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Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?

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Rick Fielding 07 Apr 00 - 12:10 AM
Mbo 07 Apr 00 - 12:16 AM
Callie 07 Apr 00 - 12:45 AM
Mark Clark 07 Apr 00 - 12:47 AM
Little Neophyte 07 Apr 00 - 12:50 AM
Mbo 07 Apr 00 - 12:57 AM
Callie 07 Apr 00 - 12:59 AM
Clifton53 07 Apr 00 - 01:20 AM
Frank in the swamps 07 Apr 00 - 06:21 AM
Peter T. 07 Apr 00 - 09:18 AM
JedMarum 07 Apr 00 - 09:33 AM
Cap't Bob 07 Apr 00 - 09:42 AM
Rick Fielding 07 Apr 00 - 09:55 AM
Midchuck 07 Apr 00 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 07 Apr 00 - 12:29 PM
catspaw49 07 Apr 00 - 12:49 PM
BlueJay 07 Apr 00 - 02:35 PM
Clifton53 07 Apr 00 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 07 Apr 00 - 04:08 PM
BlueJay 07 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM
Molly Malone 07 Apr 00 - 05:08 PM
Mbo 07 Apr 00 - 05:15 PM
BlueJay 07 Apr 00 - 05:17 PM
Molly Malone 07 Apr 00 - 05:21 PM
Mbo 07 Apr 00 - 06:26 PM
Caitrin 07 Apr 00 - 11:29 PM
Mark Clark 08 Apr 00 - 11:18 PM
Mbo 08 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM
Susan A-R 08 Apr 00 - 11:42 PM
Caitrin 09 Apr 00 - 12:00 AM
Sorcha 09 Apr 00 - 12:07 AM
Mark Clark 09 Apr 00 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,Frankie 09 Apr 00 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Frankie 09 Apr 00 - 09:30 AM
Mbo 09 Apr 00 - 12:15 PM
ddw 09 Apr 00 - 09:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 00 - 09:19 PM
JedMarum 11 Apr 00 - 12:47 PM
sophocleese 11 Apr 00 - 12:51 PM
Mark Clark 11 Apr 00 - 03:42 PM
Rick Fielding 11 Apr 00 - 11:07 PM
Cap't Bob 11 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM
Mark Clark 07 Sep 01 - 07:58 PM
kendall 07 Sep 01 - 11:26 PM
Mark Cohen 07 Sep 01 - 11:33 PM
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Subject: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:10 AM

I'm so glad so many folks contributed to the "F" thread, and I gotta tell you I've picked up about five or six very valuable tips from it that I'll pass on to anyone (student or otherwise) who wants some "F alternatives".

But having said that, I think most would agree that the ol' "Bb" chord is really the true bugger of all time.

Here's the way I play it, and once again this came from not having enough strength to do a barre chord when I was a kid. This appears extremely difficult, but like the "Thumb F" I've managed to teach it to a lotta folks, and the rewards far outway the initial pain and frustration. If you have a classical width fingerboard this is almost impossible...but your classical teacher would shoot you anyway. Once again ya don't need long fingers, but you DO need to increase your wrist flexibility.

I put my ring finger across the first 4 strings at the third fret, flatten my palm up against the guitar neck and hook my thumb over the 6th and 5th strings (giving the F and Bb notes.) OK OK I know it seems ridiculous, and it's actually a Bb6th (I don't play the first string) but it's do-able, sounds great after about 3 weeks and can be lightening fast when used in swing tunes. Once again I'll use Michael K as an example of someone who WANTED to learn alternative chords and after a few weeks he's starting to see results with it.

Course ya can do the first fret "A barre", and the 6th fret "E barre" or even the Third fret "G barre" (I use that a lot for a more melodic Bb) but if ya got any tips or death threats lay 'em on.

Rick (by the way Leadbelly played a Bb chord occasionally)


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:16 AM

Ah, c'mon! The B flat chord is the same as F--a lot of practise, and EASY!!! Doing sus 4's and 2's on the B flat sound COOL!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Callie
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:45 AM

Mbo - you must have flippers or something if F & Bb are easy. Half your luck!

I play Bb the nOrMaL way: index finger across first fret and three fingers on the third fret strings 2,3&4.

It would drive me crazy not being able to play the first string - I don't really know how to give the guitar a good hard strum without playing the final E string.

The real killer of course is Eb. What a lousy chord.

--Callie


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:47 AM

Rick,

I just want to say that these threads of yours are a real shot in the arm. Thanks.

I like your Bb chord, it has lots of applications. You probably also use (in)version that is based on the same four-string barre but with the index finger instead of the ring finger. This lets one note D on the A string using the ring finger and Bb on the E string with the little finger. This give the player a nice three note alternating bass and, like yours, it can be moved up and down the neck.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:50 AM

Rick I must 'hand it to you', your thread titles are hilarious!

