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Different Style of Playing

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I'm sure some of the folks in here remember this guy. He had his own way of playing guitar. He had a string of pretty big hits back in the late 50's and early 60's, then in the late 60's he suffered a severe head injury and he's had health problems ever since, including the loss of his previously wide vocal range.. He's still around and I understand he still performs and draws big crowds.


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Yea he was a good singer with some catchy hits. Open tuning and using a thumb bar technique.Even gets key changes in.

Did Richie Havens play like that too? Thumb bar.



Richie Havens played a lot in a similar style, using open barre chords and that big long thumb, a lot of it in open D (D,A,D,F#,A, D). This is also one of the tunings Jackson Browne uses--for example, on "Call it a Loan"--but his playing style is dramatically different.


I leave one guitar semi-permanently in open D for Jackson Browne songs. Anyone who has played his stuff knows that it looks and sounds easy, but his picking style is pretty special, and his tunings create a style that is instantly recognizable. Put Joni Mitchell in that category of really good guitarists who rarely (if ever) play in "straight" tuning.

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Those songs got played on radio a lot, and still do, but I have never seen him play before. Sounds good, but it is really backing yourself into a corner just using the thumb, unless of course your other fingers are crippled like Django. Apart from Richie Havens, I saw another guy played similar except he played with a puppet on his hand. Weird, but maybe he had injuries.




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Found this on the forum...stuff was posted about Jimmy before and his son added a comment




I just found this site and saw the question about the Jimmie Rodgers tuning and guitar technique.

My name is Michael Rodgers and I am Jimmie's son. His tuning is an open E G# B E G# B

He developed his style of playing a hard right hand rhythm trying to keep people dancin in the honky tonks of Nashville while working as a solo act.

You will notice that on Honeycomb he changes keys in the song after every verse by moving up the frets a half step. For songs needing a minor tuning like his "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" he detunes the G# strings to a G. His style continued to develop throughout his career and he is able to do some amazing finger picking and thumb work on songs like "It's Over and many other of his hits. I hope this helps answer your questions in some way. Thanks for your interest in his work. All the best,

Michael Rodgers

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