Tag Archives: Key of E

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

So, I woke up at 5:30 this morning and thought, “Whoops! I forgot to blog!” So here I am, an hour and a half later, sitting at my computer, before I have even had my morning cuppa.

Why did I forget something so crucial? Well, the Misfits jam is on hold for a while, although Logan did come in for his lesson (more on that later), but the big news here is that Red took his first solo flight yesterday—WHOO HOO!—and we went out to eat to celebrate. Of course when we came back I had to get in my obligatory episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then I headed for my nest with no thoughts of blogging to disturb me. Till this morning.

So. About Logan’s lesson. He’s got a GIG coming up! And had his first practice for it last Sunday. Where, to his surprise, the singer/guitarist did a lot of songs in the key of E. To complicate things even further, the guy had his capo on at the SECOND fret. (He was playing out of the D position.) Logan was, to put it bluntly, totally lost. “I can’t play out of E!” he told me. “Yes, you can!” I replied. “No, I can’t!” he said. Then I said, “Let me pretend I’m Bob Van Metre for a minute: !@##%, yes you can, now shut up or I’m going to get the duct tape!”

That gained me a moment of silence, in which I said, “Get your capo.” Of course, Logan had forgotten his capo, so I gave him one of mine. “Put it on at the FOURTH fret. We’re going to play out of C position. And that will make it come out in the Key of E.”

“Ooooooooh,” said Logan. He actually got it.

So we messed around with “I’ll Fly Away” for a while in E. He actually had a decent break, although as he pointed out, it didn’t have much melody, so I showed him some ways to get the melody with two-finger pinches on the first and second strings. (Ask Casey for your own, personal DVD lesson!)

Then he showed me what he’d learned for his lesson, which was the entire break to “Amazing Grace” from the Gospel DVD—which is not, IMHO, an easy task. I’d also showed him some clever embellishments (which I’m not sure are on the DVD, but they might be!) which he was including with ease. As I was sitting there listening to him play, I was thinking, “He doesn’t sound like a student, he sounds like a real live banjo player!” I can’t tell you how proud I was of him.

We then moved on to “Rawhide,” which was another song that he was going to have to do for his gig. He knew the first part, which is nothing but “Lonesome Road Blues,” so I showed him Rudy Lyle’s way cool bridge, which is basically the same backward roll played across the four chords of the bridge, E, A, D, G. But since “Rawhide” is played in C, we were capoed up five frets and playing out of G, C, and D positions (in other words, thinking in the key of G), so these weirdo chords come out LOOKING like B, E, A, D. Position-wise, I mean. You can see what a mess the whole thing is.

Logan said, “I need to learn about all this stuff.” “Yes, you do,” I said, “but not right now. Right now you just need to learn to play this bridge, so the best thing to do is just to find these positions on the neck and memorize where they are.” (They’re in an easy pattern.)

He did that, and, I swear, within five minutes (maybe less) he was flat-out playing the bridge, and hooking it into the rest of the song. Again: Proud was I!

I told him after the bridge was over, that was the end of his break, but he should be ready to jump into the A part again, just in case the next person faltered or failed to come in. On stage, you’ve gotta be prepared.

We still have one more lesson to get him ready for the gig. He says the guy is singing a lot of Mac Wiseman songs, so I told him to email me the list and we’d work on them. I’ll keep you posted. I’m hoping to get Logan (or maybe Bobby Van) to blog about the gig. I wonder what kind of bribe I’ll have to offer Logan to get him to do that.....I’ll think of something!