I'd spent countless hours over the years trying to play "The Last Shot Got Him"..Well, Finally I got IT... I can now play it in D, C, G, A and F... Not bragging really.. It took COUNTLESS hours of work..But, how long it took to play that tune well is only mentioned for contrast reasons...
Today, I heard the tune "Texas Barbed Wire" for the first time... I listened to it for a while and then just, without effort, PLAYED IT... Boy, was it refreshing to Just be able to enjoy a new tune without having to spent days/weeks/months trying to 'get' it...It virtually fell into my lap!!!
I have a fiddle friend I only see once a year. Been longer obviously now. He plays a tune called 100 pipers. Took me years to get that tune, because I only played it once a year. I didn't pursue it otherwise, y'know. It never felt right to pursue it otherwise. It was just sort of a special thing, that way. Eventually, it kinda sunk in. Like I could whistle it now, but I wouldn't. I guess I drifted, but it seems some tunes are like memories of people. Do you remember who taught you a certain tune?
On the fiddle, and a bit less so on the guitar, I've gotten my do-re-mi's down to the point where I really can do a good 90% of the tunes that come into my head. You just have to get the intervals thoroughly under your fingers in a couple of easy keys (I wouldn't even pretend to pull off this feat of prestidigitation in something like Db). Part of this is getting your fingers comfortable with where the various scales begin and end, and how to do the various cliches most melodies seem to rely on.
Lol...I used to call guitar licks by the person's name who I stole them from. One time, back maybe about 8 years ago...my daughter and I were invited to play at a strawberry festival in Louisville. Well, we went and saw another old mutual friend to all of us there. He used to be a musician too...anyway, he was curious as to our notes (daughter and I take words with us in the times we've sung together so we don't get all tangled up with different words, etc.) and he saw something that caught his eye...it was something like "Annie take vs 2 and play WC. guitar pick." W.C. being his name spelled out of course...he was like...what the heck is that? I'm like...seriously, Wayne...you don't remember your own picking style? I had to show him what I had stolen off of his playing from back in the old days...he thought that was really funny, but even more than that...he was shocked and seemed sort of proud and humbled at the same time that all these years later i have his picking licks in my bag of tricks (wow that rhymes!). Almost like I had awarded him some type of trophy or something...lol.
A few years ago or more, another friend and I hosted a fiddle session weekly.. one of the guys who showed up own a regular basis had just been to a fiddle camp and learned a good tune and played it albeit slowly....I backed him up on piano....I only heard the tune once and in two days after I could play the tune up to dance speed... It surprised him that someone could capture a tune that easily...I still play it...
I'm so sorry Lee. You caught me sentimental. Must be from all this isolation. Tell you what, I can't play Down Yonder without thinking of Red Lamb. He played that on TV! I don't think he was on but once. He thought it was nice I remembered. It was really nice for me, because I got to play along with a National Treasure.
I feel bad for them that just read a tune from a page. Pretty near every tune I play has a story. But. . . . . I hope I don't turn into "that guy" at the local jam.