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What guitar tunings and why?

GUEST,Ian Pittaway 26 Oct 06 - 09:26 AM
The Sandman 26 Oct 06 - 09:41 AM
Stower 26 Oct 06 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Richie 26 Oct 06 - 10:06 AM
redsnapper 26 Oct 06 - 10:39 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 26 Oct 06 - 10:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Oct 06 - 11:14 AM
oggie 26 Oct 06 - 11:46 AM
Dave Wynn 26 Oct 06 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,ancient briton 26 Oct 06 - 11:57 AM
Scrump 26 Oct 06 - 12:01 PM
The Sandman 26 Oct 06 - 12:51 PM
The Sandman 26 Oct 06 - 12:53 PM
eddie1 26 Oct 06 - 12:59 PM
Grab 26 Oct 06 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Gordon T 26 Oct 06 - 02:03 PM
Shiplap Structure3 26 Oct 06 - 02:28 PM
Don Firth 26 Oct 06 - 02:43 PM
The Sandman 26 Oct 06 - 03:28 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 06 - 03:58 PM
Murray MacLeod 26 Oct 06 - 05:10 PM
oggie 26 Oct 06 - 05:16 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Oct 06 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Arbuthnot 26 Oct 06 - 06:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 06 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Gordon T 26 Oct 06 - 08:05 PM
Stower 26 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM
Pete_Standing 26 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Oct 06 - 03:20 AM
The Sandman 27 Oct 06 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Gordon T 27 Oct 06 - 02:13 PM
The Sandman 27 Oct 06 - 03:03 PM
harpmaker 28 Oct 06 - 01:42 PM
Stower 28 Oct 06 - 02:32 PM
number 6 28 Oct 06 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Oct 06 - 09:55 PM
The Sandman 29 Oct 06 - 05:47 AM
Richard in Manchester 29 Oct 06 - 07:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 06 - 06:14 PM
Pete_Standing 30 Oct 06 - 05:17 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 06 - 05:22 AM
Pete_Standing 30 Oct 06 - 05:55 AM
Stower 30 Oct 06 - 03:59 PM
Kaleea 30 Oct 06 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Mark Ross 31 Oct 06 - 04:04 PM
Richard in Manchester 02 Nov 06 - 02:32 PM
Stower 03 Nov 06 - 01:16 PM
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Subject: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Ian Pittaway
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 09:26 AM

I've seen other threads on guitar tunings but not quite this question: what guitar tunings do you use and what's the logic behind them? Personally, I tend to learn pieces or tunings by understanding the logic, the mechanics of how they work, which is why I put the question this way. Here's mine for starters:

Tuning: Standard
Why?: Fantastic for jazz chords as most of the strings are tuned a 4th apart, so not too far away for the fingers to stretch. Allows for great complex voicings. Makes you a small orchestra.

Tuning: Drop D
Why?: As standard, but sometimes I want that alternating bass on the D/D, which is much easier than E/E having to fret an E on the D string.

Tuning: Open G (DGDGBD)
Why?: The guitar rings out sympathetically and beautifully when tuned this way, particlarly in the keys of G, D, C and their relative minors. Fast runs are less effort because it is easier to alternate between a high fretted note on one string and an open string to get the required notes, rather than playing consecutive notes on the next available fret of the same string. Beautiful sounds can be made easily with only two fingers right the way up the neck, creating lovely dissonances.   

Tuning: G6 (DGDGBE)
Why?: Same as open G, but the top string remains at E. I started using this because I just found it more practical than open G with the top string at E. You have all the advantages of Open G on all but the top string; and all the advantages of standard on the top 4 strings. Magic!

Tuning: B4 (E.F#.B.F#.B.E) or A4 (DEAEAD)
Why?: I first used B4 then bought another guitar to put permanently in A4, a tone lower with super heavy strings to compensate. In some ways this tuning is limiting, putting you (for A4) in the keys of A or D much of the time. However, melodeons are limiting in the same way and everyone accepts that. The advantages are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings used as a simple starting point from which to build. I play some of my most complex pieces in this tuning for that reason. Great harmonics in this tuning. Also note that the tonics for chords I, IV, V are, in A, strings 4, 6, 5.

