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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32
votes
15answers
67k views

Why is dropped D tuning used so often?

Many metal/rock songs use dropped D tuning. What reasons are there for it?
31
votes
11answers
111k 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 ...
30
votes
7answers
8k views

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 ...
16
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2answers
20k 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?
13
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2answers
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 ...
12
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9answers
16k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
15k views

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

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
7k 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....
11
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
870 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 ...
9
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
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'...
9
votes
5answers
22k 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
54k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
8k 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?
8
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
416 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#
7
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
7
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2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k 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. ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
37k 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?
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
446 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
725 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; ...
6
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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)
6
votes
1answer
7k 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.
5
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
16k views

Banjolele: retune GDAE -> GCEA

I've bought a tenor banjo-uke (GDAE) as a present for person, who is playing on ukulele. Problem is that I've found there is a different tunning (ukulele is GCEA) and he would have to learn from ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Problems with 8 string guitar tuning?

I just recently bought an 8 string. I have tried every tuning I have read or watched videos on. For some reason my f# sounds to loose and there is a lot of rattle on the guitar?all the other strings ...
5
votes
3answers
278 views

Need help understanding the difference between diatonic and chromatic semitones

I am writing an essay on musical temperaments for which I was doing some research on the history of tuning and how it evolved over time. I understand the Pythagorean tuning system quite well now but I ...
5
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do I want different guitars for different tunings?

A lot of books and blog posts I've read, including Guitars for Dummies, The Rough Guide to Guitar, and this Stack Exchange question, encourage or expect me to have different guitars with different ...
4
votes
4answers
288 views

The implications of tuning a 12-string guitar in fifths [closed]

I would like to take the chance to discuss the theoretical implications of my alternate tuning for a 12-string guitar. You can find the original question here. So for reference I was talking about the ...
4
votes
3answers
659 views

Tune high B and E strings one octave apart like the other strings?

Traditionally high B and E strings are tuned in unison. Why are they tuned like this? Unlike the rest of strings. If this can be done anyways. Could this be achieved with the standard set of ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What do you think of attempting to tune an Acoustic 12-string one full step up?

Many like to tune a 12 string 1/2 to 1 full step down. I understand it reduces tension, reduces breaking the high G string and/or allows you to run thicker gauges for a fuller sound. However I ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is 7 string guitar a must have for lower tunings?

Note that I'm familiar with the post Why Move to a 7-String Guitar? but it doesn't quite answer my question. My question is can you get to lower tunings such as C standard, drop B tunings without ...
4
votes
1answer
33k views

How does the tuning differ between a concert and soprano ukulele?

I am getting a new concert ukulele and I was wondering whether the tuning is different for a concert? is it still GCEA? or is there a better sounding tuning than soprano standard?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to change bass guitar tuning in Sibelius 8?

How can I change my bass guitar tuning? In this case I want to have a whole step down standard tuning (DGCFAD) (for 4 string bass it should be DGCF). How can I do it?
4
votes
2answers
775 views

String gauge, scale, and tuning relationship? (Guitar in particular)

Does anyone have general guidance or a good resource on this, specifically considering scale length, string tension, string gauge, and tuning? I've found loads of anecdotal research and a even few ...
3
votes
3answers
245 views

G-D-A naming convention

I've tuned my guitar to CGCGGe in order to learn 'Head Down' from Soundgarden, and are now experimenting a bit with that tuning. While in that specific tuning, and you hold a normal power chord rooted ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Choosing the right harmonica to fit with guitar part transposed using an alternative tuning

I play a song in standard tuning on the guitar. The song requires a 'G' harmonica. I tune the guitar down to D-G-C-F-A-D. What key of harmonica would I need for the same song in this tuning?
3
votes
2answers
814 views

Instruments natively tuned to just intonation

What instruments are/have been designed for tuning for just intonation (throughout history)? I'm looking for things that that are inherent in construction such as tone holes and fret placements.
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Guitar setup for which tuning?

I play songs by breaking benjamin and other rock and metal bands which are in low tunings like drop C but i also play in standard when i play for church. I want to get a new acoustic but im unsure ...