Questions tagged [alternative-tunings]

Methods of tuning the open strings on a guitar or other chordophone that differ from what is considered to be standard.

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35 votes
15 answers
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Why is dropped D tuning used so often?

Many metal/rock songs use dropped D tuning. What reasons are there for it?
gak's user avatar
  • 1,925
33 votes
11 answers
149k views

Why do some artists tune their guitars half a step or whole step down?

Is there a reason some guitarists tune down half or whole steps, other than preference or style? It bugs me sometimes when I would like to play along with a song only to find that it's played down ...
Jasarien's user avatar
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32 votes
7 answers
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Why do E♯ and F♮ not sound the same (according to Wikipedia)?

I was just reading the Wikipedia page on the note F (as I do every evening) and was confused by this part where it says that even though F♮ and E♯ are enharmonic they “do not sound the same”: E♯ is ...
Aran G's user avatar
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19 votes
10 answers
16k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an all-fourths guitar tuning?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an all-fourths guitar tuning being E, A, D, G, C, F (the high E and B strings being raised a half-step from standard tuning). One reason to do this is ...
Randy Zeitman's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

How many notes are in an octave in Indian classical music? Is it 7, 12, or 22?

What is the logic behind dividing an octave into 22 notes?
Sadhana's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
22k views

What is an "open tuning"?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
user avatar
14 votes
10 answers
24k views

What is the true definition of Drop C tuning?

Since I play bass I will tackle this question from a bass guitar perspective. I've had some musicians state that the following tuning is Drop C tuning (E is dropped to D, and then all strings are ...
5StringRyan's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
11k views

What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between "live" strings

When playing the guitar, I find it difficult to fret a string without touching the string on either side and ruining the sound. Open tunings make it very easy to play one type of chord by barring ...
supercat's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can I easily manage different tunings?

This is probably appropriate for a range of instruments, and I have seen mentioned in other questions that professional musicians can cope easily with transpositions, different instruments that play ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
358 views

How accurate are 12TET approximations of Japanese scales?

Is it possible on normal European instruments to play Japanese scales like the Hirajōshi, Insen, In, Ryo, etc, without retuning? If I do have to retune, where can I find out which exact intervals are ...
Hagel's user avatar
  • 129
12 votes
4 answers
21k views

What frequencies should the violin and viola be tuned to?

I'm using this app to tune my violin, it supports many temperament options. What I want to do is tune the A string to 440Hz first, then comparing the other strings sympathetically to the adjacent ...
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
6k views

Are there guitar strings for very high tunings?

David Gilmour used a special tuning for the rhythm guitar in the song Comfortably Numb. It was a regular EADGBE, but the lowest two strings were two octaves higher, and the middle two were one octave ...
Lee White's user avatar
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11 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it mathematically possible to create an equal temperament which matches just interval ratios?

I've coded a Python app which lets us have any number of semitones in an octave in order to experiment with microtonal music. I would like to ask if there's a possibility to create such an equal ...
ZenBerry's user avatar
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11 votes
6 answers
43k views

Do I risk ruining my guitar by switching the tuning often? [duplicate]

I'm currently learning a song which needs drop-d tuning. Since I found myself switching back and forth from drop-d to standard tuning a couple of times a day, I wonder if I'm risking damage to the ...
user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
8k views

How best to setup an acoustic guitar for multiple tunings?

I like playing compositions in various tunings, and retune the guitar frequently. I only have one guitar, so that leads to two problems: Strings tend to break (much) faster when tuned up, e.g. D to E....
Vladimir Gritsenko's user avatar
10 votes
9 answers
2k views

Using alternative tunings

Guitars are tuned E-A-D-G-B-E by standard, but I prefer tuning it down to C (C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C) since it gives a meatier sound and is easier on my fingers. I know there are plenty of other tunings, but ...
whostolemyhat's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why does tab have CGCGCE instead of normal EADGBE?

I'm pretty new to learning guitar music. I've heard some great songs that I would like to learn on my own, and mostly I've been able to read the tabs. I just came upon a tab that looks like this: I'...
Blundering Philosopher's user avatar
10 votes
8 answers
4k views

What makes a B-D-D-D-D-D tuning useful? Doesn't it make it more difficult to play?