Tuning: DADEAE
Why?: When a neighbour of mine showed me this I couldn't make sense of it at first. Then I realised the key is the DE in the middle - 2 strings tuned only a tone apart. This means that runs including these 2 strings can ring out - the idea being that, as much as possible, you don't play 2 consecutive notes on the same string. This means you can play less with more effect because the strings are always ringing. You can make some lovely unexpected harmonies and dissonances this way. On rare occasions the top E comes down to D for practical reasons. The keys of D and A (major or minor) are easiest in this tuning, but C, G, E are also perfectly possible.   

I used open D for a while but abandoned it. I've never understood DADGAD (not that I've work on it), so I'd appreciate someone explaining that one.

What about you?


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 09:41 AM

dadgad; is very useful for playing in d and g. you can get modal chords;such as ddddad or daddad thEsE inversion ARE impossible[ OR VERY DIFFICULT] in standard tuning. although you can get a d modal in standard, although your invesions are limited. THE PROBLEM WITH DADGAD is if your tune modulates[ changes key]it can become awkward
   personally as I sing in a minor, a major,c major I PREFER STANDARD TUNING[ OR DROP D]For d major.
   DGDGBE is useful if you put the capo on the seventh fret and capo just across the top 5 strings, you can pick out a high melody with two d s in bass . A guitarist I was playing with recently told me a minor is awkward in dadgad, Ive never tried it becauase a minor is brilliant in standard.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Stower
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 09:52 AM

Thanks for the reply, Captain (and as you can see, I've just joined up). Apparently, and I don't know if this is true but I can well beleive it, Pierre Bensusan now plays exclusively in DADGAD and in any key without the use of a capo. But then, there aren't many PBs in the world. Now you explain, I can see the advantage of DADGAD for Irish music where the major-or-minorness of a key or chord isn't always straightforward, or where you want that powerful sound of several octaves on 5ths. Personally, I've never been into partial capoing. Once an open string is fretted it puts you right back in the tuning you're in anyway and the guitar does resonate different when tuned differently, which partial capoing cannot achieve - though I don't think this is quite what you meant above. Back to what you did mean, I'd be grateful if you'd explain the advantage of high capoing over just high fingering - can't understand what the difference would be.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 10:06 AM

E A D F# B E

Tune third string down one fret

I play some songs with this tuning. Makes the F# very accessible. I use this to play early lute music (this is a lute tuning) on classical guitar.

F A D G B E

I used this to play a piece by Fernando Sor in F. I messed around with it some. If you want to play in F try it.

G B D G B D

This is standard dobro tuning. It's bascially open G but you raise the 6th string 3 frets and the 5th string 2 frets.

I like this better than DGDGBD. I like the root on the 6th string. I also play banjo (same tuning) and dobro some.

Richie


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: redsnapper
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 10:39 AM

EADGBE: Standard and my standard also again for most things after a long spell in open tunings. Indispensible for jazz and accessible for most blues.

DADGAD: More versatile than one might think once you get into it (listen to Pierre Bensusan if you want proof!). I still use this when accompanying Irish and Scottish music as it allows a lot of pleasing drone effects. Use of a capo necessary for some of the less common keys.

EADEBE: This seems to fit a few John Fahey and Leo Kottke tunes. I worked a lot of tunes and songs out in this but have hardly used it in recent years.

DADFsharpAD: Works nicely for slide.

Looking forward to reading the content of this thread as I like to try new tunings and ideas!

RS


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 10:40 AM

I use open tunings primarilly for melody playing, rarely for rhythm work. I can't get the drive and punch out of them that I can from standard tuning. I use them for melody stuff because I'm a fumble-fingered nitwit who makes too damned many mistakes in standard tuning. Open tunings are very forgiving because in most cases if you hit an open string by accident you're playing a note that harmonizes with the melody note, not a note that clashes with it. In fact, I often intentionally play the open strings to add a fuller sound.