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:57 AM

You got it Callie! After all those full barres, it's that one nasty little D position E flat chord that drives me bonkers! I avoid it at all costs! Little Bugger! **BG**

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Callie
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:59 AM

Ah, so even the flipper man is stumped!

Yep - great thread titles Rick. I come to the thread expecting a fight and I ending up learning lots of stuff!

--Callie


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Clifton53
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 01:20 AM

Mbo, I'm glad it's so easy for 'ya, but I just wrote in the "F" thread that it ain't never been called "easy". Make a liar out of me eh? Just kiddin', but may all your sharps be flat!

Anyhow, I'm starting to use my thumb more often, but find it easier to do further up the neck. Fer instance, I learned a chord a while ago calling for a thumb over the E and A strings at the third fret, middle finger 2nd fret on the D string, ring finger 3rd fret on the G string, index on the 1st fret B string{C position), and the pinkie on the 3rd fret high E string. A real bear! Some kind of C I guess. Give it a shot, it took me forever, but a sweet country blues chord if ever I heard one.

Anyone know the name of this chord?

Clifton53


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 06:21 AM

Clifton53,

You've found one helluva convoluted way to play a C7. Frankly, I couldn't do it, but I do play a very wide necked guitar.

As for the dreaded Eb & Bb, the forms I posted to the other effin thread make 'em easy to play. You just gotta move up & down around the neck some.

Frank in the easy, breazy swamps.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 09:18 AM

Well, I have tried these versions up the neck, and I have to say that C6 and D6 don't sound right for a whole pile of tunes. I guess there is enough space for 3 fingers doing the Bb at the first fret, but after that -- like Friday night in the cathouse when the fleet is in -- hardly any space to do your work. Just bitching, no solutions....yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: JedMarum
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 09:33 AM

I hafta admit, after 37 years of guitar playin' I play a B flat up the neck (F form at the 6th) or I play a partial (top four) chord. I never found an effective work around, otherwise ... I'll hafta give Rick's wrap around thumb trick a try. Who knows; it may open up a whole new world for me!

But right now, I'm off to a wedding! My son's getting married down in Houston. I have family in from Boston, and we're all headed out of town for the weekend. Bye for now, Mudcatters ... I'll bring my little guitar and practice these new chord forms!


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 09:42 AM

Rick ~ Years, and years, and years ago I remember our Boy Scout Master saying "O.K. now, be sharp". I never knew if he was pulling my leg or not because I checked out all of the cord books and could not find how to play the B# cord. Now that I'm retired, I've been working on this cord for some time and still can't quite figure it out ~ if you see what I mean. Any Help? Please don't tell me it's the same as the F cord!

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 09:55 AM

Ain't no such animal Cap'n....it's "C".


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Midchuck
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 10:11 AM

Someone showed me in college an easy way to play a Bb, or B, or C, etc. chord. Full barre with first finger, partial barre on 2nd, 3rd, 4th strings with little finger, with the joint hyperextended (bent backwards)so's to miss the first string.

It worked for almost 40 years. Then I got arthritis in the first joint of the little finger of the left hand - no where else, that I'm aware of yet. No I use the ring finger the same way, but only when I can't avoid it. When I can, I use a 3- or 4-string chord or an E position barred at the 6th fret.

No Workman's Comp. for pickers!

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:29 PM

Someone mentioned using the middle finger laying over the index finger for extra pressure to make the barre at the nut. Then ring finger at the third fret bent back to make a mini-barre over the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings. There you have it.

This is actually easier on my hand than the barre F at the nut, for some reason. Maybe the extra support from the middle finger.

Neil


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:49 PM

So what's next Rickster?

"Mudcat Is A Natural"
"Gee, Mudcat is Suspended"

cute idea and good info really!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: BlueJay
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 02:35 PM

How about C demented 9th. Clint53- That is a difficult way to play a C7, but it does sound great, especially on the twelve string! Move it down a half step and you also have a really nice B7 that's easier to play. Myself I'd use the traditional B7 shape for both, and ignore the Bstring. As to Bb, (why is there no flat on the keyboard)?, I usually just play the full barre, unless I can get away with a partial. A lot of times I use my index finger on the third fret formation and don't use any bass notes. Depends on many factors, including how lazy I am at the moment. Sometimes making it a B7 or Maj 7 on the high E string helps. Bb is not much different than B, which I'll convert to B7 any chance I get.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Clifton53
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 03:22 PM

C demented 9th is a great term for that chord. I also cheat on the B flat at times as you do Blue Jay, and a lot of times I'll keep going right up the neck cheatin my ass off, heh heh. I've become quite good at muting because my hand can't take that pounding too long.

