The 9 Pound Hammer


#1

Mr. Banjo Ben himself suggested another collaborative starting sometime in early February. He suggested The 9 Pound Hammer (9#H), and it sounds like a winner to me. It’s a fun song. I figured I’d put a thread out here to allow people to sign up and get a head start on working out parts. The tempo is undetermined at this point, but there has been expressed desire for some pep. If someone out there is interested in recording but want a more moderate speed, we could fairly easily make two versions (one slower and one faster).

The key is not set, but I normally see it done in A. If someone wants a different key, put a suggestion out.

JW has signed up for a guitar break and I think Larry wants a dobro break. I volunteered for mandolin rhythm, but if anyone else wants it, have at it. I think we could put as many breaks into this song as we want.

If we do vocals, I humbly suggest Larry for lead (or at least a turn at lead if others want to sing lead as well). I can’t volunteer him, but he’s got a good voice for it.

Come on in… the water is warm!


#2

We’ll see what folks want to do and I can fill in with something that’s left.


#3

Excellent! Glad to have you on board.


#4

— Begin quote from ____

…he’s got a good voice for it.

— End quote

Are we talking about hog calling?

Ben and fiddlewood on the same project! I better hone my dobro chops for this one.


#5

I was looking for some ideas for a guitar break for 9# on You Tube when I stumbled upon these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rje77WvPGqU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV0hTq9rFaA

Has anyone ever heard of this guy? He seems to have it all, good voice, great ability to pick and it looks like a prewar bone. The picture isn’t clear enough to tell if the fretboard markers are dots or diamonds and I really couldn’t see the binding well enough to tell if it was herringbone or not. Either way it sounds great. Players like this make me either want to throw my guitar out the truck window driving 70 mph on the interstate or pick it up and play more and try harder.

Anyway, I’ve never seen him before and thought someone might be inspired as I was.

J.W.


#6

Never heard of 'em (but I am no encyclopedia of pickers). That’s part of what I love about flatpickers… you never know what you’ll find. I never heard of the guy and he’s brilliant. The first link is a more ear popping solo, but I like how he used the melody better in the second one. As far as dating the the guitar, the only thing I can pick out is that the corners of the headstock are a bit rounded but not severely. Using my highly unscientific guestimation methods, that would put it maybe late 40’s. By the mid fifties, the corners are getting pretty rounded off.


#7

Dang, he sure is fast!


#8

Being a newbie to all things music, I’m not understanding half of what’s being discussed on this thread, but I’ll be watching things closely to try and learn some new stuff.


#9

Ah’m in! :slight_smile:


#10

Welcome aboard Ozi!
So far we have
Ozi - bass
JW - GTR break
Larry - dobro break and/or rhythm and/or noodling
Mike - mandolin rhythm (might do a break if there is a hole).
Ben - unspecified instrument(s)
Fiddlewood - something to be named later (banjo, GTR, fiddle are open possibilities by my count)

That’s already a good looking lineup. If I missed someone, let me know (I am old and feeble-minded). Counting Ben and Fiddlewood, it looks like we already have 4 breaks. The breaks are short and we can do a bunch, so anyone else feel free to jump in. Like Larry said at some point, we can put about as many as we want in it.


#11

— Begin quote from "beardedbanjo"

Being a newbie to all things music, I’m not understanding half of what’s being discussed on this thread, but I’ll be watching things closely to try and learn some new stuff.

— End quote

Basically this thread is about some people from different places planning to record some music. If you have any questions about it, fire away!


#12

So how does this one play out? Do we start with Mike laying down the base structure on rhythm mando, then a few drop-ins to get the feel of it? We going to rock it or what? :wink:


#13

I’ll toss in some guitar!


#14

— Begin quote from "mreisz"

— Begin quote from "beardedbanjo"

Being a newbie to all

— End quote

things music, I’m not understanding half of what’s being discussed on this thread, but I’ll be watching things closely to try and learn some new stuff.
Basically this thread is about some people from different places planning to record some music. If you have any questions about it, fire away!

— End quote

Thanks for the open door! Here are a couple:

Your original post mentioned deciding on a key to play in. I really don’t get the “why” of playing in different keys (maybe this warrants its own thread?).

I think I understand what happens at the break (someone plays a kind of solo while everyone else plays backup and marvels at his pickin’ abilities?), but what does everyone play in between the break? Does everyone just play like they’re on backup while somebody sings or what?