Having said that, I use the following tunings:

Open C major - CGCGCE
Open C minor - CGCGCD#
Open C with 3rd omitted - CGCGCG
Open C9 - CGCGCD
Open G - DGDGBD
Open G Dobro tuning - GBDGBD
Open D - DADF#AD

Will add more comments later. Gotta run do some real work.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM

In the last two or three years I have become aware of several guitarists, who completely changed my point of view on this subject, changed all my prejudices and preconceptions.

I would say, have a look round. Just because some one uses DADGAD for celtic music - it doesn't mean that's all it can do.

I would advise anybody to watch Martin Simpson's excellent dvd on open tunings and think carefully how you would like to use this knowledge.

Basically the question implicit in your thread, is like asking - does this car go to Sheffield. the answer is , only if you drive it there. Use the tunings to achieve what you want to.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 11:14 AM

I am gradually working out how (without really being a finger-style player) to play almost dadgaddy tunes using one or two capos.

First you need a scott tuning capo, or a third hand, or a modified capo.

Put it on the second fret fretting the ADG strings. Now you have (if you fret nothing else) DADGAD, but one tone up. Up the neck your chords can be played standard if you want, or you can have the B and the A with a lump of open strings to ring.

But the real virtue is that the one-finger D from DADGAD is now a one-finger E and you have all your other fingers to play tunes with. Just spank the guitar with a plectrum and the fingered tunes ring out among the chords.

Use another capo to move the whole lot up and you can get about as far as the key of G before neck length starts to be a problem. Fsharp is useful, and it has the advantage of 6 sharps which stops those damn squeezy things joining in most of the time.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: oggie
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 11:46 AM

I have played about with the Robert Frith 'New Standard Tuning', CGDAEG, with varying degrees of success. Great for playing melody and for some accompaniment but then you end up with some impossible fingerings just when you don't need them. I also use the chord finder here http://www.gootar.com/folder/joni.html (sorry, haven't learnt blue clickies yet) which has been useful when messing about with alternatives.

All the best

oggie


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 11:55 AM

Whats a scott tuning capo? and where are they. I ain't never seed one.

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,ancient briton
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 11:57 AM

try EADEAE

its a bit like DADGAD but in A, plus top two strings are fiddle tuned. Nice for picked jigs etc

AB


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Scrump
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 12:01 PM

Richard's idea above sounds worth trying. One of the things that has held me back when it comes to using other tunings than standard is the pain of retuning on stage. [Unless of course you have (the space for) multiple guitars - I keep a spare on stage but mainly to avoid restringing when I break one (having several guitars for the stuff I do would probably be over the top).] That in turn means I haven't spent enough time at home practicing in other tunings, because I figure I wouldn't use them on stage anyway...


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 12:51 PM

dadeae, carthy or irish tuning, is the same principle as dadgad, in that you have one string tuned a tone apart.
Carthy used to use dadgad but now uses this other tuning alot.You sound like your playing in carthys tuning already , it is supposed to be a bit more flexible modulation wise than dadgad.
good for playing tunes in [a] which fiddlers like, but youll probably need a second guitar for dadgad ,because retuning the e to g, your likely to snap strings.
personally as i have to carry a concertina as well as a guitar. i prefer to use standard or tunings which require tuning bass strings [ less likely to snap]rather than carry two guitars. I believe GED Foley use carthyS[    DADEAE tuning] as well.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 12:53 PM

I cant see dadgad, having any more advantages than Carthys tuning DADEAE.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: eddie1
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 12:59 PM

One to have a lot of fun with is CGCGCC. Play all six strings with the right hand and the melody on (mostly) the first two strings. Gives a sitar-type effect. Similarity is even more pronounced if one of the two top Cs is slightly out of tune!
I've used it on Norwegian Wood (well - think sitar), Bells of Rhymney and Sally Free and Easy but it's effective for all kinds of rigs and jeels as well.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Grab
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 01:26 PM

Drop-D has a great advantage for playing G chords, in that fretting G on the bottom string (5th fret) still allows you to get at D/G/B on the upper three strings (frets 7/8/7 respectively), which is very useful. If you're playing rhythm, it also gives you a very chunky chord from holding down 5th fret on bottom three strings (G/D/G).

