Off To California

  1. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    I looked and looked on the Song of the Week list and the Other Tunes list and Off To California doesn't seem to appear. Anyway, I've always wanted to learn this tune and this week I did. Here it is as a slideshow. It's played on my Gibson F2 mandolin and the Simon & Patrick guitar. Extra added attraction: I play it again at the end of the video, this time showing my mandolin and going a little slower. It's mostly solo although my neighbor's dog chimes in too (he has a poor sense of rhythm!) I learned the tune from the abc files at The Session website...

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nicely played, as usual!

    The reason you didn't spot in on the SAW list is probably that it was part of a two-for-one all the way back in Week #17, paired with "Harvest Home":

  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine version, Michael. Your slow, solo version is so entertaining - even with the canine accompaniment.
    As Martin has said, the tune appeared hidden along with Harvest Home and The Boys of Bluehill, back in the old days.
  4. Frankdolin
    I enjoyed that Michael ! Some very nice pick'n there! I thought the dog almost picked up the back beat.
  5. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Excellent all 'round, Michael.
  6. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Actually the dog had better rhythm than some guitarists I've picked with... Thanks everyone.
  7. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Fine, sweet playing Michael and your dog certainly enjoys singing.

    Here’s my humble offering of this lonesome tune, originally hidden within a set of tunes here on MC.
    Recorded on a dreary day with torrential rain here in Lyon, France.
  8. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two fine versions of one of my favourite hornpipes.
    Michael, you always do these nice ornamental variations, giving the tune a little improvisational flair.
    Simon. you nicely brave the Lyon downpour, FORMIDABLE!
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Merci mon cher Christian!
    In actual fact at the moment Iím in the UK and though quite humid itís been as warm as France.

    But 21 days without a mandolin to play...
  10. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    It seems noisy recordings of this hornpipe are all the rage now
    Michael, Simon and Pluto, these are all wonderful versions in their own right!
  11. Frithjof
    Michael – great picking as usual. Nice to add the solo recording in your backyard.

    Simon – nice humble offering. No mandolins in UK?
  12. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    (My vid comes after the two adverts, definitely worth waiting for… )
  13. Frankdolin
    Simon I loved your version! With a simple arrangment and the tune so easily recognizable. And yes, it was worth the 25 minutes of adverts!
  14. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Fun tune for listening. I never played a hornpipe, but suspect they're fun to play as well.
  15. Gelsenbury
    I like this tune a lot. I'll learn it one day. These two renditions are both expertly done, with clear picking and fluidity. Even at two different speeds, in Michael's case!

    Simon, if you're near Canterbury I'll be happy to lend you a mandolin for the duration of your stay. But there's probably only a fraction of those 21 days left by now. You're lucky to be going back to France!
  16. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks for the offer Dennis but half of my holiday was spent in quarantine (admittedly in a beautiful cabin but there you go).

    Quarantines were abandoned nationally on our last day of quarantine and a couple of days later we were listening to live music with more than 100 people in a pub garden, no masks on anyone. Strange times.

    (Britain put France, of all the countries in the world, on it’s own into the Amber+ group.
    -nothing to do with fish )

    Interesting what you say about tempos. I played it this time as DUD DUD, which has an upper tempo limit but allows the ‘triplets’ to be played evenly (more easily), Michael I guess played it as D-U D-U which means you can up the tempo, but then requires a bit of skill in order to jump evenly to hammer ons and the occasional DUD.

    I like Michael’s style because, with practice, it gives you a fraction more time between measures to allow more expression.
  17. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Simon DS, that's a very interesting comparison between our two picking patterns for the right hand. When I first learned to play mandolin, it was as a bluegrass mandolinist. Bluegrass requires the utmost in speed, so economy of motion in the right hand picking is very beneficial. The bluegrass mandolin uses DUDUDU instead of DUD DUD. If you look at the picking direction of the bluegrass mandolin it goes back and forth... the shortest and most direct distance between each successive note! And therefore the fastest. This allows for quite a speedy picking pattern. That doesn't mean this pattern is used exclusively. Bill Monroe often used all downstrokes during portions of his playing... for emphasis instead of for speed.

    I tried to use DUD DUD but could never break from my earlier bluegrass training. However, I did study why this pattern is used and came up with the idea that it is the stresses that are important (and that it is 6/8). All of the D strokes are strong and the U are slightly weaker. Translate this to Strong weak Strong Strong weak Strong. I try to play the stresses this way using my style of picking.

    All of the triplets and fancy ornaments used in my playing are combinations of multiple hammers and pulls. They sound improvised but are not in that whatever pattern I decide to use has been carefully worked out over the years, what is improvised, is where they are inserted.

    If I had learned Irish Traditional during my formative mandolin years... I bet that my triplets and picking directions would be quite different.
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I am with Michael. I have never quite come to terms with DUD DUD picking and when I try it I quickly find myself reverting to DUDUDU. I am sure it as a result of never having been taught by anyone how to play mandolin "properly". Scottish jigs too have a different feel from Irish ones in their rhythm. I too often use a series of down strokes in many tunes, and also, as Michael says, a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs. I think much of it comes from guitar picking. If only I had had a knowledgeable teacher when I started out.
  19. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    It wasn't until I took to playing the clawhammer banjo that my hammer and pull off ability developed... guitar helps to!
  20. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I’m with John and Michael.
    I tried and tried the DUD UDU pattern but couldn’t get the UDU to sound similar (but different) to DUD.
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