Anyone else have trouble with their hands or fingers cramping up? Or am I developing arthritis? I find if I stretch a good deal I'll be fine. But those barre chords do a number on me sometimes.

CLIFTON


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 04:08 PM

I think you hit on it Clifton. If I jump right into something that's got loads of barre chords, I won't last 5 minutes. I start out on something that gets my fingers moving, with an occasional barre thrown in, then work up to the "moveable biological capo" stuff. Still can't hang for too long, though...carpel tunnel, arthritis, cramps, something...kicks in after about an hour....I switch to G,C,D stuff for a while, then go back.

Truth be told, I should do some kind of stretching first...but I always just jump in and start playing.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: BlueJay
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM

Physiologically, you should warm up a little bit, then stretch your fingers, before playing in earnest. This holds true for any physical endeavor. Realistically, this seldom happens, but it does become more important if your hands are weak or arthritic. You need to get the blood flow back. Full barre cchords are indeed the hardest if you are not warmed up, so I tend to avoid them.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Molly Malone
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 05:08 PM

This is gonna sound wierd (what doesn't from me?), but I need to learn how to play with only the first two fingers and thumb. I heard that there was once a guitarist that only had those fingers and he did just fine. Am I getting my leg pulled here?


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 05:15 PM

Nope! it was Django Reinhardt!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: BlueJay
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 05:17 PM

Django Reinhart was one of the best guitarists from the thirties and forties, and very influential on jazz in general. I believe he was missing his fourth and fifth fingers. I have two of his albums, and I wish that I, with five fingers, could come even CLOSE to what he achieved with three. I think there is some inspiration here.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Molly Malone
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 05:21 PM

There probably isn't any video footage then, huh? Durn.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 06:26 PM

No, but there are pictures. Django, was a Belgian gypsy, and when he was 18 years old, his cart caught on fire, and his hand was severely burned...the ring finger & pinky on his left hand became paralyzed for life. So with those 2 fingers useless, he had to make do with his remaining and fingers...and BOY! Did he do more than just "make do"! Wait till Rick sees this, he can tell all sorts of neat stuff about the man!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Caitrin
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 11:29 PM

Mbo, I swear, if you say another word about F being easy, I'll smack you!!!!!
I'm going to give the little thumb-wrapping thing a try. However, I'll probably end up breaking my wrist in the process. : )


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Apr 00 - 11:18 PM

There is another Bb variant that is very useful all up and down the neck. It's really a Bb6 but can often be substituted for a boring old Bb with good effect. It's another pattern Merle Travis---and probably most Kentucky thumb pickers---used a lot; common in jazz too.

You barre the top four strings with your index finger as before, then catch the G on the bass E string with your thumb. That's the way Merle made it. Jazz players make the barre with their ring finger and catch the bass G note with the middle finger. In both cases, the fifth string is damped.

The thumbed fingering is really useful in the Raeger, Everly, Travis style because it gives you three unused noting fingers that can find melody or harmony notes as needed.

If the major sixth just won't fit, you can slide your thumb one fret north and play it as a Bb7.

Extra credit.
Here's an interesting little piece of theory. If you make the Bb6 I describe the way the jazz players do---ring and middle fingers, no thumb---you can slide your four-note barre back to a three note barre, exposing the D string, and catch E on the D string with your index finger. This has the effect of flatting the 3rd tone of the Bb scale turning the chord into a Bb-6 (minor 6th). Most of you will recognize this as a chord you often play and refer to as C9. It turns out a Bb-6 and a C9 have the same notes just like C and A-.

Along the same lines, the Bb6 pattern across the third fret---thumbed or fingered---may also be called G-7.

Go figure.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 08 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM

It's easy, it's easy, easy easy easy! **BG** No seriously, try the different postures of holding the guitar--classical guitar position is comfortable, and optimal for playing full barres. Then as you get better at it, you can shift to a posture that is more suitable to you.

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 08 Apr 00 - 11:42 PM

My lord, if these threads continue, I may have to sit here at the computer with my old guitar and try to twist my fingers around them, and that would be a sight to see.Ithink an archive of em might be useful. I expect that there will be more.

It seems that folks also take some of the basics and play 'em other parts of the neck, in other configurations to get different effects. I'll be watching. . .

Susan A-R, who has a true love/hate relationship with the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Caitrin
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 12:00 AM

*SMACK* I told you I'd do it.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 12:07 AM

Makes me glad I'm a fiddler and only have to worry about hitting 2 strings at once when I'm chording......


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 12:45 AM

You mean you *don't* use a green stick for a bow so you can play all four strings at once?

