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Thread: Retranscription of Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's mandolin kickof

  1. #1

    Default Retranscription of Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's mandolin kickof

    I've been obssessing a bit of Ricky Skaggs's intro to Walls of Time from his Ancient Tones album. The thing that always got me about this break is the mysterious sliding / droning sound. When I slow down the audio, it almost sounds like a sitar.

    I decided to work with Mike Stangeland's already-excellent transcription of the break as a template. Then I really, really slowed down the audio, trying to hear where there are slides, open or closed notes, triplets, etc., and made some changes to the transcription over the course of two days. A lot of times I hear the audio better on day #2...

    I think I have it down now, or at least a fair approximation. I am uploading a transcription in tabledit and pdf format in case anyone is interested in trying it out. This is my first time to try an upload, so we'll see if it works...

    A lot of the sliding sound is moving from a low B pentatonic (1st finger at the first fret on the D string) by shifting up and down with the second finger (from D# to F#) and the third finger (from F# to G#). Dropping down low means it is much easier to slide up with the third finger from F# to G# without slowing down (i.e., to do a smooth slide in time with the music).

    For the high part near the end, Ricky shoots up the neck by playing his first finger on the tonic (B on the A string) then playing a slide with his third finger on the D string (from G# to B). I've found that he used that kind of lick a lot when he played with J.D. Crowe & The New South.

    If anyone tries out the retranscription effort, please let me know your thoughts, suggestions, etc.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Walls of Time Ricky Skaggs's intro (Ancient Tones).pdf  
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2

    Default Re: Retranscription of Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's mandolin ki

    Here is a pdf with tablature formatting that is easier to follow.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's intro (Ancient Tones).pdf  

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Retranscription of Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's mandolin ki

    I learned this solo from Sharon Gilchrist's course at Peghead Nation. She tabbed it out and taeches it note-for-note. You're basically spot-on, at least to her transcription. The biggest difference is that she has him finishing the break on the G and D strings between the 8th and 11th frets. Great work on your part to figure all that out by ear!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Retranscription of Walls of Time - Ricky Skaggs's mandolin ki

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Orr View Post
    I learned this solo from Sharon Gilchrist's course at Peghead Nation. She tabbed it out and taeches it note-for-note. You're basically spot-on, at least to her transcription. The biggest difference is that she has him finishing the break on the G and D strings between the 8th and 11th frets. Great work on your part to figure all that out by ear!
    Thanks - it's good to know that it was not inconsistent with the way an accomplished mandolinist like Gilchrist approached this.

    I've been benefitting from the Amazing Slow Downer app - slowing down breaks and working on developing an ear for the difference between a slide, pull-off, or hammer-on and the change in timbre when a note is played up the neck vs. lower (e.g., 9th fret on G string vs. 2d fret on the D string - the same note but a different tonal quality). It's lot like transcribing something in a foreign language (I've done that in the past to transcribe and translate a lot of unwritten Cajun songs and Marion Marcotte's comedy routines) - the brain internalizes what it can understand on a first pass and then there is so much more to catch after relistening again day or two later.

    Right now I'm trying to channel this into transcribing a set of breaks from Ricky Skaggs's live appearances with the New South that are floating around on Youtube. His improvised breaks had a lot of energy and bounce. His later playing after returning to bluegrass (Bluegrass Rules! onward) is also excellent, but there is a certain joyful /playful quality to his playing when he was with J.D. Crowe that was hard to match.

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