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Playing a half step down problem(s).

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Kevin72790
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I haven't encountered any problems yet. There's the problem. I know I will eventually.

I've been teaching myself to read music, you know, the standard way.

But recently I've explored playing a half step down to Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb.

Now obviously everything changes now when reading music...or even tabs. Hell, open chords present a new problems.

But is reallly a problem? I can play the intro to Wish You Were Here. To test my theory that it's not that different, I first played it in standard tuning. Sounded great. Then I dropped down and played it again. I liked the sound even more dropped down.

Then I played some other songs in drop tuning. I preferred it. Then I just started jamming with regular chords that I like, and I preferred it. Everything easier; bending notes, hammering on, pull offs, I feel more rhythm this way.

I'm still reading the music as standard tuning...but I'm playing it as drop down. Could this become a huge problem that I can't get out of it? What I mean is...what your normally read as an E note...(open high e string)...i'm playing as an open Eb string. It sounds feels and sounds better for me.

Then agian, I could throw all the books away and learn by ear. Then it wouldn't really matter if I'm reading some notes write or wrong, lol.

So yea...am I digging myself a deep hole potentially doing this, or no, not really?


   
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Diceman
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The only problem you might encounter is playing with another musician , especially a piano player who cannot easily drop the tuning on his instrument . Many bands will tune down to make it easier on the singer(s) . Rock music especially has a lot of male singers who can really hit the high notes .
As far as it being a problem to get out of , you can always tune back up . Another option is to use lighter gauge strings to make fingerings easier .

If I claim to be a wise man , it surely means that I don't know .


   
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MrJonesey
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The only problem you might encounter is playing with another musician , especially a piano player who cannot easily drop the tuning on his instrument . Many bands will tune down to make it easier on the singer(s) . Rock music especially has a lot of male singers who can really hit the high notes .
As far as it being a problem to get out of , you can always tune back up . Another option is to use lighter gauge strings to make fingerings easier .

I have had a few different people tell me that they prefer to drop down a half step to make the songs easier to sing..... I don't get it. They sy it's easier to sing a half step down. Yet they play and sing songs in the key of A, G, B, C#, D and E (except down a half step so it's really Ab, Gb, Bb, etc). How does this make sense?

If you sing more naturally in G, then play and sing everything in G, right? How is it easier for you to sing one song which is normally in C# in C, but a song normally performed in C is easier for you in B#???

I can understand drop tuning being esier to play, but I don't buy it as being easier to sing. Am I missing something here? :roll:

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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Voidious
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MrJonesey - Well, if a given song hits some high notes, it makes sense to me that you might tune the song down a half or whole step. Rush did this with one song on their recent tour. As a blanket statement, though, you're right - I don't see why it would work as a general philosophy for a singer to tune a song down a half step.

Kevin - While it may be confusing at first to re-map your view of the guitar notes when tuned down a half step, it seems like it could help you in the end to be able to be flexible like that. So much of music theory makes use of shifting things around, after all. I do think viewing an E and playing an Eb is probably not the right way to go about it... but if you just make a flat note at the beginning of your staff, then you suddenly are playing the same music you're reading. =)

Also, I have to wonder - maybe it "sounds better" just because there's a novelty to hearing the different pitch than you're used to? I try to practice improv / soloing regularly, and I find I often do it in Em or G major; this week, I decided to play around with some other keys, and suddenly it all had a new edge to it and I was way more inspired to play different melodies and such. It sounded and felt way better, like you said.

-- Voidious


   
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Tommy Guns
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We had this problem in the band I'm in. The singer wanted to sing "Lights" by Journey and "Knockin on Heaven's Door" by Guns & Roses. Both are tuned a half step down. As a band some of the other members didn't want to re-tune on stage so we played them in standard tuning and he couldn't hit the notes. He could hit them if we down tuned though.

The other option is to play it in a different key...but then the song didn't sound right. Eventually we just dropped the songs.

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


   
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Kevin72790
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Topic starter  

The only problem you might encounter is playing with another musician , especially a piano player who cannot easily drop the tuning on his instrument . Many bands will tune down to make it easier on the singer(s) . Rock music especially has a lot of male singers who can really hit the high notes .
As far as it being a problem to get out of , you can always tune back up . Another option is to use lighter gauge strings to make fingerings easier .
Yea you're right about a piano player.
Kevin - While it may be confusing at first to re-map your view of the guitar notes when tuned down a half step, it seems like it could help you in the end to be able to be flexible like that. So much of music theory makes use of shifting things around, after all. I do think viewing an E and playing an Eb is probably not the right way to go about it... but if you just make a flat note at the beginning of your staff, then you suddenly are playing the same music you're reading. =)

Also, I have to wonder - maybe it "sounds better" just because there's a novelty to hearing the different pitch than you're used to? I try to practice improv / soloing regularly, and I find I often do it in Em or G major; this week, I decided to play around with some other keys, and suddenly it all had a new edge to it and I was way more inspired to play different melodies and such. It sounded and felt way better, like you said.
Yea you're right about adding a flat note, but still. Seems complicated...meh..guitar is complicate.

