Need Help - Cumberland Blues and/or Minglewood Blues

Need Help - Cumberland Blues and/or Minglewood Blues

Postby monroe » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:53 am

Hey Now!

I could sure use some help here. I'm fairly new to electric-rock n roll-wailing, etc. But I've been playing bluegrass for many years. So I know all the basics and such. major scales, blues (minor penatonic) scales, CAGED, etc etc. But jamming out a rockin dead tune on electric is a whole different animal than playing a bluegrass break on Salt Creek. I mean, there are lots of things I can take from my bluegrass playing, but there are a lot more possibilities and emotion that can be brought out when playing electric.

So, in venturing into this new territory, I've picked a couple of tunes to get started with. Cumberland Blues and New Minglewood Blues. Both use a minor penatonic scale, and should be a good introduction, as it should be fairly easy to get up and running.

Knowing my scales and such, I can play a mediocre solo over both of these tunes. But, what I can come up with isn't really that interesting, and evokes the emotion that jerry and the boys can do. In fact my pllaying is kind of boring. I'd like to get some of that Jerry sound into my playing. I don't want to attempt to be a jerry clone, but I'd like to have some of his vocabulary and licks available to spruce up my playing. I'd like to be able to get the emotion out of the guitar that he did, or well, at least work toward that. I'm hoping you fellas can help me out with that.

I've tried to listen to various live versions, and pick up some stuff, and I have gotten a few basics, but many times, it just moves too quick for me to get it. If you guys could post a few tabs (an accompanying audio file would be awesome!) with some common licks, runs, passages and such that Jerry would use in these two songs, I think it would go a long way toward getting me and other beginners like myself kick started.

Particularly the beginning of Cumberland Blues. I know the repetitive lick that Jerry starts with, but he then goes from that into a short solo, and I just can't get that sounding good. Some licks for that would really help.

Thanks in advance!!!
monroe
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Postby old man down » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:47 am

Cumberland Blues is a great song. I've been working on it for, umm, 36 years!!!!!

I just concentrate on the Europe '72 version and I have been able to get close to it. If you use it as a template, then calibrate your guitar tuner to 450 Hz since the song is sharped on the CD by 10 Hz, roughly, give or take a couple of Hz. (and album too)

When I learned it I didn't even know what scale to try on it, and then the sharping of the song wasted probably another 4 months of trial and error.

Anyway, for the beginning notes, and screw TAB, I'm not going to do that, you set up at the 3rd fret with your index finger and your ring finger will then be working the 5th fret. You're going to work the G pentatonic scale.

You have to play with your picking and fingering of just the A, D, and sometimes the G string. It is all right there, nowhere else.

Garcia falls down briefly to the first fret a little further into the intro, then on the E and A strings, working a rolling of notes idea. He might even go out of the pentatonic and include the open E note to slingshot out of there back up to the 3rd fret, again moving back over to the A, D, and G strings.

For the chords, there, the G chord, you can get it to roll too, by removing and hammering the notes that are right under your fingers. Then the lyrics come in and within no time you'll be to the first lead.

You really have to play with it. Listen to it, play it, listen, play, listen, play, and well, welcome to the club.
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Postby monroe » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:58 am

Thanks for the tips. You are right that the tuning on that Europe version is jacked.

Anyway, it helps a little knowing that whole intro solo is there on the 3rd and 5th frets. That'll at least give me a starting point to try and work on it.
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Postby Pete B. » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:19 am

Here is the result of a You Tube search for Cumberland Blues:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... type=&aq=f

There are several guys playing it with some good shots of what they are playing.
I too find making vids of the material in question, and posting to YouTube, easier than tabbing anything that is more than a quick lick or phrase.
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Postby JohnnyB » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:40 am

Amongst other things, a lot of the charm of Jerry's playing is about melody and phrasing...

From your Bluegrass roots you are probably quite familiar with arpeggios... Jerry is notorious for his melodic outlining of chords... Not necessarily in a traditional arpeggio pattern, but making sure to accent on key notes that form the chord like for example the flat 7 and the 3rd along w/ the "Blue" flatted 3rd over a Dom7 chord, and returning with a tension release back to the root (or 1st scale degree). This can obviously be played in many different ways, even chromatically at times as long as the key notes are stressed along the way.

Phrasing is just as important, and you'll often find Jerry's phrasing spread out over multiple phrases of a verse. Think about what you're saying (playing) as a "question" and an "answer" that occurs over multiple measures of the song. This creates all the necessary "tension" and "release" that's required to make an interesting run that inspires both the listener, and your band mates. There are some very talented players out there who don't pay enough attention to phrasing and just run through scale patterns or licks they saw on you tube or that someone tabbed out for them.

Hope that helps.
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Postby trking8 » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:40 pm

excellent points.

I'll see if I can get a youtube vid up this week, mixing bluegrass/mixolodian/pentatonic scales for cumberland.

way too many bands play scales without the expressive melody that jerry had. at the same time, tho', cumberland and minglewood are tunes that particularly lead (pun intended)themselves more to jam scales than melodies.

a solid approach for learning jerry type leads generally, is to learn to play the melody first, and really nail it. from there, weave in some scales that work around the melody.

peace out, terry

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