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26

Lots of reasons; the most prevalent reason is probably so that they can keep the tune within the range of their voice. Jimi Hendrix was famous for this; tuned a half step down. Other reasons; to create a different atmosphere in the music; as in the case of Metal where instruments are down-tuned to create the darkest most aggressive sounding riffs ...


20

An "open tuning" is one where the open strings, when strummed, are tuned to form a chord. So an "open D tuning" is going to something along the lines of (low to high) D A D F# A D -- that's a D major chord. There are certainly more common open tunings than others but the range of open tunings available, even with a standard set of guitar strings on a ...


18

An additional point is that a guitar tuned a half/whole step down will be easier to play with higher action or larger gauge strings due to the less tension on the strings required to maintain the right pitch. I believe I have an interview with Stevie Ray Vaughn around here somewhere where he cites this, as well as many other reasons, as to why he played a ...


12

Disregarding expensive hi-tech solutions There are really only three answers, and you've covered them in your question; with some extra choices within each one: No on-stage tuning; no help The only way to achieve this is with a separate guitar for each tuning. No on-stage tuning; a helper While you're playing, the helper is preparing your guitar for the ...


12

To answer the question directly - yes, strings are supposed to be EADGBE - in standard tuning. All tabs should have the tuning notes at the beginning. If there are none, assume it's standard. There are many different tunings that can be used for guitar, drop D, for example, where the fat E is tuned a tone lower, to D. This above is open C, as each note is ...


10

If you would like to get scientific about it, the D'Addario company has a chart discussing string tension and tuning and string gauges for alternate tuning schemes. http://daddario.com/DAstringtensionguide.Page?ActiveID=2681 You can also download this PDF which explains the recommended tuning, pitches and tensions for every type and gauge of individual ...


8

Many alternate tunings are used to make it easier to play open chords. Another notable example is the New Standard Tuning, which has been developed by Robert Fripp. The goal here is to force yourself to find new licks/chords since none of the tunes you usually play would (easily) work on this new tuning.


8

Because it's cool. It's not only easier to play power chords on the low strings, it's also easier to have drones especially in D and A. And as with any more-or-less-open tuning, you have different pitches for the unfretted strings, which means a fuller tone for different notes. I think of it as a compromise between standard tuning and DADGAD.


8

CADG is the most common way I've heard this term used for basses. It could also refer to the drop D tuning with a low C on the bottom according to Wikipedia, in guitar context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop_c_tuning Incidentally orchestral basses fitted with a low C extention have the CADG tuning too, although with the extension no fingering changes are ...


8

I didn't know this before, but after doing research on other sites I found that this type of tuning is called Open C Tuning. Here are some references on guitar tuning that I found to be useful: Electric tuner [Hear the notes] How to tune guitar to different modes. List of guitar tunings.


7

First thing you might consider is to re-arrange some of the pieces. You're probably hesitant to do that; I'm not saying you should somehow cramp all the pieces into standard tuning, but it's quite possible that once you've tried every piece in several different tunings you will find you can at least reduce the number a little – seven is really quite ...


7

Your question is a question that is asked by many musicians over a range of instruments, but I think that the real question is a bit more broad than the one in the original post. I believe the real question your looking for is: "How can I make something that is unfamiliar familiar?" The answer to this is frequency. The reason why you have a difficult time ...


7

I like the way you've posed this question, and I think you're correct in comparing your problem to musicians who play different instruments in different keys, so I'll answer from that perspective. As jjmusicnotes alluded, it seems the problem may not be playing in different tunings so much as it is switching from one tuning to another after an extended ...


7

Think of the reason you're giving names to notes: communication. So, it depends who you're communicating with, their expectations of you, and your expectations of them. When I play soprano ukulele, I think in terms of the guitar fretboard - the intervals between strings are the same as the top four strings of a guitar. So in my head, I play a guitar "D" ...


