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Thread: All the good times are past and gone

  1. #1
    Ratcliff A #45
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    I'm trying to work on the version of this song from Grisman's "Life of Sorrow" CD.

    My question is the most basic: what's the key? I want to say Bb...sound right?

    Thanks!

    Milan
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

  2. #2

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    It's in whatever key you sing in.

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    i sing it in A major. that is pretty standard around here. though Bb may be right for some.

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    Ratcliff A #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    It's in whatever key you sing in.
    That's going to be tough. I sing in Kb#.

    Let me try it this way: say I have this "friend" who sings in exactly the key that Ralph Stanley sang that song on that CD. But he's a relative novice and so am I, so we don't know what to call it.

    I think it's Bb...any ideas?

    Is there something "wrong" about wanting to learn the song in the key that those guys played it in?
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

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    Registered User Jonathan Peck's Avatar
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    Well if the mando I have here in the office is tuned to pitch, I've got it in 'B'
    And now for today's weather....sunny, with a chance of legs

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with singing in the same key as "those guys," if your voice is in the same range, and if you're fluent enough on your instrument to play in that key. Remember, recordings enable people to add all kinds of studio legerdemain. Flatt & Scruggs used to tune their instruments a half-tone sharp, to make them sound "brighter" for recordings. Makes it a bit tough to play along with the recording, unless you do the same. Modern studios have "pitch control" software, and can move vocal or instrumental lines up and down in pitch without changing the tempo.

    Do what feels (and sounds) good to you.
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    Ratcliff A #45
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    Thanks everyone. My intention is to use the recording to play along with and to try to pick up some of the licks that Grisman used in backup. I figured knowing the key would be the first step to getting the chord progression down.

    The idea of me singing whilst I play (in any key) is still a far-off fantasy!

    Allenhopkins, I hear what you're saying (see what you're writing?). I'm not so much trying to play just like those guys, but to use that recording as a jumping-off point. I have to learn it in some key first, so I might as well use the recording, if that makes sense.

    Thanks again--I'm off to study and pick awhile!

    Milan
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Ah, the marvels of technology! B is sharp, and Bb is flat. Good thing I have the Amazing Slow Downer if I want to play along with it!
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

    "Theory only seems like rocket science when you don't know it. Once you understand it, it's more like plumbing!"~John McGann

    "IT'S T-R-E-M-O-L-O, dangit!!"~Me

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    it's in the key of b, people always seem to take a seemingly uncomplicated answer and turn it into this rant about how he should or shouldn't be playing. You guys made my day. Grisman's break on that is awesome, you should also check out tennesee waltz and bury me beneath the willow. Two other good ones on that cd to play along with. I think they're both in C.

  10. #10
    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Hedding, how do you know it's played in B on the Grisman/Stanley version? Did you see a video of it? Because the recording is between the keys of B and Bb. There is no way to know whether it is played in either key without watching them play it. I think this is why the OP "wants to say" Bb. You can't tell by listening.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

    "Theory only seems like rocket science when you don't know it. Once you understand it, it's more like plumbing!"~John McGann

    "IT'S T-R-E-M-O-L-O, dangit!!"~Me

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    maybe i didn't notice something you're picking up on. The version I have sure sounds like B i could very well be wrong however, why would it be between the keys? Did they alter the song after they played it or something?

    edit: after going back and listening again there isn't a perfect match with either b or b flat, I thought it sounded "closer" to B which I why i was playing it there. My apologies for not making the distinction.




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    Not that I'm sure my mandolin is in perfect tune, but to me the recording
    sounds closer to B than B flat, slightly flat, though.
    It's the key that Monroe used in
    1966, FWIW, and B is a much more common key than Bb in bluegrass.

    I listened closley to the mandolin solo and it appeared to use
    chord forms and no open strings. Normally you would hear more
    open strings and first position in Bb.

    But Grisman isn't quite normal,
    I suppose. That tone ....

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    i love when he states the theme up the neck with his tremelo. Doesn't get any better.

  14. #14
    Ratcliff A #45
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    I appreciate the input, folks. I went with B.

    I wanted to work out that lick he does over the last two measures of the first sung verse. I think it is, starting at the high B on the first string, B-C#-B-F# (9th fret, 2nd string)-E-D-B (2nd fret, 2nd string). I hope that's coherent.

    Any comments on that would be appreciated...I don't want "the answer" just if I'm on the right track.

    Thanks,
    Milan



    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Tighthead @ April 30 2007, 00:23)
    I appreciate the input, folks. I went with B.

    I wanted to work out that lick he does over the last two measures of the first sung verse. I think it is, starting at the high B on the first string, B-C#-B-F# (9th fret, 2nd string)-E-D-B (2nd fret, 2nd string). I hope that's coherent.

    Any comments on that would be appreciated...I don't want "the answer" just if I'm on the right track.

    Thanks,
    Milan
    Since you don't want the answer, I say, toy around with that
    phrase a bit, and you'll get a lot of nice bluesy
    ideas. Don't know what he actually plays,
    but I think a d sounds better than c#.

