1st attempt covering Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man"

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Hi bholder,
Wow, cell phone recording.
Excellent recording.
I am not familiar with this tune, glad I heard it from you!
Rene
Thanks as always Rene! Yeah, Dylan has hundreds, if not thousands, of obscure "deep cuts" that are still excellent songs, this one's always been a favorite of mine. I was surprised how easy it was to translate the piano riff - seemed impossible at first, then I realized the piano was just comping from Am up to Dm and back, nothing fancy, just had to get my ears around it. :)
 

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Second attempt, throat a bit less scratchy, recorded on my Zoom Q8 with a different amp - I like the other one better.

 

Chiogtr4x

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My 1st attempt at covering Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" complete with complete with flubbed chords and lyrics, scratchy throat, and booming cell phone recording:


I'm hearing Am as the key ( key I do it in) but am I hearing the entire guitar tuned down ( either physically or electronically) a whole octave? Things sound low...
 

nvilletele

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While I agree that Dylan has lots of (relatively) obscure yet great songs, this one is hardly obscure or a "deep cut."

This was huge in 1965 and remains so. One of Dylan's most famous songs.
 

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While I agree that Dylan has lots of (relatively) obscure yet great songs, this one is hardly obscure or a "deep cut."

This was huge in 1965 and remains so. One of Dylan's most famous songs.
Yes, true, just not as well-remembered as some of his others. Anyway, didn't mean to pick a fight, it's a great tune. :)
 

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I'm hearing Am as the key ( key I do it in) but am I hearing the entire guitar tuned down ( either physically or electronically) a whole octave? Things sound low...
Yup, it's the Emerald Bass Baritone 12 you're hearing - it's a 30" scale 12 string tuned a whole octave lower, but with the highest two courses still in octaves (the B and E courses are unison on a regular 12).

emerald bass baritone.jpeg


It's really a beautiful instrument and a beast, but it's serial number 001 of 001 and only - Emerald won't build me another one, they streamlined their custom build process for business reasons and no longer do as many "outlandish full customs" like this.
 
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I'm hearing Am as the key ( key I do it in) but am I hearing the entire guitar tuned down ( either physically or electronically) a whole octave? Things sound low...
Oh, and good ear, there! Thanks for listening that closely! :) I've done a bunch of covers with that guitar lately, I just love the full richness of it. Kinda like playing bass and guitar at the same time, in a way. Definitely worth the extra effort it takes with the 30" scale and such heavy gauge strings (the high E pair are .009 .024 and the low E pair are .046 .092 so like playing a guitar and a Bass VI at the same time, like a "Bass XII" heh)
 
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Chiogtr4x

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Oh, and good ear, there! Thanks for listening that closely! :) I've done a bunch of covers with that guitar lately, I just love the full richness of it. Kinda like playing bass and guitar at the same time, in a way. Definitely worth the extra effort it takes with the 30" scale and such heavy gauge strings...
Sure, The sound is unique- at first I literally thought I was hearing a regular acoustic, somehow slowed down to be an octave lower.

I'm not sure why, but I have never had an an interest ( 48 years playing) to play anything but a 6 string acoustic or electric guitar ( maybe bass from time to time, but I've never owned one)- not even a 12-string.
My little joke with a 12-string, is "If you give me a 12-string, what am I gonna do with it after playing it for 20 mimutes ?"
( this isn't really true, I'm sure I'd probably get into it- I just mean I have only about 20 minutes of 'Classic 12 string' tunes or licks in my head)

I'm a R&R/blues/folk guy in my own bands, but I also play in a casual Bluegrass group, and EVERYONE except me, knows how to play multiple instruments ( seems like everyone can play guitar, mandolin, and bass, regardless of their main instrument).
But I just seem happy sticking exclusively to a 6 string!

As for Dylan:
I seem to ( since about 2000) figured out a lot of early Bob Dylan songs- not to really play at gigs, so much as because my son bought me a fantastic Bob Dylan bio book, describing his music & what was going on ( in the '60's)
album by album, song by song, of Bob's first 8-9 albums.
So I was reading about certain Classic Dylan songs ( not the radio hits) but did NOT actually have many of the albums ( maybe 2-3) - so I started to buy the CD's, so I would know what the heck the author was writing about....
Then, besides getting ( finally) know all these songs, I started to really try to learn Bob's real acoustic guitar parts ( early records where it's just him and the acoustic), get into his picking, strumming, capo use, tunings, etc.
So now I know a bunch of Dylan songs, play them every day, but just the guitar playing- for my own kicks, exercise!
( I do play a few at gigs)
 

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Sure, The sound is unique- at first I literally thought I was hearing a regular acoustic, somehow slowed down to be an octave lower.

