Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tenor Guitar: Castles Made of Sand

I was trying to find a final song with tenor guitar to finish out this week’s special and I stumbled upon Reggie Witty’s interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand.” Not only does Witty sing and play rhythm tenor guitar, but he plays lead tenor and upright bass. The cut was recorded at Austin’s Sotogrande Sound Lab.

Witty plays a Martin O-18T tenor guitar for both the rhythm and the lead parts. I can’t tell what he has in his right hand while he is playing the lead, but it looks like an E-Bow. Unfortunately, I’m not sure, as I believe an E-Bow needs a magnetic pickup to add its violin bow effect to a guitar lead. Having never used one, I really couldn’t say for sure.

As for the tuning, it took me a while to figure it out and I nearly drove my oldest daughter crazy in my attempt. It appears that he has tuned his tenor a fifth lower than standard tuning as F-C-G-D and a step below Chicago tuning (G-D-A-E). I hadn’t heard this particular tuning before, but it really gives the guitar a different sound. Very nice.

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