Week #20 ~ EMD

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's poll ended up in a tie, so I'm picking Grisman's EMD to be the winner. I've never heard this tune before.

    Here is a link to TAB on Mandozine.

    Here's the man himself on YouTube

  2. OldSausage
    I do hope it's easier than it looks.
  3. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Well alrighty then!

    First, this is kind of a departure from most of the bluegrass / old time / celtic stuff that's been featured. Grisman is into jazz and minor keys. This tune is in E minor. It's a variety of blue grass that's beyond new grass and just generically known as "dawg" music. (Dawg is Grisman's nickname.) Dawg is bluegrass mixed with a lot of other influences: jazz, swing, blues, bossa nova -- pretty much the kitchen sink.

    I was freaking a little to think this might get picked because it's kind of daunting from a distance. I think if you look at it some and deconstruct it you'll see it's not so scary. The root of the tune is just 8 bars long, and then it's repeated. That's it. There is no B part or bridge or anything else. Just an 8-bar A part that's repeated. (The TEF file does some variation with the second 8 bars, but I've heard the repeat played the same more often as not.) If you were playing this in a band, you'd set the tune up and then play chords while people took solos, and then take a solo yourself.

    Grisman has recorded this a lot, and there are lots of versions on YouTube. I'll post a couple more below. He changes up the order of what happens a lot. Sometimes, he takes a solo after putting down the root of the tune; sometimes he goes to rhythm and the fiddle or somebody takes off and he solos later.

    Now, as for the solos: These look a little daunting too on the videos, but they're not as hard as they look. The one in the TEF file, above, is played in the first position. You can jump it up high, too, or just doodle around and improvise your own. Since this is in E minor, the scale you'd use is the same as the G major scale, but played with E as the root. There are some other chords in there (like a C and a B, I think) where it might make sense in the solo to play something in the major scale of those chords when you get there.

    Grisman may be out there but he has old-school sensibilities. That means lots of right hand tremolo. This is really a simple melody played with tremolo, which makes it sound like there's more there than there really is. With both the root of the tune and the solos, if you want to play in the style of Grisman, the key is to keep that right hand going most of the time. Just like this:

    Now, the caveat: I've only fooled around with this tune and listed to the videos in my office while I'm supposed to be working, so I don't really know what I'm talking about. But I think the above is basically right.

  4. Eddie Sheehy
    OK Mike, give us a slow post to work from.
  5. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    As soon as I can play it slow, I'll put up a slow post. Tonight or tomorrow.
  6. OldSausage
    The tricky thing seems to be just figuring out what the head is, once you've got that, as Mike says, you can just doodle up and down an E-minor scale in a general Dawg-like fashion. I listened to the first YouTube a few times and looked at the tab on Mandozine, and this is what I think is the head played slowly. The Mandozine tab seems to me to make it more difficult - if you just get the feel it's a bit easier:

  7. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Yep, that's it. Really not too difficult at its root level. Pump up the tempo some, and throw in a solo, and you've got yourself a David Grisman impersonation. It's gratifying to know that (sometimes) you can take something that seems impossible, slow it down and figure out how it's put together, and discover it's a tune you could actually play. I could make the argument that, the solo aside, this tune is actually easier to play than "Soldier's Joy."
  8. OldSausage
    Well, it's certainly a lot easier than Rattlesnake. By the way, Mike did a wonderful job of explaining the context and approach to this tune.

    I think this is pretty much what Dawg does in the intro from watching the first vid above. Notice how he has the bass player keep playing a big old E while he strums an Em7, Em6, and a wild Em9.
    The chords are fretted:
    Em7: 4-2-5-3
    Em6: 4-2-4-3
    Em9: 0-0-9-10

  9. Ken_P
    Now that summer is over, I should be able to participate regularly again! I've never been a huge Grisman fan, but I voted for this tune because I thought it would be neat to do kind of a slow, more swinging arrangement. I lost the swing somewhere along the way, but I think this is a fun twist on the tune anyway.

  10. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    Nice, Ken! Welcome back (though I've been way too busy to post lately, also!)!

    On the Grisman Quintet 30 year retrospective (3 disc set) there's a real swingy, jazzy version of EMD on the 3rd disc. I typically play it in that fashion since I can't play it fast like the DAWG!

    You can get this version (along with many other Grisman takes on this tune) on itunes. I just typed in EMD and it was the 3 track to come up in the Itunes store.
  11. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Nice version, Ken. My week is packed so it's now or never on this one.

  12. jamann
    Mike, I really like your version. Very nice! By any chance do you have it tabbed out.
  13. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Hi, Jamann. I don't have it tabbed but I can explain it (believe it or not!). There much less there than meets the eye. The first variation (where I go up "high") I'm playing basically an E minor by playing an E and an A -- barring the 7 fret on the top two strings. Then I just play a C in first position, with the tremolo going. Then the E minor and the C again at the 7th fret, and the C and the A, C, B turnaround, as demonstrated by OS. Any notes thrown in are just from the G major scale.

    The part that goes up really high starts out by playing the Em and C on the first two strings -- it's really just the rhythm part! -- up high, frets 10 and 12 on the A and E (E minor) down to frets 7 and 8 (the C). Then when it gets to the part where the chords are A, C, B, I just play those as high as I can on top two strings, an octave higher the original: frets 16 and 17 (A), 19 and 20 (C) and 18 and 17 (B). Any odd notes are just from the G major scale.

