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  #1  
Old 08-05-2017, 10:32 AM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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Default If you like Bert Jansch... (tab content)

I've been following this group for a while, in anticipation of their release:

https://bertjanschfoundation.org/

And finally, the wait is almost over, their book of 24 songs transcribed with tabs is open for pre-order. Just thought other fans out there will be happy to hear this!
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:23 PM
3waytie4last 3waytie4last is offline
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Thanks for the notice, I'll check it out.

I highly recommend "The Guitar of Bert Jansch" DVD by Rolly Brown. Very good video instruction with tabs. Now that this has come to mind, I really need to spend more time working on this. I've got way too many resources and too little time.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:31 PM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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Originally Posted by 3waytie4last View Post
Thanks for the notice, I'll check it out.

I highly recommend "The Guitar of Bert Jansch" DVD by Rolly Brown. Very good video instruction with tabs. Now that this has come to mind, I really need to spend more time working on this. I've got way too many resources and too little time.
My problem is that I've already gone through these songs except for the one in DADGAD. So really looking forward to these tabs.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:18 PM
3waytie4last 3waytie4last is offline
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I sent an email about the book and they informed me that it will be available through www.musicroom.com.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:03 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I worked on this book myself (with a group of other transcribers). Rolly Brown was one of our consultants, and kindly allowed us to refer to his transcriptions.

But we didn't take any tab we were given or found (and there were probably over 100 from various sources) as gospel. Everything was checked and double-checked with the recordings, using transcription software - corrections were common (even to the one or two which purportedly came from John Renbourn himself, via his workshop colleagues). Where available, video of live performances was used to check fingering. (Where no video was available, plenty of debate ensued about exactly how Bert would have played this or that, and how much it mattered if we tabbed it differently: how Bert might have done it, or how we'd do it ourselves?)
The whole process, including drafts and consultations between our group and with our consultants, took well over a year.

Our claim is that this is the most authoritative collection of Jansch transcriptions ever produced. It's just sad that it wasn't done in his lifetime, as he always wished. (He did collaborate with Doug Kennedy on a book produced in the early 80s, which was - of course - extremely accurate, and which we referred to, but that's been long out of print and suffered from cheap production values.)

The full list of tunes (drawn from the favourites of our transcription group) is as follows:

ALICE'S WONDERLAND
ALMAN
ANGIE
BIRD SONG
BIRTHDAY BLUES
BLACKWATERSIDE
BLUES RUN THE GAME
THE BRIGHT NEW YEAR
CHAMBERTIN
CRIMSON MOON
THE CURRAGH OF KILDARE
THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE ('73 version)
FRESH AS A SWEET SUNDAY MORNING
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER
IS IT REAL
JOINT CONTROL
MOONSHINE
NEEDLE OF DEATH ('74 version)
ORLANDO
PEREGRINATIONS
REYNARDINE
RUNNING FROM HOME
SOHO
STROLLING DOWN THE HIGHWAY

Orlando and Soho include John Renbourn's parts. All songs include vocal notation and full lyrics. The guitar parts are in notation and tab, and every piece has accompanying background notes and technical tips for players.

Proceeds from the book go to the Bert Jansch Foundation, a charity set up (by Geraldine Auerbach, mother of Bert's late widow Loren) to sponsor young musicians.

If this book is successful, I'm hopeful a volume 2 can be produced - we have plenty more favourites in backup! We've also talked about making individual transcriptions available online through some kind of subscription system, but that's on hold at present (it may present too many problems for copyright and licensing).

There's also been talk about whether we should produce videos of each piece. That would take a lot of additional work, of course. My own attempt at Chambertin is on youtube, but (although I tried) it's not exactly as tabbed in the book, which follows the LA Turnaround version note for note, with reference to an informal video of Bert demo-ing parts of it for Gordon Giltrap (and forgetting some of it himself!).
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Last edited by JonPR; 08-06-2017 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:28 PM
3waytie4last 3waytie4last is offline
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Very cool, Jon. Thanks for the information.

Best of luck on the success of the book. I'm late to Bert's music, but will certainly purchase any material like this that gets published.

A video series would be fantastic.
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:28 PM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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Great info Jon, I'm glad to hear that you were part of it, this makes me know that it was in expert hands. With your information, it sounds better than I had actually expected when I preordered a copy yesterday. Very excited now.

Another question: Does the transcription of Reynardine have that incredible intro that he played? (I don't expect it to, but would be a hude bonus if it did).
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:31 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Neat Jon. Burt must have played the tunes with some variation from performance to performance and over the years. How do you decide on which note for note version to use?
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:05 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwhale View Post
Great info Jon, I'm glad to hear that you were part of it, this makes me know that it was in expert hands. With your information, it sounds better than I had actually expected when I preordered a copy yesterday. Very excited now.

