Ry Cooder's tuning(s)?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Joel Terry, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've spent the past several years listening to Ry Cooder, and each time I listen to him, it's a new experience all over again. The guy is a band unto himself--a real "simultaneous-lead-and-rhythm" player. (Not like a true "bassline-and-melody" ace like George Van Eps, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, or Charlie Hunter; instead, a less "compartmentalized" self-accompanist, like Jimi Hendrix--if that makes any sense.)

    Apart from the must-have Crossroads soundtrack--many copies of which I've worn out, I enjoy a lot of Ry's releases from the '70s--Paradise And Lunch, Into The Purple Valley, Chicken Skin Music, etc.

    Perhaps one of my favorite tunes is "Tattler" from Paradise And Lunch. I've learned to "mimic" Ry's voicings on "Tattler" in the key of E in standard tuning, but I'm 99.99% sure he's using a capo and some kind of alternate tuning--I've just never sat down and figured exactly what he's doing.

    Finding accurate Ry Cooder tabs online is next to impossible, so I have to ask, does anyone know the tuning Ry used on "Tattler"? (And while we're at it, is that a Leslie he's playing through, or is it a combination of panned tremolo and phase shifter?)

    Thanks in advance,
    Joel
     
  2. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    he joel, i tried for the last 30 years to get the hang on the ry cooder thing. i read everything that was ever written about him i guess. in interviews, he tells the guys, that he using open d and open g as bread and butter, meat and potato tunings. and then he finetunes that with capos to the songs. one of the most typical things he does, specially on the beginng of tattler is a doublestop-melody on the on the high 2nd and 3rd strings. tuned open d (or open e):

    you pick the bass-string and grab strings number 2 and three on the fifth fret. then you go down and grab them on the 3rd and 4th fret, then on the first and second fret and then you let loose. then you grab both strings on the 7th fret, let the bass ring. slip down to fith fret. up to 10th fret with both fingers, down to 8 and nine, slip to both 7th frets and you land on both fith frets. and you got the tattler intro, kind of.

    when you play open g, just transform these fingerings to the high first and second string.
    that is in my opinion one of the keys to the ry cooder sound. add some tasty sliding.
    eddie
     
  3. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The cuurent Premier Guitar has a piece on bottleneck/slide guitar and theres one lick, in a Dm tuning, that sounds very much like the stuff Ry Cooder did on the "Paris Texas" soundtrack
     
  4. Bob Mc

    Bob Mc Friend of Leo's

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    +1 Ry is one of my alltime favorites (he's my mandolin hero as well). I don't know how to play Tattler, but I read that he liked G for it's "modal" flavor.
     
  5. Valvey

    Valvey Tele-Holic

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  6. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just a crazy idea but why not email him (there must be some way to get a message to him) and just ask. He seems like the kinda guy who would probably answer you. Nothin' to lose I figure.
     
  7. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    that is so beautiful specially the foto--slideshow-thing. makes me want to travel to the desert.
    i seriously doubt, that ry cooder has an email account at all.
     
  8. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well maybe emailing him directly while he sits sipping his morning coffee is not possible but he probably has a MySpace page with contact info etc. I mean he doesn't live in a cave does he?:lol:

    Here ya go:

    Well I just took a second to go to http://www.myspace.com/rycooder.

    On the left side of the page is a large window with the heading:

    Contacting Ry Cooder
     
  9. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    i am not too positive, if you ever reach ry cooder personally that way. there are quite a bunch of fan-pages for all kinds of artists on myspace. lowell george has a nice one.
     
  10. Iain

    Iain Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I doubt that page is really Ry: I don't get the impression he's big on being available on the Net, from what I've read.

    Anyway, I believe his tunings are E (e b g# E B E, high to low) and G (d b g D G D), called Vestopol and Slack-Key tunings, respectively (I think).

    Still hopeful he'll turn up here in Scotland, with the mighty Nick Lowe, for a gig or two: there are rumours of gigs in Edinburgh or Glasgow (and rumours of high prices!) and I haven't seen him play in about 20+ years!
     
  11. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    I believe I had read that he mostly uses Open D and Open G and sometimes flats the third for a minor thing.
     
  12. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Okay, you win. :lol:
     
  13. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    joel? are you here somewhere? how are your cooderish meanderings going? hello?
     
  14. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Tele-Meister

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    I don't remember what key the original is, but I play "The Tattler" in open G, but play the song in the key of D. It sounds weird on paper, but works quite well. Give it a try. In the meantime, I'll see if I can tab it.

    John
     
  15. motocoderman

    motocoderman NEW MEMBER!

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  16. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'd love to see a tab of Tattler!

    dan
     
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