open c help

Y'all come on in and sit a spell. All things Slide and alternate tuning. Celtic, country...whatever. Get your fill of DADGAD, open G and whatever tickles your fancy. Strictly on topic please.
Post Reply
foxconfessor
newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: March 29th, 2009, 6:30 am

open c help

Post by foxconfessor » March 29th, 2009, 6:39 am

Hi everyone. I'm new here, and new to guitar playing (2 months!). I want to tune to open c to play zep's "friends" but can't find a clear explanation. A couple of youtube vids just confused matters. Do you tune the low e string lower?

Fretsource
Senior Member
Posts: 984
Joined: May 26th, 2006, 6:40 am
Location: Lanarkshire Scotland
Contact:

Re: open c help

Post by Fretsource » March 29th, 2009, 8:49 am

Hi - open tuning means that the strings are tuned so that they sound a major or minor chord when played open. Open C tuning means they will be tuned to the notes of the chord C major. As the notes of C major are C E & G you have to tune each guitar string to match one of those notes. Obviously with only three notes but 6 strings there is more than one way to do it. For example E G C G G E and E G C G C E are valid examples of open C tuning, but as far as I gathered from a quick google search, the one used in that song is:
C G C G C E

foxconfessor
newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: March 29th, 2009, 6:30 am

Re: open c help

Post by foxconfessor » March 30th, 2009, 4:03 pm

I guess my real question is, how do I tune the low e string, to C for example?

User avatar
Steinar Gregertsen
Senior Member
Posts: 501
Joined: July 13th, 2005, 3:12 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: open c help

Post by Steinar Gregertsen » March 30th, 2009, 5:23 pm

foxconfessor wrote:I guess my real question is, how do I tune the low e string, to C for example?
Yes, with CGCGCE you tune the 6th string down two whole steps, to C. Here's how the whole tuning compares to standard tuning:

E - E = identical
B - C = tune 2nd string a half step up
G - G = identical
D - C = tune 4th string a whole step down
A - G = tune 5th string a whole step down
E - C = tune 6th string two whole steps down
"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube

Fretsource
Senior Member
Posts: 984
Joined: May 26th, 2006, 6:40 am
Location: Lanarkshire Scotland
Contact:

Re: open c help

Post by Fretsource » March 30th, 2009, 5:45 pm

Steiner's beat me to it - but I'll post anyway with some more info about fret numbers.

If you have a chromatic electronic tuner, you just tune down until it indicates the right notes for each string. (but tune string 2 up not down.

If you have a simpler electronic tuner that only responds to standard tuning, then
fret the 6th string at fret 4 and tune it to E.
Similarly fret string 5 at fret 2 and tune to A then..
Fret string 4 at fret 2 - tune to D then..
Tune string 3 to G as normal
String 2 is tuned up to C so fret it at fret 4 and tune it to E on the tuner
Tune string 1 to E as normal

If you're doing it by ear - first tune to standard then...
C.tune string 6 at fret 9 to string 5 open then
G.tune string 5 at fret 7 to string 4 open then
C. tune string 4 at fret 7 to string 3 open then
G. leave string 3 as it is (standard G) then
C. tune string 2 at fret 4 to string 1 open then
E. leave string 1 as it is (standard E)

foxconfessor
newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: March 29th, 2009, 6:30 am

Re: open c help

Post by foxconfessor » April 1st, 2009, 3:50 pm

Thanks everyone, particularly Fretsource. That's what I needed to know (How to get the E down).

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: open c help

Post by Vic Lewis VL » April 4th, 2009, 4:25 pm

Any combination of C E and G will do - BUT you need to get the major triad in somewhere.

If you look at open D - D A D F# A D - it's just a question of bringing that tuning own a whole tone acrross the fretboard. But do you really want a bottom string flapping in the breeze? Tuning down the bottom E string FOUR semitones to C will achieve that effect....the string'll be so loose it'll be like playing an elastic band. Unless you change the string gauge for that particular string - do you want to do that?

C G C E G C - seems like an awful lot of messing around to get the right sound for one song. Maybe you could try open A tuning - E A E A C# E and put a capo on at the third fret?

Only a suggestion....feel free to try it or ignore it. Me, I'd try experimenting....

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

User avatar
Ricochet
Guitari Lama
Posts: 8056
Joined: July 20th, 2003, 4:48 pm
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA
Contact:

Re: open c help

Post by Ricochet » April 4th, 2009, 5:50 pm

CGCGCE is the tuning commonly known as Open C. It's popular with fingerpickers. John Fahey is generally credited with popularizing it. Not one of the old standard blues or Hawaiian tunings. It's a different tuning from the Open D/E and Open G/A patterns in where the roots, fifths, and particularly the third are located:

Open D DADF#AD RFRTFR
Open G DGDGBD FRFRTF
Open C CGCGCE RFRFRT

Picking between them largely hinges on where you want the root, third and fifth. There are things that are easier to do melodically and harmonically with each pattern.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

User avatar
tinsmith
Senior Member
Posts: 831
Joined: February 19th, 2005, 8:14 pm
Location: USA

Re: open c help

Post by tinsmith » April 5th, 2009, 1:54 pm

Don't forget to try Busted Bicycle whie you're there in C

foxconfessor
newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: March 29th, 2009, 6:30 am

Re: open c help

Post by foxconfessor » April 8th, 2009, 5:42 pm

Vic, you're right about it being a lot of messing around for one song. I left my guitar in open c for a few days while I fiddled around with "Friends" but I decided to go back to standard tuning. Since I'm a rank beginner (3 whole months now!) I need to practice more than one song for now (scales, chords, a few simple songs). I tune to drop D to play a few things, but that's one string.

I'm afraid Busted Bicycle is beyond me now, but with enough practice I'll eventually play them both. Thanks, everyone.

Post Reply