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Song Arrangement Help

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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Hi,

I got turned onto a Keith Richards cover a couple of months ago. Two of them actually. He's sitting at a piano during his Toronto days and came up with some really soulful vocals along with some very slowed down rhythm. The whole thing added up to a very, um, soulful rendition of an old country song. I'm not sure of the style's name, but it's the type of song that you'd sing at about 2:00 AM with about 7 of your friends who are too ****** to move and can only stare out from behind the glaze that is there eyes.

Here's the link. Go to the 4:02 mark to get to the start of the song. It's called Sing Me Back Home. He slowed it down A LOT, and gave it soul...despite his voice not being that great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIVJ9XYRxjc

So, I've tried a few different things.
A: Arpeggios. Never really bothered doign before, but thought it might be the right thing to do here. It seemed to work, Except the D, I'd hit the bass note and then the g-b-e strings and back up with e-b-g-d

B: Really slow struming: Sounded too full or energetic.

C: Partial strums with fills: Sounded better What I did mostly was a patial chord at the changes and then whatever I felt like for fill-ins until the next chord. Sometimes it sounded great, and other times it didn't.

Any thoughts?

At any rate, it was a good slow song to try to learn as anything harder was getting to my head. Here's the song in chord form so you can follow along. Sounded like Richards was doing his best Dylan impersonations at the time.
Sing Me Back Home
Merle Haggard

A E D A
The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
A E
I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
A E D A
And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
A E A
'Let my guitar playing friend do my request.' (Let him...)

CHORUS:
A E D A
Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
A E
Make my old memories come alive
A E D A
Take me away and turn back the years
A E A
Sing Me Back Home before I die

I recall last Sunday morning a choir came in from town
Just to sing a few old gospel song
And I heard him tell the singers 'There's a song my mama sang.
Can I hear once before we move along?'

CHORUS
[A E D - A]
[Sing Me Back Home before I die ]

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@big-lar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 165
 

How about the good old "Boom-chucka". It is a country song after all. Or maybe a more extensive walking bass line.


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Topic starter  

How about the good old "Boom-chucka". It is a country song after all. Or maybe a more extensive walking bass line.

I'm slowing it wayyyyyyy down like the you tube clip.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@big-lar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 165
 

Ah, gotcha. I'm at work and youtube is blocked. :( I'm at a loss then.


   
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(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

I'd go with a combination of A (arpeggios) and C (partial chord strums and fills), trying to imitate the piano at least rhythmically, if not note for note. And giving some space to the proceedings as well. For instance, the first A could be something like this:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

E - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - 3 - - 2 - - 0 - - - -
G - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - 2 - - - - - - -
D - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the first couple of notes with single ringing bass strings will give you a lot of space to work in the partial chords and fills without feeling like you have to fill up every space.

Also, don't be shy about using ornamental touches and short chord substitutions, especially things like sus4 chords. He's playing a lot of "added" notes to the chords, which technically makes them embellished and some of those embellishments are a lot easier on the piano than the guitar. So you want to come up with a few of your own that can make it work. Things like different voicings - A9 (x05600) for A, for instance, or an up the neck voicing for E7 such as 076700.

Finally, use your 12 string. That'll make it work really well in terms of combining style A and C.

Hope this helps. I'm sure you're going to come up with something good.

Peace


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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I appreciate the try, Big Lar. I wonder what a 15 second boom-chaka would sound like.... :)

David: Yeah, that style piano playing he did was kind of what I was hoping to accomplish on guitar. Not note for note, neccesarily, rather adapted enough to have it sound really good on guitar. I had been breaking up the timing a good bit.

I didn't think of the combo of bass note with partial chords afterwards. That alone sounds better. Adding the embellishment notes also added to the flavor. I think that might have been the final piece of the puzzle for me.

I also found myself not only putting a little emphasis on the bass note for the ring, but the bottom (or high) note(s) as well.

It's surely amazing how a few seemingly minor touches can go a long way. Even with a straight arppegio, it does not sound like someone is doing a straight up arpeggio.

Well, thanks so much! I'll practice some more and post something on SoundClick.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Being familiar with different instruments and how they typically approach things can help you develop different ideas on how to play guitar. Being able to play the other instruments certainly helps (just listen to anything Arjen does!) but it's not a necessity.

We've briefly touched on some of these ideas in the Guitar Noise Podcasts, and I'm hoping to have two or three podcasts focusing on "piano style" guitar later this summer.

You've already sussed out the cool thing about playing this way - that you can put an emphasis on any part of the chord or even to single notes or double stops. As you're singing, you'll find yourself doing this more and more and it will make your arrangement even more personal.

The "minor touches," as you put it, are what makes any arrangement.

Looking forward to hearing it!

Peace


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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An interesting experience. I was messing with it this evening, and all in all, pretty fun. It was turning out pretty decent. I kind of had an idea what I wanted to do, but nothing hard-written out. It was just flowing.

Then, for some reason, I decided to dirty up the tone a little bit just to see what it'd be like. That's when it totally changed. I abandoned the initial strategy I had in the clean-tone version and went with something totally different by the end of the first attempt. I recorded the 2nd attempt and was still messing with things. You can hear in the recording where some things worked and some things didn't. Anyhow, this is what my second go 'round sounds like. http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=833547&content=music

It's a different world than regular 'ol strumming. BTW, the clean version was more technically sound and really kind of sad and pretty, but this has a little bang :?: to it that I like.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

Sounds like you've found the "vibe" of this thing.
Have you tried playing this along with Keef's recording? I bet it'd sound right.

Hmmm... I wonder how to capture the audio from a youtube video, and pull it into Audacity?...

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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(@rparker)
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I never thought of that, Kent. I imagine I could mic my speakers in between 'em? I think I'd still need to slow it down some more to flow with Richard's piano version.

This is all making me think about recording my clean version and playing the dirty version to that.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@jersey-jack)
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Posts: 189
 

Okay, not to hijack this thread, which I know is about shaping a guitar accompaniment, but I have to call a brief time-out to recognize the greatness of Merle Haggard, the songwriter. Keef knows what I mean and would expect nothing less. The man is to my mind the Dylan of country songwriting. Though his arrangements can (at times) get a bit cheesy, the songs are amazing--and there's a ton of them.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

********

Good sound on the recording. Now you should try singing along! 8)


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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This site converts them into a lot of formats . . .
in your case to mp3.
http://youconvertit.com/OnlineVideo.aspx
Beautiful sound. AEDA
Is that what Ignar means when he talks of chord progression?
If so, that's a good one.
I'll have to play with this one.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480
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Ignar is worlds above me in class, talent and good looks. However, I do think that's what he talks about. Chord progression is, at least my interpretation, the order in which you play the chords. For example, the basic blues is a 1-4-5 (or I-IV-V). So, for some of my Robert Johnson impersonations, that's A-D-E.....or in reality, A7-D7-E7. Sounds better for da bloooze. I also do a G7-C7-A7 progression that I like....again, lifted from Robert Johnson.

For this one, it was A-E-D-A on some lines and A-E on others. I'm not sure what mode or construct this is called. I just did what the chord sheet said. It's some sort of chord progression.

I've learned quite a bit with this exercise. I've always done some of it, but never improvised. The pinky hitting a high note for a little embellishment goes a long way.

Jersey Jack: If you scroll down on the soundclick page, there are a couple of examples of my singing. I didn't want to ruin this piece by adding my that to it. :lol: :lol: I actually play better, timing wise, when singing though.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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