Double drop-D (DADGBD) can be easier for D minor work, by making the D/E/F runs easily available on the top string.

It's all horses for course though. Usually you'll retune to put particular melody or harmony notes under your fingers more easily, and then it's trading off the ease of playing a particular chord against whether it affects how you'll play the rest of the song. I'm currently using open Gm7 (DGDGBbF) for one song - I'd never use it anywhere else, but for that one song it puts everything in exactly the right place.

Retuning shouldn't be a big problem with an electronic tuner and a non-floating-bridge guitar. If it is, maybe your nut slots are over-tight or your tuning machines are on the way out?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Gordon T
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 02:03 PM

I use CGDGAD most of the time - extremely versatile,you can play in any key without capo,but it takes a bit of getting used to.
Its Robert Fripp,not Frith who devised CGDAEG - I use that too - its great but takes even more getting used to - and you cant use a regular set of strings.I recorded a version of R.Thompson's Vincent Black Lightning using that tuning,amongst other things.
Both tunings are good for trad music,which is mainly what I'm interested in.
Carthy hasnt used DADEAE for years - cant remember what he does use,but he has a bottom string down to B I think.

    Gordon


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Shiplap Structure3
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 02:28 PM

I keep a Seagull 12 string in open C CGCGCE but tuned 2 frets low with some pretty hefty gauge strings 13/58. It might not be the most universal of tunings (isnt that what EADGBE is for?)but it can rumble away without any bother


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 02:43 PM

Standard tuning. Occasionally dropped-D, and occasionally lute-tuning (EADF#BE). I use a classic guitar, and cranking it up and down wreaks havoc on a set of nylon strings and it's not all that good to keep changing the tension on the soundboard. Also, I hate having to keep tuning and re-tuning. Get it in tune and weld it!

Your mileage may vary.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 03:28 PM

dadeae is used alot for accompanying Irish tunes,it is often called Carthys Tuning[and sometimes] Irish tuning. I havent seen Carthy for years, so forgive me for giving the impression he still uses it.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 03:58 PM

Dropped D works well for the key of G, Dave Van Ronk used to use it for fingerpicking tunes
and Erik Frandsen used to use it for blues in the key of A.

Mark ross


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 05:10 PM

Alasdair Hulett told me some years ago that Carthy had gone over to DADEAB exclusively.

I can't remember if he said anything about hating name-droppers...


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: oggie
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 05:16 PM

'New Standard Tuning' - Yup - it was Fripp - had a senior moment!

I use a mixed set of strings for it with a very light top string (.008) and a heavier bottom one.

All the best

oggie


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 05:49 PM

A Scott tuning capo is a bit like a third hand except that it has blocks of lego (well, a bit like blocks of lego) that lock together up or down, whereas the third hand uses oval rubber eccentrics that do not lock. The Scott also has a slight curve on the "nail" so it does not pull cambered fretboard guitars so badly out of tune.

I've added rubber pads to mine to help furher in this respect.

One of the festival music shops was expecting some in late this year, but I can't remember which.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Arbuthnot
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 06:02 PM

I am a Senior Moment - so what?!

A lot of Jazz players use drop D for almost everything, a trend started by Howard Roberts a long time ago when he had a hit with "Moonlight in Vermont".

I find DADF#AC useful for some blues numbers, originally in open G tuning, that I cannot sing in G.

I use CGDGAD for a couple of things - I got it from Gordon. And I use CGDGBbD as well - I got that from Dave Evans, which is also where Gordon got CGDGAD (your secret is out, kiddo). You can get a really good range for accompaniment with those tunings, and some nice chords which don't sound like standard issue.

