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nurktwin

John Lennon and a shotgun shell

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When the Beatles recorded a George Harrison song called "For You Blue", John played slide guitar with a shotgun shell.

Written by George Harrison for his wife Pattie, For You Blue was a straightforward blues song recorded during the Let It Be sessions.

It's a simple 12-bar song following all the normal 12-bar principles, except that it's happy-go-lucky!
George Harrison

For You Blue was recorded in six takes on 25 January 1969, with the working title George's Blues (Because You're Sweet And Lonely). The last of these was selected for inclusion on the unreleased Get Back album and on Let It Be.

John Lennon played a lap steel guitar on the song; unusually, he used a shotgun shell as a slide. During his solo, Harrison encouraged Lennon with the words "Go, Johnny, go" and "Elmore James' got nothing on this baby!"

There is no bass guitar on For You Blue, as McCartney was playing piano. He treated the strings to change the sound of the instrument.

It's a fuzzy, metallic sound, which he did by putting a piece of paper in the piano strings, causing them to vibrate against the paper when struck. You can hear on the session tape Paul's fiddling around, trying to get the right sound.
Paul Hicks, Abbey Road Studios

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oh god this is a happier topic than the one I thought it might be just based on the title!  

So, question. With slide guitar, is it right that you can pretty much use any smooth cylinder that fits on the guitarist's finger? I've seen people use "proper" guitar-shop slide thingos, also beer bottles.  (They tend to tell me that beer bottles are too heavy and bulky, but readily available at parties.) 

John Lennon = genius, obviously, but um, is a shotgun shell something other guitarists use in this way too?  Good size, smooth surface... no reason not to use one?

Have I just always heard the song wrong? I thought it was "because you're sweet & lovely."  Beautiful song.:)

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I have no skills with a slide.  I've tried glass, and I've tried metal slides, and still have some of each.  I've never tried a shotgun shell, or heard of anyone else using one.  I do love the work of Duane Allman, Joe Walsh, and George Harrison to name a few - and of course Mike Campbell also.  I just never could get a good feel for it.  And I agree the words are "sweet and lovely". 😉

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The closest I"ve come to using a slide is rubbing an empty soda can against the strings of an acoustic guitar while jamming with friends; the result was a far cry from Mike's stellar work with the tool. Maybe I'll give it a proper go in the future sometime as the sound of a slide guitar is amazing, and can be so emotional.

7 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

oh god this is a happier topic than the one I thought it might be just based on the title! 

Me too.

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14 minutes ago, nurktwin said:

When I was a kid, I tried using my gold ring as a slide and it worked pretty good, but with a size 8 ring I could only do 1 string at a time!!

 Diminished effect but it probably sounded cool and you could maybe do more with your other fingers. Not a slide but I'm fond of palm muting and dragging the pick across the strings so there's more of a staccato sound without it ringing out.  When I think about it now I've used an empty bottle as well but it was more of going for an effect and less of a skilled melody.

cheers

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...might just nominate Ry Cooder there.  

I've just been reading a marvelously detailed article about different slides.  (That's been my new thing to learn today) Wow!

  • Apparently, the great Robert Johnson wore a slide on his little finger.  
  • some guitarists use hand-blown glass (sounds very much like an artisan / farmers market approach to me)
  • Also that if your slide is too large it'll slide off and hit your foot.  That might detract from striking a cool pose, I think, ha ha.  😄  

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Glass gives a much smoother tone than a metal slide.  I like the glass sound better, but I get quickly frustrated with how sloppy I am with it.  I know Duane drove everyone else crazy while he was learning it and perfecting his technique.  But listen to "Statesboro Blues" from the Fillmore and it was all worth it.

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On December 11, 2018 at 1:37 AM, Big Blue Sky said:

1st image at Reverb & 2nd image at Gibson Archives

 Ha ha, an exact reproduction! Just use a bottle or find your own object to use, why spend money on such things? On top of it, implied is the idea that now you too can play like Duane Allman. A foolhardy goal in my opinion.

21 hours ago, TomFest said:

I get quickly frustrated with how sloppy I am with it.

It may sound sloppy to you but have you gotten feedback from others? Do your bandmates give you the thumbs-down? Maybe an audience member or non-musician would like it.

cheers

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On 12/12/2018 at 1:56 AM, TomFest said:

But listen to "Statesboro Blues" from the Fillmore and it was all worth it.

I'm listening to this as I type - you are so right! 

(Thank the lord for the invention of tech that lets me find specific music  on-line to listen to.  I do also then go buy stuff I like, supporting the music industry.)

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10 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

tech that lets me find specific music  on-line to listen to.  I do also then go buy stuff I like, supporting the music industry.

People who love live music can find so much variety out there; bands that will maybe release one live album or just a few could have high quality bootlegs available. I think, to a degree, some bands missed out on quite a bit of money by not releasing live albums; whether from fear of the performance not being up to their reputation or for whatever reason, even if only half of a band's official live releases had been purchased that's quite a bit of money for virtually no overhead. I think a lot of listeners would've bought these shows had they been released but since they weren't the "tech" as you say has offered a bonanza of concerts to enjoy.

Some artists don't even seem to care about the bootlegs, even picking up some for themselves over time. 

cheers

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.... versus waiting till you next saw your friend's muso uncle with the vinyl collection & asking him about some obscure reference.  (This is still an excellent option, wherever good uncles are found.) 

It was more that I meant that searching on-line for music recommendations is just a bit speedier.  

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