How hard is Open G to learn?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by b2187101, May 7, 2019.

  1. Heathfinn

    Heathfinn TDPRI Member

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    I second the Joni Mitchell and will add Leo Kottke and John Fahey. Watching John or Leo play in open tunings (or any for that matter) is just bonkers.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  2. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Open D is good for fat bass, but I like open G because it lets me walk up to the G. And I like that the second, third, and fourth strings are in standard tuning for all those when-in-doubt moments.
     
  3. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use a capo for open A. Less stress on the bridge and guitar top. Who wants a pot-belly guitar?
     
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  4. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Guitarteach has open G right. But don't forget that getting Keith Richards' tuning takes one more step:

    "I'd been working on open D and open E. I learned then that Don Everly . . . used open tuning. . . . Ry Cooder was the first cat I actually saw play the open G chord . . . . He showed me the open G tuning. But he was using it strictly for slide and still had the bottom string. . . . And I decided that was too limiting. I found the bottom string got in the way. I figured out after a bit that I didn't need it; it would never stay in tune and was out of whack for what I wanted to do. So I took it of and used the fifth string, the A string, as the bottom note." Life, Keith Richards, page 242.

    So Cooder first showed him open G, but Richards invented five-string open-G himself.
     
  5. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've always found it easy. But you're very right that the challenges are different. Standard is more versatile, but I do manage to find enough minors both in roundneck and squareneck G to keep myself occupied. Scales are all there if you look for 'em, just like any other tuning.

    I don't try to play like Hendrix or Vaughn, but do think open tunings can lend themselves to single note soloing. David Lindley on lapsteel is a good example. His tunings are different, but whatever works, right?
     
  6. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    A lot of them started with diddly bows: two nails, one piece of wire, and a porch post. Or to get fancy: two nails, a piece of wire, a stick, and a box.

    Diddley bow
     
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  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the point was just that it's easier to get started with open tuning. You're right that it takes time to learn your way around any tuning.
     
  8. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Not exactly "invented". I'd say, at best, Keef "discovered" the 5-string thing. It's been the way to tune a 5-string banjo for a long, long time.
     
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  9. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd be a fool to try convincing you that Ry Cooder, Sonny Landreth, Johnny Winter, David Lindley, and Ronnie Wood aren't virtuosos.
     
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  10. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly! In fact, banjo is what first got him interested in open tuning.

    I should have said he invented "five-string open G tuning for electric guitar."
     
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  11. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    See #26. That's just a quick off-the-cuff list. If we got into Delta blues players and folkies, we'd be here all day. Some of 'em play standard, too, but they've all got it on open tunings.
     
  12. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Two high G's? Seems unnecessary. Some folks do interesting things with twelve-strings, though.
     
  13. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Holic

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    I'm a blues guy but would hesitate to the term "virtuoso" around in the context of old blues cats. Many didn't even tune their guitars well. That music is not about virtuosity.
     
  14. Deathray

    Deathray Tele-Meister

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    ...guilty, as charged.
     
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  15. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I play a lot of open-G blues, too. "In tune" is a relative concept. Read an article about Gary Davis. Once when he was doing a duo, the guy he was playing with did him the favor of tuning Davis's guitar between sets, without asking Davis is he wanted it. When the next set started, Davis picked it up, played a couple of bars, and turned all the strings back to where he'd had 'em.

    And sounded great.

    But even though Davis was a virtuoso, I heartily agree: it's NOT about virtuosity. If it were, I'd've hung it up years ago!
     
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  16. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Charlie Bernstein I still can't see how an E note fits in a G chord. A chord , 1st,, 3rd. and 5th are G,B and D. Any E would be dissonant.
     
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  17. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you all for the timely information. Just yesterday getting ready sell off a DeArmond 210 v2 that was in old Harmony h162 set up for slide...hadn't been played for years let alone rarely. Just to make sure the pu was still working, plugged it into a more recently acquired MuchXS 57 Champ...immediately emailed the prospective buyer back and made apologies for being unable to let it go. Thanks for reminder, information and inspiration...got some more schooling to do.
     
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  18. sardinista

    sardinista TDPRI Member

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    I keep a Telecaster (AO '50s) in open G tuning, and yeah, it's a lot of fun. I wouldn't want to have learned scales/theory stuff on that guitar, however. Nor, I think, would my teacher have wanted to teach me. :)
     
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  19. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    True if you're playing acoustic. But I only use the tuning on electric guitars. Not usually an issue with a Strat. I also prefer the extra string tension.
     
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  20. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Not dissonant, but creates a G6 chord.
     
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