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Open tunings help needed

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Blues=Life 10 Jun 03 - 10:35 AM
Peter T. 10 Jun 03 - 11:06 AM
Blues=Life 10 Jun 03 - 03:18 PM
Peter T. 10 Jun 03 - 04:05 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 10 Jun 03 - 04:54 PM
Peter T. 11 Jun 03 - 10:02 AM
Blues=Life 11 Jun 03 - 10:43 AM
Peter T. 11 Jun 03 - 11:10 AM
PoppaGator 11 Jun 03 - 08:10 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Jun 03 - 08:43 PM
Blues=Life 12 Jun 03 - 12:32 PM
PoppaGator 12 Jun 03 - 09:41 PM
smokeyjoe 13 Jun 03 - 11:38 AM
Sooz 21 May 09 - 03:41 AM
alanabit 21 May 09 - 05:39 AM
mattkeen 21 May 09 - 09:20 AM
Sooz 21 May 09 - 01:20 PM
Songbob 21 May 09 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 21 May 09 - 07:44 PM
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Subject: Open tunings help needed
From: Blues=Life
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 10:35 AM

I've been playing around with Open D and Open E on my resonator lately. (One of these days, my slide technique is going to sound good... I hope). I love the sounds I get out of these tunings, but I don't have a clue what I'm doing. Does anyone know of a How-To book or video that discusses chords in open tunings? I'm thinking about picking up Homespun's tape of Roy Book Binder on Slide in open tunings, but I thought I'd ask here, too.
Thanks,
Blues


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 11:06 AM

Check above you for many threads. Bob Brozeman's book (virtually all in open G)is styled around his resonator guitar. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Blues=Life
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 03:18 PM

Peter, thanks for the reply. I did check those links, and I found 3 things.
1. The Complete Book of Alternate Tunings by Mark Hanson -- OK, this is a good start. Any other books or Videos?
2. Most of the links were about DADGAD. I'm really looking for Open E (and Open D). It's open tunings I'm looking for resources on, not alternate tunings.
3. In almost every thread, Peter T. tells the poor simpleton to check the other threads. *g* I will check out Bob Brozeman's tome as well. Thanks.

Is Hanson's book the ONLY other one out there? I really doubt that. I'm looking for resources, has anyone come out with anything new? I'm visually oriented, what I would love is advice on a DVD or a Video. Has anyone seen Book Binder's stuff?
Thanks everyone.
Blues


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 04:05 PM

Sorry, I didn't think you were a simpleton, I just remember that there are good sites that have open tuning tutorials on the Web embedded in those threads.

There are two other books that have good things that come from Acoustic Guitar magazine. One is called "Alternate Tunings" and the other is called something like "Private Lessons" -- they have open tuning tutorials by David Hamburger. There is also a good book by Fred Sokolow on Roots of the Blues which has some open tuning pieces. There is a book by Arlen Roth on Slide Guitar which has open D (E) tuning work in it.

Generally I would go to the Stefan Grossman site/shop for videos and DVDs -- he has all kinds, including lessons in the styles of practically everyone. I personally have nearly worn out the Legends of the Blues Guitar video, but that is because it has Son House on it.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 04:54 PM

Here's a direct quote from Mark Hanson's book:

Open E tuning (EBeg#be', low to high).... has the same relationships string to string as open D, but is tuned a whole-step higher. This puts additional stress on the guitar (three strings are tuned higher than standard), and produces a brighter sound. But it may not be advisable for your particular instrument. If you need to play in open E, consider tuning to open D and placing a capo at the second fret.

Given Hanson's comment, I would not be surprised if there is very little instructional material on open E tuning available. I would concentrate my search on open D tuning. And don't ignore open G. Even if you don't like the sound of open G (or open C) remember that an open G tune can be made into an open D tune just by moving all the fingerings one string toward the bass side of the guitar.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 10:02 AM

Actually, most of the books are about Open E because they deal with electric guitars.

Checking through my piles of books: Acoustic Guitar "Slide Basics"; another Fred Sokolow book -- "Fretboard Roadmaps Slide Guitar" --; Brett Duncan's "Progressive Slide Guitar Licks"; Larry McCabe "101 Dynamite Slide Guitar Licks in Open E (Mel Bay); "Fast Forward Slide Guitar" (Wise); Mike Levine, "Slide Guitar Essential Skills" (Cherry Lane); Keith Wyatt, Acoustic Slide Guitar" (Warner Bros.); Wayne Riker, "Slide" (Alfred). I got something from all of them.

The one with the worst title -- 101 Dynamite Slide Licks, etc. -- is really one of the best, once you get the basic idea of open tuning down: it gives transcripts of some important blues songs, and then slows the licks parts down for you to work through in sequence. The other books usually just give you bits, or complete songs usually way too fast for the novice.

