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Old 09-02-2019, 04:09 AM
hotwired hotwired is offline
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Default solo gig first time, tuning down

Good Morning

I'm almost 54 years old, and although I spent 1997-2004 as lead guitar for a country rock band, I have only been "keeping my chops" since. But...I've been practicing. I'm semi retired from my business and my second act is going to be a solo or duo gig. I've got 28 songs I can do without looking at lyrics, another 28 I can do WITH lyrics nearby, and another 20 or so I'm halfway there on. I'm a lead guitarist at heart so I really don't like to just take a rock song and "strum it", I try to figure out what cool things I can do on the acoustic to do a rock song justice vs. just playing it the same way on acoustic (like taking advantage of open strings, capo, double stops, etc.)

That being said, I am NOT a natural born singer. SO MANY songs I want to do (born on the bayou, hey tonight by creedence and a few others) are JUST out of reach...like...a HALF STEP out of reach. Most of the guys that do acoustic gigs locally tune down a half step, both the loosen the strings so they can do lead work easier, AND it puts some of those songs within reach. I want to be careful though...I get used to doing something in D flat and suddenly I'm at an open mic and they're in normal tuning and I can't do a song I've been doing by myself for months...maybe an unfounded fear?

So what do you all think about tuning down a half step? Or maybe I could have TWO guitars .... one tuned down for certain songs, one not...maybe not worth the hassle but ... ??

I use a Taylor 314CE, and also would probably have my Tele for a little variety (maybe do some Keith Richards open G stuff)

Thanks guys n gals. I'm scared, by the way, at doing my first solo...probably within 30 days from now. There's a duo that lets me take one of their sets to do 5-10 songs by myself, so I've got a little "solo" experience but I'll be setting my own stage up...and I've NEVER done that...phew!

Last edited by srick; 09-02-2019 at 04:35 AM. Reason: Profanity deleted
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:38 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
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Thatís awesome; Iím glad youíre getting out there. Your guitar skills are way beyond mine, but I do play lots of solo gigs so I do have some useful advice.

Hereís my adviceótune down if you want Itís your show so it doesnít matter what others do or think. The only time it will even matter is if youíre playing with someone else whoís tuned standard. The audience doesnít know and doesnít care what your tuning is. They just want to hear their favorite songs.

Donít over think it; just play and sing and show some enthusiasm and the crowd will love it.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:37 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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I know someone who tunes his guitar down a half step all the time. When he has to play with others (at a jam or open mic), he capos on 1.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:59 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is online now
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Thousands of performers tune down. Though I've played and performed on stringed instruments for almost 50 years, I've never tuned down. I don't like not being in tune and I don't like lower string tension. I spent time as a youngster learning to play in every key. Since really getting into bluegrass I'm also now ok with using a capo.

Any audience you have is likely not going to care as long as it doesn't sound bad.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:53 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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Listening to CCR's recordings, my thought about "natural born singers" is that they weren't either, so nothing to worry about.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:16 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwired View Post
Good Morning
That being said, I am NOT a natural born singer. SO MANY songs I want to do (born on the bayou, hey tonight by creedence and a few others) are JUST out of reach...like...a HALF STEP out of reach.
If it really is that consistent - which I find surprising - then tuning a half-step down is the obvious answer.
Like MikeBmusic says, if you have to play with people in EADGBE, just put a capo on 1.

The alternative would be to transpose the chords, and use a capo some other way. E.g., if a song is in E, and you need to sing it in Eb, put a capo on 3 and use C chord shapes. Or a capo on 1 and play it in D. Or just take it a little further down, to D or C anyway, no capo.
I understand that some songs need riffs or whatever that make use of open strings - and if they need the low E that's a problem. But otherwise there's always ways round the key issue for your voice, without necessarily tuning differently. For a player of your experience, transposition should hold no terrors!
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Old 09-26-2019, 02:10 PM
joseriverasound joseriverasound is offline
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Do whatever you need to sing it properly.Voice is king.
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Old 09-26-2019, 02:15 PM
JackB1 JackB1 is offline
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I also tune down 1/2 step. Definitely helps with some songs that are at the top of my range.

And why can't you also play 1/2 step down at Open Mics??? Unless you are jamming with others? And if so, capo at 1 and don't sing anything too high.
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