I once found a Nick Drake appreciation website with tabs and long discussions on the tunings he used. Frankly, a lot of the tunings were incorrect, so the tabs were w!@**, but it was interesting to try and play the tunes in the wierd tunings those guys had come up with!


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 07:49 PM

Two tunings I haven't come across anywhere else.

A couple of years back InOBU hurt his hand, and he came up with
DGDGGD - which really makes for a fascinating sound.

So I tried the same idea of having a couple of strings tuned in unison, and came up with DADADD. (That involves tuning the B string up rather a lot - an alternative would be to do it all a tone lower, so it was CGCGCC - but I found that tuning up to D didn't seem to worry the B string any, and it all sounded better than tuned lower. Maybe I might set up a spare guitar with it permanently, and use a second E string tuned down to D to avoid that potential problem.)

Anyway, it's great fun to play with both these tunings.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Gordon T
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 08:05 PM

Heyup Arbuthnot! - so you just came round to steal my stuff did ya!
Dave Evans told me he got that tuning from Joni Mitchell.

No problem Dick - I only said that about Carthy not using dadeae in case the aficionados started trying to work out his arrangements.

My rule of thumb is to avoid any system which consists of mainly tuning everything to one or two notes - these CGCGCC kind of things,and also any tuning that plays a major or minor chord in itself - these are mainly used by blues and slide players,which is not my style,if I have one.

Of the DADGAD players,of course Pierre Bensusan is excellent,but also one of my favourite trad guitarists,Dick Gaughan,uses it a lot I believe - often capoed up quite high.

    Gordon


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Stower
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM

Wow! I wasn't expecting this mnay responses. Thanks all. A few points I'd like to ask or clear up.

Richard Bridge - Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't see partial capoing really working in practical terms, as once a partially capoed string is fretted, it becomes standard tuning again. I can only see it working if the uncapoed strings are played almost entirely unfretted, which is surely rather limiting. Also, when tuned differently, the guitar responates in a completely different way, which is surely missed with partial capoing. Richard, have I missed something?

Tuning a string UP from standard! Don't do it! Well, certainly don't do it more than a semitone, as the string will create huge amounts of extra pressure on the neck. The gauge of a string should reflect its highest tension in any tuning. So ... E up to G???!!!! I assume you must have a gauge suited to G rather than E!!!???

Martin Carthy has, for some years, used a modified version of DADEAE, namely CGCDGA, which is the first tuning dropped a tone and the top string dropped to a tone above the 2nd, rather than a 5th above.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM

I've recently been on a Carthy workshop. His tuning is CGCDGA. Alistair Hulett uses DADEAB. He got that off Martin Carthy (Up one tone).

I've been concentrating on CGCGCD, learnt from Gavin Davenport (of Crucible and Hekety) at one of the Hands on Music Weekends, Strings at Witney

The nice thing about this tuning is that traditional songs and tunes seem to fall right under the fingers and it is difficult to play a wrong note - it is usually either right or a harmony! The downside is that you need to use a capo lots (to play in D, capo at 2nd fret, to play in G, capo at 7th fret). This tuning also conforms to the Martin Simpson method (see Weelittledrummer above) where he explains that his tunings are just root, fifth and another, the root being C, the fifth being G and another being the D (either 2nd or ninth) . Open C would be CGCGCE (r5r5r3), Open C minor would be CGCGCEb (r5r5r5flattened3). DADGAD is r5r45r. Open D is r5r53r and open G is 5r5r35

On another Strings at Witney course led by Chris Foster, we learnt EADEAE and its variants DADEAE and DADEAD (r5r2nd5r), which is not much different to the Carthy tuning (although a tone higher).


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Oct 06 - 03:20 AM

Hi Ian

As to the limitations all I can say is that I am steadily finding more things I can play that way. I may be mucking about and an idea will come to me. I'm surprised in that I haven't yet found a good way to use it for either the Gairdner Child or Dives and Lazarus (I have found a way for the latter but it is a bit of a bugger).

