I’ve been working on Joe Zinkan’s version of Four Leaf Clover for over a year and I’m solid at 3/4 the speed, but I just can’t get it up to this tempo.
My friend Matt Dudman has told me on more that a few occasions (and in so many ways) that he is an amazing mandolin player in his mind, but he doesn’t know how to get it from his mind and into his hands. Matt has a way of verbalizing the disjointed frustrations in your subconscious mind. For the record, his mind mandolin playing must be fucking amazeballs, because he can make a mandolin sing just as good as the big boys can.
This Four Leaf Clover is fast, but unlike Jake Tulluck’s crazy melodies in his duets with Earl Scruggs, the patterns fall naturally into my playing style. As you can see in the video, Joe’s hand movements are small and delicate. I have trouble with this on my instrument. My gut strings require a little more aggressive playing style, and I’ve also fallen into the habbit of making wider, and more fluid arm movements.
And there’s also the rotator cuff issue, which is why I’m sitting here writing this now. My family is out of town for the weekend, and was looking forward to playing my bass in the airconditioning. I think I slept on it wrong. I was able to muster about 15 minutes before the pain kicked in and I had to call it quits.
While it is frustraiting when you can’t muster the chops to bang out the music you feel in your mind, there is plenty of music out there that can make your mind feel Joe Zinkan giddy without the unreasonable Joe Zinkan chops, or even any sort of chops at all (which is probably why I’m so nuts about waltzes).
As soon as I get my arm back though, I’m going to jump on Whispering.
That is a tempo I can handle, and it does all the wonderful things to my brian that make me want to snuggle up to the bass all weekend. And you know what? Four Leaf Clover at 3/4 time is still pretty damn good, I think. Not a lot of people take the time to slap out a melody like that on the bass these days, and I think it would be pretty cool if more of us did.