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Odetta's Guitar Style

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GUEST,Bill A. 20 Nov 05 - 09:53 AM
Judge Mental 20 Nov 05 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Barb S. 21 Nov 05 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Will 21 Nov 05 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,michael 01 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM
GUEST,Richard 02 Dec 05 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,Earl W. 02 Dec 05 - 11:55 AM
Mark Ross 02 Dec 05 - 12:11 PM
VirginiaTam 17 Jun 10 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Jun 10 - 06:43 AM
Stringsinger 17 Jun 10 - 07:39 PM
Alice 17 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM
Deckman 17 Jun 10 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 18 Jun 10 - 12:23 AM
The Sandman 18 Jun 10 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,hg 18 Jun 10 - 10:13 PM
Art Thieme 19 Jun 10 - 10:17 PM
The Sandman 20 Jun 10 - 07:32 AM
VirginiaTam 20 Jun 10 - 11:12 AM
The Sandman 20 Jun 10 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,kendall 20 Jun 10 - 12:04 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Jun 10 - 03:52 PM
Art Thieme 22 Jun 10 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Tom in Chicago 01 Apr 12 - 10:10 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 12 - 10:47 PM
Stringsinger 02 Apr 12 - 07:10 PM
Stringsinger 02 Apr 12 - 07:13 PM
Ebbie 03 Apr 12 - 02:42 AM
GUEST,Jay 27 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM
The Sandman 28 Oct 12 - 06:40 AM
Stringsinger 28 Oct 12 - 12:34 PM
Stringsinger 28 Oct 12 - 12:41 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 14 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,Munin 15 Nov 14 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,# 15 Nov 14 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,gillymor 15 Nov 14 - 01:08 PM
PHJim 15 Nov 14 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Nov 14 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,interested 16 Nov 14 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Munin 20 Nov 14 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,gillymor 20 Nov 14 - 09:01 AM
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Subject: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Bill A.
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:53 AM

How does Odetta create her signature guitar sound (both fretting and strumming patterns)? It sounds like the blues and folk. I can tell she hammers on and off, and that she usually uses a capo, but, still can't figure out how she gets her guitar to sound so incredible. As a 19 year old folkie, I just discovered her on the recent Bob Dylan documentary. I look forward to reading your thoughts about her and her guitar style/technique.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Judge Mental
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:05 AM

Odetta talks about her technique on this tape that you can order from Homespun Tapes.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Barb S.
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:08 AM

I saw her in concert in the 60's several times. She was amazing! Great voice, presence and she beat the heck out of her guitar. She also was an expert fingerpicker. I think her guitar style came from within....deep from within imho.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Will
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 09:24 PM

Odetta's guitar style reminds me of 70's folkie Nick Drake. They both have a guitar style that's hard to imitate.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,michael
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM

what kind of guitar did odetta play in the 60's?


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 02:56 AM

Interesting that you mention Nick Drake. Both he and Odetta have a fondness for strange tunings. I remember a live album where she plays her haunting version of Sail Away Ladies (Sorry. Can't remember the album title). She talks about liking to play the song, but how hard it is to tune and retune. Love the finger-picking on that one.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Earl W.
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 11:55 AM

Odetta usually played a Gibson guitar. She doesn't play the guitar onstage anymore...she uses a pianist. Odetta often talked about loving to play in open D and moving simple chords (E,A & B7, etc.) up and down the fretboard to create new chords. She also talked about the fact that she basically used the same few chords year after year. She just found ways to vary the color by using a capo, different strumming patterns and using a variety of simple fingerpicking patterns (even though some patterns sound difficult on recordings, she said they were simple once you broke them down). She said she made sure (while teaching herself guitar, to take things slowly and gradually add speed and rythmn (sp?) to her songs.) I wish I could remember what magazine I read her thoughts and her guitar style in.

Just my 2 cents...


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 12:11 PM

Actually, Odetta was playing a National guitar made in the '50's I believe. It had a Gibson made body and a National neck. She called it "Baby".

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 05:48 AM

does anyone know if the Exploring Life, Music and Song VHS tape includes actual demonstrations of her playing style or just narrative about it?

Would like to get the tape but it is not available in the UK, as far as I can tell.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 06:43 AM

does anyone know if the Exploring Life, Music and Song VHS tape includes actual demonstrations of her playing style or just narrative about it?

I've never seen it, so I can't be sure. The description at Amazon.com would suggest that demonstrations are included:

Includes demonstration/performances of: On Top of Old Smoky, Motherless Child, Lay My Burden Down, True Believer, Water Is Wide/Gift of Heaven Medley, Sittin' Here in Limbo, Hit or Miss and Cool Water

It is very easy to get US stuff in the UK these days, and most DVD players will cope with every region.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 07:39 PM

What Odetta didn't tell you is that she learned to play her style from me. I showed her a basic Josh White strum years ago in L.A. before she went on to play in S.F. at the Tin Angel with Larry Sparks.

I think her original guitar was a Gretsch.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Alice
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM

Thanks for passing the music forward, Stringsinger!


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 09:13 PM

Stringsinger ... AHA ... your secret is out! It doesn't surprise me. I saw her live at the San Franciso Opera house in 1959 ... her bass player was Bill Lee. I still remember that incredible concert ... WHEW! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 12:23 AM

I think every time I saw Odetta she was playing a Guild. She had a guitar style that I liked very much. Deceptively simple but quite expressive. And generally speaking I was not a big fan of her singing style but I loved the songs she chose to do. I saw her once with Tom Paxton and she sang behind him on a few tunes. That was impressive.

