This tune is by probably the most famous delta blues slide
player Robert Johnson - the reason we haven't done any of his pieces so far
in this tutorial is that he uses a different tuning to what might be considered
standard for slide.
Lets look at this tuning first.
G Major Tuning
The notes are ( in descending order ) D - B - G - D - G - D
To retune from open D tuning:
Tune the 2nd string up a tone by comparing the note at the 3rd fret 2nd string to the top string open.
Tune the 3rd string up a semi-tone by comparing the open 3rd string to the 4th string 5th fret.
Tune the 5th string down a tone by comparing the open 5th string to the note found on the bottom string 5th fret.
I have put a soundfile of the notes for this tuning at the bottom of the page.
To get to this tuning from standard guitar tuning you simply drop strings 1 , 5 and 6 by a whole tone - leaving strings 2 , 3 and 4 as they are.
Using the Tuning
This tuning works exactly like the D major tuning except that the notes have all moved up a string.
So your root note is now on string 5 rather than string 6 and a melody note found on string 2 in the D tuning will be on the top string in this tuning
— you therefore get a different set of notes to use with the slide angled on the top string over the open chord.
Come on in my Kitchen
Important Note - In the original Robert Johnson recording he is using this relative tuning but pitched up by a tone and a half - i.e. he is actually in the key of B flat — you only need to know this if you want to play along with the original.
The clip starts with a fingered turnaround ending on a D chord at the 7th fret - the rest of the piece is rooted on the open G chord - I try and keep a rhythm feel going by hitting the open chord ( damped ) in the gaps in the melody.
Mostly the melody is at the 12th fret - I tend to cover the top 3 strings with the slide until the phrase where I have to hit the melody note on the 4th string.
Here I cover the top 4 strings. Angle the slide to get the notes at the 1st string 5th fret.
To check your tuning — in descending order
D - B - G - D - G - D