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Gilliangirl

WTH is Jimmie Rodgers doing?

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Okay, from what I can tell, he's playing in the key of G. And it has to be an open tuning. But if he's starting on the third fret, that would make the tuning open E. Do you think that's what's going on here? I always wondered how he played that song. The online chords are wrong (surprise, surprise! lol)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWz6cMULQBc

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It SOUNDS more like EBEG# tuning than anything to me. So, more like a E chord shape than a G chord shapE.

 

The G shape has the notes of the 1ST (root) 3rd, fifth and first. The E shape has the root 5th 1st 3rd. Slightly different tonality.

 

I hear 3 maybe 4 note chords here, and I hear the 3rd at times as the upper note. I can also see he is using his fingers to mute the top strings, and I don't hear them being played.

 

I'm gonna guess open E, E B E G# B E.

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It's a bit tricky trying to figure this out from old videotape, as slight tape speed differences cause pitch changes. Certainly some kind of funky open tuning. Sounds minor rather than major to me.

 

I didn't realize JR was still alive. Doing a bit of a search, it appears that he was self-taught, and probably concentrated more on his singing than his guitar playing. I've seen pictures of him playing more-or-less conventionally, but in all the video I've seen, he uses this same thumb technique and open tuning.

 

Sort of like Joanie M, who never found an EADGBE she liked.

 

That technique must be pretty hard on the wrist!

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Definitely playing in E tuning (in the key of G)...barring with his thumb. I kinda remember myself even doing that as a wee youngster, proossibly even imitating Jimmie Rodgers, as an alternative semi-rebel way of playing. Keep in mind during that era, there were much more "formal" rules of how one should play the guitar, (and one of the formal edicts from the classical guitar world of Segovia at that time certainly was to never ever fret with or use one's left thumb. Formal classical rules from that period were (and probably still are, something like)...the thumb's position should stay at the middle of the back of the neck. So, Jimmie Rodgers was being totally outlandishly rebellious with his thumb usage during this particular period. (Still seems a bit outlandishly rebellious, yes? Especially on that way cool archtop he's playing.) This video was a good find.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Go tune into Richie Havens and you'll see the thumb technique used to wonderful results! I did it back in the day when I whacked my fingers doing framing/carpentry. Never got good at it but, hey...it worked!

 

I have a good friend who uses his thumb when playing a barre chord, Major or minor. Instead of barring the fret with an index finger he barres the trebles with his finger and the bass with his thumb. Took me a while to get used to it when I was jamming with him and watching his chording. He's a dang fine player, too.

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It SOUNDS more like EBEG# tuning than anything to me. So, more like a E chord shape than a G chord shapE.

 

The G shape has the notes of the 1ST (root) 3rd, fifth and first. The E shape has the root 5th 1st 3rd. Slightly different tonality.

 

I hear 3 maybe 4 note chords here, and I hear the 3rd at times as the upper note. I can also see he is using his fingers to mute the top strings, and I don't hear them being played.

 

I'm gonna guess open E, E B E G# B E.

 

Aha! You're right. Here I thought he was just playing that way for convenience but he's actually muting the two (?) top strings. I tried doing it but it's not as easy as it looks! If you were going to just play all strings you would just barre the whole fret so that's why he's doing it that way.

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It's a bit tricky trying to figure this out from old videotape, as slight tape speed differences cause pitch changes. Certainly some kind of funky open tuning. Sounds minor rather than major to me.

 

I didn't realize JR was still alive. Doing a bit of a search, it appears that he was self-taught, and probably concentrated more on his singing than his guitar playing. I've seen pictures of him playing more-or-less conventionally, but in all the video I've seen, he uses this same thumb technique and open tuning.

 

Sort of like Joanie M, who never found an EADGBE she liked.

 

That technique must be pretty hard on the wrist!

 

He's still alive? I had no idea! Haha, yeah, has Joni ever played in standard? I don't think so [blink]

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I'm sure Mitchell played and tried the most – and the straight tuning might even be exotic for her. Then there is the piano. She never got to tune that around, did she. Of course it could be done. And the results should be just as intriguing as the ones from a guitar. Maybe here's a concept for the next album Joni. . . .

 

Funny thing about re-tuning is that it can make common chords and chord-progressions sound more sophisticated than they are. I just learned A Case Of You (after all these years) and it is beginners chords. She plays it on the dulcimer which gives it that otherworldly flavour. Genius - Wish I had seen her live. . .

 

Joniwith.jpg

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Okay, from what I can tell, he's playing in the key of G. And it has to be an open tuning. But if he's starting on the third fret, that would make the tuning open E. Do you think that's what's going on here? I always wondered how he played that song. The online chords are wrong (surprise, surprise! lol)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWz6cMULQBc

 

 

 

Karen, look him up on Wikipedia. It explains his whole range (4) of Baritone guitar drop tunings such as, Gibson EB-6. Hope that helps.

 

Hall

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I'm sure Mitchell played and tried the most – and the straight tuning might even be exotic for her. Then there is the piano. She never got to tune that around, did she. Of course it could be done. And the results should be just as intriguing as the ones from a guitar. Maybe here's a concept for the next album Joni. . . .

