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Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing

GUEST,SirCoughsalot 18 Dec 11 - 01:27 PM
tonyteach1 18 Dec 11 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 19 Dec 11 - 01:29 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 11 - 04:58 AM
David C. Carter 19 Dec 11 - 05:24 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Dec 11 - 08:38 AM
Bobert 19 Dec 11 - 08:46 AM
David C. Carter 19 Dec 11 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 19 Dec 11 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 31 Dec 11 - 06:39 PM
judyac 26 Jan 17 - 06:35 PM
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Subject: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 01:27 PM

I am a big Townes Van Zandt songs, and I really dig his bluesy playing on songs like Brand New Companion or Broke Down Engine Blues... I'm sure there are others... But I can't even begin to figure out how to play like it. I can't even tell if he's using a flatpick or fingerpicking. I thought maybe some of you guys here could help.

Links to some examples:

Brand New Companion

Broke Down Engine

Thanks everybody.


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: tonyteach1
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 02:04 PM

Looking at the illustrations and the style of playing I would say a form of fingerpicking


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 01:29 AM

I stumbled across a live performance here. We get a good view of what both his hands are doing. He is fingerpicking, after all. He don't seem to be doing anything that complicated.


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 04:58 AM

I was sure, when I listened to the first examples in your original post, that he was using a thumbpick - there was a real twang to the notes - and now I see he's using fingerpicks as well.

The actual chording and voicing on the guitar is fairly straightforward. The example in your last post is in E and three chords.


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: David C. Carter
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 05:24 AM

Is Broke Down Engine,a Blind Willie McTell song?

Maybe I got it wrong!


David


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 08:38 AM

David - yes it is. There are a couple of transcriptions in this thread: Lyr Add: The Blues of Blind Willie McTell (and I see I was going to check a line and never did; I actually have the tape out at the moment, so it might be a good time to do it!).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 08:46 AM

Sound like claw hammer picking with thumb and two fingers with the 2nd finger alternating... I play blues and his picking and mine are somewhat similar... I kinda trust my picking hand to figure it out and the involvement of the 2nd finger isn't all that mathematical and sometimes "Mr. Hand" will surprise me with throwing in a 3rd finger right behind the 2nd...

Don't confuse "claw hammer" geetar picking with banjo playing however because they are cousins rather than twins...

Good luck with it...

B~


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: David C. Carter
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 01:34 PM

Mick Pearce-Thanks for confirming that.

Cheers

David


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 03:17 PM

Yep, Broke Down Engine is a Blind Willie McTell song. It was also done by Bob Dylan on World Gone Wrong.

Now that I've had time to look over the live video, it seems like the thumb is doing most of the work, with the fingers coming in every now and then. Hm. I don't think I've ever really seen anyone play like that, but it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 06:39 PM

Here is another video of Townes I found that shows his blues playing in even better detail than the other video. The relevant part starts at about the 6:46 mark.


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Subject: RE: Help with Townes Van Zandt Blues Playing
From: judyac
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

Townes' main blues influence was Lightnin' Hopkins. He wrote "Brand New Companion" in the style of Lightnin'. You can hear him talk about it at the following URL.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fasZ3LdX-0k

The entire Normal Records album "Documentary" is on YouTube.


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