Math and Blues with Dylan

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Uh oh. Two days in a row. I’ve been messing around with a cover version of Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women 12 and 35. I was driving a few weeks ago when it came up on my music shuffle– a song I’ve heard plenty of times, but this was the first time I said- wow, that sounds like just a basic 1-4-5 blues riff.

When I looked up the tabs, as usual they were all a bit different; the one I settled on was just E-A-B7 but with a capo on the first fret. When I listened to the song, the tabs I noticed was missing that whole series of dropping tones- you know “WAHHHHH WAH WAH WAH”.

Just plucking around on the low E, I found what worked to me B-A#-A down to E. And down on the open E, if you hit the A string with the next note in the chord (a B on the 5th string) you could do that shuffle but by going back and forth from the B to a C# along side the open E string.

Huh? Well I tried the first time to use a Guitar Tab Creator, here is a basic bit to show the notes



It’s the E progression, then up a string repeat for the A, back to the E, and then top of with a B7 chord (this is all capo-d at the 1st fret but no reason why you could not do it standard).

I like the shuffly feel to it. Here’s a one take sloppy recording

As usual, with TABs, I shop around, mix and match, and then try to morph it with my own bits (usually simplifications).

But if it’s three chords, 1-4-5, that’s mint.

Heck, even the Beatles blues it up (or down)

I’m no song meaning expert, but everybody knows it as the “Everybody Must Get Stoned” song, with a wink suggestion as a drug reference. But my hunch is that Dylan was never that literal. To me it’s the stoned as in your society pelting you with stones. No matter what you do, being good, playing your guitar, sitting down in your grave, they’re gonna come at you with stones.


Riders OF the Storm

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Here come the excuses and apologies (zoom). But when I saw Bryan’s tweet about the remix, I could not let it pass by

I’m a long time Doors fan, so when I listened to ColinJagoe’s smooth rendition of Riders on the Storm, I was inspired just to try out the tabs.

Then I cringed at monsters like “F#m7sus4” and “Bm7sus4” til I got to the bottom, and author had laid out them more clearly- I used the “frets” version, and once I went through it, it had a very familiar feel to The Pusher Ringy/Slidy Bluesy one I did long ago– I am guessing it is just in the minor range.

For my cover, I tried it the bluesy angle, almost the strumming pattern of The Pusher. After recording in Audacity, I was bummed because my input levels were too hot, so I shrunk down the amplification, and to cover up some, I tossed in a little reverb.

I really like the sliding progression, and I got a few new open-ish chords to mess with. I am not quite sold on the D-C for the fifth of the blues riff, but I can live with it.

Remix on.

That Pusher Open String Ringing Sliding Bluesy thing

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I’m no David Kernohan but share a little thing I use probably way to much for blues riffs. It’s basically the one from Steppenwolf’s The Pusher

It’d probably still not easy to see the fingers in the video, but I have someone who can show you better.

If you have not seen Soundslice, you gotta go now. What it does is amazing– it uses a lesson from YouTube, but adds a synchronized rolling transcription of the chords and finger picking, so you can stop, slow down, and see the way the parts are played matched to the video.


The title in Soundslice is Acoustic Blues guitar lesson spice up that bluesy playing and he shows you how do to some cool stuff up and down the fretboard “On the Land of A7”.

Way way better than trying to memorize tabs seen in a store!

Alan’s Old Guitar

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I’m back again for Intro to Guitar, with not much progress in a year, but I still love strumming around. I pretty much told the story of my Takamine last year (and it sounds similar to Irwin’s story).

Those who have guitars they have held a lot know that familiar feeling. Mine has its share of scratches, and there is a camping story of the ding in the bottom right, and that G string peg which has needed replacement screws for decades.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Looking forward to another go around.

Jamming with Light My Fire

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As it happens, I had just finished lighting the fire in MY woodstove, when I clicked over to Alan’s post and listened to his rockin’ version of Light My Fire.  I retreated to basement, found the tenor guitar, used the Guitar Toolkit app to find a few chords and a Dorian scale in Am. I think that ‘Santana-esqe’ sound is often captured in a Dorian kind of mode. (Which I don’t know much about to be honest, just basically this)

So armed with my tenor, and the scale (pictured below) I joined in the LMF jam via GarageBand and Soundcloud. As I was messing with it, that little theme came out and that formed the basis for most of what I did. There’s also some cringers and clunkers of notes and chords in there, but it’s jamming after all. Thx @cogdog for stoking the fires!


Fire Needs Some Lighting

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The excuses for not playing this week are worn thin. While lighting my wood stove, it did not take much of a leap to hear “Light My Fire” in my head, but maybe a more bluesy acoustic version. None of the tabs I found felt right, so I startet varying some of the chords. I really like just running rhythm so I left a wide open patch for someone to riff in some solo or maybe a harmonica (or a tuba?). Or do something about my vocals, please.

The tabs I found had the chorus as Am / F#m plus a few capo options, but I was not liking them, so I just started switching it up- I really like the ringing sound of an Am7 – I tried doing the bar on three strings for the F#m, but found I liked what I think is a D5 – and normal 3 finger triangle D, nut leave the top (E) string open. I was playing with also trilling the 6th string G back on top of it.

So that’s the verse, and what I think is behind the long organ and guitar solos (maybe, I lost track while strumming to the Doors version).

The chorus was fine in the tab I used. G – A – D “Come on Baby Light My Fire” twice. I did a variation on the open G of moving my finger from the 1st string 3rd fret (the high G) to the second string 3rd fret (adding a “D”). I also tossed in the Dsus4 back to D cause it was like the first variation I learned (I think it was Boston “More Than a Feeling”) and it sounds good. The last line switches to G – D- E – E7 (“Try to set the night on FIRE”).

I doodled up a sketch of my own chords used here:


My goals again are to try and find my own variations on songs I like, not just mimic them. Maybe its because I am bad at mimic-ing them! But I like that 2 chord Am7 – D5 riff, it has a maybe Santana-ish feel to it.

And that is my fire in the soundcloud widget 😉 It’s lit.

Wolf Chasing

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Free form wandering trying to keep with the Wolves baseline, it’s so easy to fall off the train! I listened to the song omce cause its new to me.

This was with some anonymous acoustic that belongs to my girlfriend’s daughter. I kept doing the suspended 4th on the D (one my favorite chord variations) and some turning the Em into an Em7. And then wandering off into who knows where trying to solo.

Trying not to self censor here and learn