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Old Oct 12, 2008, 12:33 AM   #1
FPSHOT
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Default Open tuning yes/no

What do you think of open tuning on a guitar?

Various musicians do it. George wrote a few songs that way like "Woman Don't You Cry For Me".

Barry Gibb mostly plays guitar with open tuning and a song like Massachusetts is a good example. But many guitar players in all areas of music do it.

I never do it though and to me it even seems a bit messy in cases where a badge or chorus is done in other chords than the one the guitar is tuned in. But for simple songs like where for instance the whole song is in open E with only two frets used like 5 and 7 it probably is easy and you can use your left hand for other purposes lol.

Opinions?
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 01:13 AM   #2
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I use open tunings a lot now, particularly since I started playing slide...

I keep my Ry Cooder Strat in open D - D A D F# A D, for blues work. I can capo it at the second - to get open E

I also occasionally use open G tuning - DGDGBD... My Gibson J45 is in that right now.

All of these i use for bottleneck guitar - but i also play a number of alternative tunings...

Not "open" tuning, but I also keep my Daion acoustic in DADGAD - because I love the music of Pierre Bensusan, a French guitarist who uses that tuning.
You can obtain an eastern type drone, quite easily, using this tuning.

Also, dropped D tuning (dropping the bass string to D) is handy for a lot of traditional music (and don't forget double dropped D, where the high E is taken down to D, too)

The most bizarre tuning I ahve tried was one that Steven Stills uses often (on "4&20" and "Suite Judy Blue Eyes", for example):

E-E-E-E-B-E

I urge you to try it....
Don't try this with standard string gauges though!
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 07:02 AM   #3
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I've been experimenting more with open/alternate tunings lately. I've tried all three mentioned above. DADGAD is very cool and is used in a lot of ethnic/folk styles like Celtic. I agree with EEEEBE, very bizarre (I did not know 4+20 was in this same tuning, a song I play on mandolin). The main reason to use alternate tunings is to be able to play bigger, more complex chords without excessive stretching of the fingers, sometimes the major, minor and seventh chords just aren't enough and being able to play big open dominate and diminished chords simply and with only a few fingers can really bring a song to life. Most fingerstyle guitarists rely on alternate tunings, try playing any Michael Hedges tune in standard tuning and you'll find it can't be done. David Crosby, who uses a lot of open jazzy type chords, once noted that Joni Mitchell has only written a handful of songs in standard tuning. It's another tool in the toolbox and really opens things up to new possibilities, it's just hard remembering what tuning you used in what song and where those chords are.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 08:05 AM   #4
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UncaDan

I play the Mandolin too...albeit extremely badly... I would interested to know ifyou use any alternate tunings there?

Incidentally, I play a 1920s Oscar Scmidt made "Bruno" flat back A style
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Rhythm View Post
I urge you to try it....
I will certainly do that


I did some reading on the issue today and it's interesting also after the very technical comments here today.

So thanks for now and I will be back to share experience.

Never realised that about 4 + 20 but whilst playing the song it does make sense.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 06:29 PM   #6
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I always use open tunings. It's impossible not to when playing some of my favorite music like Led Zeppelin, Nick Drake, CSN, Bob Dylan, etc., etc...

The Beatles seldom used open tunings. I think the most they really did was tune the low "E" down to "D" ("Come Together", "I Want You [She's So Heavy])

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Old Oct 12, 2008, 06:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Rhythm View Post
UncaDan

I play the Mandolin too...albeit extremely badly... I would interested to know ifyou use any alternate tunings there?

Incidentally, I play a 1920s Oscar Scmidt made "Bruno" flat back A style
I've only been playing mandolin a short while and have only become comfortable with it recently. I mostly play my own style, adapting my guitar style to the mandolin, mostly strumming and some fingerpicking, no alternate tunings yet. Some cover songs I've learned lately are Celluloid Heros by the Kinks, Lalena by Donovon and Sunshine by Jonathan Edwards. Great fun.

My mandolin is a crappy Lotus that a friend of my brothers found in a closet but it plays okay.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 07:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT View Post
What do you think of open tuning on a guitar?

Various musicians do it. George wrote a few songs that way like "Woman Don't You Cry For Me".
George also did Maya Love in open E.

Do you think Dear One is open tuning? Some places it sounds so.

The best example is "Your Love Is Forever" which is just so beautiful in open D, complete with harmonic notes.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 07:37 PM   #9
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keith richards used open tuning a lot

they say he lifted the riff for honky tonk woman from ry cooder, who was aon a few of the stones records
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 02:23 PM   #10
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Give me a slide guitar and an open tuning, seems to me you can't lose.

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Old Apr 04, 2009, 05:47 PM   #11
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Keith Richards made an entire career on open tunings
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Old Apr 15, 2009, 06:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT View Post
(...)in cases where a badge or chorus (...)
Gawd, my ribs are gonna burst with laughter! You're the greatest!

(As for open tuning, sorry, no comment. I've got enough with trying to make conventional tuning work!)
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 12:42 AM   #13
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Keith Richards made an entire career on open tunings
... and was it him that played with only 5 strings?

I like the thought of open tunings, but have rarely used them... I guess I'm not a good enough guitarist - they make things simpler in theory, but tend to just confuse me! Maybe I've never persevered enough; I guess the trick is to have specific guitars permanently tuned to different tunings so you get used to it...
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