Multiple tuning tricks/concerns, etc...?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Tomm Williams, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    I play in an acoustic duo where we do quite a few songs in varied tunings. I play a Taylor 414CE with Elixer Custom Light 11-52's and all seems to be going well but it made me wonder if people who do this have developed tricks or such in these situations? I would like to be able to change tunings a bit faster but in a cafe setting no one seems to be bothered by a bit of a pause while they eat or drink.
     
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  2. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only obvious trick I would try to do, is attempt to keep groups of songs, using the same tunings, together as much as possible. I would hate to have to change after EVERY song.
     
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  3. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    Multiple guitars, one for each tuning. All appropriately tuned before the set.
     
  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Half a dozen guitars on a coffeeshop gig? ;) Who do you think we are.....Neil Young? :)
     
  5. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    There's always the Variax II. It can sound like an acoustic, and it stores multiple alternate tunings. It's probably not what you had in mind, though.
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I was always fascinated by Leo Kottke's retuning during a concert until I really thought about what he was playing. In most cases he would order his set list to facilitate easy tuning changes (which wasn't always easy because some much was played on a twelve string). Anyway, I came to realize that he might start in standard (or his equivalent since he always tuned down), then go to the equivalent of dropped D for a couple of songs, then open G or D for a couple of songs, then to the other open tuning. I also realized that when he would go to open C that was often the last song(s) since it wasn't easy to go to something else.

    Today it seems like Leo does less retuning on stage (he is constantly checking his tuning but not changing as much). He seems to be bringing two guitar in two tunings and mostly staying there.

    Capos and partial capos are another way to do it but I've never really been a fan.
     
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  7. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do about 5 tuning changes a night, same guitar.

    My trick is a partial open tuning, usually with just one string dropped. I’ll play everything on the middle four strings or rhythm on the low, altered strings and leads on the top in standard.

    its in a band setting though so i can pick my space in the sound to fill.
     
  8. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    6 different tunings? Who do you think you are.....Joni Mitchell?
     
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  9. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    Grouping the songs.....to an extent.
    Using a capo....within reason.
    Changing guitars....infrequently.

    Making the audience wait..... If it adds texture and make the music more engaging- why not?
     
  10. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Meister

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    Tell a history while you are tuning.

    Which tunings are you using in the songs?
     
  11. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    They are all over.... Dave Mason, Jackson Browne, CSN, Sarah Jarosz,
    No two of the alt tuning songs are the same.
     
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  12. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would bring two guitars leaving one in standard tuning all night and tuning the second one as needed. Like Nojazz said I would think the set through and group songs in the easiest order to accommodate tuning. Having one guitar ready to go in the alternate tuning already saves time, tuning it again in a break so it's ready saves more time and if you happen to break a string then you have a backup.
     
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  13. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I have this on my 2015 LP Standard and LOVE it.

    The more I get in to slide and multiple open tunings, Doubel Drop D and just to ease tuning in general the more im thinking of getting another set for my Epi Masterbuilt accoustic and Tele/Strat.

    https://www.tronicaltune.com/find-maching-system?navi

    The other night I went from Open G (Black Crowes etc) to Double Drop D (Cinnamon Girl) back to standard tuning all in one session with about 3 seconds to tune each time. No edging up to the note per string, no going past, backing off and edging back up. It is pretty damn cool.

    Now that it works, with the proper nut the guitar should have come with in the first place that is.
     
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  14. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    About all I can offer is a little advance planning. You can change one string per song and work your way through various alternate tunings, re-tuning only one or two strings - unless you are using some of the more arcane versions. As suggested above, more or less:
    1. standard to Drop D (one string) DADGBE ( or capo on 2, all strings except low E and that works just fine, as long as the pitch fits your voice.)
    2. Drop D to Double drop D (one string) DADGBD
    3. Double Drop D to Open G (one string) DGDGBD
    4. Open G to DADGAD (two strings) DADGAD
    5. DADGAD to Open D (one string) DADF#AD

    ...and then, as my evil twin Skippy says, you're screwed. Or just work your way back to standard. Helps to have a good story or two to tell.

    I used to use a tuning attributed to Stephen Stills (EBEEBE) but I would bring a separate guitar for that.
     
  15. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah man
    Tune up your crowd banter to fill the void as you tune the guitar
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    That's the other Kottke trick
     
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  17. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    With the gauge of strings you listed, I expect you're not tuning down a lot. If you are, you might try "true medium" gauge. E,B, and e strings (dropped for DADGAD) are medium gauge so they don't flop so much, the middle three are lights.
     
  18. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m going to look into these further, this might be the answer.
     
  19. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    The reason I mentioned Neil is I remember seeing an old solo gig he did (I believe in England) where he was surrounded by twenty or thirty acoustics on stands. At one point he even made a joke, as he seemed bewildered by all of them, and couldn't seem to find the right one for the next song.
     
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  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    That is a very good point. Those are awfully light gauge strings for tuning to concert pitch at E, much less tuning down. However if you are tuning UP to open A or open E (which is what the electric guys do) then they are about right. I run normal lights (12 - 54) on my fingerstyle acoustics which may be tuned to concert E or frequently open D or G. My more or less dedicated open tuning guitars (a couple of resonators, a Weissie) are strung with 13's and I keep one guitar in open C (CGCGce) with lights on top and mediums on the bottom three.

    This is pretty handy when you are thinking about altered tunings and which strings to use

    https://umgf.com/string-tension-t5339.html#.VpFU2aNIi1s
     
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