Another question: Does the transcription of Reynardine have that incredible intro that he played?
It does indeed! It also includes the improvised coda. (The intro is pretty easy, in fact. It's those bends in the main sequence that are the real challenge, IMO.)

Have you seen this version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngAO7WQk-Fk
- she gets that intro note for note (pretty much), and the rest of it is excellent. She doesn't quite play all his position choices (in the main sequence), and some of her timing is a little different, but it's an impressively faithful rendition.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:26 AM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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It does indeed! It also includes the improvised coda. (The intro is pretty easy, in fact. It's those bends in the main sequence that are the real challenge, IMO.)

Have you seen this version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngAO7WQk-Fk
- she gets that intro note for note (pretty much), and the rest of it is excellent. She doesn't quite play all his position choices (in the main sequence), and some of her timing is a little different, but it's an impressively faithful rendition.
Yes, I've seen a lot of her videos. Great news for me! I actually play a lot of Reynardine with my own fingering, which I found much easier (below the 5th fret), which use the treble strings, where Bert didn't.

I've often wondered why Bert prefered to play up the neck on the wound strings, it's as if he wanted to avoid using the two unwound strings. It is those two strings that I didn't like and led me, eventually, to the Spanish guitar. I wonder from time to time if Bert had similar ideas; preferring softer sounds.

Maybe you know Jon?

And for those bends... I ended up sliding up a fret. Too much for me on steel strings, physically, and pretty hard to bend so far, note wise, on nylon.
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  #11  
Old 08-07-2017, 09:50 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Neat Jon. Burt must have played the tunes with some variation from performance to performance and over the years. How do you decide on which note for note version to use?
That's a good question!

In general, we went for the first recorded studio version. The exceptions are:

Needle of Death - one of our group preferred the L A Turnaround version to the classic debut LP version. I don't quite like it as much, but then Bert never much liked his debut LP himself - thought his vocals were below par. So we went with the version that he himself probably thought superior - which has an added intro, and some other differences in the patterns.

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - I went for the 1973 vocal version from Moonshine (where he has Mary Hopkin on backing vocal). It's a kind of neatened-up version of the 1966 original (from Jack Orion), but he still plays all the melody on the guitar, so it works fine as an instrumental piece; plus, the vocal helps make sense of his guitar phrasing. (I found it hard to follow how the melody worked in the 66 version.)

One other reason for choosing later versions of these is that the book was in danger of being too heavily weighted to his 60s period - we all love those first albums! We had to be careful to restrict tracks from his older albums and include examples from underrated later albums. I was personally sad that some great late period tracks didn't make it, but then a lot of early classics didn't make it either (no One For Jo, no I Am Lonely...).

Blackwaterside
- There was lots of debate about this one. He obviously played this at just about every gig throughout his career. Comparing all the available video versions on youtube, the earliest from 1973, all of them are a little different from each other, of course, but they all seem based on an improved version of the 1966 original, which seems like a draft prototype in comparison. IOW, between 66 and 73, he improved the arrangement in a few details, and then stuck with that one, pretty much (aside from the usual improvisations in beginning, middle and end).
My first idea was to go with what I felt was the best version of all the available live ones (from 1980), but was persuaded that the 1966 original was the one that should be featured, as that's the classic that most Bert fans will own, and also the one that Jimmy Page "borrowed".
In the end, the 1966 one is the one in the main transcription, but - because it's such an iconic piece - all the variations he added later (ie the ones he habitually used after '66) have been included in the accompanying notes.
We haven't done this to such an extent with any of the other tunes, although we have included occasional variants, or suggestions for alternative fingerings - either because we don't know how Bert did it, or we do but easier methods are possible,
(BTW, all the available tabs for BWS I've seen online and on DVD get the fingering for one of the opening bars wrong - as you'll see from any of his videos. The only tab I found to get it right was in Doug Kennedy's book, because of course he took it straight from Bert himself. Not that it matters, of course. It works fine either way..)

Joint Control - This is only available on the Young Man Blues album as a live bootleg (probably from 1964), not a good quality recording. My reference transcription came (so I was told) from a John Renbourn transcription, but had significant differences from the recording. Renbourn used to joke (as with Chambertin) that even Bert never played it quite right, and his version does look like a sensibly cleaned up one. Nevertheless, my view was that readers are likely to be referring to the recording to check, so our tab ought to follow that, even if it does include a superfluous bar or two here and there. Of course, we've stressed - all through the book - that one needn't follow these note-for-note transcriptions slavishly oneself. As with the recordings, they are references to begin from.
Originally the plan was for a slim volume of 12 tunes, then two volumes of 12 each, but we had a shortlist of 32 right from the start (chosen according to how many different tabs of each tune we found, taking that as a measure of popularity). There's certainly another 24 at least that we now have in reserve, aside from the 24 published.

