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Different Tuning Confusion

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warkthogus
(@warkthogus)
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Topic starter  

I'm just starting out with my guitar (got it for christmas!) and am playing some of my favorite tabs for practice.

Here's my problem...

Most of the tabs are in "dropped D" or "dropped C" or some other messed up thing, and I don't know how to get my guitar tuned like that! I've tried to read articles on the subject, but they say stuff like "one step down" or "just take it one-half step down". I don't know what this means! I am a complete newbie and don't have any friends that can teach me. Can anyone put this stuff into Lamen's terms for me? Like, telling me EXACTLY how to do this stuff? Thanks guys.

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"You were born an original, don't die a copy"
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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Sure thing

Dropped D refers to the 6th string being tuned to D instead of E.

I tune to drop D by matching the sound of the 6th string to the open 4th, but an octave lower (the 6th string harmonic at the 12th fret would exactly match the open 4th string).

If you'd rather work from string relationships - like the A string = the E string 5th fret - then you need to know how far you're going down. Since D is two frets below E, add 2 frets to the relationship you know - tuning 6th string 7th fret to match the A string will put the E string down two frets to D.

Make sense?

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warkthogus
(@warkthogus)
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Topic starter  

So, to get a "dropped D" tuning, all I need to do is match the 7th on the 6th string to the open 5th string?

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"You were born an original, don't die a copy"
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undercat
(@undercat)
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Yes.

The way I think of it (helps me anyhow) is that you're "letting notes out" from the nut. So tuning to the 7th fret instead of the 5th, you can see the same note has "moved up" two frets.

Helps me envision it anyhow.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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sirN
 sirN
(@sirn)
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Can you actually drop the 6th down to a C and still be playable?

For a cool drop D song, try Van Halen's Unchained. Also, Rock this town by the Stray Cats, uses it.

check out my website for good recording/playing info


   
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warkthogus
(@warkthogus)
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Topic starter  

Well, that explains dropped D, (thanks undercat, I owe you!) but what about dropped C? How do I get there?

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"You were born an original, don't die a copy"
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el_warko
(@el_warko)
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C is a step below D.

so, you'd tune the 9th fret, instead of the 5th.

el_warko


   
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el_warko
(@el_warko)
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With respect ot what undercat was saying.

By the way,
The way I think of it (helps me anyhow) is that you're "letting notes out" from the nut.

is a great way to think of it, clarified me up no end. Cheers undercat

el_warko


   
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undercat
(@undercat)
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No problem!

Happy to spread the know-how, I'm glad it helped a few people!

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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undercat
(@undercat)
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Can you actually drop the 6th down to a C and still be playable?

It's getting dicey at that point, definitely, but it's do-able. You might notice some buzz where there wasn't any before, but I think you suffer through it on a single song.

I realize it's a pain in the butt, but if you're not concerned with playing right along with a CD, you could tune everything up a half step before you did that to help with the slack. The intervals would be right, even if the notes didn't fit the CD.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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warkthogus
(@warkthogus)
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Topic starter  

I want to thank you guys for helping me out! I'm really grateful. Another question, if I may. Is a "step down" just two frets when tuning by ear? Hope that made sense.

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"You were born an original, don't die a copy"
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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A whole step down is two frets, a half step down is one fret.

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warkthogus
(@warkthogus)
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Topic starter  

thanks for the clarification, noteboat.

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