Ropes of Sand
A flowing, continuous acoustic guitar instrumental with the distinctive sound of 'electric nylon'
Peak: #12 (151,046 songs currently in Acoustic)
Peak in sub-genre: #5 (29,147 songs currently in Acoustic Guitar)
February 07, 2008
MP3 4.2 MB, bitrate 320 kbps.
David Kilpatrick © David Kilpatrick
Story behind the song
The legendary - and real - wizard of the Scottish Borders, Michael Scott, tricked a familiar spirit into 'weaving ropes' from the sands of the North Sea shore... an endless task, which you can see renewed every day and still keeps the imp out of mischief. 'Ropes of Sand' is an instrumental where the music weaves a continuous pattern that can continue as long as the players wish - it is intended for two guitarists, and here I play both parts. The accompaniment is played using drop D tuning in open position, on the lower five strings of the guitar only: the chord sequence is G - F - D - Em - C - G - Am - D. The second part is played with a guitar capoed at fret five, and does use the top E string for the main theme; I also play this part with the bass string dropped a full tone, but that is not necessary. The tune resolves to a G chord to end, but can always 'swallow its tail' and continue. My recording is made with both parts played on a Lowden S-25J nylon string acoustic jazz guitar using its bridge pickup. The strings are the unusual Savarez plastic wound type, in which all the top three strings - normally made of a soft smooth clear nylon - are silk filaments wrapped with a polyester spiral. This gives the guitar a sound entirely different from a classical or Spanish guitar, and better suited to electric recording.
You can download a 72dpi screen GIF image of the sheet music for the basic guitar backing - sorry, no TAB as I can't find a Macintosh TAB editor. This is two-stave music written using Songworks II and it is just the thumb bass line and main fingerpicked melody to the underlying pattern. Find it at: http://www.maxwellplace.demon.co.uk/pandemonium/ropesandscore.gif