My experience with videos is that they are mostly a waste of money. They are either too simple or too complicated, and after one or two viewings you never look at them again. If anyone has experience with a good open tuning video, I too would like to hear it.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Blues=Life
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 10:43 AM

Peter,
The simpleton is me. I forgot to check the search function. DUH!
Thanks for the help. These look interesting.
Another question. Do you leave one guitar set up for slide, or do you retune? If so, what are you using, and how heavy are the strings.
I've got a Dean Electric Resonator with a cutaway, that I've been leaving in Open D, using D'Addario Phos. Bronze Resophonic Guitar strings (.016-.056). Sounds nice with a slide. I've been using a brass slide, (I bought a glass slide, but I dropped it and broke it. I think I better stay with metal). What do you use?
Blues


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 11:10 AM

BL, I play basically everything in open tunings, so it is easy for me! I usually tune down from open D to C to sing (I am too lazy to figure out the slightly different tuning for open C). I have a Seagull acoustic guitar with steel strings which was a piece of crap until Rick F fixed it for me -- so I guess I am in the tradition of using not very good guitars for slide -- and raise the strings a little by jamming a little piece of wire at the nut. I have no idea what the strings are, I am not into string arcana for some reason. Maybe some day.

I was using a big bulky glass slide on my pinky which was no fun, and then I discovered a much thinner and shorter (60mm) glass slide, which has made a world of difference to me and my confidence. I suddenly felt that I had a grip on what was going on -- you might try a range of sizes, I think that is more important than brass or glass.

I am just learning, so I don't know much. Every day is an adventure.

yours,
Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 08:10 PM

Here's a trivia question for you. (I once knew the answer, but have since forgotten, so I hope someone out there can let us all know.)

The blues players in the the Mississippi delta back in the 1920s-30s had *names* (words) for the two common open tunings. The same name applied to open E and open D, since they're essentially the same tuning at two different pitches, with the tonic ("one") note on the open top and bottom strings as well as on the open 4th string. The other name referred to (I think) open G.

I spent a little time fooling with a slide and with open tunings for a couple of years in the early 70s. I was playing a lot then, but spent most of my time in standard tuning and never learned enough varied licks in the open tunings to really satisfy myself and get thoroughly into it. I think I started out with one tune in each of the two above-mentioned tunings, but eventually forgot how to do *anything* in open G and only continued my sporadic attempts at slide playing in open D.

I used a little cylindrical glass pill bottle as a slide, and even after I quit even trying to play very much slide, I used the bottle to contain my picks. My two metal fingerpicks fit inside, and I "clipped" the plastic thumbpick over the lip of the opening, with the flat side facing out and the curved loop blocking the opening enough to keep the fingerpicks inside.

The pill bottle was in pretty common use, and the best source for a bottle-slide was a very popular and widely available over-the-counter cold remedy called Coricidin. After my original bottle was long lost and I wanted to try sliding again some years later, I learned that pills by then only came in plastic bottles -- bummer!

More recently, I've seen replica bottles for sale in music stores, under a brand name that spells the original medicine's name with about a dozen extra letters ("Corresseyedien" or some such). I suppose copyright law prevents their using the original spelling, even though the medicine no longer seems to be on the market. I read the label, and learned that the original pill bottle slide was "legendary" because it was used by Duane Allman. These latter-day faux pill bottles, by the way, cost 'way more than the the real bottles used to cost *with* the pills in them!

I don't doubt that Duane did use a Coricidin bottle, if only because *everyone* did back then. It had absolutely flat sides, and the height of the flat part of the bottle was just slightly greater than the width of a typical steel-string fingerboard. The inner diameter of the bottle allowed you to maintain firm control by slightly flexing your finger (ring finger, for most players) inside it -- a narrower bottle would force you to keep the finger too straight, and a wider one would be so loose you couldn't control it. The relatively thin glass made for a nice ringing sound -- better than what you could get with an actual neck of a wine or whiskey bottle, which normally was made of thicker glass and often had tapered, rather than parallel, sides. Best of all, the little pill bottle came ready-to-play; you didn't have to break off any glass and grind the sharp edges down before you could play with it.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 08:43 PM

Regarding Poppa Gator's trivia question, open D (or E) is sometimes known as "Sebastapol" (or sometimes "Vestapol") tuning from a popular open D tune by that name. Likewise, open G is sometimes known a "Spanish" tuning for the tune "Spanish Fandango".