I can provide lists of these additional tunes, but (if you want to see them) you need to bear in mind that none of them have been through the extensive vetting procedure the ones in the book have been through. Some of them are entirely my own work, others are tabs I've been sent and have "corrected" according to what I think I hear on the records or see on the videos. As I know only too well, others hear (and even see) differently on occasion, and I don't have the best ears in the world. They may be no better than tabs you can find online (though hopefully no worse... ).
(The best consultant, btw, was a guy called Arthur Dick - http://www.arthurguitar.co.uk/biog.html - a freelance player who often works for the publisher, and had great insight into Bert's style.)
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Last edited by Kerbie; 08-10-2017 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Removed masked profanity
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:23 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by sirwhale View Post
I've often wondered why Bert prefered to play up the neck on the wound strings, it's as if he wanted to avoid using the two unwound strings. It is those two strings that I didn't like and led me, eventually, to the Spanish guitar. I wonder from time to time if Bert had similar ideas; preferring softer sounds.

Maybe you know Jon?
My guess is same as yours: he liked the mellower sound of the same note played on higher strings. (He's on record as saying he didn't like the bright sound of new strings, preferring them after a few gigs when they'd settled down a bit.)
In addition, he would often combine open strings with high frets on the wound strings, to get the "harp guitar" effect, scale runs ringing across one another.
In fact, there's a whole opening section of the book which details some of the typical elements of his style, with examples of each.

One them - illustrating the above idea - is what I call his "high Bm", and I found a great example after the book went to print, in "First Light" a duet with John Renbourn. His riff (almost throughout, behind Renbourn's lead) is this:
Code:
-------------0---5--/7--|-----------------------|
---------0--------------|----------------0------|
-------0----------------|--0-----7-----------7--|
-----2------------------|4---------0------------|
------------------------|----7/9-----9----------|
-0----------------------|--------7--------------|
 1   .   2   .   3   .   1   .   2   .   3   .
The Em in the first bar could hardly be simpler, but check how he plays that Bm! (Thumb on 6th, btw) Typical Bert...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL2BxzwwLps
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Originally Posted by sirwhale View Post
And for those bends... I ended up sliding up a fret. Too much for me on steel strings, physically, and pretty hard to bend so far, note wise, on nylon.
Right! On the 1971 original, he was tuned down a half-step, and it actually sounds like a plain 3rd -both of which would make the bends a whole lot easier, of course.
But in a later live version (below - you've probably seen this), he's in EADGBE (capo on 1) and bending a wound 3rd with little effort - although interestingly he avoids doing it on the G chord in the verse, saving it for the D at the end. You also see his choice of the high position for the G chord at the end of the first line (5-5-9-7-x-x), as well as the way he fakes his way through the descending chords after that, because he's playing it way too fast for comfort! (Those cans of beer at his feet may have something to do with that... )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmVA7BHsF1I
Good shot of the bend at 2:13. Ouch!

FWIW I can do the bends myself, but it's the smooth release of the last one into the descending scale run (alternating with open strings) that's tricky. IOW, once you have the bend under your fingers, there's then more practice to get it smoothly integrated. It's like thinking you've got to the top of the mountain, only to find there's a higher peak further on...
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:48 AM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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Thanks Jon, really looking forward to getting hold of the book and deciding what I'll learn next.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:41 AM
3waytie4last 3waytie4last is offline
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I'm curious if you guys that play Bert stuff use thumb picks. Rolly doesn't in his videos.

I've been playing for over 30 years, but only started finger picking in the last few. I have been debating if I should bite the bullet on getting used to a thumb pick or just sticking with bare fingers.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:06 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by 3waytie4last View Post
I'm curious if you guys that play Bert stuff use thumb picks. Rolly doesn't in his videos.

I've been playing for over 30 years, but only started finger picking in the last few. I have been debating if I should bite the bullet on getting used to a thumb pick or just sticking with bare fingers.
I use nails myself. I did try using thumbpick and fingerpicks when I started out (50+ years ago), but never really got on with them. I liked the strong clean sound, but they always felt clumsy. Luckily my nails are in good condition: my thumbnail is particularly strong, never breaks, and easily reaches the bass strings even when I rest my wrist on the bridge.

Bert's own use of a thumbpick was inspired by the old blues guys (he saw Brownie McGhee in person when he was 16 or 17), and valued the volume it gave him when playing instrumentals in folk clubs with no mics. Legend has it he once made one out of a teaspoon he found in the club's kitchen, bending it round his thumb. He was an aggressive player in those days, and that was one thing that impressed people: astonishing technique, and LOUD!
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