What is good is to look for ways to play chords that leave strings ringing.

As to the sound, when I started using it people used to look and ask if I was in DADGAD, so it must sound like DADGAD. I like it a lot on a 12-string, for, for example Over the Hills and Far Away.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 06 - 08:24 AM

I have just been trying cgcgad, It does seem pretty good in c. g modal 11 is pretty easy as a nice sub for g7.
e minor or e modal chord looks difficult, but I have only been looking at it for about an hour CAN anyone put me out of my misery and tell me, thanks


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Gordon T
Date: 27 Oct 06 - 02:13 PM

It's nearly the same as the tuning I use - so E minor is (from lowest string) 4;4(or open);4;open;2;2. The way I play with this system tho is,I would deaden the 5th.
You have a very nice E minor at the 9th fret too(without the 6th string) - 9;11;9;10;9.
There are a few around the 5th fret as well.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 06 - 03:03 PM

Thanks Gordon.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: harpmaker
Date: 28 Oct 06 - 01:42 PM

I tune my banjo to EDACFGEFDAECGFEADAEAFGC


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Stower
Date: 28 Oct 06 - 02:32 PM

Peter, you mention CGCGCD, learnt from Gavin Davenport. I spoke to Chris Wood a few weeks ago, who told me this is the tuning he uses - and he makes it sound fabulous. When I went home to try it I realised that it's basically a cittern tuning with a D on top but, I think, the guitar is easier to manage than a cittern (personally). Harpmaker, you remind me of a tuning Stefan Hanigan told me about, Old McDonald tuning: EIEIO.

Richard, so you're using partial capoing to create drones, like a lap dulcimer or a droned fiddle - is that the idea?


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: number 6
Date: 28 Oct 06 - 02:37 PM

Harpmaker .... "I tune my banjo to EDACFGEFDAECGFEADAEAFGC"

don't you mean your sitar?

sIx


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Oct 06 - 09:55 PM

Tune quarterly.

For your group select the Full or the New Moon.

NEVER - retune (not even in sessions) but allow (permit) your instruments within the group to gradually, A-Tune to each other.

Wiccan wonders work miricles under a harvest moon of all-hallows-eve.....the mildering mold has harmony untold....if you only let the cat-gut stretch...and milder....then fester.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 06 - 05:47 AM

cgcgad, is versatile,If you want you, can use some of the same shapes as standard.
B7 standard becomes A major not using 6 string., This shape can be used going up the fingerboard too.
C7 shape is fairly useful going up the fingerboard as well.
Thanks again Gordon.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Richard in Manchester
Date: 29 Oct 06 - 07:30 AM

Several people have mentioned CGCGCD. I've been using a slight variation on that for years: DGCGCE. I started off with plain open-C (CGCGCE), but that puts the bass F on the 5th fret. That's over the horizon as far as I'm concerned, far too much of a stretch when playing at the 1st position. Raising the 6th string to D solves that, putting the F on the 3rd fret, and bringing several keys - C, G, F, B-flat, E-flat and their relative minors within easy reach. D is a bit of a fiddle, although a 2nd-fret capo solves that when the need arises.

Obviously a bass D in this tuning loses the ring of a deep tonic C, but I thought that sacrifice was worth the increased versatility.

I originally got this tuning from attempting to copy Jimmy Page's acoustic piece 'Bron-Yr-Aur', from Physical Graffiti, although I've since been told that Page has an A-string in there somewhere.

Has anyone else found that these open and modal tunings can be a bit of a drug? It's very easy to make a guitar sound nice without doing anything very much, and I'm sure I've got lazy using DGCGCE. When occasionally reverting to standard tuning these days, I do find it hard work playing things that used to be straightforward when I played in standard tuning most of the time.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 06 - 06:14 PM

The real problem with "funny tunings" is using them when you are playing informally with other people. For one thing, you can guarantee they are going to be using keys that don't work with the tuning you've got, aside from the fact that other people can't follow the chords you are playing, and vice versa. unless you are remarkably good at doing calculations in your head. Maybe dropped D, is an exception to that.

