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Nashville Skyline Rag final thoughts & recording

Posted by jeliyesil on Sunday, January 16, 2011

I posted a slowed-down recording from my transcription on this site, so if you're interested in how it came out, take a listen. Hopefully it's slow enough to learn the tune from if you're looking to do that. I was going to post my transcription as well, but when I took a look over there, there's already one up there that's pretty much the same as what I came up with. So if you're looking for a tab of this version, it's already there. At first I felt like I did a lot of work for nothing, since I could have just used the tab, but by listening closely and transcribing it myself, I learned a lot about what's going on in that tune, so well worth the effort I think.

I'm able to play this at about a medium pace now pretty cleanly, although I still sometimes stumble over that part on the E chord, where he starts out playing that Foggy Mt. Breakdown Em lick, then partway through the measure does a A to B slide on his way up to the A chord.

That technique is what I've mainly taken away from this tune. Over the years, I've fallen into rolling over, say an Em pattern for the duration of that chord, then moving on to the next thing. But as in that lick I was talking about above, he gets 3 1/2 beats into the Em measure, then does 1/2 measure of the slide to move himself up to that A chord. That allows him to get there quickly and hit that first beat really solidly, even anticipating the beat a little. I think that's part of the key to that syncopated sound he's famous for.

The other technique I've taken away from the tune is to use open strings to get yourself where you need to go quickly, even if they're not a note in the chord (as long as they work with the chord). In that 2nd measure, when he's rolling on the F chord, he plays the open D string a little bit quietly on the last half beat of the measure, allowing him to really emphasize the G note on the first beat of the next measure. When I hung on to the F chord and played a clean F note in that last half measure, I really couldn't get that emphasis on the G note.

In the ending, he's using a C chord lick up the neck, but to get back down to the 5th fret to play the last 3 notes, he uses an open B string. Not part of the chord, but it's a major 7, so it's ok, and it goes by really quickly. It does sound strange when you slow it way down though!

So that's it for this tune for now, I'll keep working on it to get it up to speed, and hopefully some of these techniques will leak over into my playing.

New tune tomorrow, not sure what it is yet, probably a vocal from one of the Bluegrass Albums...

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