1. The target date for the upgrade is August 11, 2020. We expect a few hours of downtime during that process. We will post on Twitter and Facebook to keep everyone updated on the progress.
    Dismiss Notice

Why half step down?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by stratpack, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. stratpack

    stratpack Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2019
    Location:
    Alabama
    Hopefully the correct forum, but a quick and simple question. Why do some players prefer playing down a half step? Hendrix, SRV, several others have/preferred playing this way. Is more to help with the vocals or is there a technical answer. I feel like I should know this answer...
     
    Roe, soulman969 and sandcastle like this.
  2. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

    Messages:
    12,566
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    I think it's personal preference. Some the sound is "bigger", some do it for vocals, some use super heavy strings and it can help with bending. No right or wrong answer, IMO.
     
  3. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

    Messages:
    9,867
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Owasso, OK
    Some like the string tension, some like where it puts open chords in relation to their voice, some do it because someone else did it, some do it to play more easily in common piano keys, etc.
     
  4. Fulldrive-1

    Fulldrive-1 Member

    Messages:
    5,220
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Location:
    TX
  5. Shredzilla

    Shredzilla Member

    Messages:
    3,099
    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    South of Nibiru
    Thats the way it was meant to be.
     
  6. bloozeman1

    bloozeman1 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,767
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    I have been playing a half step down for years. Why? because I'm the vocalist of my band and i dont have great range and it helps me be on key to the songs.
     
  7. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^

    Messages:
    4,658
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado mountains
    For some reason tuning a Strat down a half step makes the sound bigger and the strings a bit looser. Robin Trower is a great example.
     
    gdsmithtx, Roe, Nick-O and 8 others like this.
  8. uncle looie

    uncle looie Member

    Messages:
    968
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    As far as rock and blues-rock goes, it seems to me that "that's the way Hendrix did it..." is usually a big reason.
     
  9. dan in RI

    dan in RI Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    May 30, 2020
    Location:
    Southern Rhode Island, USA
    Bc you lost the a/c adapter to your Boss TU-2 and the battery has been dead for months and you are too lazy to use any of the many, many different ways of correctly tuning your instrument, and the unwound G always end up flat and you lazily tune everything to that because you just worked 14 hours and you all want is just 10 minutes with a beer and a guitar, in that order.

    I suspect you are referring to why OTHER people do it ;)
     
    Batch, Maguchi, Eric Plante and 30 others like this.
  10. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Member

    Messages:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Fayetteville, NC
    Easier on the voice, easier to play.
     
    Mad-kiwi, SubApathy, fridgit and 6 others like this.
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

    Messages:
    2,620
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
  12. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,245
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    Kalifornia
    It doesn't play well with others, live band etc.
     
    ta6rma, Maguchi, tiktok and 1 other person like this.
  13. cragginshred

    cragginshred Member

    Messages:
    1,705
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Location:
    Sonora Ca.
    I do it with my band because I rock climb which is very demanding on my fingers so it's way less of a strain and my singer likes it!
     
    crazyboutguitars likes this.
  14. krik

    krik Member

    Messages:
    102
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2019
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Probably no coincidence it has often been Strat players who preferred Eb, given the longer scale length. A Gibson will already have that looser string tension when tuned to E.
     
    b3john, Swingin50’s, Roe and 8 others like this.
  15. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

    Messages:
    9,867
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Owasso, OK
    In what way?
     
    coltranemi2012 and cratz2 like this.
  16. GulfportBound

    GulfportBound Member

    Messages:
    8,099
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Makes you kind of relieved that he never jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, doesn't it" :D
     
  17. stratpack

    stratpack Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2019
    Location:
    Alabama
    I agree. I'm sure everyone's "circle" is different, but most of the people I play with are all in standard. I know it's not hard to just adjust if i'm a half step down, but it's just easier to go the standard route.
     
    ta6rma, Maguchi, joesnewmatch and 3 others like this.
  18. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,359
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Location:
    Leesburg, GA
    Bill Monroe still from the grave insists that all other musicians must tune to his mandolin.
     
    Porfirio, Maguchi, marklyn and 5 others like this.
  19. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,821
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    PNW, USA
    My preference is a half step down, because:
    • I like the way it feels.
    • I like the way it sounds.
    • It makes it easier to sing.
    But it's not like you have to pick a side. I played in three bands for a long time. Two tuned down, one was standard. I just kept separate guitars for each. I have since quit the band that tuned standard, but I still keep one guitar tuned to standard for learning tunes off the recordings or whatever.

    I don't see how tuning one way or the other has much effect on band interactions. If you're in a band, you've all decided where you tune, right? Unless you routinely go to open mic nights or something of that ilk, I suppose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
    BassicJack and sandcastle like this.
  20. blackie59

    blackie59 Member

    Messages:
    1,114
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    Cuz real blues cats can't play in standard tuning....
     
  21. prototype

    prototype Member

    Messages:
    3,507
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    Live from nowhere
    Its primarily for vocals. My strat and my j35 are both in Eb with slightly heavier strings primarily because that is what best suits my voice for the keys i sing in. I'm rarely above the 20th fret ever (and can bend up a full step anyway) so it doesn't bother me missing a few notes on the high end if i get to play with more notes on the low end and have open chords that work better for my voice. I don't have a second electric right now, but the next one i get will be a shorter scale guitar that will live in standard tuning with the occasional open tuning for slide.

    Also, personally i think there is just something about strats that works really well with bigger strings and Eb tuning. It just sounds and feels so "right" for a strat's inherent voice and tonality. Stirng up a strat with .11s or higher and give it a go, i think it will make a believer out of you.

    ever hear of transposing? I never want to play in a band with people who can't shift the key of a song one semitone in either direction. i get that we are mostly hobbyists but the key for the band's music is going to be dependent more on the singer than anyone else because they usually have less range to transpose and because the vocal tonality is by far the most important aspect of live performance. If you can't accommodate the singer's desired range for the piece then stay home imo.

    i will point out btw that Eb tuning does work out a lot simpler with bands that are working with brass instruments. Trumpet and trombone inherently jive well with Eb and i think flute does too.
     
    ta6rma, Dr Bonkers, plan-x and 2 others like this.

Share This Page