I'm not sure why, but I have never had an an interest ( 48 years playing) to play anything but a 6 string acoustic or electric guitar ( maybe bass from time to time, but I've never owned one)- not even a 12-string.
My little joke with a 12-string, is "If you give me a 12-string, what am I gonna do with it after playing it for 20 mimutes ?"
( this isn't really true, I'm sure I'd probably get into it- I just mean I have only about 20 minutes of 'Classic 12 string' tunes or licks in my head)

I'm a R&R/blues/folk guy in my own bands, but I also play in a casual Bluegrass group, and EVERYONE except me, knows how to play multiple instruments ( seems like everyone can play guitar, mandolin, and bass, regardless of their main instrument).
But I just seem happy sticking exclusively to a 6 string!

As for Dylan:
I seem to ( since about 2000) figured out a lot of early Bob Dylan songs- not to really play at gigs, so much as because my son bought me a fantastic Bob Dylan bio book, describing his music & what was going on ( in the '60's)
album by album, song by song, of Bob's first 8-9 albums.
So I was reading about certain Classic Dylan songs ( not the radio hits) but did NOT actually have many of the albums ( maybe 2-3) - so I started to buy the CD's, so I would know what the heck the author was writing about....
Then, besides getting ( finally) know all these songs, I started to really try to learn Bob's real acoustic guitar parts ( early records where it's just him and the acoustic), get into his picking, strumming, capo use, tunings, etc.
So now I know a bunch of Dylan songs, play them every day, but just the guitar playing- for my own kicks, exercise!
( I do play a few at gigs)
Cool! Yeah, I've had a Dylan "bee in my bonnet" since my teens, I used to cover a bunch of the more-played ones, but never had the skills to attempt this before now. At 63, I'm finally making progress as a guitarist! hehe...

And yeah, this 12er is truly special. I didn't have it built, that was a guy named Brian from Idaho, but when I saw the video (below), I knew I had to have it if it ever went on sale. Thanks to TalkBass, I snagged it immediately as soon as Brian put it up for sale. Good thing, because Emerald isn't interested in building another more modern version.

Original Emerald video from when the Beast was built:
 

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...and I'm one of those who just has to try to play every instrument I can get my hands on. Something I inherited from my mom, I guess, but it's definitely part of my psychological profile, lol, like an addiction... So I've always lusted after 12ers and have played them since college. Now I have a whole collection, of regular 12ers, this monster, and even a few octave up 12s from Gold Tone. I do mean to record this and the Gold Tone octave 12 together once I get my full regular recording rig up and running again.
 

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Sure, The sound is unique- at first I literally thought I was hearing a regular acoustic, somehow slowed down to be an octave lower.

I'm not sure why, but I have never had an an interest ( 48 years playing) to play anything but a 6 string acoustic or electric guitar ( maybe bass from time to time, but I've never owned one)- not even a 12-string.
My little joke with a 12-string, is "If you give me a 12-string, what am I gonna do with it after playing it for 20 mimutes ?"
( this isn't really true, I'm sure I'd probably get into it- I just mean I have only about 20 minutes of 'Classic 12 string' tunes or licks in my head)

I'm a R&R/blues/folk guy in my own bands, but I also play in a casual Bluegrass group, and EVERYONE except me, knows how to play multiple instruments ( seems like everyone can play guitar, mandolin, and bass, regardless of their main instrument).
But I just seem happy sticking exclusively to a 6 string!

As for Dylan:
I seem to ( since about 2000) figured out a lot of early Bob Dylan songs- not to really play at gigs, so much as because my son bought me a fantastic Bob Dylan bio book, describing his music & what was going on ( in the '60's)
album by album, song by song, of Bob's first 8-9 albums.
So I was reading about certain Classic Dylan songs ( not the radio hits) but did NOT actually have many of the albums ( maybe 2-3) - so I started to buy the CD's, so I would know what the heck the author was writing about....
Then, besides getting ( finally) know all these songs, I started to really try to learn Bob's real acoustic guitar parts ( early records where it's just him and the acoustic), get into his picking, strumming, capo use, tunings, etc.
So now I know a bunch of Dylan songs, play them every day, but just the guitar playing- for my own kicks, exercise!
( I do play a few at gigs)
So mind if I ask the name of the bio book about Dylan? I'd love to read it and be able to put each song in better context in terms of what was going on at that specific time (a lot happened in a very short time back then...)
 

drewg

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While I agree that Dylan has lots of (relatively) obscure yet great songs, this one is hardly obscure or a "deep cut."