#15

— Begin quote from "beardedbanjo"

Your original post mentioned deciding on a key to play in. I really don’t get the “why” of playing in different keys (maybe this warrants its own thread?).

— End quote

There are two main reasons I can think of to choose a key. First, if there is singing, it is very important to choose a key that is within the vocal range of the intended singers. This is probably the primary concern in a song with singing.

Second, some instruments are difficult or not ideal to play in a given key. I don’t play all instruments, but it seems the most common keys useful for a bunch of instruments are G, A and D. If you play out of A, a guitar can play A shape (no capo) or G shape (capo 2) and still sound like a guitar. You can tweak common keys a bit with a capo and it works for many instruments (Bb is “surprisingly” used a fair amount with guitars running capo 4 G shapes). However, some keys don’t allow for much open string usage for fiddles or mandolin. For example, when we recorded “West Virginia My Home” the original was a half step away from D, I think D#. For ease of playing, I picked D. Could we have done it in D#? Sure, but it was just easier in D.

— Begin quote from "beardedbanjo"

I think I understand what happens at the break (someone plays a kind of solo while everyone else plays backup and marvels at his pickin’ abilities?), but what does everyone play in between the break? Does everyone just play like they’re on backup while somebody sings or what?

— End quote

It really depends on the type of a recording. On “old timey” recordings, everyone was recording at the same time. They played like they were live. When we do a recording, it’s a more modern (easier) technique where breaks and rhythm are typically recorded separately. We will often mix things to where an instrument’s rhythm is not present during their breaks, but that’s typically done in the mixing as opposed to the recording phase. Also, not all instruments supply rhythm or lead tracks. There’s not a right or wrong… we just kind of try to make it sound good.


#16

By the way, there are still people that record like a live setting. It takes much more skill to make a good recording that way, but to some, it’s the only way to do it “right.” They will sometimes have errant strings ringing or even botched notes or sequences. At first listen, it sounds odd that a “mistake” would be left in there but once you figure out (or learn of) the recording methods used, it makes it all the more impressive. Fortunately, my skills aren’t good enough to worry about having such great musical ethics.


#17

— Begin quote from "Oldhat"

I’ll toss in some guitar!

— End quote

Get Down!!!

We now have
Ozi - bass
Jesse - GTR rhythm and/or break
JW - GTR break
Larry - dobro break and/or rhythm and/or noodling
Mike - mandolin rhythm (might do a break if there is a hole).
Ben - unspecified instrument(s)
Fiddlewood - something to be named later (banjo, GTR, fiddle are open possibilities by my count)


#18

— Begin quote from "ozicaveman"

So how does this one play out? Do we start with Mike laying down the base structure on rhythm mando, then a few drop-ins to get the feel of it? We going to rock it or what? :wink:

— End quote

I don’t think a solo mandolin scratch track would be the best way to do it. Since we are getting ahead of things a bit (Ben wasn’t available until early February), maybe we can plan out the structure/tempo/breaks/beginnings/endings etc. I guess we could go ahead and make a scratch track for a couple verses so people could start working on breaks.

So far I haven’t heard any opposition to A. If you are gonna sing, does A work for your voice Larry?

Also what tempo do you all want? Feel free to speak your mind and we can work it all out.

I’ll reiterate, if there are any who want a slower version to participate in, we can do two versions, but you gotta let us know.


#19

I’m happy to have a go at some vocals on this - A suits my range fine, if that works for Larry or whoever else then that is good (in the highly possible event you don’t like what I come up with :wink: ) or maybe we could do a few verses each.

Have had a look at the Merle Travis clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btVAuFMpNr4
and the John Prine version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA3thQe8t9g

  • must say I lean towards the swing of John Prine however it’s your call on that one. Either way we need to start with a rhythm track to set the feel.

Also I guess we have to decide on which version of lyrics to go with.


#20

I say we do two rhythm tracks in order to go at it just like we would learning a new song…one say at 120-150 BPM to practice our licks/interpretation over then another at 180 - 220 BPM for the actual track.

I can kick in some vocals along the way along with a guitar break and some guitar rhythm of need be.

I personally looked into 9#H a few years back and have an idea already established for a break but need to tweek it/refine it as I have never taken a break on it.