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I Can't Be Satisfied: Gear, Tone, and Tuning

 

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The slide guitar part on this song is played on what's called a "resonator guitar". This is basically just a regular acoustic guitar, but with a built-in metal cone that almost works like an acoustic amplifier. Apart from making it louder it also adds that signature "nasal'y" tone that I'm sure you recognize from classic blues recordings. It's a great sound, but don't worry if you don't have a resonator guitar, because this part will sound great on a regular acoustic as well. It could even work on an electric with a clean tone. You just need a slide, and you're good to go!

I'm using a ceramic slide for this song, but you can use any kind of slide- metal, glass or plastic. That's just a matter of preference. We don't need to fret any regular notes for this part, so we can have our strings pretty high off the fretboard, which will make the slide playing easier. I've done this by putting 13 gauge strings on my guitar instead of the 12's that I normally use.

I'll be in an open A-tuning, which is the same basic tuning as the classic open G-tuning- only up a whole step.

For the open A-tuning you wanna leave your low E- and A-string where they are. Then:

1. Tune your D-string up a whole step to E. You can use a chromatic tuner or the 7th fret of the A-string for reference.

2. Tune your G-string up a whole step to A. You can use a chromatic tuner or the 5th fret of the tuned up D-string for reference.

3. Then finally you wanna tune your B-string up a whole step to C# and again you can use a chromatic tuner or the 4th fret of your tuned up G-string for reference.

Your high E-string stays where it is. Since this song is in the key of A, we now have our I-chord in the open strings and in the 12th fret, our IV-chord, D, in the 5th fret and our V-chord, E, in the 7th fret.

For the supporting rhythm guitar I'll be using this regular steel-string acoustic. This particular model is a smaller bodied Yamaha guitar, but you can use any steel string acoustic for this part. You could even play it on a nylon string or on an electric with a clean tone, if you had to.

Ultimately the most important thing is always to learn the parts and play them well- with lots of conviction and heart and soul. If you do that, I'm confident this song will sound good on any gear.