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  #31  
Old 12-08-2022, 01:45 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
G2 wow that's quite a rumble, careful you don't set off a seismograph somewhere!
G2 is fret 3 of the 6th string. Not that low! Classical bass goes down to E2, and contrabass to C2 - two octaves below middle C. (You can hear Johnny Cash hitting C2 - rather weakly - at one point in I Walk the Line.)
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
But that's a useful range you have, most folk pop blues songs are no more than an octave, the more interesting melodies are an octave +1 and some traditional songs have variations that might go octave + 2 scale tones but really most songs sung by untrained singers are no more than an octave.
So you can pretty much sing any vernacular type song you want and for the vast majority you get a choice of more than one key.
Yes, pretty much.
Generally I don't choose to sing songs which have a big range anyway - because I'm such a bad singer! So I do usually have a choice of keys to move the song to. Sometimes I'll just drop the key by an octave (eg with Neil Young, or any female voice).
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
You might even be able to sing the Star Spangled Banner which unfortunately is beyond most Americans ( why did they choose that one?)
Maybe because it sounds so powerful when singers push for those extremes? Big country, big range, big voices needed...

Of course, being British I won't be attempting it! (I never even sing the British national anthem, I disagree with its entire sentiment.)
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
I don't think you should judge people who alter the tuning of their instrument to suit their voice.
We don't all have your options.
I'm not judging anyone! I'm just pointing out there is a common misunderstanding about downtuning, keys and vocal ranges.

Quite simply - generally speaking - downtuning has nothing to do with your vocal range. As I said, there are exceptions in a small number of cases: where a song only needs lowering a small amount (half-step or whole step), and you want to keep the same chord shapes. Then downtuning is a no-brainer. (For other songs which don't need downtuning), you can use a capo.) Likewise, if you find your range dropping a little as you age, downtuning lets you keep your comfortable chords for the songs you've been singing for years.

Otherwise, finding the best key for your voice - however low it is - is about transposing.

Songs come in all kinds of registers and ranges. Whatever key you want to sing *any* song in, you can do it in EADGBE by transposing the chords and/or using a capo. Downtuning is a red herring.
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  #32  
Old 12-12-2022, 05:28 PM
Brightside Brightside is offline
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I started doing it for playing along with some songs. Like Neil Young playing My, My Hey Hey, is tuned a whole step down, and it suits my voice. Also look for the video of Steve Winwood playing Can't Find My Way Home on acoustic with the crackling fireplace in the background. He's playing a whole step down, Drop C, so that he can hit the notes. I found I can just barely hit it at that tuning. It's a pain to be retuning up and down all the time, so I usually leave a guitar down one step, and capo back up to standard, or only a half-step down for some songs.
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  #33  
Old 12-12-2022, 07:09 PM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post

Quite simply - generally speaking - downtuning has nothing to do with your vocal range. As I said, there are exceptions in a small number of cases: where a song only needs lowering a small amount (half-step or whole step), and you want to keep the same chord shapes. Then downtuning is a no-brainer. (For other songs which don't need downtuning), you can use a capo.) Likewise, if you find your range dropping a little as you age, downtuning lets you keep your comfortable chords for the songs you've been singing for years.

Otherwise, finding the best key for your voice - however low it is - is about transposing.

Songs come in all kinds of registers and ranges. Whatever key you want to sing *any* song in, you can do it in EADGBE by transposing the chords and/or using a capo. Downtuning is a red herring.
No this isn't true at all, I do several songs in A dorian mode, it's got so that they are more comfortable now in G# dorian and playing those songs using G shapes makes no sense with a major 3rd on the 2nd string open, If I just wanted to play chords I could use E minor shapes capoed at 4th fret but the options for playing arrangements of melody are far more interesting in Am shapes without a capo, likewise I do a number of songs in C major again where the melody goes up to A it's a bit of a struggle, if I played in A capoed at fret 2 I wouldn't be able to use 3rd string open as these songs have no b7 so the only workable alternative is to play in G capoed at fret 4 that's ok sometimes but to play fingerstyle melody as an instrumental break gets quite awkward beyond the 14th fret and playing in the lower register in G brings melody notes onto the 4th string which doesn't sound so good.
It's really not your place to lay down the law to other people the way you do, who do you think you are?

Last edited by Andyrondack; 12-12-2022 at 07:16 PM.
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  #34  
Old 12-13-2022, 09:41 PM
Cecil6243 Cecil6243 is offline
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Ed Gerhard says he tunes his six string guitars down a half-step, partly because it means no mandoliners will try to play along with him.


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  #35  
Old 12-13-2022, 09:59 PM
aK_bAsh7 aK_bAsh7 is offline
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Originally Posted by Cecil6243 View Post
In my old age I'm more comfortable singing down a half a step on some songs. I know some artists do it on some of their songs, but does anyone do this on a regular basis?

Thanks!
I've tried but simply couldn't get used to the lower string tension. Now I just use a capo and change the chord shapes to accommodate the desired key. I'll often try out a new song in a couple different capo positions as the textures will vary and naturally, access to bass runs, etc. may be better in one position than another. I realize not everyone will want to bother with this but it works for me.
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  #36  
Old 12-14-2022, 03:35 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Si Barron is my favourite folkie guitarist gigging the uk clubs today, he plays exclusively in DADGAD which on his latest album he tuned down a whole step to C he informed me to suit his voice, and before someone posts that for this song he could have just tuned to D and moved the capo lower I should point out that down tuning (or up tuning) for Si has to make sense in the broader context of his whole set.

