New tunings inspire new musical thoughts.
Alternate tunings let you play voicings and slide
between chord forms that would normally be
impossible. They give access to nonstandard
open strings. Playing familiar fingerings on an
unfamiliar fretboard is exciting - you never know
exactly what to expect. And working out familiar
riffs on an unfamiliar fretboard often suggests
new sound patterns and variations. This book
helps you explore alternative ways of making
Why is the standard guitar tuning standard?
Where did this strange combination of a major
3rd and four perfect 4ths come from? There is a
bit of history (view the guitar as a descendant of
the lute), a bit of technology (strings which are
too high and thin tend to break, those which are
too low tend to be too soft), and a bit of chance.
Nevertheless, a standard is a standard, and nearly
everyone who plays knows EBGDAE. It’s only
a few folk musicians who use different tunings,
and they probably do it because they can’t play
well enough, right?
Er, well, maybe Leo Kottke knows what
he’s doing, and maybe Wm. Ackerman and
Michael Hedges are good, and maybe Adrian
Belew is talented... But playing in alternate
tunings is impossible on stage, retuning is a
nightmare... strings break, wiggle and bend out
of tune, necks warp. And the alternative - carry-
ing around five special guitars for five special
tuning tunes - is a hassle. Back to EBGDAE.
But all these "practical" reasons pale com-
pared to psychological inertia. "I've spent years
mastering one tuning, why should I try others?"
Because there are musical worlds waiting to be
exploited. Once you have retuned and explored a
single alternate tuning, you'll be hooked by the
unexpected fingerings, the easy drone strings,
the "new" open chords. New tunings are a way to
recapture the wonder you experienced when first
finding your way around the fretboard - but now
you can become proficient in a matter of days
rather than years!
And the ‘practical’ reasons are becoming