If a song is played in C G C F A D tuning on guitar. Can it be then translated into standard tuning. Can you extract standard tuning chords for a song played in C G C F A D ?

I hope my question is clear.

  • You can play a song in any tuning and translate it in standard tuning and vice-versa. You just have to know what notes there are. – Albrecht Hügli Apr 5 at 16:36
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    Yes, probably. But if the song really features the three lowest strings - lots of barre or harmonics - it would be hard to reproduce on a normally-tuned guitar. And the timbre will be different, of course. But if they're 'normal' chords, not avant-garde or dissonant ones, yes, they translate fine. – Old Brixtonian Apr 5 at 16:38

Every chord needs to use notes from that chord. In standard tuning, chord shapes are what they are due to that tuning.

In the alternative tuning you quote, every chord shape will be different from those in standard tuning. The shapes will be different and sometimes that will mean the voicings will also be different.

However, the intervals between the top five strings is the same in both tunings. So, yes any chord shapes using only the top five strings are interchangeable. Problem comes concerning the fat 'E'string.

And to keep at the same pitch for the rest in the drop tuning, , a capo on fret 2 will solve that. Or put it on fret 10 on the standard - not a good solution!

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  • @OldBrixtonian - of course, that was a typo... Thanks! – Tim Apr 6 at 11:19

You play the same chords and notes in any tuning. You just finger them differently. Some licks that rely on open strings in the alternative tuning may not translate well. The reason for the alternative tuning was doubtless to facilitate such licks. But the SONG will transfer.

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  • You may be able to play the same note names in any tuning, but the voicings may well be different. Any song will transfer, but there are reasons why specific guitar driven songs only sound 'right' in one particular key. – Tim Apr 5 at 19:11

Not only can you "extract standard tuning chords" from your chords but you can play the exact same ones! I think there may be different uses of the term chord. There is the "shape" which will be different in different tunings and then there is the order of the notes which is the same. There isn't much that cannot be played in standard tuning but the hand may have to work really hard to get it. This is, in part, why other tunings are used.

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