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: GUEST,Frankie
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 08:33 AM

I play the first position Bb like this:
Barre at the first fret with index finger and bring your middle finger down on top of it for extra clamping power. Do a partial barre with your ring finger on the 3rd and 4th strings, 3rd fret (Bb and F notes respectively) then fret the 2nd string, 3rd fret (D note) with your pinky, being sure to arch it enough to let the F on the 1st string sound cleanly. This sounds kind of awkward and it takes a bit of practise to make a quick transition but it works for me and it is highly movable.

Molly, some film footage does exist of Django. I saw a clip of it on a TV concert by Stefan Grappelli. He was on a train dressed as a brakemen or a conductor (I forget which and I'm not confusing this with a Jimmie Rodgers short) and he was ripping off some lightning single string runs. Wether and where it's avalilable I can't say but you might inquire at Stefan Grossman's website or on the Mudcat, for that matter.

Frankie


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: GUEST,Frankie
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 09:30 AM

One way to practise your favorite first position Bb form along with the 1st pos. F form might be by playing One Morning in May in C. Here's the first two lines:

C Bb F C
One morning, one morning, one morning in May,
C Bb F G
I spied a young couple they were making their way.

F

PS Of course you can play the C and G at the 3rd fret when you like.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mbo
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 12:15 PM

OUCH! Told you I'd do it, Told you I'd do it---AAIIIIIIEEEEE!!!

--Mbo (I swear I'll play 'Cut you in' tonight on hearme!)


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: ddw
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 09:17 PM

Callie, I haven't read all the posts — short of time right now — so if somebody else has suggested this, pls excuse....

The dreaded Eb isn't so intimidating if you can play a 5-sting C. Try this:

Ring finger, 5th string, third fret
Middle finger, 4th string, second fret
Index finger, second string, 1st fret
Little finger, 1st string, third fret.

Now, damp the 3rd string (G) with your middle finger and move the whole thing up four frets. You can even rock the ring finger between the 5th and 6th strings to get an alternating bass.

And an easier way to do it, tho' it's not exactly the chord, is to make a conventional B7, damp the B string and slide it up.

Works for me.

david


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 09:19 PM

This ones drifting off the page, and it's too young to die.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: JedMarum
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 12:47 PM

sometimes a required Bflat in a song, that requires all 6 strings to be played is enough reason to use a capo!


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: sophocleese
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 12:51 PM

Rick I think this is the perfect opportunity for you to start a thread called; Gee its great the Mudcat's back! Where are you?


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 03:42 PM

For me, the choice of when to use a capo depends on the effects I'm trying to achieve. Old-timey, bluegrass, slack key fingerpicking and Piedmont style fingerpicking all rely on open strings to achieve that certain sound that makes those styles so great. The sound associated with certain pieces depends on playing them out of certain chord patterns. Capos are needed to get them into the desired key or achieve a certain tone quality from the instrument.

Kentucky "thumb picking" (Raeger, Everly, Travis) relies on "closed" chords that can be moved anywhere as needed. This style requires that the player be able to play in many keys without a capo. Jazz players likewise eschew capos and are exptected to play in any key using closed chord fingerings.

Flatt picked fiddle tunes depend on open strings but are not always capoed. I have both A and D fiddle tunes I play without a capo and of course A and D fiddle tunes where I prefer to use one. The point is that the choice of a capo should depend on the effect one is trying to achieve, not the limitations of the player.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm some guitar wizzard because that really isn't the case. These are merely the standards to which I aspire. I just think it's a shame to use a capo for no other reason than to avoid learning a chord.

Cheers,

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 11:07 PM

Hi. I started an "Eb" thread, but I think I got too cutesy for my own good. I apologize.click


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM

Thank goodness Rick ~~ I'm afraid that if you started an Eb thread you would be telling me that there's no such thing as an E#.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 07:58 PM

Geoff the Duck put me in a notion to refresh this.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: kendall
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:26 PM

I dont want to cause anyone to slap me, but, I play Bb like so, first finger on first string, first fret, second finger on the 4th and 5th string in the 3rd fret, and, third finger on the second string in the third fret, thumb on 6th string in the first fret. Either muffle or avoid hitting the 5th. I find it easier to do on the Taylor because of the thin neck. Sometimes I play with Bluegrass folks, and when they all use a clamp to play F, I like to play it natural and watch them look at my hand to see how I'm getting that low note. When the arthritis is acting up, I too use a clamp.As far as Eb goes, I dont think there is one on my guitar.


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Subject: RE: Does Mudcat Seem to Be flat Right Now?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:33 PM

Eb is easy, Kendall, you just play in E but capo down one fret.

Aloha,
Mark


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