D


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 08:05 AM

so those lucky enough to live near string singer should go get lessons.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 10:13 PM

wow Frank, I'm impressed. I think some youtube videos illustrate her playing style


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 10:17 PM

Bck in Chicago then, we all had heard that Frank Hamilton had taught Odetta to play. --------- Art


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 07:32 AM

FRANK would you be kind enough to explain the lick you taught ODETTA


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 11:12 AM

Please Stringsinger, put up some lessons on youtube? That would be so brilliant.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 11:52 AM

yes I would second that please


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 12:04 PM

Does anyone remember a radio program called the Spider's
Web? About 30 years ago I I was part of a dramatization of a book titled "Country of the Pointed Firs" by Sara Orne Jewett. Odetta did the opening music. Julie Harris was the main character


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 03:52 PM

ok so does anyone know where I can learn that Josh White strum?


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 12:10 AM

As I recall it, it was quite basic.

1) while holding an E chord---with you thumb: hit the 6th string--then the 5th string.

2) a quick up stroke brush with the first finger---then a quick down stroke brush---and come to a stop.

3) repeat.

This was diagrammed and in a frame on the wall of Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music about 1959.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Tom in Chicago
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 10:10 PM

I learned to play guitar like Odetta from going to see her every chance I got here in Chicago and sitting as close to the stage as I could.

Proud to say that I can play quite a few of her riffs JUST like her. I can do her "Sail Away Ladies" riff and play a MEAN 900 miles that would blow you away.

I can die happily when I can master her amazing "Gallow's Pole" and the exquisite work she did on "When I Was a Young Girl" before she started doing that sans accompaniment.

Something that is very much a signature of her style is to hammer on the 3rd string while playing an E major chord going from the open string to hammering on the third string at the first fret. Very Odetta sounding.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 10:47 PM

You can see a video of Josh Whites technique by his son Josh White Jr. on youtube. however I never seen any demonstrations of Odetta's playing. I as well as my mother who is also a huge odetta fan have always been blown away by her guitar playing.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:10 PM

Pete Seeger basic strum, key of G

Pete offered something unique on the banjo that was original.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:13 PM

Pete Seeger basic strum C tuning


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 02:42 AM

Neat videos, Frank. I enjoyed your lesson.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Jay
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM

Looking for hit or miss chords anyone got em


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 06:40 AM

frank hamilton your tutors are great


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 12:34 PM

At times, Odetta would hammer down a complete chord from open strings.
It would be similar to Josh White in that she employed a double thumb strum, hammer down then an upward brush with the index and another brush down the the thumb.

It was quite unique to her and no one has been able to duplicate it exactly.
A lot has to do with her hand formation and a unique rhythmic sense.

She also employed a four/four approach rather than the syncopated swing blues style which had more of a twelve/eight feel like Josh White.

It was like a slow four/four rock style rather than a twelve/eight blues style.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 12:41 PM

Thank you Ebbie and Good Soldier Schweik. Pete's banjo style is unique and was responsible for the rise of interest in the five-string banjo as an accompaniment to folk songs. Pete's half-sister Peggy also is a good exponent of this style making the banjo more like a guitar accompaniment which employs bass notes and chords rather than the Appalachian approach in Old Time which has the notes of the banjo duplicating the melody of the song.

Pete credits Pete Steele coal miner of Hamilton, Ohio for his up-strum style and also
Aunt Samantha Baumgartner who he first heard play the banjo at Bascom Lamar Lunsford's
Asheville folk festival in North Carolina.

I believe the festival still goes on.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 04:37 AM

I started reading Joan Baez's autobiography and she spoke of admiring Odetta... She said that when she met her "To overcome the panic welling in my chest, I went up to her and flat out did an imitation of her singing, "Another Man Gone." She looked surprised, and then pleased, and then she enveloped me in her great velvet arms." First of all, being paralyzed by shyness, it amazes me that that is how some people conquer their fear - it would have never occurred to me to actually just do the most terrifying thing possible, instead of avoiding it... I mean, how wonderful. After reading that, I had to look Odetta up, and her version of "House of the Rising Sun" gave me chills, and a feeling I haven't had in a long time... One I can't quite put into words, and I'm a writer. I want so badly to be able to move others the way I am moved... I want my guitar to sing the way my soul does... but I


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Munin
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 05:34 AM

I need to breathe, and I need to learn her version of 900 miles. I can't find a live version of this, I can't transcribe it, and I see no tablature or lessons... so I'm sending a plea out into the universe, hoping that someone who knows how to play it will be called into this forum to answer my cry. Please, save me!


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,#
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 12:44 PM

Do you mean 900 miles or 500 miles? Gi'e us a line.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 01:08 PM

Nine Hundred Miles


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: PHJim
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 01:59 PM

It seems I recall that Odetta was supposed to sing at Obama's inauguration, but she passed away a few weeks (or days?) prior to the ceremony and Aretha Franklin (I believe) was recruited to take her place.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Nov 14 - 02:30 PM

"Pete [Seeger] credits Pete Steele coal miner of Hamilton, Ohio for his up-strum style and also Aunt Samantha Baumgartner...." Pete Seeger liked to mention Steele and Bumgarner. In general Pete Seeger particularly sounded like Hilary Nathan Dickens (born 1888) and Bascom Lunsford.


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,interested
Date: 16 Nov 14 - 07:51 AM

Do people really say "neat"?


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Munin
Date: 20 Nov 14 - 07:08 AM

Thank you for posting that 900 miles sheet music! I luff you gillymor! You've just given me something to do for the next few days :)


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Subject: RE: Odetta's Guitar Style
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 20 Nov 14 - 09:01 AM

I'm glad, Munin. Your question led me back to Odetta. I particularly like her way with blues and spirituals.


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