7

Standard tuning for solo violin in classical music is just intonation. Tune the A string and, from there, tune the other strings with just-intonated perfect fifths. Some times, as a compromise you may need to tune the violin temperate, for example when you need to play many open strings in duo/ensemble with a instrument not capable of just-intonation. ...


6

Slide guitar is well known for alternate tunings. Usually the guitar is tuned to a standard, open chord (A is a prominent one) which makes playing open chords with the slide piece easier. Many artists will tune to a tuning that allows easier access to a suspended chord feel, which results in a more "airy" sound. See Jars of Clay (EABEBE) and Goo Goo Dolls ...


6

The only real alternative that comes to mind is Joni Mitchell's solution. She is known for many many tuning changes, and her rig, last I heard, is a Parker Fly with a MIDI bridge and MIDI box that adjusts to her tunings, so it stays in standard but it sounds like DADGAD or whatever she chooses. It sounds like a great technical solution, but also a bit ...


6

It entirely depends what you want to play. A capo is for transposing a piece up by some number of semitones, without changing the fingering. So let's look at ways to transpose those pieces without a capo -- it will often involve changing the fingering: If the piece does not contain any open strings, you don't need a capo. Just play the piece with your ...


6

The simple, short answer is that practically all families of instruments started out with just intonation and continued that way well into the 19th century (the 1800s). The exception is keyboard instruments, and fretted instruments tuned in fourths, such as the guitar, and before it the lute and the viola da gamba. Keyboard and guitar-family instruments ...


5

An alternative to the Parker Fly is the Line 6 Variax. They're about the price of a decent electric guitar -- not a rare one -- and give you a boatload of options. Not that I would ever presume to second guess a musical legend like Joni Mitchell.


5

The upper four strings in open G (D G D G B D) comprise a harmonic series and offers shapes with some of the advantages of supercat's fine answer. $6 d 0.$5.2.$4.0.$3.2.$2.3.$1.4 $6 dm 0.$5.2.$4.0.$3.2.$2.3.$1.3 $6 g 0.$5.0.$4.0.$3.0.$2.0.$1.0 $6 or 0.$5.0.$4.0.$3.4.$2.3.$1.5 $6 gm 0.$5.0.$4.0.$3.3.$2.3.$1.5 $6 or 5.$5.3.$4.5.$3.3.$2.3.$1.5 Since ...


5

Especially if everyone in your ensemble follows suit, you can think of this as playing with a different reference ptich frequency. Nowadays, most tuning uses a reference pitch of A'=440Hz. You can think of down-tuning your guitar as redefining this reference pitch to be a different, lower, frequency. For example, declaring A'=415Hz is the same as down ...


5

There are a few aspects of your gutiars setup that make it not ideal to have to switch tunings. My peronal instrument (bass) can take many tunings to a point as the strings are more robust, but you end up with a few issues around the action (the angle of the neck relative to the body, which causes the fret buzz), the nut width and possibly the bridge setup. ...


4

Usually you start with the low string, despite the fact that we begin counting strings with the high string, and this would be D# G# C# F# B E then, which would be very similar to Stanley Jordan's tuning, EADGCF, which is exactly like standard except the strings above the major third are sharpened. "All Fourths" would be a way to express it, but I don't ...


4

I like open tunings a lot, because they have a certain "flavor". Open-G is very melodic and fun to improvise on, especially with another guitarist tuned the same way. It's popular with bluegrass. Open-D is another one I used to use for slide. To me, it's not as pretty as G, but it's got more power. There's been a lot of songs written using either.


4

Ultimately it is subjective, and it is worth learning both the scordatura and normal versions; however, I find the scordatura version more satisfying to play, personally. One place in particular is the G-D-G chord before the start of the fugue. In scordatura, the top G can be played with an open string, so all three pitches can ring simultaneously. In ...


4

The short answer is no, the tunings are not different. The soprano and concert are usually tuned the same way: GCEA. The baritone uke is the only size that is normally tuned differently. As far as "better sounding" goes, that's a matter of personal preference. One option you might try is to use a low G string; tune the G as a low G instead of the normal ...



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