Open Tunings

Discussion in 'Lessons & Techniques' started by Norlin SG, May 30, 2017.

  1. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Active Member

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    I found an old Rolling Stone sheet music book and thought I would learn the song "Wild Horses". Well, I played the chords in the book and it didn't really sound right. Come to find out that it was played in open G tunng. I watched a couple of U-Tube lessons with one being in open G and one being in standard tuning.

    The lesson in Open G sounded right, while the guy's standard tuning lesson sounded kinda retarded. What a moment of clarity.

    I'm thinking that getting our heads around open tunings would be a really great discussion. I understand that open tunings are required for slide, but had no idea that one thing they bring to the table is different voiceings even when you are not playing slide.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  2. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Active Member

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    I've been using open G a lot in the past, great for bluesy stuff.

    Lately I've had my Strat setup in C major, thanks in no small part to Devin:


    It can do a lot of the same bluesy kinda stuff (the interval relationship is 1-5-1-5-1-3, compared to open G's 5-1-5-1-3-5), but it's different enough that it definitely requires me to almost "re-learn" the instrument and wrap my brain around what's going on with it.

    Open tunings are awesome. I like 'em a lot.
     
  3. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Active Member

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    What sucks is that quit often the sheet music doesn't give you the tuning. Do you have tips on how to tell a songs tuning from listening to it? All I knew from playing the song in standard tuning is that it just didn't sound right.
     
  4. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I don't do much with the "standard" open tunings, but I mess around a little bit with Double Drop D. Figured out Neil Young likes to use that one. Makes Cinnamon Girl way easier than trying to play the chords in standard tuning.
     
  5. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Active Member

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    Ha, not really! I'm probably not the most qualified to give out playing tips anyway... but at any rate, sometimes listening for a certain note or pitch might give away the songs in an open tuning. Sometimes.

    More often -- for me at least -- there's the "ah ha!" moment when you realize what seemed like an impossible to play song is actually really easy, just in an open tuning.
     
  6. Kep

    Kep Well-Known Member

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    Great thread. I have also had an open tuning epiphany - for me it was Melissa by the Allmans.

    Pretty much 2/3rds of Stones tunes are open tuning.

    I have had the same issue with capos as well. I once played Midnight Rambler in a band. I thought the chords were really tough. Around the 1047th time playing the song it occurred to me to try a capo and bamm it all came together.
     
  7. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Active Member

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    My Dad would call a capo a "cheater". This is the same guy that although he had been a musician most of his life saw no benefit in playing Lefty.

    The capo is really an awesome tool. The "secret" is that it allows you to play something in a different voicing.

    I must admit that I never saw a reason to play in open tuning, open tunings are only for playing slide, right? Wrong!! Slide is just a small part of what open tuning can do for the harmonic content of your sound.
     
  8. rotorhead

    rotorhead Member

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    My problem with open G is that when I tune to it, it just sounds like an out of tune guitar lol. Idk what I'm doing wrong.
     
  9. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Maybe check the intonation.
     
  10. rotorhead

    rotorhead Member

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    I thought of that possibility but it's the same result on each guitar I have.
     
  11. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Active Member

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    I think your on to something. Watching Rory Gallagher on Y-tube I have noticed that depending on what he is playing, he will sweeten the tuning in the middle of a song just a touch to make the song sound right. I suspect he is compensating for places on the neck and harmonic content were the intonation doesn't quit sound right.

    What an amazing player he was.......................
     
  12. 83 Blazer

    83 Blazer Well-Known Member

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    Most times I've seen or read about open G tuning there is always the rider that you may need to tweak the top (thin) e string and don't include the bottom (thick) e when you strum.

    Has always worked for me.

     
  13. rotorhead

    rotorhead Member

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    Thx much. My issue is probably in the tweaking.
     
  14. 83 Blazer

    83 Blazer Well-Known Member

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    At around 13:20 Keith shows how he does it. If you haven't seen this before, it's worth watching the whole thing just cos Keith is so damn cool!!!
     
  15. rotorhead

    rotorhead Member

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    Good stuff with Keith :)

    I think I'll set up my Sheraton II in Keith-mode and keep tweaking it until it's right. I just get frustrated when something so simple eludes my grasp lol.
     
    83 Blazer likes this.
  16. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    I quit tuning to open G, or Keef G (I tune the low e to G and try to keep it muted)
    because I kept breaking high e strings going back and forth.
    I need to leave a guitar tuned there or for open g and double drop d, and only have to tune the a string between the 2.

    And there I have justification for the "need" for another guitar. Now to sell the Boss on it LOL.
    Actually I'm starting another husk/shell LP type build soon.
     

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