I don’t know! It sounds pretty basic. You hold your thumb on the third string, and you have to think of a way to make the chord sound like a chord. It depends how thick you make your thumb on that string, but in general, you don’t want to go all the way down your middle finger—you only want to go on top of the seventh fret. So that’s it, and the only way you’re going to know what F is is to keep it in your mind and let it fall and get it out of your hands.
How can players play a tune like “The Ballad of a Thin Man”? To me, when I hear this song, I think: What does he mean when he says that the Thin Man lives in his own world? Isn’t it sort of ironic that he’s never heard of a man named “Fat”?
When you hear this tune, though, most people say, “But who said that?” They have the same idea that some other song about man being thin should be about fat people. And I’ve heard all three versions I’ve ever heard—both “The Thin Man was fat and rich” and “The Thin Man was thin and poor.” A lot of people say, “All people should be thin.” That’s why I think the Thin Man lived in his own world.
What is the origin of the words “sons with a silver spoon”?
When he was a young man, he went to the United States in search of adventure, so he went across the ocean to England on the ship The Duke of Gloucester. The ship was full of Americans. At sea, he went after an exotic fish that he had not seen before. He would eat it raw and be able to keep it alive for about two nights. But the next morning the captain wanted to make sure that the American who ate that rare fish had no friends who could beat him and take his life at any time. So the captain sent it, along with an ostrich to guard it, back to Gloucester. The American who was to bring it back saw the fish and gave his name as “son with a silver spoon”—the name for the ostrich—and immediately he received an invitation to accompany the captain back to his town. He was taken aback by this unexpected kindness.
And what was the title of the tune?
It was based on an English song called “The Little Fishy,” with a melody that goes like this
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