    The down low part is just walking up the scale, starting on the E (the root), using the G major scale and playing some double stops. That deedly deedly riff, which I botched, is played first on the A string starting at the 7th fret with the second (middle) finger, and then the E string at the 8th fret.
  14. jamann
    Thanks, I really appreciate it. I'll see what I can do with it. Not sure I'll get a video made this week but I will learn this tune. I'll be working non stop for the next four months so setting aside time for videos will be challenging to say the least. Will still be playing and learning, just not in the comforts of my mancave (music room). Anyway, I really enjoyed your video!

    OS, as always your videos are tops. Between yours and Mike's videos along with his explanation, I've got the needed push to learn this very cool tune.
  15. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    OS, thanks for the slowed down version. Mike, that sounded like Bill Monroe plays Dawg in a good way. Maybe it was the open strings ringing or the right hand drive, whatever vibe you got going--I like it!

    The tune should be called EMDD=Eat My Dawg Dust.
  16. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    EMDD it shall henceforth ever be for me!

    I've been enjoying playing this over the weekend. It kinda reminds me more of playing the guitar than most mandolin tunes: there isn't really so much there to play as a basic idea that you then proceed to mess with. No A and B parts, no second endings to get right, no weird little bits where the melody goes off in some unexpected direction than where your fingers want to go...

    My kid is a real Grisman critic, but the more I listen to him (Grisman, that is), the more I appreciate him, though he has his own lingo. Right now I'm listening to "O'Banion's Wake," a nifty little waltz, that I've been wanting to learn and a lot more cut-and-dried than EMDD. Among his "let's jam!" tunes, "Cedar Hill" is one I'd like to know.

    I recently hooked up with an upright bass player who likes playing Grisman. I'm looking forward to playing EMDD with him; I think it's one of those tunes that really demands the energy that comes from playing off of other musicians.

    Anyhoo, let's see some more EMDD posts! OS laid it all out for y'all. Get the root down and play it slow and purty.
  17. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
    "Anyhoo, let's see some more EMDD posts! OS laid it all out for y'all. Get the root down and play it slow and purty."

    Here's mine. Not so purty though... but, you asked for it! The second part is all improvisation. Which explains a lot!

  18. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    That's really good, Chris. I can tell you've been listenin' to EMD a lot. At least it sounds like it to my ears.
  19. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Chris, once again, you are showing up all us adults! We'll be proud to say, we knew him when, a few years from now when you are famous!
  20. OldSausage
    That was great Chris, nice improvisation too, you really got it all down.
  21. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
    Thanks for the encouraging comments guys! I didn't think I did so well but you guys really made me feel better about this one. But what else could I expect from the nicest people on the best website in the world!? Thanks A Lot!

  22. CelticDude
    Chris, You did very well! Played nice and clean, first straight, and then a rockin' improv. About the only thing you don't have going on is wild hair and beard...
  23. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
    Ha ha! I think I can assure you that's not gonna happen! Not that it looks bad, it just only looks good on some people. Thanks for all the great comments people! I wanna see some more vids! I'm really looking forward to seeing Old Sausage's version.
  24. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    It will be interesting to see just how many members attempt this one!
  25. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    And Barb lays the challenge down!!!
  26. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    To be honest, I'm not even going to try this one. Maybe sacrilege, but it just doesn't appeal to me! I'm getting a head start on the NEXT tune!
  27. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
    So you've already decided what the next tune is? Don't count your chickens before they hatch!
  28. Eddie Sheehy
    Well if it's going to be Wayfaring Stranger just copy over one of the existing threads and I'll take another week off...
  29. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Eddie, if it's wayfaring stranger, well, you don't have to take another week off... it was 4 months ago you posted that one, and you were wanting some ideas to improve your version.... you can post your new, improved version... (or you can take a week off, haha!)
  30. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Plus, just because Wayfaring Stranger is ahead on Tuesday, doesn't mean it will be the winner on Friday! Every vote counts!
  31. OldSausage
    Here we go then, this is the first chance I've had to sit down and work on it, I've been out gigging every night since Friday. I don't think I really had enough ideas for the full 3 minutes, but it didn't go too bad for the first half. I hope it's not a disappointment after the anticipation, Chris

  32. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    OS, let me be the first to say, that was awesome, as we all expected it would be!
  33. Eddie Sheehy
    Good point Barb...
  34. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    I heard Jim Carey say, "SAHMOKIN!!!!"
  35. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
  36. OldSausage
    Thanks, y'all!
  37. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    It's a tough act to follow Old Sausage, Chris Travers, Ken P., and Mike Romkey but somebodie's got to do it....no matter how bad it may sound!!!

    A slower version of EMD...been attempting to play this for awhile....Grisman's 30-year retrospective was the first mandolin-oriented cd I bought back in '99.

    I got to record this while the little man was out with mom this week...1st and only take.

    All that have come before me on this tune are very special picker's for sure!!!
  38. Chris Travers
    Chris Travers
  39. Darren Bailey
    Darren Bailey
    Old sausage - WOW!! Really impressed with your playing.
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