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Drop tuning question(s)

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by myteleplaysjazz, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    I just don't get the whole idea behind drop tuning.
    First and fore most, I'm a jazz player. I'm going to play all of those "jazz" 7th, 9th, 13th, Major, minor, diminished, half diminished, dominant type chords. I'm going to play them in "E" and "A" form as well as all the inversions.
    I watch Tim Lerch from time to time, and he has stated that he tunes down to Eb.
    I'm wondering why?

    So, if I play...say, an EbMaj7, in "A" form (standard tuning) it would look like this: X6878X. Right?
    But my ear (and my tuner) tells me that I'm playing a DMaj7th.
    So, why not tune to standard tuning, and just play a Dmaj7th? Furthermore; the whole "band" would have to tune down as well, which of course, would drive the horn players absolutely bat-**** crazy.
    Is it an open chord/cowboy chord thing?
    What's the point?
    What am I missing?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  2. Suproman

    Suproman Tele-Meister

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    I think it can be more about the feel of the guitar. I started tuning my acoustics strung with 13-56 strings down one whole step almost 30 years ago. Originally it was to help my vocals, but at this point it's the only thing that feels right when I play acoustic. I tried lighter strings tuned up to standard tuning, not the same.
     
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  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    It provides easier string bending. Just sayin'
     
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  4. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    OK. If so, then why not just use a lighter string? And we don't typically bend notes in jazz.
     
  5. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

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    Other reasons:
    Allow cowboy chords in horn keys.

    Use open 6th string when playing in keys that don't fit with E as root, such as in Celtic music where keys are usually limited to D and G.

    Lower pitches for metal, ambient, and other genres.
     
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  6. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    I saw a video saying that it makes the guitar sound better, and it does sound good, but seems like somewhat of a hassle to do, especially if playing with others. It was made popular by Hendrix, Stevie, and Trower.. The 3 strat kings.

    Gives you that deep bluesy sound, and they put heavier strings on sometimes too, to compensate. But that's a can of worms... I can't use anything other than regular lights, call me a wimp :p
     
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  7. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    OK. I thought maybe it was a cowboy chord thing. Kind of makes sense.
    Being a horn player, I didn't think of that. I'm just used to transposing.
     
  8. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    Yeah. I've heard ppl say that it sounds better. That's too subjective of a reason for me. It just sounds like its off by a half step. But to each his own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  9. TeleUpNorth

    TeleUpNorth Tele-Meister

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    I started a foray into DADGAD (if that is down tuning to you) thanks to a sever injury two years ago. It opened up a whole world and actually kick started my songwriting again. I like the openness and “jangle” of the octave strings and open strings. Bassist and lead guitarist still play in standard tuning.
     
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  10. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    It also allows guitarists (and bassists, I suppose) to play in their "normal" ways (referring here to the sorts of things a guitarist tends to gravitate to just by virtue of playing a guitar) while making things a little easier for certain singers.
     
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  11. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    Cool. Its always great to find something that works for you. I would call DADGAD an "alternate" tuning rather than a drop tuning, but I digress. I've messed around with DADGAD a little, but I'm a complete novice when it comes to alternate tunings.
     
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  12. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    OK. I can see that. Kind of the opposite of a capo?
     
  13. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    Sure, that's a good way to put it. Opposite in that you're bringing things low instead of high, but the same idea of bringing the same physicality into a different pitch range.
     
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  14. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Meister

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    That's a good explanation! Thank you.
     
  15. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    It's about the song. And nothing more.

    We can't perform Stevie Nicks' Gold Dust Woman in standard tuning.
    It just doesn't work.
    I have to tune to DADGBD

    Uriah Heep's The Wizard.
    Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead Or Alive.
    Queen's Fat Bottom Girls.
    DADGBE

    The songs don't sound true in standard tuning.

    That is all.

    :oops:
     
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  16. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Nobody has mentioned Drop D or Drop C or even Drop B. These are for heavy music, especially the C and B. It makes everything sound flubby and allows for one-finger Barre chords.
     
  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Well, as I suspected, as a jazz player, you probably don't bend strings very often and is why I mentioned it.
     
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  18. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ime, ‘drop’ tuning is lowering the 6th string by a step...no matter what tuning one uses.ex: drop D....D,A,E,G,B,E...low to high. Drop C...C,G,D,F,A,D..low to high.
    lowering all strings a half step, a step or more is usually referred to as ‘detaining’. Extreme detaining is also known as ‘slack key’ tuning and comes from Hawaiian guitar styles. Z.Z. Top did a whole album in which B. Gibbons used what could be called slack key tuning....he tuned to C,F,C,Eb,G,C iirc. This loose or slack key tuning yields a different feel and sound to the strings and also demands care when applying fretting pressure. It could be a good tool for instruction and practicing of proper fretting pressure since the strings are much more sensitive to the errors of using heavy fretting pressure.
     
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  19. historicus146

    historicus146 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have read that Eb is more in line with big band type music
    and works better with those types of instruments. Maybe horns work better in this key. Don't know for sure.
     
  20. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Meister

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    When I see the word "drop" describing guitar tunings, I think of "Drop D" or "Double Drop D," both of which were alluded to above. Sparky 2's second batch of songs is Drop D.

    It's cool when the song is in the key of D and you're playing open chords. The root of the tonic chord is in the low register, not in the middle, so it's fuller. You can let the root of the tonic sustain as a pedal tone.

    You'll have to play the root of the subdominant (G) chord up two frets, but if you do this you mill naturally deaden the A string and the B string can play the third. Music theory books don't like the third doubled anyway.

    If the song is in Eb, do the same thing with a capo on the first fret.
     
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