Standard acoustic fingerstyle tunes that sound like they're in altered tunings

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by cantstoplt021, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I'm looking for some acoustic fingerstyle tunes that are in standard or (drop d), but have that cool open tuning sound that I love from guys like Andy Mckee, Michael Hedges and others in this camp. Are there any? I love this stuff, but learning one tuning is hard enough. Yet alone a bunch of different ones.

    Thanks
     
  2. CyberFerret

    CyberFerret Member

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    Pretty hard to make standard tuning sound like open. A characteristic of open tuning are those open 'drone' notes, usually really low bass ones.

    Dropped D will sort of get you there - should be easy to find a lot of popular songs in drop D.

    Also a LOT of songs in DADGAD, which is about the most popular open tuning out there. I actually specifically keep one acoustic tuned in DADGAD all the time so I don't have to keep changing tuning (which can lead to premature string breaking if done very often). A lot of pop songs and traditional carols etc. can be played in DADGAD.

    McKee, Dufour etc. all use very unusual open tunings which sound great, but difficult to remember and I often fail to practice those songs, even though I love them, because it is so cumbersome to keep changing tunings all the time (plus the added chance of string breakage during tuning changes).
     
  3. rogerm

    rogerm Member

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    Maybe something like this?



    This one by Hedges is close with only the low E tuned up to F.

     
  4. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    Yeah those songs are kind of what I'm talking about. Especially that Hedges song. Any other examples?

    I wish those guys would/could write in standard. I love all those songs, but I dont want to learn a bunch of songs in really weird tunings. There's no way they know what they're doing in all those various tunings.
     
  5. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    :munch
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Member

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    That suggests you don't love them enough... ;)

    After all, the reason they don't write them in standard is - presumably - because they simply wouldn't work in standard.
    More to the point, perhaps, those tunings lend themselves to different ways of writing. IOW, they might well start from a particular tuning, experiment with it and see what comes up. What's wrong with that? In fact, it's a good way to break out of the habits of writing that EADGBE tends to encourage.

    Your main question is still reasonable: you can get similar sounds to some extent in EADGBE. But - obviously - EADGBE can't do everything. It's an awkward compromise that's evolved historically for particular reasons (mainly the ability to play scales in position, and to form common chords easily).
    Other tunings have a mix of advantages and disadvantages - but clearly they are chosen for the former, to make music where the latter have little or no impact.
     
  7. huw

    huw Member

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    Standard tuning has a "mini-open-G" hidden inside it (on the open D, G, & B strings) so G is a good key to come up with stuff that has an "open tuned" sound, especially with that G string droning away in the middle.

    The first one that springs to mind is Blackbird by The Beatles.
     
  8. rogerm

    rogerm Member

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    Lot of truth in that statement!

    I used to feel the same about altered tunings as the op. I've listened to Hedges, Ackerman, deGrassi, and Keaggy for years and although I love their music, I was never motivated to venture away from standard tunng. Occasionally, I might would do a Drop D, but rarely and I've never really been interested in the sound of DADGAD.

    Lenono which I posted above has changed me. I've loved the song for years and once I found out that only one string was altered, I thought I might try it. Next thing you know, I plan to start working on Ackerman's "Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit" which is tuned D,Bb,D,A,Bb,F.

    Ackerman has this page which lists his tunings per song and his reason for playing altered tunings.

    http://williamackerman.com/music/Tunings.html

    This page lists many of Alex deGrassi's tunings.

    http://www.stropes.com/index.php?glbm=19&fa=12

    He has several that are in standard. You might seek them out and see if any of them are what you are looking for. You can also select other artists to see their music and tunings.

    You might pose the question over at the AGF as there are probably more folks there which play that style. They might be able to offer you more examples of what you are looking for.
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes.
    And drop D is not too far from EADGBE (keeping most of our familiar chord shapes), and gets plenty of that "open tuning" resonance, at least in key of D.
    Beatles again: "Dear Prudence". ;)

    Bert Jansch is my favourite source for acoustic instrumentals in EADGBE:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAtiofihEu0 (yes, that's one guitar, no overdubs)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAT5T1lj6WE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqdi6evOclY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlSdQGZv3nY

    He used drop D a lot for vocal tunes, but this is an instrumental:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk_uI_4CmLA
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015

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