BTW what I said earlier when I said I'd play E as Eb...or whatever I said. I meant to say, what is usually an E note, I'd play as F.

Okay, I took a fretboard chart and edited it all so it was a E flat tuning chart with the standard tuning next to it.

Looking at it there...you know, it's really not that different. The only possible problem now is that I'll have to "play more" if you understand what I mean. Instead of just plucking the open string, I'd have to fret the 1st fret instead. Obviously not a big deal, but now everything changes when I read music.

And looking at it this way open chords might be a problem. Like I said, it still sounds fine to me. I like it. But it's not being played the right way. I mean I could always tune back up for certain songs but it's not that easy to switch right back.


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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We had this problem in the band I'm in. The singer wanted to sing "Lights" by Journey and "Knockin on Heaven's Door" by Guns & Roses. Both are tuned a half step down. As a band some of the other members didn't want to re-tune on stage so we played them in standard tuning and he couldn't hit the notes. He could hit them if we down tuned though.

Now I feel as if I'm missing something....surely if you're good enough to be in a band you can transpose a song down and play it with barre chords? Take "Knockin On Heaven's Door" for instance - you're using G, D, Am and C. So why not play barre chords? Down half-a-step, you'd be playing F#, C#, G#m and B. Barre chords at the second fret for the F# and B chords, barre chords at the fourth fret for C# and G#m. Then you could try putting a capo on the second fret and playing E, B, F#m and A chords. Or simpler still, with a capo on the fourth fret, you'd play D, A, Em and G chords - which would actually be (because of the capo) F#, C#, G#m and B chords - one step down from the original chords. There's ALWAYS a way round any tuning problem - it's called a capo!

: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.)


   
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Kevin72790
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Capo=cop out IMO atleast.

But yea bar chords would have worked. Speaking about bar chords, it's funny how the F chord is easiest for me to slide around, though it's typically the toughest for a lot of people.


   
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Ignar Hillström
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Capo=cop out IMO atleast.

Would you be so kind as to elaborate on that? Seems weird to suggest a capo is a copout but drop-tuning (practically a negative capo) is ok. Apart from that I don't really get what the whole problem here is. It's downtuned, so everything sounds a bit lower. Everything is also lighter to play, you can get the same result on normal tuning with thinner strings.


   
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Taso
 Taso
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Capo=cop out IMO atleast.

But yea bar chords would have worked. Speaking about bar chords, it's funny how the F chord is easiest for me to slide around, though it's typically the toughest for a lot of people.

Are amps, picks, pickups, etc also cop outs? Don't quite understand how a capo is a copout. It's just another tool.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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slejhamer
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Capo=cop out IMO atleast.
Seems weird to suggest a capo is a copout but drop-tuning (practically a negative capo) is ok.

The nut must also be a cop out, since the capo is effectively a movable nut.

No nuts!!!

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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Kevin72790
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Meh, I don't know Arjen. I was being slightly sarcastic when saying it (since a lot of people bust on capos), I should have added a lol but I didn't since I thought that'd make it more rude or whatever.

To be honest I've never used a capo. I'm just going by what I've heard other people say about them. Same reason I went with the Squier '51. Same reason I went with the Roland Cube. Same reason I believe capo's are cop outs. Not as much this board, though I have seen some posts here and there.


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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A capo's one of your best friends you'll ever have!!! Don't believe me? Ask Mr Hodge. One of his lessons on here is called "The Underappreciated Art Of Using The Capo"....or something like that. Like I showed above, by using a capo you can play the chords F#, C#, G#m and B by using a capo and playing D, A, Em and G. How easy is THAT! Is that why you feel it's a "cop-out?" Making things too easy? Well, hell, do it the hard way if you want to, but me, I'm all for the easy life. Although come to think of it, using a capo's actually MORE work....you've got to work out where to put it on and which chords to play, so you've got to transpose the whole song. Nah - never mind. I'm confused now. Should I stick to the hard way like a real musician or should I do it the easy way even though it's more work?

: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.)


   
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TRGuitar
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I'm a capo hater too. :lol: Well, I don't use one. That's what my index finger is for. But I don't look down on thier use either. Especially for acoustic playing with open shapes. I think if your an acoustic musician you actually need one. :shock: Yeah, it's a tool.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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OK, here's a question:

Consider these chords.
E A D G B E
2 4 4 2 5 5 F#m7
5 4 2 2 5 5 A
4 2 2 4 5 5 Esus4
x 5 4 2 5 5 Dadd9
2 2 4 4 5 5 B7sus4

Can anyone explain to me how in blue blazes you'd go about playing those particular chords WITHOUT a capo? Sure, you could play them at different places on the fretboard, but if you look at the way they're played and the way they're voiced, the little finger and ring finger never move from the 5th frets of the B and E strings....and it's those particular voicings that give the song they're taken from its unique flavour. It's impossible to replicate those voicings without the capo on the second fret, I'd say.....

And for a bonus point - anyone care to take a guess at the song?

: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.)


   
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