A question of style (and a little theory)

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Gene O., Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    How would you describe the style of playing with a the low E dropped to D, finger picking a D cowboy chord, but purposely not playing the high F#, thus making the chord uncommitted to either major or minor?

    We've all heard this style as it appears every so often in songs. One example is Gregg Allman's slower version of Midnight Rider (live in Macon, GA), which I believe was from his solo album entitled Laid Back. In this version he starts off in that minor pentatonic / neither major nor minor mode, but then the vocal harmonies bring it into a major mode. I think it's a very cool contrast!

    Our drummer brought up that version of Midnight Rider as a suggestion for adding to our song list. He also suggested this version of George Harrison's It Don't Come Easy. It uses that same slow, drop D power chord/finger picking groove. I love it, but I don't know what to call it.

    How would you refer to that style of playing and neither major nor minor harmony? Is there even a name for it?
     
  2. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The chord is a D5 if it’s not major or minor (just root and 5th). Not sure what you’d call the style / mode / key...
     
  3. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle TDPRI Member

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    It's a D5, but it's a big D5 so you get a big sound out of it. In drop d 00023x = DADADx = D5.
    You can drop the other E to D and go extra large.
     
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  4. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    Right... D5. The chord name is of little concern and I agree it's a BIG sound with the drop D. I just wish I could give that style a name to convey to the other guitarist in our band. He'll know what it is when he hears it, but a style would be handy in case I need to explain it in words. All I can think of is that it sounds like something from the Louisiana bayous.
     
  5. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    Regardless of the tuning, which is referred to a "drop D" (for any style), the ABs tune is solidly Southern Rock or Southern Rock/Blues. For me, if you just said sort of like Midnight Rider, I'd know exactly what you meant.
     
  6. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    D is def swampy to me..i do some concert start offs in D..just ugly nasty big & open. But drop D to me is..grunge..metal...have 2 guitars always tuned for the nasties..1 in drop D & 1 in drop C...had a blast today in standard D then drop to C..mood change instantly..but standard D itself is just that southerny..thing . The D guitar always inspires something just a lil dif..
     
  7. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    That's a good one-word description. I like that! Thanks!
     
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  8. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, but don't you think more of "Polk Salad Annie" or "Amos Moses" or some Creedence when you think swampy?
     
  9. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Drop D acoustically is awesome. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately, experimenting with different songs in D. And I always play it D5 style - neither major or minor, but leave my e string as is, just muted for the D5 chord. This is important for doing things like Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive or Blaze of Glory. It’s great for finger picking and/or strumming.

    A couple of great tunes I get into are Lee DeWyzes Blackbird Song (from The Walking Dead series) and Curtis Steigers John The Revelator (from Sons Of Anarchy).
     
  10. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    I'm not really much of a label guy, but I would agree. I mean, Tony Joe White has there pedigree (born in Louisiana) and the Fogerty bros and their band were from... Ell Cerrito California??? :eek:

    Their music may be singing about swamps, bayous, alligators and bullfrogs, but they don't conjure up the same swampy that the slower drop D5 style does. Maybe I'm envisioning something darker, like a swamp at night. :rolleyes:

    I haven't watched wither of those series (yet), but I had to take listed to Blackbird Song. Very cool! Love it!
     
  11. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

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    I know almost nothing about theory, but since I've broken middle and anular fingers of my fretting hand and my pinky is very weak, Drop D is a need for me. So, I call it "the tuning that I can use to play"...
    It's boring, but better than silence...
     
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  12. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    The major / minor ambiguity is key to a LOT of great music and integral to a great many styles.

    I also really, really like the movement from the Sus2 5th string root chord, and moving from there to minor nd / or to major. It's just an open A chord with the B string played open, then moved to C and then C#, and that move can get repeated anywhere you need it.
     
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  13. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    Since the single note guitar line (the signature riff) hits the F natural so much, the second guitar should probably just avoid playing the 3rd.

    I just googled up the sheet music and noticed the long, drawn out note the lead vocalist sings, on the word 'run' is an F# (the very note that sounds so bad on the guitar!)

    It's interesting how this stuff works. I was at a rehearsal on Monday and we played "That's The Way I Like It". The first chord is F minor, but if I included the Ab in my voicing it clashed with the horns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  14. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    Another great description!

    With the C, D, F & A riffing on there 3 lower strings I would agree that the 3rd (assuming you mean on the high E string) doesn't sound right.
     
  15. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

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    Double drop D is the “Cinnamon Girl” tuning. I also use it for Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California”
     
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  16. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    I play Cinnamon Girl (acoustically) just dropping the E to D, no double dropping. In fact, I'm not really sure what "double drop D" means. Lol
     
  17. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Drop the high e string as well. But that can affect how you play other chords. I guess it’s all relevant on what song you’re playing.
     
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  18. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Try dropping the high E to D and letting the open high D drone for the whole song. Sounds cool.
     
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  19. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    It might depend a bit on what tradition you wish to evoke. That sound fits the bill for either swampy blues, or country outlaw. I think you could make it sound like either Son House, or Cotton Eyed Joe pretty easily.
     
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  20. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I play country mostly finger style, usually with normal tuning, and I like the sound of chords that are neither major nor minor. I like the sound of a major 9th without the third. It's a chord that can slip in easily in place of a major or minor chord. I use that variant of an F where the notes low to high are F C F G C F. It's an easy chord to play thumb over, impossible as a barre chord. It has an altogether different sound if the A string is left open sounding a major third. The A and G (9th) are far enough apart not to sound overly dissonant. The same can be done with the D5 chord described above. You will get entirely different sounds with the E played on the D string from the same combination of notes with the E played on an open high E string. The F# can be played on the D string with an open E string on top. This is one of the things I love about playing country. Country music is really open the use of less common chords. Playing 9ths on open strings sometimes lets the note carry over into the next chord. It's also something to think about when constructing solos off chords. I like Bergy's comment about evoking traditions. I never thought of it that way. It's just the way I've been playing for as long as I can remember.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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