Salty Dog Blues
The song of the week is 'Salty Dog Blues' in the key of G.
Flatt & Scruggs (1950 - Mercury Sessions) - key of Ab (instruments tuned up a half step)
Flatt & Scruggs (1962 - Live at Carnegie Hall) - key of G
The chord progression for Salty Dog Blues is:
In the key of G, this is
The '6' and '2' Chords
The vast majority of songs that use a 6 chord contain within them the chord sequence 6, 2, 5, 1.
Just as the 2 chord is almost always followed by the 5 chord when it occurs in a progression, so also the 6 chord is almost always followed by the 2 chord.
Within the past year, many songs have been played at the jam that use the 2 chord. In addition to Salty Dog Blues, these include I Can't Feel At Home In This World Anymore, Homestead On The Farm, Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem, Old Home Place, Cry Cry Darlin', Red Wing, Earl's Breakdown, Left Over Biscuits, Eight More Miles To Louisville, Blackberry Blossom, Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad, Coleen Malone, Farewell Blues, Mary Of The Wild Moor, and Rawhide.
With only one exception (Farewell Blues), the 2 chord is followed by the 5 chord. (In Farewell Blues, the 2 is followed by the b3.)
While there are only three songs that have been played at the jam within the past year that use a 6 chord (Salty Dog Blues, Farewell Blues, and Rawhide), in all three of them, the 6 is followed by the 2. Here are a few more songs that use a 6 chord:
Don't Let Your Deal Go Down - key of F#/Gb (instruments tuned up a half step)
Alabama Jubilee - key of C
I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome - key of D
Dear Old Dixie - key of Ab (instruments tuned up a half step)
Sweet Georgia Brown - key of F
These songs all contain the chord sequence 6, 2, 5, 1 at some point in their progressions.
The '6' chord has the same relation to the '2' chord that the '2' chord has to the '5' chord, and that the '5' chord has to the '1' chord. The root note of the 2 chord forms an interval of a perfect 4th with the root note of the 6 chord, just as the root note of the 5 chord forms an interval of a perfect 4th with the root note of the 2 chord, and just as the root note of the 1 chord forms the same interval with the root note of the 5 chord.
Notice that, when playing in the key of G, the progression for Salty Dog Blues, from the E chord onward, corresponds with the notes that the open strings of the bass (and the four lowest pitched strings of the guitar) are tuned to: EADG. These strings are tuned in perfect 4ths (E to A spans 4 letters of the musical alphabet: E,F,G,A, and the two notes are separated from each other by 5 half steps, or two-and-a-half whole steps; the same is true of A to D and of D to G.) If one reverses the order of the letters, then this corresponds to how the fiddle and mandolin are tuned: GDAE. These instruments are tuned in perfect 5ths (G to D spans 5 letters of the the musical alphabet: G,A,B,C,D, and the two notes are separated from each other by 7 half steps, or three-and-a-half whole steps). The perfect 5th is the inverse interval of the perfect 4th.
Review of 4ths and 5ths
When the letter names of two notes span 4 letters of the musical alphabet, the two notes form an interval of a 4th. When two such notes are separated from each other by 5 half steps, the type of 4th they form is called a perfect 4th (e.g., A to D, or F to Bb). If they are separated by only 4 half steps (e.g., A to Db), the interval is called a diminished 4th. If they are separated by 6 half steps (e.g., A to D#, or F to B), the interval is called an augmented 4th.
When the letter names of two notes span 5 letters of the musical alphabet, the two notes form an interval of a 5th. When two such notes are separated from each other by 7 half steps, the type of 5th they form is called a perfect 5th (e.g., D to A or B to F#). If they are separated by only 6 half steps (e.g., D to Ab or B to F), the interval is called a diminished 5th. If they are separated by 8 half steps (e.g., D to A#), the interval is called an augmented 5th.
Two intervals are said to be the inverses of each other when their number names add up to 9, and their number of half-steps add up to 12 (12 half-steps = 1 octave). Thus, the perfect 4th and perfect 5th are inverse intervals (4 + 5 = 9; 5 half-steps + 7 half-steps = 12 half-steps), and the augmented 4th and diminished 5th are inverse intervals (4 + 5 = 9; 6 half-steps + 6 half-steps = 12 half-steps).
When arranged in perfect 5ths, the order of the 7 natural notes is: F, C, G, D, A, E, B. This can be remembered as: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle.
Reversing this order arranges the notes in perfect 4ths: B, E, A, D, G, C, F. (Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father.)
An easy way to expand the order of perfect 5ths to include sharps and flats is to write the order of letters (F, C, G, D, A, E, B) three times back to back, and then put flats on the left and sharps on the right, with the naturals in the middle.
Fb, Cb, Gb, Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#.
In expanding the order of perfect 4ths to include sharps and flats, the sharps go on the left and the flats go on the right:
B#, E#, A#, D#, G#, C#, F#, B, E, A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb.
This order lays out the chord sequence 6, 2, 5, 1 for all the 8 Major keys (and more) that songs are played in at the jam. Starting on G# gives this chord sequence for the key of B: G#, C#, F#, B; starting on C# gives the 6, 2,5,1 order for key of E: C#, F#, B, E; starting on F# gives the order for the key of A: F#, B, E, A; starting on B gives the order for the key of D: B, E, A, D; etc.
3, 6, 2, 5, 1
In some songs that use the 6, 2, 5, 1 chord sequence, the order of perfect 4ths is extended backwards to include the 3 chord: 3, 6, 2, 5, 1. In the sequence of perfect 4ths given above, the 3 is to the immediate left of the 6, just as the 6 is to the immediate left of the 2, and just as the 2 is to the immediate left of the 5, etc. The B-Part of Rawhide for instance is:
which then resolves back to the 1 when the A Part starts again.
Bill Monroe: key of C (3, 6, 2, 5, 1 = E, A, D, G, C)
The 3 also occurs before the 6 in the middle of the progression for Sweet Georgia Brown. (Key of F on the Doc Watson recording given above: 3 = A; 6 = D; 2 = G).
However, one should not draw the conclusion that one can expect the 6 chord to follow the 3 chord in the vast majority of songs that use a 3 chord. In many songs, the 3 is followed by the 4 instead (e.g., Dear Old Dixie, the verses of Old Home Place, the B-Part of Cheyenne, the chorus of Tennessee Waltz), or by the 6m (e.g., the B Part of Blackberry Blossom, the chorus/B-Part of Lorena and of O Little Town Of Bethlehem).
Jason's Intermediate Jam Blog 2017 - 2018
started as Beginner Jam in Jan 2015
Songs regularly called at Bluegrass Jams and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order