Bill Doggett - "Honky Tonk Part 1"

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Poppa Stoppa, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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  2. Rob 62

    Rob 62 Member

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    You know - I don't know how Butler did that! I play this tune, and more often than not, I botch up the tremolo picking. Evidently, a lot of people did. Listen to the various covers of this song, and a lot of them forego the tremolo picking, altogether. I thought that when I switched to a hollowbody with big wire (.12 or .13 for the high E) that it would get easier, due to the stiffness of the strings, but I was wrong. I once referenced this tune during a guitar lesson with mandolin great Don Stiernberg - since mandolin players do so much tremolo picking, I thought he'd have some insight. His advice? Do not change your pick position for the trem part. That is - keep your relaxed grip on the pick, and don't change the angle or anything for the fast picking. It's a finesse thing, evidently, and in the wrist - and Billy butler was a master, so remember that you're comparing yourself to one of the best.

    I guess the only thing I might add is to try adding tremolo picking to other songs, in various places. Make it a part of your playing, instead of only when you play "Honky Tonk." Even Billy Butler has a (very) brief hiccup on that part - listen for it - but the guy is one of my all-time favorites.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2009
  3. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Classic!

    Tomo
     
  4. bloo

    bloo Supporting Member

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    I play it in F... I learned from watching Sean Costello do it... if you haven't checked it out do it! it's great
     
  5. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    Love it. [I bought the 45 w/ pop bottle return money as a kid].
    My Mom had a hard felt pick/plectrum way back when.
    Maybe he was using one of those for the trem picking?
     
  6. Billy Penn

    Billy Penn Member

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    Danny Gatton used to play the shiz outta this one.
     
  7. mr tom

    mr tom Supporting Member

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    I love this tune. It's nearly always the first thing I play when I pick up a guitar. And in F. I once asked Phillip Walker why he didn't play it in the key of E, when it would be easier on him (the bandleader). He told me simply, "I don't do it that way. It's in F." Good enough for me!
     
  8. guitbeef

    guitbeef Member

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    Absolutely love Bill Doggett's music. So much soul, such groove:

    Peacock Alley:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBrT6rVwh8g


    Slow Walk:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEhwUbGZYTI&feature=related


    When You Lover Has Gone:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioe45ayPtcU


    When I got into Gatton I heard some snippets of Doggett arrangements on a few tunes- I knew exactly where he got em from. Of course he wasn't ripping off Doggett, he was truly paying homage, and in doing so turned a lot of folks onto some music they might never hear otherwise.
     
  9. Rob 62

    Rob 62 Member

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    I play it in F. Never occurs to me to play it in E - maybe I'm too much of a copy-cat, but then this is a tune that's worth learning note-for-note!
     
  10. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    How do you guys play tremolo picking - as fast as possible or in time with the beat?

    It sounds to me like Billy Butler played it in time, doubling up the triplets, so he was playing 6 strokes per beat, or 24 strokes per bar. Seems to sound better that way?

    Also, how do you guys play the notes for that trem picking part? My interpretation (in F) is:

    E--8---13---8--13--8--13--8--13----8-----5
    B--10--15--10--15--9--15--9--15---10--6--6
    G---------------------------------------7--


    ...if you see what I mean.
    Geoff
     
  11. Rob 62

    Rob 62 Member

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    Check this out, at the 4:00 mark, Doggett himself schools Eddie McFadden on Billy Butler's part . . .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1dIHXr4eKE

    Geoff: Yeah, I see what you mean, call that the first part of the tremolo picking (beginning with the minor third) - the second part launches off of a major third. As far as the time - I try to maintain the triplet feel, while playing what, for me, is fast. My problem is either I stiffen, and blow the swing feel, or I have a drop in volume/projection. Again - I'm trying to add the tremolo picking to my playing, generally, and not save it up for "Honky Tonk." BTW - one of the only people I've seen play the whole thing RIGHT is Denny Freeman, on a video with Taj Mahal, and his right hand didn't even appear to be moving so fast - but he nailed it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  12. pete kanaras

    pete kanaras Member

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    F for god's sake! where i come from other guitarists would boo and hiss you if you played it in any other key, tell you "wimp, play it like a man!" i'm serious
     
  13. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    true ... my childhood teacher and longtime friend, Lou Pallo (of the Les Paul Trio for the past 27 yrs. or so) has incredible right hand strumming technique (he is a rhythm maestro) and his tremolo picking is perfect... I think guys like Lou and Butler back in that era had more technique in this area because they had fewer effects to play with ... this was one of the "effects" and there was more reason than today to do it and master it.

    YMMV ... :cool:
     
  14. pete kanaras

    pete kanaras Member

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    right on, all it takes is a lot of practice
     
  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    There's a nice Billy Butler recording on eMusic.
     
  16. fenderpro

    fenderpro Member

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    Billy Butler was a master musician. His tremelo was perfect and his sense of time is as good as it gets. There's a Bill Doggett album that's all Duke Ellington music, and Butler's solo on Dont Get Around Much Anymore is a classic IMO. The guy had it all.
     
  17. Steve_2020

    Steve_2020 Member

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    I think some players back then were just really freakin good :)..
     

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