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a related but more specific newbie left-hand question

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Jan 17, 2020 - 7:10:32 AM
16 posts since 7/18/2011


My particular problem with the dobro is hitting those basic 4 and 5 chords on the 5th and 7th frets. Or, rather, I hit them and they just don't sound that good. The surprising thing is that I don't have the same problem playing bottleneck.

Obviously I'll keep practicing, and I suppose the obvious conclusion might be that it's harder to keep a tone bar at exactly a 90 degree angle than it is with a bottleneck.

But I have been wondering about basic tuning. If it's true (as one of my instructional dvds says) that the 2nd skinniest strink needs to be flattened a little bit, then does that cause problems on the 5th and 7th frets? Does one adjust tuning in the chords at those frets as well?

(For that matter, WHY can't you just rely on the tuner? I suspect theoretical issues that might make my head hurt.)


Jan 17, 2020 - 7:23:42 AM



148 posts since 4/27/2015

Jan 17, 2020 - 7:30:24 AM
likes this

1926 posts since 8/3/2008

You should consider face to face lessons with Jimmy Heffernan, one of the very best and close to you in Haddonfield, NJ.

Jan 17, 2020 - 10:38:34 AM

962 posts since 1/10/2009

Most players flatten the 2nd and 5th strings in G tuning to varying degrees. It makes a straight bar chord sound "sweeter" or smoother regardless of which fret you're at. Tuning problems arise when you use those strings open against fretted notes and they are no longer the 3rd of the chord. There are volumes of discussion on this topic. Like music, it's not an exact science.

Jan 17, 2020 - 1:08:40 PM

92 posts since 4/17/2014

Muscle memory may be in the mix too.. I don't know anything about the tuning discussion but part of your problem may be muscle memory on the reso.. For the decades when I played fiddle and rhythm guitar I never, okay rarely,had to "look". Taking up reso I found my eyes glued to the damn fingerboard until I had a year's playing under my belt.. I still peek, but find myself also playing a lot without the need to watch every move my left hand makes.. I remember learning to run a back hoe decades ago. Boss covered the controls so I couldn't see them and said "run it".. By the end of just a day I could run the thing looking at MY Goal ( ditch I wanted to dig)instead of the controls... Just a thought. Like Greg said: it's not an exact science.

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