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  #1  
Old 12-01-2017, 05:12 PM
paulzoom paulzoom is offline
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Default Do songs sound OK to you played tuned down a step?

I sometimes tune down a half step and most people don't even realize it when I'm playing a song. Do you think a whole step would change the song too much?
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:17 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Maybe yes, maybe no. Pretty subjective and your opinion may vary from one song to another song.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:23 PM
Looburst Looburst is offline
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I agree, just depends. The song dictates it,, for me.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:43 PM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Weather I'm a listener or player? No. It doesn't matter to me. The music is the same regardless of 1/2 step. That's sort of like asking if a song sounded okay to me capo'd.

If I heard Here Comes The Sun played below the 7th fret at standard pitch I might call foul (or think it) but otherwise I don't get my teeth in a chatter about going 1/2 step down.
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:10 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Not really. The guitar sounds kind of dead to me. I wish it were otherwise, because there are lots of songs that I can sing a lot easier tuned down. I suppose if I did it more I would acclimate.....
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:51 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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depends on the song and how much it relies on the energy of a specific key. Especially with singing, a singer has to find that sweet spot in their range and match it to the tessitura of the melody. Sometimes that means moving lower, sometimes it means moving the song higher.

It's all subjective.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:42 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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It could be a problem if you're lowering tension on the strings too much. How much is "too much" will depend on the guitar, the strings, your technique, and the piece of music. If you want to tune down but the strings are getting too floppy, you could go up a gauge.

Even if the guitar sounds OK, they key change alone could be annoying to someone with perfect pitch.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:33 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd612 View Post
..... How much is "too much" will depend on the guitar.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Looburst View Post
I agree, just depends. The song dictates it,, for me.
Agreed on both. For me it mostly depends on the guitar. However, rather than destune I would rather transpose into a key better suited for me.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:36 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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To me the key is not as important as the inversion of the chord. Which note rings on top, root, 3rd, 5th, etc?
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:40 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd612 View Post
Even if the guitar sounds OK, they key change alone could be annoying to someone with perfect pitch.
Not to this perfect pitch listener. Changing the key, as long as everything is still in tune, is not annoying to me.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:39 AM
Reasley Reasley is offline
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My main guitar is tuned a full step down and I don't see any problem with it. My original thinking was that I would have to go from lights to mediums to tension the soundboard properly, but now that I have two of the same guitar (with sequential serial numbers: 303 & 304), I can do A/B testing on strings or anything and do a side-by-side comparison. Another bit of info, though: I ALWAYS play through a Bose PA and all of my guitars have internal mikes so they sound great. A cigar box cigar would sound great miked and run through a PA for that matter, LOL.

Also, a lot of baby boomer artists are playing their OWN songs "detuned," Neil Young being one, from what I've read. Thank you, Neil, it's about time -- to give the rest of us a chance.

Last edited by Reasley; 12-02-2017 at 08:41 AM. Reason: Silly typos. Dang iPad keyboard!
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:44 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Not to this perfect pitch listener. Changing the key, as long as everything is still in tune, is not annoying to me.
That's good to know, thanks. I don't have perfect pitch but have heard a couple of people who do have it say that a piece of music they're very familiar with sounds completely, painfully, wrong to them when it's in a different key, even if the relative intonation is fine. I guess that's not universal. Or maybe they're just particularly irritable.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:47 AM
Reasley Reasley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManyMartinMan View Post
Agreed on both. For me it mostly depends on the guitar. However, rather than destune I would rather transpose into a key better suited for me.
This will work OK for strumming songs. Well, SOME of them. But if you're a fingerpicker, detuning (or capoing) is a must. If one plays James Taylor, for example, playing his songs without doing the hammer ons, slides, and pull offs on the B string with A chording just wouldn't work. As we used to say in the south: "That ain't right!"

Related, I CRINGE when I hear anyone at a club or on the street playing a fingerpicking song of JT's by strumming it. There oughta be a law.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:54 AM
Ryan78 Ryan78 is offline
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Drive-by Trucker songs are played tuned down a full step. After I've played them I can notice distinctly if I play other songs before returning to my normal half step tuning. Even if I let the guitar sit and return to it I immediately notice I've got it tuned down a full step.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:41 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd612 View Post
That's good to know, thanks. I don't have perfect pitch but have heard a couple of people who do have it say that a piece of music they're very familiar with sounds completely, painfully, wrong to them when it's in a different key, even if the relative intonation is fine. I guess that's not universal. Or maybe they're just particularly irritable.
I don't have perfect pitch, but I do have the experience of a song in a different key sounding "completely, painfully, wrong" (well maybe not painfully, but definitely uncomfortably).

My band had to change the key of a song that I'd known (and played) for over 30 years in its original key (C), because a female singer needed it raised, to F. It was just as easy to play in F, but I was amazed how wrong and clunky it sounded.
And yet, the more we played it in that key, the better it sounded, until it sounded as "right" in F as it had in C.

It was my first experience of the phenomenon of "pitch memory". We become accustomed to the keys of songs the more we hear them in that key. Some are more sensitive than others, but even non-musicians have pitch memory.

In short, you don't need perfect pitch to think a different key is "wrong" - IF you have heard it for long enough in the original key - as you would have on a famous recording.
You might not be offended by the new key, but (even if you can't tell that it's the key that's different) you will probably think something is odd about it - and you might put it down to how the band are playing it.

Having said that, a half-step would probably be imperceptible to most people - unless the original key really was ingrained in their brains.
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