Jerry Reed's tuning??

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Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby carolinapicker89 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:37 pm

I know Jerry Reed tuned his guitar in many different ways but I was hoping someone could shed some light on what style of tuning he is using on his single "navy blues". I have been trying to figure this out forever and have come close but it still doesn't sound quite right... Here is a sound clip on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hh9XxZg6XQ


Any help would be much appreciated!!
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby PhilHunt » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:07 am

He's tuned down 1 step. Like standard tuning just one step down....like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Jerry was famous for playing a couple of tunes in that step down tuning.....I believe "The Claw" was one of them.

Eflat...Bflat...F#....C#....A flat....Eflat

Chime in anytime Craig.....correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby RandeDager » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:05 am

Phil, that was probably a disappointment to learn for anyone who was expecting an unusual tuning like he uses in songs like "Tupelo Mississippi Flash". A different relationship between the strings can make all the difference sometimes but not when everything is simply tuned up or down an equal amount. The relative relationship doesn't change and you're still stuck trying to figure out what's going on.
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby stambi » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:49 am

PhilHunt wrote:He's tuned down 1 step. Like standard tuning just one step down....like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Jerry was famous for playing a couple of tunes in that step down tuning.....I believe "The Claw" was one of them.

Eflat...Bflat...F#....C#....A flat....Eflat

Chime in anytime Craig.....correct me if I'm wrong.



Why Jerry and some others were doing that.?
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby craigdobbins » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:47 am

Phil-

That's right. (Technically, it's down one fret, which makes it a half-step, but same idea.)

Jerry said he liked the "snap" it gave the strings. Also, some of the songs from the second album (like "Remembering" and "A Thing Called Love") were tuned down a half step for the vocal range.

Chet recorded a few songs tuned up a little back in the 50's. Paul said he asked Chet why and he said "Because I liked the sound." Also, almost all the Delvecchio tracks Chet recorded until the late '60's were tuned up a half step, probably for the same reason.

Tommy likes to tune his Maton up slightly, again for tone and string tension.

I keep a guitar in E flat (down a half step) and another in open G- it saves time and money on string chnages!

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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby keener » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:04 am

Not only does the Eb tuning give more snap (or slap), it also has a more bluesy sound

Subject to correction by Craig or Phil, I think Jerry's main licks on Navy Blues are done with an A7 on the 5th fret, third and fourth strings with 5 and 6 for bass. At least that's how I used to play it, years and years and years ago. (4th string "alternates" between 4 th and 5th frets). You can also do that for an E lick by just moving your left hand fingers up one string
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby carolinapicker89 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:56 am

Thanks for the reply's everyone. It may be that he's playing "navy blues" in step down tuning but if you listen to the bass notes he hits it sounds like he's tuned down even further. The tuning arrangement I've been messing around with is - from the high E string: (D#, C, F, C#, G#, D#). I read somewhere that he would tune down a half step then place what would be the B-string on C# and what would be the low E-string on D. Crazy how he became such a good picker when he rarely used the same tuning.

It could be that he's tuned down "two half steps" or "a whole step?" which would be in D#? The song is played in the key of G# I believe. Listen to the sound file, you'll hear what I'm talking about with the hammering on bass notes. It's got to be lower than Eb.
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby keener » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:31 pm

Tuning to Eb and then playing in A is equivalent to G#. If you use your ring and middle fingers to get A7 at the 5th fret, all the notes, including hammer-ons and pull-offs are within pretty easy reach. I don't have a recording of it to listen to, but it was one of the first tunes I learned some 40+ years ago (listening to a 45rpm record), and that's how I remember doing it. Of course now that I'm "smarter," I know that a lot of what I "learned" back then was wrong, so I'll defer to Craig and Phil, who listen closely to the notes. I'm just going by memory.
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby carolinapicker89 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:10 pm

Gotcha, thanks for that info.

In the first post I put a link to the audio of this song on youtube. You can listen to it there if you want to.
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Re: Jerry Reed's tuning??

Postby rickpeckham » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:25 pm

I had never heard this one before--what a great groove! Interesting to see at Praguefrank's Country Music Discography
http://countrydiscography.blogspot.com/ ... ed%20Jerry
that it's a recording from November 1965, predating 'The Claw' by nearly a year (October 1966)

In checking it out, it sounds to me as if it's a Drop D tuning--the fifth bar has a great big open sixth string 'D,' off of the instrument if it were in standard tuning. The whole guitar is tuned down, but less than a half-step (adjusting the Amazing Slow Downer's pitch to be up 36 cents brings it up to concert pitch).

By the way, I've been teaching a weekly guitar lab at Berklee College of Music, dedicated to the music of Jerry Reed. Craig Dobbins' two Reed books are texts for the course. So far, we've covered 'Scare Crow,' 'Drive In' (as played by Chet on And Then Came...), 'The Claw', 'Papa's Knee,' and, this Monday, thanks to you here, 'Navy Blues'!

Incredible to see the 1957 appearance of Chet on the Garroway show too! Keep up the good work, Phil!
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