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Changing Key...

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Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 45
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Ok, heres a dopey question...
Lets say Im playing a song typically done in the key of E. Lets say the singer cant get that high, and prefers a key of D.
I only know the song in E, so how do I change it to D without having to relearn the shapes?

Koy Carson
West Texas

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David Hodge
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472

Not a dopey question. We've even got a whole article on transposing:

Transposing from E to D is tough to do with a capo, though. In order to get your E to sound like a D, you'll need to place the capo on the (gasp!) tenth fret and most people either can't do that on their guitars, can't work the shapes with their fingers that high up or simply don't like the way it sounds.

An easier solution, even though it's more work, is to tune your guitar down one whole step. When you do this your strings, from low to high, will be tuned DGCFAD. But now when you play an E chord, it will actually be a D chord, since D is one whole step lower than E. Hope that wasn't too confusing.

I know a lot of people who like being tuned down a whole step for many reasons. If you're doing a set of songs and this is just one of them, then you just put a capo on the second fret for the rest of the set and you're in standard tuning. Makes life a little easier.

Hope this helps. Have fun!