Lesson a week 13: I Crush Everything

edited May 2008 in JoCo Tabs
Whoa, I almost didn't get this posted by the end of the week. It's been a little hectic around here, but I'm glad I still get the lesson up before week's end. I'm running out of hard drive space quickly. I'll probably just buy another one soon, but as usual, I need the money for other things. Either way, this week's lesson is one of the hardest ones yet, but that's mostly because there are just a lot of things to explain. Once you get some of these patterns under your fingers, you'll see that's it's not as hard as it sounds. Next week will be "I'm Your Moon"

Lesson a Week 13: I Crush Everything

Guitar Technique: Fingerpicking


  • thanks for this one Dave. I know it's already a lot of work as it is but I wish you'd do tab for the fingerpicked songs, at least in the non-standard parts. I struggled with the intro till I looked at the tab and it all came clear for me. Just my learning style I suppose. still trying to figure out the walkdown exactly and the little D flourish at the end.
  • I think the way I'll handle this one is that I'll do these by request because it's very time consuming, but at the same time I really want you to be able to understand and learn. It all goes into me wishing I'd explained things better, but at the same time it's just something that may need tab to be fully explained.
    Walkdown Figure

    G D/F# Em A7 D

    G D/F# Em A7 Bsus2 Bm

    G D/F# Em A7 D
  • thanks Dave. That helps a lot.
    As for explaining it better I think you do a good job. But I don't have a good enough ear to listen and say "oh, he's doing this". I need to see what fingers are hitting what strings; that's why tab works better for me.
  • Eeeeexcellent. I haven't been able to learn I.C.E. from the chords already up, so the lesson is much appreciated. Ta for the extra technique vid and tab too; good work suuuupadave.
  • edited July 2008
    wow, this song is really killing me. Has anyone here gone from not being able to fingerpick at all to mastering this song?

    Cause I don't like it that much. I'll keep going at it, but it's hard, and my fingers are fat.

    edit: Wow, I feel dumb and more confused. I've been making the chord, but picking the wrong strings. Or at least, picking the strings in the wrong order. This might make things easier or more tough....
  • edited January 2010
    Bump. Dave, I'm finally getting around to learning this song!

    Here is playthrough from a couple of days ago... sausage being made, rough, lots of mistakes:


    A couple of practice sessions later, I'm getting it much smoother... it's falling into place. I'll make a more polished video of the part the next time I get some quiet time.

    CoolJammer, I worked through just the first part of a book on Travis picking (Hanson's _Art of Contemporary Travis Picking_) and suddenly much that was mysterious about fingerpicking has become clear. The main thing about Travis picking is it gives you a pattern you use with the right hand that alternates the bass strings with the thumb. Most of the most basic patterns seem to only use the thumb, index, and middle fingers, so they really are pretty simple. Practice these patterns and your right hand will do them on autopilot without having to think much about it, and you can then concentrate on the left hand chord changes. Suddenly the song sounds really complicated but it's really kind of a stunt -- you don't have to consciously think about most of those notes! (If Coulton did, he'd be unable to sing along... he'd probably start drooling).

    The one I'd like to work on next is "Summer's Over" -- that has a lot of movement. I think JoCo may have overlaid a second guitar part on some of it. The tab on this one is somewhat confusing to me too.
  • Paul,

    A while back, I started to work out what was actually being picked for Summer's Over (not that I have any hope of playing it any time soon). I know what you mean about sounding like two overlaid guitars -- I originally thought the same thing. But I actually think it can all be done on one. First thing to note, is that I'm convinced the capo is on the 7th fret, which I deduced from what the lowest bass note that was being played (and specifically a note which isn't being played in the bass even though you would expect it to be).

    The rhythmic trick (which is why the tab is hard to read) is this weird 2-against-3 rhythm. When I was pretending to play it, I think I was actually using four fingers. The two lower (pitched) strings are generally waltzing along with an "oom-pah-pah" triple rhythm (alternating bass and a second note for the pah-pah's), meanwhile the higher two strings (which sound overlaid) are alternating back and forth between two higher notes in a plain duple rhythm (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and...). You can practice these two parts individually as if they were two separate guitar parts, and then combine them later. When you combine them, they sound something like:

    1 (2-and-3) 2 (2-and-3) 3 (2-and-3) 4 (2-and3)

    I actually started to put this into a notation editor at one point, so if you'd like to see the actual notes (for the beginning) I can provide it.
  • the pitfall to travis picking is that once those patterns become second nature to you, it's hard to break them. Even when you want to do something original you'll find yourself falling back on them. I learned to travis pick way back in highschool and even after putting the guitar down for 10 years those patterns came right back when i picked it up again. On the other hand this happens to everyone and I know lots of musicians who learned other instruments so they could change it up when they found themselves in a musical rut.
    Good work on the Summers Over tab Caleb. it definately is just one guitar.
  • Thanks for your notes, Caleb!

