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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Shady Grove in Em

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strumn1 - Posted - 02/27/2009:  18:35:38

I have learned Shady Grove in the key of Am (G modal or sawmill tuning capoed up 2 frets). My guitar player insists on playing Shady Grove in Em. Can anyone suggest a tuning that would allow me to play this in Em?

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/27/2009:  20:54:12

I'd insist the guitar player change. That's the standard approach. If he can play it in Em, Am should be no trouble at all. If he's not willing to flex, find another guitar player. I say that because if he insists on calling the keys (when singing's not a big deal) then you're going to have a lot more trouble down the road. It's far easier to change keys on a guitar than a banjo, which is necessarily limited.


jduke - Posted - 02/27/2009:  21:01:36

I really like songs done in the key of Em, even though I only play two songs that way, Shady Grove and Blackest Crow. I play both using open G tuning. Jeff

JD Uke

strumn1 - Posted - 02/27/2009:  21:02:33

I should have mentioned that he is also the lead singer and finds this key best suited to his voice.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/27/2009:  22:41:07

Okay, that's different of course. Try capoing double-C up four frets and playing Doc Watson's version. It's based in minor, so it should work out.


janolov - Posted - 02/27/2009:  23:32:04

I think I have seen a version in Fm in fCFCD tuning in an earlier discussion here. If you want to play in Em you can use the same tab but tune the banjo eBEBC#


oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/28/2009:  00:22:02

I guess that I shouold first ask if you are playing it in E minor or E dorian. E dorain would use only 2 chords - E minor and D Major).

If this is how you are doing the tune You can quite easily play it out of Double C Capo 2 (aka Double D tuning). The scale of E dorian is identical to D major. In fact a lot of Irish tunes have at least one part in E dorian - Drowsy Maggie for example
The Eminor chord you need would be x2223 although I rarely fret the entire chord. I also find it better to play the suspended 2nd of the Dmajor chord -- open strings in double D tuning.

If you are in E minor and are using E minor A minor and B7th and/or a number of other modern chordings I doubt seriously that this tunign would work out well. F tuning capoed 2 (to G - the relative major of E minor) might work but it is not a very good tuning for chords - It would probably be simpler to play it out of straight G tuning.

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freddfish - Posted - 02/28/2009:  09:23:55

Originally posted by strumn1

I have learned Shady Grove in the key of Am (G modal or sawmill tuning capoed up 2 frets). My guitar player insists on playing Shady Grove in Em. Can anyone suggest a tuning that would allow me to play this in Em?

I was just playing this tune with my boys last night, in Em. I never saw the need to capo up or use alternate tunings. I just use open G and this chord progression

Shady grove, my little love
Shady grove, my darlin'
Shady grove, my little love
I'm a'goin' back to Harlan.

Fred from Baltimore

"These boys is not white!! Hell, they ain''t even old-timey!!"

-Homer Stokes, in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/28/2009:  16:55:36

Do you play it as a banjo tune though? I assumed that's what the issue is here.


strumn1 - Posted - 02/28/2009:  17:11:56

I'm not sure I understand your question Bill. We don't play it as an is sung. I do however play throughout the song and want to take an instrumental break. There is also a guitar, mandolin, bass, and harmonica. Having read and tried all the suggestions so far (thank you), I was playing around with it today. It seems to lend itself pretty well to EBEAE tuning. I get a sort of double drone with that first string, but it doesn't sound bad. Thanks for all the suggestions, and any more you may have.

ZEPP - Posted - 02/28/2009:  17:54:35

I just tried it in G tuning and I, too, found it to be quite easy. So, I did a quick video of my left hand to show how it mght be done:

Hope this helps.


Edited by - ZEPP on 03/01/2009 21:31:26

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