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    try doing b (7th fret E string) and then d# (11th fret on the e string hit this with your pinky) then back to the b, F# (9th fret A) then slide from the d to the d# (don't slide as a grace note but a full 8th note) on the A string then hit the b on the D string 9th fret. he does that lick a couple times which is a monroe kind of thing after as a little fill before the next lyrics. You'll notice that this idea comes right out of the B "block" bluegrass chord that a lot of monroe ideas come from. Grisman plays a lot more like monroe than a lot of people think especially in his bluegrass recordings he just approaches it with different tone and his own little dawgisms.

    The difference between what I did and what you posted above is instead of sliding down or shifting down to the B on the second fret of the A string you've stayed in the B chord position and played the B on the 8th fret on the D string. Try it both ways, it's good practice to be able to shift from those two positions successfully.




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    Ratcliff A #45
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    Hey thanks, hedding and "Sweet Pete". Hedding, that phrase you showed me is interesting--I can't make it sound quite right yet, but I'll keep playing with it. Opened up some other insights, too, with what Pete mentioned. Really appreciate the ideas.
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

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    Yep, Frank Wakefield taught David a lot of the Monroe style & he picked up more watchin' Bill live
    & woodsheddin' with the tapes and records....David can certainly play straight BG with his take on
    the vintage classic licks, making it sound like it should.

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    tighthead, if you don't already have these two get them immediately, home is where the heart is and bluegrass reunion. If you tab out all of david's breaks off both those cd's, you'll know a lot about playing bluegrass mandolin, there are so many ideas there it's just amazing. This is what I have been doing and then since many of these songs are old standards I will go out and get monroe's version or whoevers and attempt to tab that out as well. Looking at the differences in intepretting the same melody has really opened up some new ideas for me. I would get those two cd's though.

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    A side note:

    Very often musicians will tune a little higher than standard to make the instruments and arrangements sound a little snappier. That's probably what's going on here. They're likely playing in Bb, tuned a little higher than standard.

    Monroe did that a lot -- especially during the 50's. You can listen to "Old Home Place" picking out all those licks in A. Then if you try to play along, it's just shy of Bb.

    Incidentally, I sing "All the Good Times Are Past and Gone" in C. It makes that tenor part super high like Red's!

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    I doubt they intentionally tuned high.....more typically these pitch issues have to do with the speed of a
    tape player, or DAT, or whatever machines are used in recording, mixing, and mastering. You know recorded on one
    machine and played back over another. There are numerous famous jazz CD's a bit out of tune. Then there is your
    home CD player.....is it a boombox....cheap stand alone....or an audiophile type player? You'll note that
    this CD in question, was recorded in many different sessions, on a lot of different machines, over many years.
    I think they could have probably tuned it digitally.....but Acoustic Disc is more into a natural unprocessed sound
    these days. Their last CD was live in the studio right to 2 track.




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    Quote Originally Posted by (craichead @ May 01 2007, 10:48)
    A side note:

    Very often musicians will tune a little higher than standard to make the instruments and arrangements sound a little snappier. #That's probably what's going on here. #They're likely playing in Bb, tuned a little higher than standard.

    Monroe did that a lot -- especially during the 50's. #You can listen to "Old Home Place" picking out all those licks in A. #Then if you try to play along, it's just shy of Bb.

    Incidentally, I sing "All the Good Times Are Past and Gone" in C. #It makes that tenor part super high like Red's!
    I doubt that very strongly - that kind of thing belongs to an older era, like
    heavy strings and super-high action. Besides, B is a standard, or even symbol,
    key in Bluegrass.


    I associate this practice mainly with Flatt and Scruggs, e.g.,
    on Scruggs' instrumentals, and can't think of that many Monroe examples
    (the tune you mention is I'm on My Way to the Old Home).
    Possibly Voice From on High (sounds like Eb - but the video on YouTube is in D)
    and Wayfaring Stranger (A flat). In the latter case there's a piano or an organ
    so there it's really A flat, nothing else.

    (On Jericho Road, recorded in the early 60's, the second verse is
    in Ab. There's no modulation, and I guess it was spliced, so the
    banjo player and guitarist could capo between verses. A really odd number
    is Pretty Fair Maid, in F#; but Monroe's playing is very awkward on that tune
    so I don't believe the tune sharp on that song either).

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    Well, I hate to sound like a know it all, but they did in fact tune high on purpose.

    Frank Wakefield told me that himself about two weeks ago.

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    Well, you certainly don't sound like one, as what you knew
    for a fact #two weeks before
    May 01 16:48 was still a conjecture on May 01 10:48.

    Just curious: what was Wakefield's role on that session?

    Basically, I would say it's a very poor idea to tune not quite
    up to pitch, or slightly sharp,
    especially if you have a singer in the band. Maybe we now have
    the explanation why Monroe's singing is so horrible on that
    Old Home cut?

    Anyway, the topic starter makes no mistake in studying this
    piece in the key of B, as most of his stuff will
    transpose easily to C, B flat and A, without falling into the traps
    offered by open strings.




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    Ratcliff A #45
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    Interesting discussion. I played this for my instructor at my lesson today, and he immediately said "B? But's in-between somehow."

    Is it safe to say that in the liner notes for the song, Grisman makes no mention of the tuning? I don't have the CD--I just bought it from iTunes.
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

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