I like playing around with tunings sometimes, but I never tend to use them in a session. It's taken me long enough to get the standard tuning and it's possibilities into my head (and I've nowhere near done with finding new stuff at that).

Tunings are a bit like languages - there are some people who can be fluent in many languages, but for most of us it's a case of being at home in one, or maybe two, and so far as any others go it's going to be pretty basic and minimal.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 05:17 AM

Ian

... you mention CGCGCD, learnt from Gavin Davenport. I spoke to Chris Wood a few weeks ago, who told me this is the tuning he uses - and he makes it sound fabulous. When I went home to try it I realised that it's basically a cittern tuning with a D on top but, I think, the guitar is easier to manage than a cittern (personally).

Ian, Gavin was teaching a combined guitar, cittern, bouzouki class. For bouzouki, the tuning was either DADA of CGCG (depending on string gauge) and for cittern, CGCGC, so you are right.

Chris Wood, marvellous.

There is a guy called David Delarre who is the guitarist in Mawkin and I think he has been experimenting with this tuning recently. He's made it through to the YFA finals, so you will get a chance to hear him on the BBC R2 folk prog sometime soon.


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 05:22 AM

not forgetting that CGCGCD is also the tuning for Canadeeio by Nic Jones...


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 05:55 AM

I thought I had seen somewhere that Nic used that tuning, but wasn't confident enough to say so!


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Stower
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 03:59 PM

Richard in Manchester, a few years ago I was at Warwick Festival and a chap called Rick, very nice guitar player, don't know his last name, sounded great using DGCGCE. I composed one piece in it, couldn't make any more sense of it than that, but have started using it again recently - fabulous. Except that I play it a minor third down, using a guitar already tuned permanently to A4 - DEAEAD - and retuning the bottom D down to B and the top D down to C#. This gives a fantastic deep double-bassy sounbd on the bottom B, only possible because I use a set of 14-59 gauge strings on that guitar. I find this tuning great for call and response / polyphonic pieces, and the string pitch spacing makes it easy to play high on the neck while keeping the bass going right down at the bottom end. Are you there, Rick? If so, thanks!


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Kaleea
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 08:42 PM

Sometimes it seems like I'm the only finger picker in the world who does not play in any o' them thar dadgum tunings or use a capo. I first learned to play when I was just a kid in Tulsa at about 13, from a pal who hailed from way out the sticks of Kentucky & attended a nearby University as their first Music Composition major. He sometimes used a tuning which I briefly used. It was achieved by tuning the 2nd, 3rd & 4th strings up for E A E A C# E (from 6th to 1st), or the 1st, 5th & 6th down for D G D G B D, depending upon one's vocal range. I have been told that this tuning is one used by old timers from back in the hills in the olden days.

By the time I was out of high school & on the road, I used standard tuning as it was much simpler when working with other Musicians. I learned to play bar chords in whatever key they used, with no capo. Not much arthritis in those youthful days!


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: GUEST,Mark Ross
Date: 31 Oct 06 - 04:04 PM

McGrath,

DGDGGD is an old Hawaiian slack key tuning, doesn't seem to seem to be used much anymore. I learned it from Utah Phillips. Hawaiian slack key was the first guitar style he learned.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Richard in Manchester
Date: 02 Nov 06 - 02:32 PM

Ian, most of the facts fit (I go to Warwick FF most years, I do get called Rick, and I do remember talking to someone on the campsite there about tunings a few years ago) - except for the "very nice guitar player" bit, that must have been someone else!

I'm trying your minor-third-down version as I write. What a lovely noise!


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Subject: RE: What guitar tunings and why?
From: Stower
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 01:16 PM

Richard, it's probably you, then! Thanks! As I remember it, you were playing Lord Inchiquin from an open tent opposite mine when we got talking.


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