Saturday, November 6, 2010

Did Johnnie Write It?

There was a special on Jimi Hendrix tonight, and I saw him playing the blues classic "Killing Floor" at Monterey (same stage where I saw Chuck Berry do a dynamite show in 1974).  And since my guitar is always near my television I checked the key.  A flat.  I guess it was those piano keys, again.  What would Keith say?  Wouldn't a real guitarist move up to A to take advantage of those open strings?  (Insert smiley face or Dr. Evil's laugh here.)  Anyway, what a version!

I couldn't find Howlin' Wolf doing it, but I found something better: Hubert Sumlin, playing it at B.B. King's last May.  My brother Paul (who just accompanied me to Blueberry Hill, Wentzville, and The Pageant) was there that night.  He might enjoy this clip.  (I haven't actually been able to watch yet.  Bad connection.  But I'm betting from the first couple of notes that it's great.)


Robert said...


...Hendrix WAS playing in the A position here, but tuned his guitar down 1/2 step. Reasons:(1)it's easier for some cats like Jimi to sing in flat keys, and (2)it's a lot easier to bend strings, especially if you like the fatter-sounding heavy gauges. SRV also tuned his guitars a half-step down for that specific reason...used a .13 guage as his top E...haha. Of course, Eddie Van Halen and the boys from your neighborhood took this concept to another level by dropping it down a whole step...

Bob Lohr
St. Louis, MO.

Peter said...

Dang Sherlock! Your eyes are too good! Ah well, back to the drawing boards.


Anonymous said...

Bob beats me to the punch once again! His observations are dead on.


Peter said...

I'm losing all credibility fast!