Alternate tunings anybody ?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Jena, Jun 17, 2019.

    Technically, if a bass I had to at least cut deeper wider nut slots - so Technical Side of Things seems an ok forum to drop this thread question in.

    I never alternate tuned - like "drop D" - on my old sunburst/tobaccoburst StratRH but the riffs I was tryin' to learn, play (emulate) . . . of some bands prolly DID.

    I DID alternate-tune all 3 of my Fender P-bass "low frequency modulators" as B-E-A-D tuning . . . hmmm that's the bass side of the 7th fret on this Gretsch six-twanger .

    Anyhoo, any drop D (or other) tuning you've ever experimented with ?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  1. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I put together a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band to play a friend’s wedding reception. I had never realized how many of their songs were in drop D (Run Thru the Jungle, Ramble Tamble etc). I got a pretty good handle on it. I started dropping my low E to D for a few of my own songs that start in Dm, especially if I’m playing acoustic. Sounds too cool.
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  2. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Electromatic

    Apr 28, 2019
    Metro Detroit
    Drop D is a nice introduction to alternate tunings. I played in a band for a while who wrote a lot in Drop D, so I started picking up some covers where I could use it too. Everlong and Midnight Rider are two I can think of. I still use it for some things.

    I write and play a lot of music in DADGAD these days and I always keep a guitar in that tuning around the house. It was fun to learn and it definitely has it's own sound. I like to play Norwegian Wood in that tuning.

    I use Open E for some slide, but I hardly ever use it. I can't remember the last time I did that.

    I also keep a guitar in Gambale tuning, which is basically like standard tuning but tuned to A rather than E (so ADGCEA, with the E and A an octave lower). It has its own sound. Two of the songs on the solo EP I released last year were played with Gambale tuning.
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  3. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I'm keeping a 5120 in open D (D, A, D, F#, A, D) in order to justify hanging on to it after buying a 5420. It's a whole other universe. a great learning experience, & a good way to slip into Ry Cooder territory.
  4. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    I'm not a stickler for playing a song "correctly", but the secret to playing the lead on Guitar Town (Steve Earle) is drop D.

    We also do The Middle (Jimmy Eat World). Not critical but they also use drop D.

    I dabble in open tunings. Open G to play slide on Move It On Over (George Thorogood style). With my wife, we really enjoy playing Broken (Whitehorse, a Canadian couple). In this video, he's in open D with a capo on 2 to make it E. But in an interview he once explained how he now just makes it open E.

    PS same tune, with Gretsch content:
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  5. So, for "drop D" stringing, I guess you'd jus' go on the side of the heavier gauge strings (instead of my super lights) ?

    fwiw, with the Fender bass I would just buy a 5-string bass string set and throw out the treble G.
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  6. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I use Drop D on occasion. The Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" is in open G. Then, there's Nashville tuning. Richie Havens and George Thorogood couldn't exist without open chord tuning. Slide and lap steel depend on it as well. Whatever works for you is fine.
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  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Sometimes I would try drop D for toying around with the br00tals, but I'm not or never was any good at it.
    Lance Keltner recently inspired me to keep one guitar at a C6 lapsteel tuning(gcgcae) and it has promise. I always wanted to play lapsteel. I own two vintage ones, and still haven't got a clue were to start, so this is a nice compromise or maybe the start of another disastrous exercise.
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  8. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I use many alternate tunings. It opens up many possibilities and keeps things fresh. I love using capos as well.
    I use C6, drop D, open G, A, and E as well.
    I also drop the whole guitar down a few steps to D, C & B it's fun and sounds great.
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  9. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Electromatic

    Apr 28, 2019
    Metro Detroit
    I got into alternative tunings to learn some songs I just couldn't figure out. It's been pretty cool. I've tried to limit the number I routinely play, because I have a full-time job and I don't have time to devote to more than a few. I play in DADGAD a lot because I know it pretty well and I can write in that key. With Gambale tuning, the fingering is the same because the pitch intervals are the same, they are just in a different key.

    I have one guitar that's tuned down a full-step and I use it for my solo/duo shows for some things. I really like how it rumbles and it there are few songs that are just easier for me to play and sing with it.
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  10. Frank_NH

    Frank_NH Synchromatic

    Mar 25, 2013
    Lebanon, NH
    I’ve been using alternate tunings ever since I began learning the guitar, mainly because my hero Leo Kottke used open G and D. I use double drop D quite often (both E strings tuned down to D). Lots of Neil Young songs are in double drop D. But my favorite is open C which is (low to high): C G C G C E. The low E tuned to low C can get floppy but it sounds so full when you strum. I like playing U2’s “With or Without You” in open C.
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  11. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    I mostly tune standard now. If not standard I tune everything down a half step, nothing real crazy.
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  12. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    I keep my 35 National Duolian and 1 Telecaster in Open G. When I got the National it was in Open C, and I took to it naturally, but have only changed it back occasionally (I need to get another resonator).

    I have 4 Strats that I keep 1/2 step down. Have dabbled in Drop D, but not much. I am fortunate to have enough guitars that could keep more in different tunings and should. Have wanted to try both Open D and Open E. Maybe DADGAD too.

    Steve Windwood has an awesome solo video of Can't Find My Way Home where he tunes his Martin to a Drop D tuning, but down a full step to C (the song was originally done in Drop D). Want to learn that version, may tune my Gretsch Roots guitar down for it.

    The rest of my guitars are all in Standard tuning.
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  13. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    I keep one at DADF#AD for messing around with fingerpicking and slide and some songwriting
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  14. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I have six to eight guitars in various open tunings, open D-E, high bass F-G-A, open C,C6. I play slide and steel alot.
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  15. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I have only ever ued Drop D as an alternative. I have tried lower tunings but have discovered to much string buzz and even some fretting out. I suppose that's why some folks are purchasing the Baritones.
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  16. ramjac

    ramjac Gretschie

    Aug 14, 2011
    Are most people here setting up and intonating a dedicated guitar for an open tuning, and if so, relieving string tension when the guitar is not in use?

    I ask because I like using open tunings, but hate dedicating even one guitar. The only guitar I ever felt comfortable leaving in open tuning was one with a questionable neck and high action that I used for a “slide guitar”.
  17. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Electromatic

    Apr 28, 2019
    Metro Detroit
    I keep certain guitars in certain tunings and make any adjustments necessary--all acoustics. I keep an Art & Lutherie Cedar in Gambale, a Taylor GS-Mini in DADGAD, a Michael Kelly Triad Port a full step down, and a Yamaha folk-series in open E. It's the reason I have more than a couple of acoustic guitars. Because I don't like constantly adjusting guitars for different tunings and I write music in different tunings, so it's nice to just pick up a guitar and play.

    I keep them in my music room and when I feel like playing one in a specific tuning, I just pick up a guitar...

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  18. ramjac

    ramjac Gretschie

    Aug 14, 2011
    What strings do you use for the one in Gambale tuning - something other than what you’d use for standard tuning?
  19. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    I think there’s a book Joni Mitchell and one by Bruce Cockburn I would like to own.

    I never think about different tunings, although I have a song that is easier to play if you tune the D string on a bass to E. Or maybe it was tuning the A down to G.
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