This was huge in 1965 and remains so. One of Dylan's most famous songs.

Dylan must like playing it, too. I think he sang it at 3 of the 4 concerts I saw him at (and the only one he didn’t was that concert full of show tunes, not his own music).

Great song! My ex girl friend and I used to debate the meaning.

Well you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?
 

bholder

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Dylan must like playing it, too. I think he sang it at 3 of the 4 concerts I saw him at (and the only one he didn’t was that concert full of show tunes, not his own music).

Great song! My ex girl friend and I used to debate the meaning.

Well you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?
I was just telling my sisters that I've always identified with poor old Mr. Jones more than the storyteller. Feeling alienated and having no clue what is going on socially, yup, that's me.
 

Chiogtr4x

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So mind if I ask the name of the bio book about Dylan? I'd love to read it and be able to put each song in better context in terms of what was going on at that specific time (a lot happened in a very short time back then...)

Ok, I think it's just called ' Bob Dylan 1961-1969', written by (I think English) rock critic Andy Gill- it's a small paperback; a few photos, but full of content

It basically has an Intro chapter, then starting with album #1, Bob Dylan, goes in order through 'John Wesley Harding or Nasville Skyline

( I really like all albums 1-7 which is Blonde on Blonde, kind of skip over the albums after that, UNTIL Blood on the Tracks- which I love)

A few points:
- the author only covers Bob's original songs, so on his first album, there are only the 2 originals mentioned as the rest are Blues/folk covers ( but I dig all the songs- " House of The Rising Sun" which The Anmals first heard, is here)

- there are a few songs discussed that were never on albums, just singles

In taking each album in order, the author talks about what's going on in Bob's life, the US, the world, at the time of each album
Really small text, but it sure opened the door, to turning me on to a whole lot of songs I probably would never had heard

Funny, I'm 63 too, have a lot of musician friends, but except 1 guy (very good guitar player & plays in a Dylan cover band) no one I know, knows or really cares much about this Dylan stuff- they don't hear 'Bob, the guitar player' like I seem to!

You listen to that first album, he is playing real black country blues/folk on it- a little rough, but trying to sound like the real deal- I think he loved those Delta covers he did- and of course Woody Guthrie, who's music steered him towards original writing
 

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Yeah Dylan was always an accomplished acoustic picker, but he got really good on electric lead, too. The first time I saw him ('92, I think), he did "All Along The Watchtower", and ripped it up Hendrix style, more than covering his own version. It was an eye-opener, Bob can rip. Last time I saw him 2 years back, though, he didn't touch a guitar, led the band from the piano all night.

I was always into the 60's social movements and activist music, and came to Dylan via that route pretty much as a young teenager. One of my siblings happened to get a Dylan songbook they didn't really want next thing you know I'm covering Mr. Tambourine Man and Like A Rolling Stone. :) (Singing alone on the roof of my parent's house in summer mostly haha.)
 

nvilletele

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Yeah Dylan was always an accomplished acoustic picker, but he got really good on electric lead, too. The first time I saw him ('92, I think), he did "All Along The Watchtower", and ripped it up Hendrix style, more than covering his own version. It was an eye-opener, Bob can rip. Last time I saw him 2 years back, though, he didn't touch a guitar, led the band from the piano all night.

I was always into the 60's social movements and activist music, and came to Dylan via that route pretty much as a young teenager. One of my siblings happened to get a Dylan songbook they didn't really want next thing you know I'm covering Mr. Tambourine Man and Like A Rolling Stone. :) (Singing alone on the roof of my parent's house in summer mostly haha.)

Bob’s work on electric lead guitar lines sort of started around 93 and really didn’t get developed until 94~95. He was still working on it in 94 but in 95 he was taking all sorts of leads in most songs.

Of course, Bob’s leads are very idiosyncratic. Many people refer to them as just three note noodling. And they are kind of right. But I still loved his lead work, especially in 1995.
 




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