    When I listen to the original, everything up until "Nights get cold" sounds like it is one guitar doing a fairly simple picking pattern. When he hits that point, to me it suddenly sounds like there may be another part coming in, which drops out again with the "As they go down" part. Maybe I'm imagining it, but for the rest of his time I can pretty well visualize "ok, thumb doing this, right hand pattern goes like this" but for those bits suddenly it would require an extra finger playing double-time on one of the strings he's already using for bass notes. I'm not an expert at finger-picking yet by any means, but if he's really doing that all with his right hand I'd like to figure out how!

    I'll have to listen a little more closely, maybe to a slowed-down version, and see what I can work out... it would be better if there was a live version to work against.
  • edited January 2010
    Interesting. I definitely don't hear a new part coming in there, but what I do hear at that point is that what I'm calling the "pah-pah"'s seem to get considerably louder. I wonder if that's a cut from a separate take?

    Here's what I think I'm hearing for those measures (without having a guitar to check with). The first pattern 4x, the second and third patterns, each 2x. Then repeat for "Bide their time" (but using a different final chord pattern that I haven't figured out, instead of D7, for "As they go down")
    (capo: 7th fret) G7 x4 Am x2 D7 x2 (first time) |--------|--------|--------| |----3---|----1---|----1---| |-0------|-2------|-2------| |---3-3--|---2-2--|---0-0--| |--------|-0------|-0------| |-3------|--------|--------|

    (ETA: Fixed the first measure based on actually trying this on a real guitar while playing the mp3)
  • One of those trite interjections that I can't stop myself from making: I love the guitar part of Summer's Over! It feels like a huge amount of thought went into deciding exactly which notes to include or omit.
  • I love it too, Borba! That's why I'd really enjoy a live version. It seems to be an under-appreciated song. It's a little short, I guess, and maybe a little melancholy, but it was _really_ stuck in my head at the end of 2008.
  • edited January 2010
    It was my unofficial "theme song" four or five months ago, when I began a one-semester educational leave-of-absence from work to focus on finishing up my Master's Degree. Summer's Over, and I was going back to school. All my coworkers stayed here (where else would they go?). I especially remember singing it to myself while I was taking one of the last bike rides of the year, watching the leaves turn, and realizing that the night would get cold. Now winter's come in sooner than I knew -- tomorrow might be a snow day at work.
  • edited January 2010
    Just got home, whipped out the guitar, and checked. I think the only mistake in what I have above was what I have labeled as a G9 is actually only a G7. The "2" on the G-string(*) should actually be a "0". I'll go change the original post in a second.

    (*) - Not to be confused with Air on the G string.
  • Caleb, you may be right that it is an edit from a separate take, as if the mic placement changed a bit. I am listening to the song at half-speed through better speakers and I don't hear it.
  • edited January 2010
    Meanwhile, I've put a little more work into "I Crush Everything." It's getting there, slowly. Here's a practice run from last night, with very weird video... it seemed like the webcam just could not decide on a white point. (Grace was working on getting Joshua to sleep, so it was very dark in the room... our younger kids often fall asleep to me practicing!)


    My finger-picking technique is pretty awful; using nails for the first time, only recently having grown them out for the purpose, and found that my ring finger nail grows half as fast. The chorus walkdown part is also not quite right at all. I have started practicing it as Dave tabbed it out, but I'm not playing it that way in this clip.

    Current plan is to get a good (well, passable) recording of the guitar part when I next get quiet time to record, and hand it off to Joe who is gonna sing along with it. I might try to come up with a bass part or harmony vox... we'll see. (Still have to try some more tweaks to the Creepy Doll mix too... so little to do, so much time!)
  • And I suddenly have a full week of time I didn;t think I would have !

