Hey Boyd - have you watched the other lessons on this song? This is lesson 4. Lesson 1 called "Teaching The Song" shows the chords very clearly, including chord diagrams in the notation.
Hope this help,
Such a great lesson - especially the stuff about overtones. I've never really been clear when peope talk about certain guitars having more or less 'harmonic content' and 'complexity'. I think I understand it better now. Trying to pick out the overtones on various guitars reveals that some come through more than others....cool!
I still need to practice hearing them clearly though. I think it might be a little like wine tasting...and first you don't know how people are picking out all these different flavours .... vanilla, blackcurrent, oak etc. It just tastes like wine that you either like or don't - then you practice and you start to be able to pick them out.
Thanks for going into this in-depth!
Makes perfect sense. Thanks very much for taking the time to answer the question!
Here you go!
Great, thanks for sending the video! Yes, I do wind up changing the angle of the pick as I play across the strings. It's purely an ergonomic thing, but as I get to the lower strings (5th and 6th) my pick angle in towards the guitar flips so that a rest stroke could come on an upstroke. I'm not actually playing rest strokes, but it is the same concept of driving in toward the top. The rotation of the pick on the imaginary axis from the point through the back of the pick stays consistent however.
So, to be clear, the flip doesn't happen because I am playing in a certain direction per se; it happens because I physically wind up on the lower strings and the ergonomics change.
Thanks for asking this question because I never realized that I do this!
This is such a great lesson. I come back and watch it regularly!
A quick question - when it comes to angling the pick around the string you talk about doing that with a downward angle...do you ever angle it upwards...so in other words making your upstrokes play into the guitar as opposed to your downstrokes? As I play around with this downward slanting I find it makes certain things more "sticky" to play for want of a better phrase. Example - the first bar of Gold Rush B section where it's descending two notes per string down the pentatonic scale.
I know a lot of rock players are into the two way pick slanting thing but would love to know what you think about that...electric guitars players have more help when it comes to tone generation, obviously.
Hey Lewis, thanks for the question. I think I understand what you're talking about, but just to be sure, can you show me on a video?
Wow - how's that for service :) I really appreciate your quick response. I think for me personally the more condensed view is just less intuitive to navigate because nearly every other piece of flatpicking tab or tuition material I've seen has gone with the 8th note view (and I acknowlegde that they're not really 8th notes but you know what I mean). The 2 bars/line approach certainly works best for me so I appreciate you taking the time to change it. Obviously I am but 1 member here so I'm not going to be put out if others - or Chris - want to stick with how you did it originally.
Thanks again for the responsiveness. Loving SJ and Chris's lessons especially.
Not to detract in any way from a great lesson but.....jeez it's harder to read tabs when everything is shown as 16th notes instead of 8th notes......is this the 'new, highly requested sheet music design' that the SJ emails have been referring to? Because I can't believe this was highly requested by flatpickers.....
Hi Lewis --- thanks for the feedback on this. We were actually debating whether to show this as 2 bars / line as opposed to 4 bars / line. I've updated the sheet music to show 2 bars / line. Please let me know what you think.
As an FYI --- we show it as 16th notes because that is how Chris tends to think of these tunes musically (Chris --- please correct me if I'm wrong).
Lastly --- thanks for letting us know (even when you're frustrated) --- it's how we make a better service.
Thanks for your feedback on this stuff. Agreed about the number of measures per line.
I've also noticed that other people tend to write flatpicking notation and tablature in 8th notes but I've chosen to have them written as 16th notes because, to me, that's more fundamentally what they are.
Also, the way that I have verbally counted out phrases and measures (and explained how to count them) in all the lessons so far is in quarters that are subdivided into 16th notes. I fear that if the notation didn't reflect that things would get confusing for people who are cross-referencing the two.
Awesome, thanks again Chris
Chris thank you for that feedback. Much appreciated.
I'm working on the rest stroke piece - I've found a couple of things that are making it a bit easier and I wanted to see what you thought about them - in particular because they're a departure from how I normally play and might even be considered "bad habits" in other contexts...
1) Pick depth - I'm finding my success rate on playing the sweeps with rest strokes increases if I use less pick in the strings. I don't know if it's less pick, or the fact that it brings my hand closer to the strings, but it seems to work. The fact that it's rest strokes and thus stronger and clearer seems to compensate for the loss of tone in having less pick in the strings
2) Right arm positioning - normally (and you can see from my video) my picking arm comes down over the top at about 45 degrees. I'm finding that by moving my arm further round the butt of the guitar so my arm is more like 35 degrees from the horizonatal, it sets my hand up better to play these rest stroke sweeps. It feels more like I'm pulling the pick through the sweep rather than pushing it and it feels like I have more control
3) Ordinarily if I'm going from playing on the high strings to the low, I move my whole hand. I'm finding that it's easier to play this tune by "basing" my hand physically lower (so it feels like it's centres around the G and B strings) and then "reaching" up to play the lower strings, using the elasticity of my hand rather than picking hand motion to drive the sweep back down.
