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Anyone have any idea why open tunings with the A and E low strings in unison and changing the rest of the strings based on tonality works for playing (where you are only fretting with one finger or none at all to make full chords)?

Examples of tunings Iv'e used:

D#,D#,G#,D#,A#,D# (Suspended??)

D#,D#,A#,F#,A#.D# (Minor sounding chord)

D#,D#,G#,F,A#,D# (Unknown??)

note: I use D# (or Eb) on the strings to ease tension placed on the neck when tuning and to further reduce the chance of string breakage.

I am trying to understand the theory behind why the open tunings I've used works (in so much that I can fret them with one finger) any explanation or help would be appreciated thanks.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Tim, Todd Wilcox, Dave, Matthew Read Feb 14 '16 at 7:43

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  • I'm having a hard time understanding this. Could you put an example of a tuning that fits what you're talking about into your question? – Todd Wilcox Feb 13 '16 at 19:02
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    are you referring to open tunings? – topo morto Feb 13 '16 at 19:24
  • Do you mean why, when you play all of the strings on the same fret (or open), you get harmony instead of the rather dissonant sound you'd get doing the same thing with normal tuning? – user26571 Feb 15 '16 at 18:34
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A chord is a collection of tones played together.

A guitar is just a collection of strings that can be tuned to anything.

"Standard tuning" as far as I have been able to tell in my research, has no basis as being superior or inferior to any possible tuning.

By tuning a guitar to notes that all sound harmonious together, one is creating what is typically called an "open" tuning. It is helpful for many things, including writing songs, using only barre chords to create melodies, and for playing along without learning or memorizing complex chord shapes.

Consider it like this: you have a xylophone with 24 tone bars. Each one makes a different tone, and you can pick any six of the 24 you want. You grab 6 that sound nice together and you put them in front of you. This is just like tuning the guitar to an "alternate" tuning. You have full control over the intervals between notes, and this is a major turning point in learning and mastering Stringed Instruments in general.

If you wish to get very skilled at this, tune one string to a decent tension, and then play/strum simultaneously the current string and a new one. Keep gently changing the tuning of the second string until you get a harmonious resonance. Basically, going from tuning one string at a time to tuning two strings at a time. This will be of value for learning and mastering what is known as the interval.

Don't be upset when you snap a string. Tuning too quickly can make the string brittle at a point, and all guitar strings are destined to eventually break. In your path to Stringed Instrument mastery, you'll break many strings. Perfectly natural.

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