For this week's installment of my album (more on that here), I present "Shine," a tune named after a horse my wife used to ride at a local barn. For the record, my wife leased Shine; we do not make "own and board a horse" money...but wait till this album blows up the charts! : ) Since its heavy on the 4th string, I decided that this tune might benefit from a mellowed-out banjo sound; therefore, in preparation for this recording, I removed the second tone ring I added to the buckeye a couple months back (more on that here). As with the other tunes I've recorded thus far (here and here) I played it twice through: once with solo banjo, once with boom-chick guitar:
"Shine" - an original fiddle tune by Jeff Norman (me). Played twice through by me on my Buckeye tuned to aDADE; guitar accompaniment the second time through using a 12-fret Epiphone Masterbilt in standard guitar tuning capped at the 2nd fret. Tune and recording Copyright 2017 - Jeff Norman.
More about the tune:
"Shine" is played in double D tuning (aDADE) and has roughly an AABB structure. However, the second A part lingers on an A chord for a few extra beats until I play a funny little drop thumb riff that takes you into the B part. The chords for the A part, which is in B minor, form a 4 chord progression that I remember hearing in a lot of punk rock tunes. Though I didn't realize it when I wrote it, the chords for the B part, which is in D major, are quite similar to what one would play for "Canon in D" (a.k.a. Pachabel's canon) with a slightly different ending; as a former cellist, I have spent a lot of time sawing out the bass notes for these chords...it's therefore completely unsurprising to me that they would make their way into one of my tunes subconsciously.
The transition back to the A part is a bit abrupt - I use the same riff that took us into the B part, but I string it right into the opening phrase of the A part for a bit of crookedness. I actually use this trick on another tune called "How's your Courage?," which I'll be recording eventually as well; try to act surprised when you hear it a second time : ). The tune ends with this trick as well and I drop out the guitar for added effect. I regret that I accidentally trimmed down the recording a bit too much after that ending (wish I'd left that note ringing a little longer...).
The past two recordings were made without using Garage band's built in metronome feature....and in my opinion, it shows. While I feel like I've got pretty solid rhythm in my solo playing, a couple listen-throughs to those recordings makes me realize that I actually don't. When I was trying this tune sans metronome, the B part was really lagging. Eventually, I put on my fancy dj headphones (they're like nuclear blue and huge) and tried it with the metronome on and the speed set to 109 BPM (this is where I clocked my playing when I wasn't overthinking it). The tune could likely go a bit faster, but I kind of like it a bit chilled out as it is here. I do think that my "big brushes" (here) in the B part are a little much: they kind of clash with the boom chicks from the guitar. If I record this one again, I may try taking them out.
I've actually amassed a bit of interest in this project on banjo hangout - hope you guys liked "Shine!" See you next week for another tune!
About this blog
I have lots of ideas about banjo playing and music in general - this blog allows me to get them all out of my head and see what you think.