Blackberry Rag a la Wayne Henderson


#1

So here is a tune that Wayne taught us. He explained that he learned it from a Doc Watson record many years ago. The first link is Wayne playing the tune while the second link is my Tabledit of his arrangement. As you might imagine, Wayne (and most bluegrassers for that matter) teach tunes by showing you a little at a time. Once I heard it a few times and then listened to his playing of it, I was able to write it out in Tabledit for those of you who prefer things written down.

Enjoy!

http://drguitar.opendrive.com/files/MF82NDAxODc4NF9tZ1ZadQ/Blackberry%20rag.tef


#2

That is great drguitar. Thanks for taking the time to tab that out. I may try to tackle that one.

I am amazed at some of you guys ability to tab out stuff like this by ear. I’ve tried and it is the most frustrating thing to me. While hunting down a note I just heard, it gets lost/confused in my memory while pecking around the fretboard looking for it. I guess some knowledge of theory/scales would help me out in knowing where to look.

Sorry about that. Had to whine for a second. :slight_smile:

Carry on.


#3

That B part is pretty neat. Think I’ll have to spend some time working on it.


#4

A couple of questions that come up as I went through it:

  1. In measures like 18 through 19 was he playing a half barre?
  2. Going from measure 7 to 8 it is playing in a higher position up the neck and then ends up back on the first fret on the first beat of measure 8. My inclination is to instead play that C on the 5th fret of the G string. Did Wayne slide down or was he playing the end of the 7th measure with his middle finger on the third fret and then stretch his first. Sorry… that’s a pretty specific question.

Thanks for posting it. That’s great!


#5

— Begin quote from “mreisz”

A couple of questions that come up as I went through it:

  1. In measures like 18 through 19 was he playing a half barre?
  2. Going from measure 7 to 8 it is playing in a higher position up the neck and then ends up back on the first fret on the first beat of measure 8. My inclination is to instead play that C on the 5th fret of the G string. Did Wayne slide down or was he playing the end of the 7th measure with his middle finger on the third fret and then stretch his first. Sorry… that’s a pretty specific question.

Thanks for posting it. That’s great!

— End quote

Question 1. Yes…
He was playing with his first finger on the 1st and 2nd string with his second finger on the third string (what he called an “F” chord position).

Question 2. Great minds think alike, I thought the exact same thing while he was teaching the tune (in fact the moment he played that riff). It is much faster to just reach over to the 5th fret of the G string (to play the note C). He was playing the note E with his ring finger (5th fret B string) followed by his pointer finger playing the note C (1st fret B string). However, when you are in the company of folks like Wayne Henderson, I find it best to keep my mouth shut with my eyes and ears open. I think that your concept of the fingering would probably be a smoother way to approach it.

One last thought. Watching Wayne play has me thinking that he approaches lead lines and riffs based around chord forms and that is why he chose that fingering. If you see him play on YouTube sometime, watch his left hand. He tends to play everything in some sort of movable chord position (I’ve noticed this about some of the greatest bluegrass and jazz guitar players).


#6

I was working on this last night, and I identified the same two difficult areas as Mike, but only came up with one of the same solutions (I think that makes me a half-wit, instead of a great mind).

I was using a half barre on measures 18 and 19 like MIke, but I was playing the last note of measure 7 on the open E string instead of 5 on the B string. That gave me time for the position change.

[attachment=0]measures-7-and-8.jpg[/attachment]


#7

Yep, yet another way to finger this piece. Honestly, I found out years ago that whatever works for you is really the only right way for you. I remember being a big George Benson fan (had all of his albums, especially the early ones) and thinking that he must have this amazing technique for being so smooth and also so punchy in his delivery of solo lines. When I saw him play in person, I found that his hand position when playing looked more like a beginning 13 year old rocker (left hand was all first and third fingers). It was at that moment I realized that you can have terrible hand position and still play incredible.

I’m NOT saying that Wayne had terrible hand position (far from it), I am saying that everyone gets to their goal on their own road and who is to say which road is the correct one. Definitely not me. And from the way Wayne plays, it looks to me like he took a good road indeed!


#8

I think I understand what you mean. We came up with three different ways to play this lick, and though each sounds a little different, each is equally “correct”. The way we approach these things helps define our individual style.


#9

Thanks for the responses and thanks again for posting the tab. That’s gonna be a fun one if one gets it up to a reasonable speed.


#10

Thanks for the post Doc.

It’s always fun to see professionals play up close in that setting. Years ago I went to a two day workshop with Steve Kaufman at Wildwood Music in Coshocton, OH. I went two years in a row. The first year there was maybe 35 students. The second year only about 20 or 25 showed up. Needles to say, they couldn’t keep the workshop going and I’ve never seen him since. I believe that was in '95 and '96.

At the end of the workshop, he left his 7 string Gallagher on the stand and told us, if anyone would like to play it, help yourself. Believe it or not, only a couple of us took advantage of his offer. I played it of course and thought it was a great guitar, but I also wondered how long it would take to get used to that low B string.

Did you have a chance to play Wayne’s guitar? Or has anyone ever played any Henderson guitar? I’ve never played one, but I hear nothing but good about them.

Glad you had the opportunity to go the workshop.

J.W.


#11

Honestly, I didn’t think to ask, although the host of the workshop/house concert had insanely nice acoustic guitars every where and folks were picking them up to play them. I think of myself as a careful and gentle man when it comes to handling another person’s guitar, but trying a guitar that is worth more than my house is where I draw the line… seriously.

Robin (on the left) is playing the Martin 1942 “bone” (D-28), and Wayne is playing the Martin 1937 sunburst “bone” (D-28). These guitars were in beautiful condition and sounded amazing. The lighting in the concert room was not that great (back lit) so the phone picture did not turn out that well. :neutral_face:


#12

Always enjoy hearing Wayne Henderson and his unique style of playing. Thanks for posting it Drguitar.