Hopefully those desctiptions make sense - I guess I'd really value your opinion about whether it's a step too far to apply quite so much adaptive technique in the pursuit of playing one piece, or if any of the specific things I'm doing are a particualrly bad idea.
Good work Kip! The sweeps are a killer aren't they? I find trying to control them introduces a ton of tension in my wrist at the moment, which I'll need to work on.
Thank you Kip & Bryn. I appreciate that.
Well, after about 20 takes and quite a few expletives, I got this far!
Chris this lesson is amazing - I've been trying to get to grips with this version of the tune forever. I have the Tony Rice instruction video that the youtbe clip is from and must have watched it hundreds of times and still not got close. This lesson has got me closer in just a couple of views and whilst I'm still light years away, at least I can see what I'm shooting for now! thanks a million.
Lewis - I have no idea what Chris will say but from my view point your run at it is awesome. I'm light years from where you are but I agree what a great lesson dealing with a very tricky song. All the best to you!
Yep. I'll second Kip's comments here: awesome job on a tricky tune!
Lewis, KILLER JOB! You've definitely got the essence of this very difficult tune down! As a guitar player I feel that playing TR's version of Church Street Blues is like a violinist playing the Chaccone from Bach's Violin Partida in D minor. It's a mountain that you'll be climbing forever. But it's so rewarding.
The next step for you will be to make those consecutive (read: swept) down and upstrokes rest strokes. In other words, you don't want the pick to come off of the string so much. Play those sweeps as rest strokes and you'll get a much richer tone. Your timing will become snappier too. It's harder to control with the rest strokes but you get increased depth of tone and ultimately timing. Good job and good luck!
I think all of your observations make perfect sense. If you watch videos of Tony, his arm is also coming from closer to 30 degrees than 45. Also, as far as reaching up and pulling down, that's kind of how I do it, I think. When playing in this style, I usually have my ring and pinky fingers wrapped around (or at least) touching the first string. The motion of opening and closing those fingers is actually what is driving the motion of the rest of my hand. When I'm not doing the Rice-style sweep picking I try to let my hand and arm be more free.
Ultimately, everyone is different and everybody is going to work out the fine details their own way. But everything you've observed makes perfect sense, and tracks with how I approach playing this as well.
I'm so glad you're doing this song! I transcribed Norman Blake's original a while back as a bit of a challenge and learned so much about nuance from really listing hard to it slowed down.
Kip - another interesting lyrical thing with this song...the original Blake lyric is "I found myself a paper, friends, and read yesterday's news" and over time it's morphed into "I found myself a picker friend..."
It's such a good one. We can thank Tony Rice for the new "picker" lyric.
My attempt at a couple of versions (the second time around is a pass at the Tony Rice approach).
I'm really finding that the less I think about it the better it comes out .... I'm overthinking in the first couple of bars here and the roll doesn't get going properly, then I think "well to hell with it, I'll finish this run through for the practice and record another version" and it kind of falls into place from that point. Psychology!
Really love this style of playing though. Looking forward to you covering Church St Blues at some point in the future.
Thanks for these great lessons!
Lewis, psychology indeed! You're sounding really good! I especially like the groove you get. It's got a real nice weight to it.
I'm loving hearing everyone playing these songs!
Hey Chris - I love the Tony Rice crosspicking fill thing. I really like the sound of it using the down down up. The alternate picking is nice, but it sounds like theres a slight swing in the down down up that isn't there the other way.
I've had a couple of failed attempts in the past at getting it into my playing - when I try it, it introduces a LOT of tension...I think maybe because I haven't practiced rest strokes enough? The technique seems to sound best when the bass note right before the crosspicking and the first downstroke of the crosspicking figure itself are rest strokes. Gotta work on it!
Thanks for this great lesson
Thanks for this lesson - I've been having a lot of fun working on this tune. I'd appreciate any general feedback you have, and also specifically around whether you think I'm over-using hammers and pulls (which so far I'm pretty reliant on to get round the tune at something apporaching a picking-session-ready tempo).
Lewis, GREAT job! You've pulled off the difficult balancing act of playing with a propulsive forward motion and sounding (and looking) super relaxed. There is a real flow to your performance that is wonderful. However you are doing that, keep doing it! So I don't Really have any input on how to play that better, but I would ask the question: can you maintain that sense of relaxation and flow while you're improvising/playing without the safety net of knowing what's coming next?
Thanks so much for a great lesson (they're all great obviously) .... I hadn't heard this song before and really love it, and have been hunting down as many different versions of it I can find to see how different people have approached it. It's a challenge for me because really when it comes to singing I'm more of a "belter" and this song clearly needs that plaintive, earnest approach. My voice sounds kind of lacking in definition in that mode so it;s something I need to work on. This is a great song to do that with.
Any input gratefully received!
Hi Lewis, you have a great voice and great vocal control! I like your version, but my first suggestion to make it less "belt-y" would be to drop it down a half step to C. The lower key will make it sound a little darker.
The other thing that you might try is speaking the lyrics of the song a few times while you play through the chords. Try to find a natural cadence and expressiveness that way. See if that informs how you sing it.
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