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Key to the Highway chords - F#m or not?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by koen, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    I was looking at some online TABS for this 8-bar blues standard, and some people add an F#m chord in there, some stay on D7. Of course there are several ways to play any (blues) song, just wanted to see what the general opinion is how this song is usually played. Just in case I sit in at my local blues session :)
     
  2. brokenjoe

    brokenjoe Friend of Leo's

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    I've heard lots of different versions -all were I, IV, V. The original Big Bill Broonzy is.
     
  3. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've never heard a minor chord in there in any version. Just I-V-IV
     
  4. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    double post
     
  5. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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  6. gaddis

    gaddis Tele-Afflicted

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    Looking at it, it doesn't "sound" right. I'll have to give it a try when I have a guitar in my hands. All I have are major triads and 7ths in my head when I visualize playing the song.
     
  7. IggyT

    IggyT Tele-Afflicted

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    Without knowing the Key you are in it is tough to suggest substitutes but I remember playing this (Derek & the Dominoes version) in key of A with an A-A7-D-Dm-A turnaround if this helps
     
  8. ednew

    ednew Tele-Holic

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    Koen, that tab is the guy's first attempt at tabbing and he states he may have errors. The F#m is an example. Listening to Clapton/King version, the chord in question is a D7.

    Web tabs are notoriously inaccurate, often contributed by junior players. Give 'em an A for effort and motivation but you gotta proof their work for accuracy.

    Enjoy!

    Ed
     
  9. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    Don't worry, I wasn't trying to question this particular tab. Just since there are so many versions of the song out there, I was curious to see what the most accepted way to play it is, with or without the F#m.

    As a matter of fact, I have several tabs on the web too, I'm sure there are mistakes in those, and I really appreciate all the work he put in there - done that myself! ;)
     
  10. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

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    I've only played this song a couple of times years ago (it's one of Michael Falzarano's favorite songs to play) so I don't remember off the top of my head.

    However, I'll point out that a D Major chord and a F# minor chord are almost the exact same thing ... with two common notes and one note being only one-half tone apart. So a person hearing one instead of the other or using one instead of the other is possible.

    D chord: D F# A

    F#m chord: F# A C#
     
  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    In terms of your original post about turning up at a jam and knowing the changes, the odds are one in a trillion (according to my calculations) that you will be jamming with guys who use the minor chord. Undoubtedly there is some version out there that uses the IIIm as well as other changes but it's about as certain as the sun coming up tomorrow that at the jam it'll be I, IV and V.
     
  12. gtech

    gtech Friend of Leo's

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    No!
     
  13. gaddis

    gaddis Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, definitely no F#m. Probably my all-time favorite blues jam song. It just pulls the notes right out of you
     
  14. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    What somebody is probably hearing is what I call the "Blues D7".
    My lack of mastery of musical terms is no secret here!
    It's a D7 with an F# in the bass.
    Very cool change (in the key of A) to follow the E chord with a little walk up on the low E string...E,F,F# with your thumb, and let the F# ring over the D7.
    Big Bill!
     
  15. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    Ok, thanks! :!::cool:
     
  16. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Keep the change.
     
  17. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can't say I've encountered the F#minor, but I've played the tune a bunch with different folks in several keys. One thing about playing a blues in various situations is that you can count on some curveballs here and there. Hence, I usually play really stock and cautious for the first chorus in a new situation, and just listen to how the tune is being interpreted before digging in harder.

    Since the key of choice for the thread is A, I'll limit my examples to such. A couple of turns on the tune that I've encountered in live settings:

    The classic move of taking the IV7 chord up a half step, diminished. In a twelve bar, this often occurs in bar #6; in an eight bar like "Key to the Highway", it's in bar #4. Common grips for such in bars #3 & 4 for an eight bar in A:

    -2--3-
    -1--1-
    -2--2-
    -0--1-
    -X--X-
    -X--X-

    -X--X-
    -7--7-
    -5--5-
    -7--7-
    -5--6-
    -X--X-

    -X---X-
    -X---X-
    -11--11-
    -10--10-
    -X---X-
    -10--11-

    And of course, the beauty of the diminished chord is that you can slide it around in minor thirds with ample doses of chicken grease.



    One of my favorite turns on the tune is this turnaround that I encountered at one situation. It has cornball diatonic "10th" intervals moving from I-IV-I, and then an augmented arpeggio on the V:

    ---------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------5-
    -6--6--7--9--11--11--9--7--6------5--
    ----------------------------------6----
    --------------------------------7------
    -5--5--7--9--10--10--9--7--5----------



    I have a copy around here somewhere of Big Bill Broonzy's original recording of the tune. I'll try to dig it up over the next few days. Off the top of my head, I recall it being quite different from covers that followed it. Nothing unusual here... for example, listen to T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday Blues" and the many interpretations that it propelled, and to just how different they all sound - not the least of which is Pat Boone's version!
     
  18. Valvey

    Valvey Tele-Holic

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    The Sex Pistols' first bass player was thrown out of the band for writing a song that had a minor chord in it. I think that's a good attitude, at least when it comes to tunes like "Key To The Highway."
     
  19. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes. I always play it with the #IVdim. It suits the song well I think.
     
  20. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    Good suggestions about the dim chord, I can imagine that sounds good in this song.

    BTW, a few months ago at the local blues session when I sat in they started playing Stormy Monday. Pfffft, that completely threw me off :oops:
     
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