In the wikipedia article for the song Iris it says there is an: unusual guitar tuning in which most of the strings are tuned to D, lending the guitar a chorus-like effect. In a follow up article ...
Startec's user avatar
  • 551
10 votes
6 answers
697 views

How would you play a normal song on an n-TET instrument?

I learnt this week that if we divide an octave into 53 notes (53-TET), then all basic intervals approximations will be improved. I am trying to understand how one would play a normal song (for 12-TET) ...
aiwl's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
7 answers
102k views

Tuning for small-size guitar?

I have a toy store, where we try to get decent kids instruments among other things. One of the guitars we stock is the Janod "Confetti" series guitar. It's 25" long, open string length is 16". I sold ...
Josiah's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What kind of edition and tuning to use to study Bach's fifth cello suite ?

As is well known, this suite was composed for a cello with a scordatura tuning C-G-d-g instead of the classical C-G-d-a. I have seen almost every possible combination: edition for specially-tuned ...
ogerard's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
42k views

How low can a normal 6 string guitar be tuned?

Let's say I have a normal 6 string guitar that is standard tuned. How low can I tune it? I'm especially interested in the tuning of the low E string of the guitar. I have seen bands that tune it ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
21k views

Which strings should I use for DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar?

I have recently switched to DADGAD tuning, before that I was using light tension strings ( 12 16 24 32 42 53 ). But because of DADGAD, to compensate for the lack of tension on the neck, I wanted to ...
Smugrik's user avatar
  • 190
8 votes
2 answers
9k views

Tuning the Ouds

How many strings do various types of ouds (Arab, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Greek, Persia, etc.) have and how are they usually tuned (with pitch reference or not) to what absolute or relative pitches?
user1217's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
473 views

How far to de-tune an orchestra to match the BBC World Service pips (beeps)?

The BBC World Service Radio pips (or beeps) are an iconic aspect of the radio program broadcast around the planet by shortwave radio as well as the internet now. The 2 minute podcast A brand new sound ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 647
8 votes
1 answer
6k views

How to choose a tuning for a fingerstyle arrangement?

I want to learn to play fingerstyle guitar like sungha jung. I found that most of his fingerstyle arrangements are made in different tunings and not the standard tuning. How does he choose which ...
user1763032's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
241 views

How should tuning systems / temperaments be notated in modern scores?

Similar to this question: How were tuning/temperaments indicated on scores (if they ever were)? In modern musical notation how should the use of something other than equal temperament be notated? See ...
Bruce Adams's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
529 views

Does this guitar tuning have a name?

I've had a few suggestions as to an "official" name for this tuning, but what do you lot think? From high e to bass... e B F# C# G# D#
gingerbreadboy's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
5k views

What are some of the alternate tunings of a modern piano?

Modern Pianos are tuned to equal temperament at A440. Are there other prominent alternate tunings used in art music or popular music? I'm accepting that historical reproductions will tune the A to 430 ...
Caleb's user avatar
  • 195
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you play a low Eb on a double bass?

The opera Das Rheingold starts with four of the double basses playing a low E-flat, one half step below the lowest E on a bass with standard tuning. In the sheet music, there is the instruction that ...
viggo's user avatar
  • 277
7 votes
2 answers
582 views

Octaves doubling on double bass in "Sometimes I'm happy" by Lester Young?

I am intrigued by the sound of what I assume to be a Double Bass played with a bow in "Sometimes I'm happy" by Lester Young, between minute 1 and minute 2. If I am ...
Martin Van der Linden's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
264 views

Double Sharps in Just Intonation. The mathematics?

So I'm experimenting around and I'm creating a small little thing in C#### minor just because. I understand the mathematics of C#### in Pythagorean and Equal Temperment music systems but how do you ...
Neo Scott's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is it possible to tune a ukulele in GDAE (Irish tenor)?

I would like to change the tuning of my concert ukulele from GCEA to GDAE. Which kind of string do I need for that (diameter) ? Is it dangerous for the bridge ? (Ref. my ukulele is a Lanikai LU-21 CE)
ThR37's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can I tune an Ukulele in DGBD without damaging it?