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  #37  
Old 12-14-2022, 07:19 PM
tinnitus tinnitus is offline
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As a rock/blues guitarist and veteran of numerous cover bands, I wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion (made several posts above here) that tuning instruments down a half note doesn't help a vocalist who can't reach the higher notes. Of course it does!

If someone can't sing a high C but they can reach B, tuning down a little opens up more set-list possibilities while retaining familiar, easy-to-play open-chord shapes for stage-worn hackers like me.

Actually, I was the one who instigated tuning down half a note in my last band, which enabled our "growly" singer to tackle 8-10 new cover songs that we would've ditched otherwise. Trust me, no one on the dance floor noticed any difference - ever. Even easier than slacking the guitars one semitone, our keyboard player simply spun a knob to the left one click on each of his planks. Thus, he wasn't forced to transpose into awkward keys and/or chord shapes either. Said another way - lower is lower for a singer. EADBGe is not carved into a stone tablet anywhere, nor is straying from that any sort of a "red herring." It worked pretty well for Jimi Hendrix and countless others.

Further, tuned down like that, my strat (with HSS pickups) sounds positively juicy strung with Power Slinky 11s.

Last edited by tinnitus; 01-20-2023 at 10:35 AM.
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  #38  
Old 01-20-2023, 05:30 AM
mercy mercy is offline
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I do it because I have wrist problems
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  #39  
Old 01-20-2023, 10:45 PM
Cecil6243 Cecil6243 is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
As a rock/blues guitarist and veteran of numerous cover bands, I wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion (made several posts above here) that tuning instruments down a half note doesn't help a vocalist who can't reach the higher notes. Of course it does!

If someone can't sing a high C but they can reach B, tuning down a little opens up more set-list possibilities while retaining familiar, easy-to-play open-chord shapes for stage-worn hackers like me.

Actually, I was the one who instigated tuning down half a note in my last band, which enabled our "growly" singer to tackle 8-10 new cover songs that we would've ditched otherwise. Trust me, no one on the dance floor noticed any difference - ever. Even easier than slacking the guitars one semitone, our keyboard player simply spun a knob to the left one click on each of his planks. Thus, he wasn't forced to transpose into awkward keys and/or chord shapes either. Said another way - lower is lower for a singer. EADBGe is not carved into a stone tablet anywhere, nor is straying from that any sort of a "red herring." It worked pretty well for Jimi Hendrix and countless others.

Further, tuned down like that, my strat (with HSS pickups) sounds positively juicy strung with Power Slinky 11s.

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  #40  
Old 01-29-2023, 10:57 PM
IraDuncan IraDuncan is offline
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This guy is tuned down to CGCFGC (a whole step down from DADGAD).

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  #41  
Old Yesterday, 12:08 PM
thestubbyone thestubbyone is offline
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Originally Posted by Golffishny View Post
I used to keep a guitar strung with medium strings tuned down a full step. A capo at the 2nd fret put me back in standard tuning. The fretboard dots lined up similarly and the width at the 2nd fret mimicked 1 3/4" compared to 1 11/16' open. Gave me options.
Good idea! Great way to see if wider nut guitar would work for you before even buying one!
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  #42  
Old Yesterday, 12:23 PM
thestubbyone thestubbyone is offline
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simple kind of man was tuned down a half step.

For slide guitar Jimmy Page tuned down an open G tuning for When the Levee Breaks. Makes it real easy to play slide guitar for it.

I never thought about it for singing and I am going to try that now that I have read all these comments!
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  #43  
Old Yesterday, 12:24 PM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Originally Posted by Golffishny View Post
I used to keep a guitar strung with medium strings tuned down a full step. A capo at the 2nd fret put me back in standard tuning. The fretboard dots lined up similarly and the width at the 2nd fret mimicked 1 3/4" compared to 1 11/16' open. Gave me options.

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Originally Posted by thestubbyone View Post
Good idea! Great way to see if wider nut guitar would work for you before even buying one!
Good way to have more options for 'short scale' guitar too, I've toyed with the idea of picking up a cutaway grand auditorium size guitar with a narrow nut and keeping a capo in place as most short scales are OM size.
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  #44  
Old Yesterday, 07:06 PM
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Bluenose Bluenose is online now
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Let me just say for those who are not familiar with my posts that I'm pretty old, I'll be 69 this spring so please bear that in mind and bear with me cause I've been around the block a time or two.

Lately, well since the advent of the internet and my now way better trained 'ear' I've been revisiting some of my hero's from the past. I was and still am a big fan of Ry Cooder among many others including a Canadian such as myself who called himself Leon Redbone.

He was a big deal for many years but sadly passed away a few years ago. Anyway Leon was really a great guitar player and as many of you know he put out maybe a half dozen or more LP's. His later LP's were over produced IMO but his earlier ones were pretty amazing as far as his guitar work. Just a wonderful singer as well, the full package.

Anyway now that I'm looking at his videos of appearances on talk shows and and concerts I discovered he tuned a full step down. A bit of a shock but there it is. Many of his tunes he did (but didn't write) like "Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" and "Big Time Woman(from way out west). He did in the key of F maj. Being tuned a step down let him slide in some notes which you could not do in concert pitch. I like playing tuned down a step, it has a whole different feel.
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