a TPR 40 for awhile but the slightly lighter pick agrees with me better, though I do think the tone with the TPR 40 had an edge on the 35. I'm not using any recording software - I just transferred the video clips from the camera to my computer and put them in iPhoto.
  14. JL277z
    JL277z
    Jill, love those sneaky triplets! They're very graceful, sounds good.

    Here is my try, still rather rough with numerous flaws, I need to practice this more.

    The road footage is from a drive we did last month, although we're actually going northbound rather than west as in the tune title, but the road itself is about as far west as you can go (in places) without falling off the edge of the continent. This footage was taken on Highway 101, in southwest Washington state, in the northwest part of the U.S. The car is a 1949 Chevrolet.


    (or direct link)

    3 tracks:
    Track 1. Mandolin - melody, sort of... The only way I can play this anywhere near dance speed is to leave out about half the notes.
    Track 2. GDAEB guitar - melody.
    Track 3. GDAEB guitar - simple 2-note 'chords' backing.

    The mandolin and guitar are the usual suspects, mando has stick-on piezo pickup, GDAEB guitar is a solid-body electric, both plug into older Roland Micro Cube (although not both at the same time, the cube only lets you plug in one thing at a time). Recorded via line-out from Roland cube to line-in jack on Zoom H2n recorder, then I removed the Zoom's SDHC memory card and put it in the computer, drag-copied the three tracks from the memory card into Audacity and lined 'em up. (I think there's supposed to be some way to make the Zoom transfer files via USB, seems like I tried that once a few weeks ago but can't remember if it worked or not; the less-tech-savvy simple memory-card swap is sufficient for my uses.)

    By the way, if you'd rather hear what the car sounds like, see this cruisin' video and fast-forward to about the 7-minute mark for the highway footage. The camcorder's built-in mic is pretty low quality but gives a general idea of sounds.
  15. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Loved that JL277z, lovely bounce to it and such a sweet tone from the mandolin!
  16. JL277z
    JL277z
    Thanks, Jill!
  17. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Well done Maudlin, Jill and Jl277z. Everyone brought something unique to the tune! Lovely embellishments in each version. JL277z, is that electric a six string with just five strings on it? What string gauges are you using for the various strings? Sounds really good.
  18. JL277z
    JL277z
    Thanks Michael!

    Michael Pastucha wrote: "JL277z, is that electric a six string with just five strings on it?"

    Yes, regular 6 string Strat-copy guitar, but only 5 strings used.

    Capo is at 5th fret, for 19-inch scale length (slightly longer on bass side, I have the bridge saddles moved all the way back on several strings). The capo pretty much lives at the 5th fret permanently, seldom any reason to move it. I used to use 3rd fret capo instead, but advancing arthritis makes the 5th fret shorter scale more attractive.

    I could easily go for an actual 19-inch scale 5-string neck & toss the capo, but it would have to be a custom build (eek, $$$) and I'm too cheap to spend that kind of money. I wouldn't know how to graft an existing peghead onto a shortened neck, especially with truss rod etc. What I have works ok as-is, at least for my casual uses.

    Michael Pastucha wrote: "What string gauges are you using for the various strings?"

    I put together a set of strings mix-and-match from two different sets of stock Fender strings: Fender 3250LR (09-11-16-26-36-46) and Fender 3250R (10-13-17-26-36-46). I don't remember exactly what I did there, I'm going to eventually have to buy a dial caliper to measure the strings that I have on it right now, so I'll know what to put on it at next string change. I had that written down somewhere, long lost of course. These strings are over a year old (I just looked up the email receipt to check when I bought them), doesn't seem like it's been that long, no wonder they seem harder to tune now, duh! I dislike changing strings, I put it off as long as possible... if it still plays, I play it.

    Surprisingly, I haven't yet broke an 09 1st string, that high "B" (capo 5) 'feels' really tight both at the tuning peg & also how the string feels under the fingers. I probably ought to get an 08 for that, but I haven't got around to it yet.

    The rest of the strings get more and more slack/loose as you go towards the bass side of the strings. I actually *prefer* the slack strings, because I like to bend notes.

    Once, a few years back, I actually put on properly gauged (heavier) strings suitable for GDAE without massive bridge-saddle adjustments, but I found that I didn't like them! The heavier strings just sounded too 'tight'. I took them off after a fair test run, and went back to using the much looser strings.

    The reason I'm able to get away with using such slack strings, is because of the stock individually-adjustable bridge saddles that many (all?) of these Strat-style guitars have, even the cheap ones. Very convenient! The equivalent of sliding a mandolin bridge back towards the tailpiece, but customized for each individual string. Without that, some of the strings would fret way too sharp.

    I originally had the 6th string tuned to a low C, for full fifths CGDAEB, but found that (at least on this electric) the low C would "ring"/sustain too much all the time which sounded clashy, so I damped that entire string with a little piece of foam rubber wedged underneath the string at the end of the fretboard. So there are 5 playable strings.

    If anyone's thinking of doing this on an electric, you can start (at first) with just your existing guitar strings to see if you like it, for the capo-at-5th-fret GDAE part (but don't try for a high B with anything bigger than an 09, even that is pushing it I think). But especially on the 5th, 4th, & 3rd strings you will need to move those bridge saddles way back, to play in tune.

    The other adjustment I eventually made (not right away), was to adjust the pickup height (another simple adjustment) - I moved the treble side of the pickups closer to the strings, and the bass side further away from the strings. Otherwise, the bass strings were way too loud in comparison to the treble strings, for flatpicking fiddle-tunes where the melody is usually on the treble strings. These cheap guitar pickups have non-adjustable pole-pieces, with weak 2nd string because its pole-piece sets down lower than the others. So I just slant the pickups. If I were more motivated, I'd swap out those pickups for some better ones, and/or take a chance on disassembling them to modify them. But I've gotten used to the weak 2nd string and adapted my playing to it, just pluck the neighboring bass strings extra-lightly.

    I do like having the high "B" string, not only for what would ordinarily be the 7th fret of the E string in GDAE, but also for some of the fretted notes on the "B" string. Once in a while I do an octave-higher run or variation up there just for fun. Seldom go past the 5th fret though.

    (Hope that's not too much info, couldn't think how to condense it down without omitting potentially useful info.)
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Very catchy arrangement, JL, and the information on your guitar is really interesting. It's always good to hear folk trying out something a bit different in their versions of the tunes we play.
  20. JL277z
    JL277z
    Michael Pastucha wrote: "What string gauges are you using for the various strings?"

    Finally measured 'em yesterday, then remembered that I'd forgot to give a proper answer to the above question. Here are the gauges - I'm assuming that most people would probably prefer heavier G, D, and A strings for such a short scale length, but I like the slack strings for my uses:

    G .046
    D .024
    A .016
    E .010
    B .009
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