Guitar Player, October 1994


In the Aug. '94 "24 Slide Licks" article by Jas Obrecht and Andy Widders-Ellis, Ex. 20* refers to Leo Kottke's "Vaseline Machine Gun."  The tuning is listed as open E, when in fact this great tune is played in a very low-pitched analog of open G:  B, E, B, E, G#, B.  They got the basic concept for the lick right, the I-VII-IV-V thing, but the article could have been improved with more accuracy regarding the low pitch and the heavier-than-usual string gauges required for satisfactory tone and feel at the low pitch...

Tom Long
Rubber Mojo Records
Newport Beach, CA

[Editors' reply]
We took another listen to "Vaseline Machine Gun" on Kottke's landmark 6 and 12 String Guitar album, which Rhino has just reissued on CD.  Guess what?  Everyone's wrong!  Kottke tunes all the way down to open Eb [Bb, Eb, Bb, Eb, G, Bb] -- though as Tom notes, it's a transposed version of open G.  But thanks to the symmetries between tunings of the D family [open E, D, and C] and those of the G family [open A, G, F, E, and yes, Eb], it's easy to render Kottke's lick -- and countless others -- in either system.  Just slide the tablature one string towards the treble to play D-family licks in G-type tunings; move one string towards the bass to play G-type licks in D-type tunings.

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