    ;' )
  • I'm still in the woodshed practicing the guitar part. The only difficulty is that the woodshed is really the living room, and my practicing is driving everyone batshit crazy. But... eggs and omelets!
  • I'll start working on Summer's Over soon to see if I can perhaps crack it and break it down in a video. It's not a song I've ever learned, but I feel confidant that I can figure it out and hopefully make it make sense to everyone.
  • edited January 2010
    Here is a PDF I just made of the score/tab that I've worked out so far. It includes the entire verse and chorus sections (if you can call it a chorus), but not the bridge section (I haven't had a chance to figure most of those chords out yet, but it sounds like it should just be more of the same, I think). For an intro, you would just repeat the first four bars.

    In terms of fingerpicking, I have no idea if this is correct technique, but what I've tried is on the first two notes of each beat (played simultaneously), I "pinch" with my thumb and middle fingers, followed by alternating index-ring-index for the "2-&-3" part. I hope that made sense.
  • Caleb, what you're describing is the traditional Travis picking "pinch" pattern used in "Dust in the Wind." It's probably correct, or at least close, although I think it may change up when he hits the "double-time" part.

    Dave, I'd love to see a lesson for Summer's Over. I really wish I got more quiet time to work on things like this... it sounds like after I've (just about) mastered "I Crush Everything," "Summer's Over" shouldn't be that hard. But lately it's all I can manage to just keep the kids watered and fed and beaten to sleep every night...
  • edited January 2010
    Here is my 3rd practice take for "I Crush Everything." Playing this one underwater was extremely taxing, especially for my daughter, who does not have the ability to hold her breath very long.

    I've continued to practice this guitar part every night and it is pretty smooth now (better than in this video), so I should be ready to record the guitar part this weekend, if circumstances allow. I've been practicing playing it blindfolded to make sure I break the habit of looking at my hands. (That works with this one because it is all in first position). Playing-while-singing is sometimes still a little hard for me when the guitar part is taxing. I'm still not entirely sure how JoCo does it so smoothly without actually either drooling or crashing his CPU...
  • edited January 2010
    I could keep messing with it, but Joe is waiting on a recording and I've kinda reached a point of diminishing returns... so here is the I Crush Everything guitar part.

    Not sure how to get rid of that slight rhythmic squeak I'm getting from my fingernails on the strings. 3 in 1 oil?
  • I've done a demo with vocals.. which may actually be the finished item!

    I'll get it uploaded soon
    (Leave the squeak... I like the squeak! ;' ) )
  • edited January 2010
    Would still like to try a fretless bass part... need... more... free... time!

    Also, having read some how-to sites... apparently my mic placement for the acoustic is all wrong -- there's a lot of weird low-frequency noise. And I probably shouldn't be compressing it at all; the compressor is doing strange things to the audio. Not to mention reflections from my studio room. Joe, I might try to upload some different versions -- you can see what sounds best.
  • Hello all...
    Here's how it sounds just now...


    I don't think it needs *much* done to it to be honest ! ;' )
    Paul ??
  • edited January 2010
    The vocal performance is fantastic! I love the backing parts!

    You do have some pops -- maybe a high-pass EQ would help.

    Guitars too loud? Maybe they could use just a little more reverb? (I know "more reverb" is usually a bad thing).

    Somehow I've tweaked my ears to the point from where lower-bitrate MP3 just sounds painful to me. The audio I get out of playing the track right from the bandcamp page sounds awful -- horrible aliasing noise on the guitars, same as YouTube video. The 320 version sounds _much_ better.

    So... maybe it's OK as is. I think I've been listening to crappy (bit-rate) compression and fretting that the awful sound was coming from crappy (volume) compression. I don't think it is.

    But... there is this irritating low-frequency resonance that is due, I think, to having my mic too close to the soundhole. It could probably be fixed by EQ, and it probably would be fine to just take the compression off the guitars entirely (that might work better than just reducing their volume).

    There's a bad edit at about 1:31, and maybe a couple others I could tweak a little. Let me upload new uncompressed WAVs for the final version and see if that sounds better.

    Speaking of bit rate -- Caleb, do you have the final mix of "My Monkey" in FLAC?

    Bandcamp wants everything uncompressed and does its own compression. I'm gonna have to re-export some of my parts. I think I'm going to wind up paying JoCo _again_ for all his tracks to get them in FLAC form.

    Dammit, I'm still at work... it just passed midnight... got slammed by a whole bunch of new bug reports. Grrr...
  • just let me know when you have new parts then! ;' )
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