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Life by the Drop was written by Doyle Bramhall and was recorded by Stephen Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on the album The Sky Is Crying which was released on November 5, 1991.
The original recording was done with a 12 string acoustic guitar at Sound Castle Studios, Los Angeles, CA between April and May of 1989.
This is how I play the opening of Life by the Drop
I use an electric 6 string guitar with dirty tone based around a Fender Super-Sonic amp. I use a tortex pick 0.74mm.
For both the “open” A (2nd string unfretted) and C note (2nd string 3rd fret) I pick hard down strokes (towards the floor) ((fig1)).
While putting a slight vibrato on the C note I pick the “open” D note (3rd string unfretted) hammer on the E note then the F note while nearly simultaneously picking the “open” G note (4th string unfretted) letting it ring pick the open D hammer onto D# and pull off back to the open D pick the C note, open D note and back to the C note ((fig2)).
Pick the open G note, hammer onto the A note then pull off back to the open G note. Pick the E note then the D# then the open D hammer on to the D# and pull off back to the open D note. ((fig3))
Continue picking the notes C, open D, C, open D… while maintaining a Texas shuffle feel. ((fig4))
And that’s how it happens opening life by the drop 😉