Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #13073  by Jimkkc
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:48 am
Just out of curiosity - when you play dead tunes, do you keep the same key, tempo, song structure or do you "re-interpret" the tune to match your vision of the tune? For example, when playing So Many Roads, I tune the 12 string down to Csus tuning and play the chord structures as listed at I also like to play Eyes of the World much slower and Stella Blue a little faster. Obviously, since we didn't write the tune, any time we play the tune we are interpreting - but I guess I am interested in how close to the original do you try to get . . .

 #13078  by GratefulFloyd
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:08 am
i only have an acoustic guitar, but i can play 18 Dead songs, and for the most part i keep them pretty close, but i switch it up every now and then. sometimes i like to play Black Peter fast, the intro sounds pretty cool at a fast pace. and yea i like to play Eyes slow sometimes too, it sounds good.

 #13079  by Jimkkc
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:19 am
Gratefulfloyd - I too only own acoustic guitar (1 six string and one twelve) - I find the acoustic "format" for dead stuff fairly liberating. Since the dead didn't play Eyes acoustically (at least none that we know about!) I have no preconceptions of what the song should sound like acoustically. It is always easier to break new musical ground when there are no preconceptions . . . I like the idea of Black Peter uptempo - I am gonna try that when I get home.

 #13089  by hesgone95
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:53 pm
I suppose i reinterperate all the songs I cover. As I am an acoustic player like some others, I like to come up with my own takes on the standard melodies or combine Jerry and Bobby parts, mostly intros. I do that with Scarlet, for example. Recently I've been playing Black Peter with a bit of a faster tempo. I've been trying to put together Birdsong (the vocals are killing me), the idea being a slow Birdsong building up to a more uptempo Black Peter. If you play BS in it's original key of D, you can run it into BP fairly easily. Just an idea in the works.

 #13094  by GratefulFloyd
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:23 pm
i usually play Black Peter into Birdsong instead of the other way around, its a nice duo

 #13099  by b weird
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:18 pm
I usually play Black Peter into Birdsong instead of the other way around, its a nice duo.
Same for me too. :D And as far as re-interpreting songs I don't do that, but a slow acoustic Eyes of the World does sound interesting.

 #13106  by GratefulFloyd
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:44 pm
its taken me forever to get "good" at an acoustic eyes, maybe its just me, but that song is tough, it just never seems to sound good enough to me, but there are moments when its almost there, and that keeps me going. but i do notice progress almost every time i play it, but i'm determined to get it seeing as it is my favoirte song, its a fun challenge

 #13108  by confusions_prince
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:17 pm
GratefulFloyd wrote:sometimes i like to play Black Peter fast
Y'know, Hunter wrote it with a fast pace in mind. Jerry took it more seriously than was intended, but it sounds pretty good slow, too.

 #13112  by BigJilm
 Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:01 pm
I like to give eyes a more jazzy feel, by alternating between sort of popping the low E string (for a bassline feel) with my thumb, and focusing on hitting the B,G, and D strings on an upstroke with my index finger and kind of throwing in a little folksy comp, i think it sounds pretty good

 #13117  by Jimkkc
 Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:28 am
Black Peter into Bird Song - never thought about that, but hey it looks like others have and it sounds like a pretty cool idea. The only problem is the singing on Bird Song - the chorus section is singable for me, the verse forget it!

This morning I was playing Eyes in Open E (well open D capoed at the 2nd fret) and that sounds pretty cool especially since Little Martha is open E and one could build a bridge between the two . . .

Thank the powers that be for these musicians and their abilities to write such cool tunes!

 #13127  by b weird
 Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:56 pm
Actually I do re-interpret a tune: Mississippi Halfstep. I plat it at more of a slow pace. Also Jimkkc could you hook me up with the tabs for Little Martha. Thanks.

 #21340  by Henry
 Sat Jul 28, 2007 4:21 pm
I just have to add this. A friend of mine is an Italian lady singer/songwriter and I always play guitar on her songs. The last time she visited, I turned her on to the Dead and she liked it so much that she wanted to interpret some of their songs. Only, not speaking English very well, she decided to come up with Italian lyrics instead. This is a tough thing to do, but we translated Ripple and Wharf Rat almost literally, only that August West was renamed Gino Mazzoni and Pearly became Celestina. There's more to follow...

 #21344  by Fuzheng
 Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:00 pm
Wharf Rat in Italian! Very intriguing. Could you post the translation?

 #21366  by Henry
 Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:00 pm
Please have a little patience, I don't have it here right now but I asked my friend to email it to me.

 #21375  by LazyLightnin
 Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:01 pm
wow i wanna hear that also!