Question about tuning down

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LBrandt
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Question about tuning down

Post by LBrandt » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:04 am

Is there a musical prohibition to tuning down (say ½ step)? I like to tune down ½ step on occasion. To me, it sometimes creates a softer sound, and it lowers string tension a little.

But I’m wondering whether there is a musical downside to tuning to a pitch not in agreement with the piece that one is playing. Of course, I realize that this would not work in a duet, unless both were tuned down, but is there possibly a reason in music theory why this is not a good idea?

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Kent
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by Kent » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:42 am

The note and harmony specialists will definitely put you in jail.
But you could get a "get out of jail" card if you tell them to stick it.
Tuning lower allows you the freedom to find new potential in your guitar. Explore my Friend.

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Peter Frary
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by Peter Frary » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:57 am

I often tune up to Terz and requinto pitch and love the chime and firmness of the strings. And tuning low is even more popular. Metal folk love dropping pitch a half step and I often slack my bass strings, resulting in D G C G B E.
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simonm
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by simonm » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:05 pm

The focus on a standard value for musical notes is at least partly to do with the evolution of orchestras and also of keyboard instruments. It is easy for a strings section to play at any tone value they please but if there is a grand piano in the mix then they pretty much have not choice but to use whatever the piano is tuned to which is usually A=440. If you are not playing with other people then, yoyo can tune it any way that sounds good to you.

This little history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concert_p ... tern_music is quite interesting although you always have to be a little skeptical of what wikipedia says. They talk about "pitch inflation" which is quite interesting.

Rob MacKillop here has quite a few recordings at lower pitches.

Dartez82
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by Dartez82 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:26 pm

I tuned down this week to a430 and really like the tone I'm getting. I've always liked Rob Mackillop's recordings. Any other well known players who tune down?
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dofrenzy
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by dofrenzy » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:28 pm

You can tell the harmony police that you prefer A=415HZ, or "baroque pitch". If they press further, tell them that Stevie Ray Vaughan also preferred to play in baroque pitch.

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jhapgood
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by jhapgood » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:38 pm

I personally think the sound is "warmer" at a lower pitch, and that is a more appealing tone to me, personally. I notice with my short scale guitar (613.5) that it tends to produce a warmer tone than my regular scale instrument (650) with the same strings on both. That difference in tension between the two scales is equivalent to tuning down a half step on the regular scale guitar. If you're not playing with an ensemble or any other instrument, then why not?! It's also easier on the hands with the lower tension, which is another advantage.
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joachim33
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by joachim33 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:00 pm

Half a step down corresponds to a concert pitch of 415 Hz, which is very popular with historically inspired performances on period instruments (or replicas of those).


Surely a classical guitar is a modern instrument and typically not tolerated by historically inspired performances. You would need to get a lute to join ;)

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jhapgood
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Re: Question about tuning down

Post by jhapgood » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:06 pm

joachim33 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:00 pm
Half a step down corresponds to a concert pitch of 415 Hz, which is very popular with historically inspired performances on period instruments (or replicas of those).


Surely a classical guitar is a modern instrument and typically not tolerated by historically inspired performances. You would need to get a lute to join ;)
So who says the lute players should have all the fun?! :lol:
2018 Brad Andersen, No. 27
2008 Jose Ramirez 2NE
"So Much Music, So Little Time."

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