I got an Ukulele as a gift. I am not a ukulele music fan, and I dislike its tuning scheme, but I like the fact that it is lightweight, small and soft enough for my kid to tinker with it, and I would ...
Benari's user avatar
  • 83
6 votes
8 answers
6k views

Dealing with different tunings on stage

I play guitar in an acoustic trio (vocalist, steelstring-guitar, double bass). Currently I use 7 different open tunings in the setlist. So I have to retune quite often, and we have to deal with the ...
MartinDetune's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
3k views

Tuning Acoustic from Drop D to Standard Repeatedly

There are a few songs I play where Drop D tuning is required to get some nice, bass-heavy, open 6th string notes. It also facilitates many of the chords in the song in addition to adding a full tone. ...
maccartm's user avatar
  • 228
6 votes
4 answers
4k views

Memorising the fretboard when using dropped tunings? [duplicate]

I'm trying to memorise the notes on the fretboard so that I can more easily apply some of the chordal and scale theory I've been learning, but I downtune quite a lot (half-step down, whole step down, ...
Luke's user avatar
  • 741
6 votes
3 answers
46k views

Is there any alternative to using capo?

I don't have/want to use capo for my guitar. Can a specific tuning be applied as an alternative to capo?
VVK's user avatar
  • 311
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I use one string gauge for standard D and drop B tuning?

I've been using 10 - 48 gauge strings for standard E tuning for 3 years, but I want to change to standard D tuning. I read somewhere that I should use 11 - 58 or 10 - 58 gauge strings for this tuning; ...
amir mehr's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
8k views

open tunings for bass?

Long time bass [hack] player, also play a little bit of guitar, working on learning some music theory to expand my understanding of the mechanics of creating music. I'm curious about open tunings on ...
David's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
3 answers
277 views

Why are open guitar tunings usually in major?

What I notice is that the common open guitar tunings are usually in major. Of course anyone can tune their guitar any way they want, but major seems to be the standard. I was wondering why. For ...
Hneel's user avatar
  • 69
6 votes
1 answer
8k views

How do I tune a Ukulele 1 semi-tone higher?

How can I tune a Ukulele so it's one semi-tone higher? Can this be used for 2/3 semi-tones as well? I've tried using a capo but it makes it a lot harder to play.
Chris S's user avatar
  • 323
6 votes
1 answer
225 views

Restringing a 7 string bass: Considerations

I'm considering buying a 7 string bass which is currently strung in standard tuning (B-F in 4ths). I would like to restring it from F# to C, and drop the F# down a step to E. I'm aware of the tonal ...
David's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
1 answer
171 views

Are just intervals a human universal?

It is my understanding that unaccompanied singers (or players of fret less instruments) will naturally tend to sing (or play) just intervals, i.e. intervals whose frequency ratios are ratios of simple ...
Steven's user avatar
  • 61
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

Are there regular open tunings for guitar?

I understand the difference between open tuning (all 6 open strings play a chord) and regular tuning (the intervals between strings are the same). I would like to know if it is possible to have both, ...
Alfredo Careaga's user avatar
5 votes
7 answers
10k views

What is the point in different guitar tunings? [duplicate]

I don't get it quite yet, since it seems to me like you can play most everything in standard tuning with a bit of practice. Or can you? What are some parameters to look for in a specific guitar tuning ...
Joulin Nicolas's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there anything about a strat that lends itself to Eb standard tuning?

I have read that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix tuned their Fender Stratocasters to Eb standard. I have not heard of it being done to other guitars. Is there anything specific to a Stratocaster ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is deliberately putting your guitar out of tune a valid technique?

I remember hearing an interview about the recording of Nirvana's "Something in the Way"; apparently Kurt played the acoustic part it once on an out of tune 12-string guitar, and then refused to do it ...
Mr. Boy's user avatar
  • 9,910
5 votes
3 answers
7k views

Add a new guitar tuning to TuxGuitar

I want to add Open D tuning to TuxGuitar. I go to Track > Properties and then click on the wrench next to tuning. + adds another note to EADGBE. I want to add an entire tuning - DADGAD. How do I do ...
Al Lelopath's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to name quarter tone chords

Studying the flamenco mode I found that the third note of the scale is tonic when tonic is played, so it would be a major chord, yet minor in all the other cases. Eg. in the key of E the scale would ...
András Hummer's user avatar