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Thread: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

  1. #1
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Very nice Mark. I'm still working on a beginner version of that myself but I'm not quite ready for the big screen.

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  5. #3
    Registered User MissingString's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Great job on the tune and the video. Thumbs up.
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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!

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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Thumbs UP ! You got it !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

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  11. #6
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Thanks guys. It was fun playing without a script.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  12. #7

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Sounds great!

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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.
    Last edited by mtucker; Jan-22-2018 at 3:23pm.

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Sounding pretty my friend...keep it up!

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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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. Thanks for posting!

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  20. #11
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  21. #12
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Quote Originally Posted by mtucker View Post
    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.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Sounds good, great job Mark!
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  24. #14

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Sounds great!!!!
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  26. #15

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Very nicely done

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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Very clean pickin’
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  30. #17
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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"
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  32. #18
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    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
    ...

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  34. #19
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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.
    ...

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  36. #20
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Nicely done Mark!
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  38. #21

    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Very nice. Great job!

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  40. #22
    Jim1Hays
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    That was Great!

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  42. #23
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    Thanks Nick, Buck and Jim
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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  43. #24
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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.

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  45. #25
    Registered User Jim1954's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wayfaring Stranger Improv

    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?
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