Recording studios sydney feature – Alternate Guitar Tunings: Love Mumford and Sons? Joni Mitchell? Led Zeppelin? Patti Griffin? Have you tried to play their songs but just couldn’t make them sound quite right? Welcome to the world of alternate tunings.
Not all songs are written for, or played in, the standard E-A-D-G-B-E tuning. Alternate tunings open up a whole new world for guitarists willing to look beyond the standard tuning, offering the possibility of creating combinations of notes not previously available, or only available to those with enormous hands. There are tunings in which only one string’s tuning is changed, but others that retune three, four or all of the strings to different pitches. At Crash Symphony Recording Studio’s Sydney we love recording in alternate tunings!
Recording Studios Sydney: Popular alternate tunings
A recording studios sydney favorite “one-string” altered tuning is the “Drop D,” in which the low E string is tuned down one step to D. Since D is usually a 4-string chord, this drop-D tuning has the advantage of giving the D chord use of all of the string, and a resonant low bass note. BUT, any other chord in the song using the lowest string must then be played a whole step, or two frets higher.
Some people like drop D because when you barre the bottom three strings you get a “power chord” that sounds good anywhere on the fret board. The easiest way to get to drop D tuning is to pluck the low E and the D string together and tune down the low E until it matches the D string’s pitch.
Another very popular tuning is the open G. Once tuned, the strings will produce a G chord without placing any fingers on the strings. For this tuning, you will leave the A-D and G strings unchanged, but tune the low E down to a D, the A up to a G, and the high E down to a D. This tuning makes it very easy to play any major chord progression just by barring the whole fret. The Rolling Stones favored this tuning. Listen to the opening riff of “Start Me Up, ” or “Honky Tonk Women. Recording studios sydney musician Daniel Coates loves alternate tunings and uses them a lot in his song writing.
Mumford and Sons use Alternate tunings extensively like in their song “Awake my Soul”.