And, Blue=Life, I also have one of those Dean resos but I put a Dobro nut on it and play it lap-style in Dobro G tuning (GBDGBD). Not bad sounding, but I'm seriously considering selling off a couple of other guitars and getting a real Dobro.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Blues=Life
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 12:32 PM

Bruce,
Mine's the black wooden body with the gold colored cover plate and tuners. It actually sounds pretty good. I've been tempted to upgrade the resonator cone, as you can get better ones at Stew-Mac. Been too lazy and/or poor to do it yet.
Someday.
I've played some nice Dobros, but I really crave the National Resonators I've played. Very sweet.
Blues


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 09:41 PM

Thanks, Bee-Dub, for the trivia answer. I was thinking that "Fandango" was one of the names, but *knew* I wrong but somehow close. (Guess I was right about being wrong.)

I can hear the tune "Spanish Fandango" in my head, but haven't a hint what "Sebastapol" might sound like. I'm fairly sure that the tune I remember came from a John Hurt recording; it's a straight instrumental, no lyrics that I ever heard of.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: smokeyjoe
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 11:38 AM

I play in both 'E' and 'G' tunings with a couple of extra ones thrown in as well, when I need certain riffs to play a melody. Here's a couple of things That might help you in your quest: Learn good slide technique. Learn how to damp the strings that you don't want to sound with either the side of your right hand, or the free fingers on your left. I know it sounds complicated, but it's essential to getting a good tone. You'll get it eventually if you really try. Learn a few chords in open tunings. Grab your guitar in open 'E' or 'D' and try this: I chord: open. IV chord: 1st finger 3rd string 1st fret; 2nd finger 5th string 2nd fret; V chord: 1st finger 4th string 2nd fret, 2nd finger 1st string 2nd fret, 3rd finger, 1st srting, 2nd fret. Relative minor: 2nd finger 5th string second fret, 3rd finger 2nd string 2nd fret.
Happy fretting!


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Sooz
Date: 21 May 09 - 03:41 AM

There was a reference in a previous thread to a website where you put any tuning in and it generated the chords. I've searched but can't find the thread. Can anyone help?


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: alanabit
Date: 21 May 09 - 05:39 AM

I hope this will help Sooz.


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: mattkeen
Date: 21 May 09 - 09:20 AM

Alanabit

That site and programme is spectacularly useful

Thanks very much

The Complete Book by Mark Hanson is very good as is the Acoustic Guitar playing book by the guy who used to play acoustic for simon and Garfunkle (forgot his name sorry) Good slide player and there was an argument about who played what between him and Ry Cooder on that pretend Robert Johnson movie where there was a guiatr shoot out at the end with Joe Satriani

I will be amazed if any of that is helpful


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Sooz
Date: 21 May 09 - 01:20 PM

Exactly what I was looking for - thanks!


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: Songbob
Date: 21 May 09 - 02:32 PM

The simple info on open tunings is that the three main ones have the tonic note (and the 3d & 5th) at different places.

Open D (DADF#AD) has the tonic ("1") on the first string, the 5 on 2, the 3 on 3, the 1 on 4, 4 on 5 and 1 on six. From bottom to top, that's 1515351

Open G (DGDGBD) is: 515135, so the 1 is the 3d string (or the 5th fret of the 1 string).

Open C, mentioned above, is CGCGCE, or 151513, so the top string is a 3, and the tonic is on 2.

This means that you can't just change to open C to play in C instead of D, because all the notes you're used to will fall other places. In D, that strong 1 on the first string lets you play whole tunes on that one string (John Henry starts at the 12th fret and slippy-slides down to the open 1st string, for instance). In C, you'll have to hit the 2d string to play that same tune, and the 1st string -- the 3 note -- will not be a suitable chord note most of the way through the song.

Each tuning has its own rationale. That 3d on string 1 in C tuning is annoying enough that very few play in open C (compared to G or D). However, each one of them has something in common:

Open = the I chord
5th = the IV chord
7th = the V chord

So when you're playing John Henry, and you get to the end of the second phrase, where it goes into the V chord, you'll want the slide (or barre, if you're playing slack-key/finger style) to be on the 7th fret.

Other commonly-used frets are:
2nd = II chord
10th = bVII ("modal" or "blues" chord, depending on your terminolgy)

So if you're playing slide, you'll need the 2d, 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th frets, whichever tuning you're in. Dobro players sometimes angle the slide to get other forms of the chords, but that's another story entirely.

And "Vastapol" is from the "Seige of Sevastopol," a 19th C. guitar show-off piece, a multi-part composition complete with cannons and battle sounds. The tuning is just about all that remains -- any tune or other remnant has long since fallen out of the folk memory.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Open tunings help needed
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 21 May 09 - 07:44 PM

Vestapol is still around - I got it off Stefan Grossman's "How to Play Blues Guitar" LP on Elektra, then a few years later changed it to be more like "Prodigal Son" (covered by the Stones).

I always tune up to E or A to give a brighter sound on a Hohner resonator and keep another guitar in more or less standard - back in the 60s a few of us kept our (standard tuned) guitars in F because the most common harp around was the Bb!


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