 

 

 

The voicings in open tunings are so different that they really catch your ear, particularly once you move away from the common ones like open D. Tom Rush is another guy who used/uses open tunings a lot. Then, of course there was Michael Hedges, who did things with the guitar that no one even conceived of. Richie Havens has already been mentioned, of course

 

The only thing I used to dislike about open tuning was the time it took me to de-tune and re-tune between songs, particuarly if you are playing in a noisy place. Watch some of the youtube video of Michael Hedges tuning sometime, and you get a feel for how complex it can really be.

 

I have to admit that I used to dislike all of Joni Mitchell's odd tunings, as I just thought of it as a simple way to get at more exotic chords and voicings than you can reach on the board with conventional tuning. I didn't really appreciate her for a long time.

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"The only thing I used to dislike about open tuning was the time it took me to de-tune and re-tune between songs, particuarly if you are playing in a noisy place.

 

 

Made Nick Drake go nuts. . . .

 

 

"I have to admit that I used to dislike all of Joni Mitchell's odd tunings, as I just thought of it as a simple way to get at more exotic chords and voicings than you can reach on the board with conventional tuning. I didn't really appreciate her for a long time."

 

Ouuch Nick, that one was expensive. There's no such thing as a simple way for Roberta J. Mitchell.

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Ouuch Nick, that one was expensive. There's no such thing as a simple way for Roberta J. Mitchell.

 

I know you're right on that one. We get strange prejudices at different times in our lives. At that time, I was in love with sweet Judy blue eyes, who had brought me in from the cold to sit behind the curtain 20 feet away from her during a big concert. I was 20, and couldn't afford a ticket. She was 25, beautiful, and at the absolute top of her game. I was smitten.

 

Joni was quirky and poetic, and far too intense for me then. Now when I go back and listen to her--and both of them are still on my ipod when I travel (which is pretty much constantly)--I marvel at what a storyteller she was, and is.

 

I told you I've always had a thing for one person, with one instrument, up on stage.

 

We do grow outgrow some of our obsessions.......but not all of them, thank God.

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I told you I've always had a thing for one person, with one instrument, up on stage.

 

Totally agree.

Glad you turned around about J.M. – I'm sure it made you a richer man. She is a goddess of mine and the day I pass Joni they can finally count me out.

"We're only particles of change I know I know - orbiting around the sun -

But how can I have that point of view, , , when I'm always bound and tied to someone. . ."

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Hello,

 

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

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJJ-mNSRfww

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Hello,

 

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

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJJ-mNSRfww

Thanks for chiming in.

 

It is always helpful getting info from the source (or close to it) even if a guess can be close or correct. Being sure helps a great deal more than guessing, especially with someone so influential and worthy of study.

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Yes! Thanks for the info Michael and welcome to the Gibson Forums. There are many of us on the forum that will love to 'pick your brain' on Jimmie's music and instruments.

I assume that you are a musician(guitarist) yourself ?

Your name is perfect.... [biggrin]

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Michael, thanks for chiming in and talking about your dad.

I watched every show of his when I was a kid and he was one of the handfull of musicians who inspired me to learn to play guitar.

I do hope he is doing well.

 

Frank.

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Michael, I was one of those people your dad was trying to keep dancin back in that timeframe. He wasn't the evil, wicked Elvis the Pelvis of the day but helped pave the way for the transition to the more R&B flavored type r n'r that was coming along. I really appreciate your comments about how he developed his playing style. Modern day 'auto-tuner' musicians don't hold a candle. And thanks Karen for putting this one up.

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An amazing artist, and one of the first 'crossover' artists way back then.

 

A true stylist, no one can hear his stuff without immediately knowing who it is.

 

Thank God he's still with us, and he deserves more recognition, as a pioneer in music.

 

I recall seeing him play before, and as someone mentioned Ritchie Havens earlier, his tunings and easy barre style is great...but his right hand is amazing!

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.... I hope this helps answer your questions in some way. Thanks for your interest in his work. All the best,

Michael Rodgers

 

Welcome.

 

And thanks for posting the tuning info and the story. . B)

 

 

.

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Having the son of one of the all-time greats come in here is sweet. Jimmie Rodgers is an awesome talent. From what I've read, he's doing well, and I hope that continues for many years. I don't think anyone who has heard "Honeycomb" or "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" can ever forget them. The energy he puts into "Honeycomb" is contagious, and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" has got to be one of the greatest folk (or any other kind of song) songs ever....and absolutly no one can sing it like Rodgers. Thanks for starting this thread, Karen. Great stuff....and you can make this thread even better by making a current comment....You are missed on this forum. You are the kind of person a forum needs.

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Having the son of one of the all-time greats come in here is sweet. Jimmie Rodgers is an awesome talent. From what I've read, he's doing well, and I hope that continues for many years. I don't think anyone who has heard "Honeycomb" or "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" can ever forget them. The energy he puts into "Honeycomb" is contagious, and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" has got to be one of the greatest folk (or any other kind of song) songs ever....and absolutly no one can sing it like Rodgers. Thanks for starting this thread, Karen. Great stuff....and you can make this thread even better by making a current comment....You are missed on this forum. You are the kind of person a forum needs.

 

 

+ 1001

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