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Vid: Me playing O Dewel

JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
edited October 2013 in Welcome Posts: 391
Hi Everyone

Inspired by Tcha's version of this beautiful song with Denis, here is a solo version of the Manouche Hymn "O Dewel". I moved it into Eb (I think from memory Tcha's is in A, but I could be wrong) so the melody sat in a better range for solo guitar. Probably D would be good too, so all the ii chords could be Em, and the IV would be G, and you'd get some more open time :)

Hope you enjoy it,



  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Beautiful as always, Jon -
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    absolutely fantastic!
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,425
    Wow, that was beautiful Jon, thanks!

    I know this isn't about this, Jon, so feel free to beg off - this is a really naive question, I'm sure, but I've got nothing else.

    I've got some harmony theory understood, now, but you soloists move in a whole other universe from my understanding. Jon, and others with experience like Jon, how is it you decide on keys, as Jon did, for soloing? What makes it better for guitar? And an even more stupid question - why would putting it in D, with the IV in G, result in open strings (and why is this helpful...timbre of open v. fretted notes)? Perhaps a good, useful theory book that helps explain this?

    Regardless of these questions, thank you again, John. Really beautiful.


    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    Posts: 391
    Thanks guys for the comments! I'm glad you liked it.

    Paul, in answer to your question...

    Lots of things influence (or should influence) which key you play something in. Firstly, is the melody in a register which will let you do what you want to do with it? In this video, which is pretty basic voicings-wise, I just need to have enough strings below my melody note to make full chords. Also, I like to have lots of melody notes on the B string, because I think it sounds meatier than the high E. And. the higher you go up the neck, the less access you get to the lower bass notes without using big stretches, unless you use a key with A, E, and D in it and can use the open strings.

    So, if I had kept this tune in A (which I think Tcha's is in...) I would have had two options: 1) to play the melody down the octave, starting on an E on either the D or A strings, and going up as high as an E on either the high E, B, or G strings, which would, a lot of the time, leave me playing on the G string, which just leaves the E A and D strings to form chords - not enough, I think...In Eb, I start on a Bb note, but that is the only note which goes below the B string, so I've always got at least 4 strings to use to make chords; 2) to play the melody from that high E before, up to an E at the 12th fret of the E string, and spending lots of time up around the 9th and 12 frets, which isn't ideal, as you lose access to low notes under the 5th fret, including the F# note, the V of the ii chord, which is used in an important way in the 3rd bar (I don't have any sheet music, but this is where it would be) of the tune.

    This is a bit longwinded, and there are more reasons why different people choose different keys for different purposes, but basically, for solo guitar, you need to be able to support the melody with good solid chords, and you want to try and make full use of the range of the instrument if possible. I pick keys with those things in mind. I also just think that the guitar can sound a bit thin once you go too far up the E string, so I prefer melodies to sit on the G and B for the most part, and sometimes dip below or above, but just a bit.

    Also, about open strings, they're good because they sound good (ringy and chimey), because they give you some more options for interesting chord voicings, and because if you're in a key where an important chord happens to be an E something or other, then you are going all the way to the bottom of the guitar's range, meaning that you can use the whole instrument - which is good. Also, I think using open strings can sound quite old-school, and rustic in gypsy jazz, which is also a good thing...If you're into that sort of thing...

    Hope that helps (sorry to go on). Oh, and a word about switching keys - once you get over the hump, it's not as hard as people make it out to be, and it's the single best thing to work on if you really want to be able to understand how the fretboard works.


  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,131
    very very cool! Tchavolo from down under in full force!!

    I play it in G cause it fits my voice better, you can do some nice chord melody stuff in G/A as well, but I agree that D / Eb would be the ideal range for solo guitar... In D , you can make use of some really beautiful open stringed voicings too!
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,425
    Jon, thank you very much - that was an extremely helpful post. Not that I'll probably ever be able to put the notions into playing (I think I just came to this too damn late, too damn old and with too much medical crap coming up - c'est la vie), but that's tucked away, and I can say I get it - rare for me, when it comes to soloing exchanges. Thanks very much.

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
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