December 23rd, 2007, 12:25 PM
I hope this question isn't too dumb.
When tuning down a half step, or even a full step, do you have t adjust the key you want to play in?
For instance, a tune played in the key of E on a guitar tuned EADGBE, would be in the key of D if the guitar was tuned down a full step, and all the notes played in the same position? Eb if tuned down a 1/2 step?
I am self taught, with a fool for a teacher. Every time I've seen it mentioned that "some (players) tune down a half (of full) step" (or something along those lines), nothing is mentioned about adjusting key signatures accordingly.
I hope I'm making sense here, the only theory I've really learned has been from Larry F's (and others') great threads here on TDPRI.
To me it sounds like tuning down is something a player should only think about after he/she knows the Major scales as well as all the notes on the fretboard???? I started right off tuning down 1/2 step because "so-and-so did it", but have come to realize that standard tuning is probably what I should stick with until I'm more proficient with my music stick.
December 23rd, 2007, 12:56 PM
mo-the big advantage to tuning down is the ability to beef up your tone with higher gauge strings. Stevie Ray Vaughan always tuned down to Eb and he used 11's on his strats.
Yes tuning down does change the key in which you play the song. For instance a song in which you would play in the standard 440 (A) tuning you would play an E chord in standard figuring. The chord would shift tonal center to Eb tuned one 1/2 step down, if you tuned the whole guitar down a 1/2 step. An F chord now would be tonally equivalent with an E chord in 440.
Now one of the things that is happening in the industry, in order to accommodate recording problems, a lot of acts are tuning down to Eb.
If you work with a band-and you can talk everyone else into doing it-this is very facilitating to learning and playing current tunes.
A lot of acts are using alternate and open tunings as well.
The point is that even if you do tune down the chord patterns, scales, etc, all remain the same it is just a matter of their changing keys.
If you want to beef up your tone, tuning down a half step and throwing on 11's or 12's will give you a little heartier tone, just remember that if you play with other cats who are not tuned down, and they play in E you will have to play in F.
Does any of this make sense?
If you are not that familiar with the neck yet and learning off of CD's I would suggest you tune in standard form for now. Again, there are a few advantages in tuning down, but you really need to be comfortable with applying scale and note position on the neck. And most of guitar music out there is still in standard 440 tuning anyway.
Get familiar with your scales and progressions, chord patterns etc, then worry about tuning, and if your tone is a little weak, use 10's, fatten up the bottom a little. Once you have this under your belt then move on.
December 23rd, 2007, 03:18 PM
Does any of this make sense?
Yes, perfect sense, thank you. I was a bit stumped because while some books mention tuning down, they don't mention the corresponding change in key. For awhile I thought it was "bluesey" to tune down. That is, the guitar would be playing in Eb while the rest of the band played in E. The more I thought about it, the less sense it made to me.
I switched to 10's and love the tonal change from 9's. But, I've got such a long way to go until I need to worry about transposing keys. For now, I'll stick with standard tuning, and I'll keep studying.
December 24th, 2007, 04:02 AM
I remember struggling with the reverse problem, playing along with records, where "they" were tuned down, and I wasn't.
I wondered for years why Buck Owens had such a liking for Csharp, Eb & Ab. It was only here that I learnt those guys did lots of tuned down stuff.
December 27th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Also you may want to beware of guitar players who are using sloppy terminology. A lot of times someone will be tuned down a 1/2 step and still "think" of it in the original key. In other words, playing something like Pride and Joy or Hear My Train a Comin tuned down 1/2 step but you ask what key and they say E. They're playing in E relative to the fretboard but not relative to concert pitch. In concert pitch A=440 they're playing in Eb.
Clear as mud. :lol: