Warford here, Editorial Manager for Guitar Tips.
to our Guitar Tips newsletter and thank you for tuning in. We have
an awesome article for you that's going to blow your mind and challenge
you to reach new heights with your guitar. We encourage you to try
new things that you may have never thought of before!
you ever felt like you've been playing in a box and you keep getting
that same old sound that everyone else already seems to have? Today
is the day that you can change the way you think about playing your
guitar for the rest of your life as we take a look at altered tunings.
ever said that we had to play in the same tuning for the rest of
our lives? The fact of the matter is that altered tunings can give
you a tone that's simply unmatched by standard tuning and virtually
impossible to achieve if you don't use those altered tunings.
going to show you how altered tunings work, why they are so effective,
how you can tune to them using your standard tuning, and what you
can play using them! That's enough information to keep you going
for a year!
you like to hear about new gear, check out our latest installment
of our Severe Gear Premiere. We'll walk you through some of the
most innovative technologies around, matched with a price that won't
totally kill your pocket book.
out the winner of our latest contest and hear what he had to say
about the whole experience of winning a signed guitar by one of
the world's finest.
Feedback Booth is taking a break and will return in two weeks. Please
continue to send your thoughts and suggestions as we hear you loud
and clear! Plus, if you don't send us anything, how can I write
a section about it? I also encourage you to post your recordings
on our Guitar Forum, you never know where you might find them published
all of that in mind, let's get down to business.
That Keep You Swooning...
new tunings are cool.
the last few months, I have talked a lot about getting yourself
out of the trap that many guitarists typically fall into at one
time or another. The solution to pulling yourself out of that ditch
varies from person to person but for me, altered tunings have helped
me grow as a musician.
it or not, even the editor of a guitar site can get into the same
monotonous groove over and over again. Recently, I started playing
in other tunings other than standard. As a classically trained guitarist,
I was very much bent on standard tuning because theoretically, everything
you need to get the sounds you want is there.
what I have learned in recent months is that it's not necessarily
what you can do with standard tuning, rather, what tones and chords
you can't get by using it all of the time. Alternative tunings offer
a new, and often easier method of playing chords and a very rich
tone that is unmatched.
mention chords for an important reason. You may have noticed that
the guitar isn't laid out in a fashion that allows for easy access
to every single chord combination. According to theory we can achieve
incredible sounding chords but the problem is having the technique
to stretch that far. Some of those chords are often impossible for
any of us to play. Tuning your guitar to different tones bridges
that gap between theory and technique, allowing us to play new chords.
tunings involve playing around with the notes that your guitar is
currently tuned to. For example, standard tuning is what you're
probably tuned to at the moment and your six strings from top to
bottom are tuned to the notes E, B, G, D, A, E. An altered tuning
will use different notes in our musical vocabulary and replace the
notes in standard tuning.
really an unlimited array of alternate tunings to choose from because
you can tune your strings to form any chord you wish. For example,
tuning in open g will allow you to play a G chord simply by strumming
your strings without any fret work!
could do this with many other chords to get a lot of new sounds.
These sounds form the building block for new music to be formed
and is a lot of fun to explore with. Later in this lesson, we'll
play around with new ideas evolving around using chords as your
you can achieve them without a tuner.
of the many reasons why people choose not to tune their guitar using
alternate tunings is simply due to the fact that they don't know
how to tune their guitar to those notes. If you have a tuner that
simply is made for standard tuning, you'll find that it's very inaccurate
to use. You'll want a chromatic tuner for any alternate tunings
you may wish to use. However, a much easier method is learned by
the notes on your guitar neck.
not going to cover how to learn all of these notes on your guitar
neck in this lesson as we will be covering it in a few weeks. However,
there are some basic locations on the fretboard that you should
learn now for reference.
personally like to refer to the above circled notes as "CT"
notes which is an acronym for core tuning notes. Once you are familiar
with these particular notes, you can use them to insure that you
are tuning to the right pitch and the correct tuning. Please make
sure that your guitar is tuned to proper standard tuning before
beginning or the new notes that you tune to will be out of tune.
this hypothetical situation, we can only assume that we knew how
to tune to standard and didn't have a chromatic tuner to check to
see if it was in tune. That's why you need to be able to trust that
your strings are in tune.
if you're one of the many who has a chromatic tuner then I advise
using it in most situations for accuracy. Also, it does help keep
many peoples' tempers down.
you're all dressed up with nothing to play.
breaks me up more than seeing a guitarist who has just discovered
a new way of playing guitar but has no clue as to the location of
the new chords or what tunings are available to them. Let's run
through the different tunings and how to tune your guitar to them.
Sound bites are included for reference so you will know if you're
D: Drop D tuning is a very easy tuning to achieve. Simply
place your finger on the fifth fret of the A string and tune your
low E down one tone to match the D. This tuning is popular if you're
planning on playing a lot of d chords, or in the key of d. I can't
say enough about how beautiful this voicing is for any piece of
music written in D, and the tone is superior. The order of notes
from highest to lowest are as follows:
(Down one tone)
Tuning: This tuning isn't as popular as drop D but has a
kick of it's own. The history can be traced to the 60's and was
born out of folk music. Great for melodic work and fun to play around
with. This tuning is yet another personal favorite that I highly
reccomend trying. The tuning, in order from highest to lowest is
(Down one tone)
(Down one tone)
(Down one tone)
G Tuning: Now we're moving into open chord tunings. When
you strum your strings without fretting a single note, a G chord
will be heard. Lots of fun to mess around with and come up with
new voicings and leads. If you like barre chords, open G makes them
easier and allows you to play chords that were once impossible (more
on that in a bit). The tuning, in order from highest to lowest is
(Down one tone)
(Down one tone)
(Down one tone)
E Tuning: Not unlike the open G tuning, you can also use
this tuning for the same purpose. Be careful when tuning up, strings
break easy sometimes and if one snaps under the pressure, you need
to make sure your hand is ready to move because it stings. Usually
this won't happen but being prepared never hurt anyone. The tuning,
in order from highest to lowest is as follows:
(Up one semi-tone)
(up one tone)
(Up one tone)
the above tunings, you can create a solid foundation that eliminates
the excuse, "I feel like I'm stuck in a box." There's
a world of alternatives for you out there and this is one way to
jump start your playing skills and have fun while doing so. You
may have also noticed that this is a great example of composition
and transposition, the two things we have been taking a look at
over the last month.
you try the above tunings and find your bearings (meaning finding
familiar major and minor chords) you will absolutely love using
alternate tunings. They add that special touch which truly adds
to your music and inspires your audience.
I love playing in drop D and DADGAD tuning. The heritage of the
DADGAD tuning may be rooted in folk but the rock tunes I've composed
from it make that part of its history a little hard to believe.
Take some time and try them out. Be patient when tuning, it will
be well worth the extra five minutes it may take you!
It All Together
that we have some awesome tunings to work with, having some familiar
chords would be a great place to start. We're going to take two
tunings, Drop D and DADGAD and locate some chords like D Major,
G Major, and A Major and work out some new music. First things first...
below are the most common chords for Drop D:
you may be checking out those A and C chords thinking, "How
on earth do I finger this?" The answer is quite simple, you
don't! This is where you take your thumb from it's proper position,
wrap it around the neck of your guitar and clasp onto the E string.
It takes a little getting used to but it's fun once you get into
the swing of things.
rest of the fingerings are standard and are played just like you
usually would. Do whatever is the most comfortable for you. I like
to use fingerings as a guide but they don't always work depending
on the chord you may be switching to so analyze the situation and
go from there.
we'll show you three major chords that can be found in DADGAD
a cool riff I've written for you in drop D, hope you enjoy!
some quick advice on playing in DADGAD:
of the greatest things about being a guitarist besides awesome music
and good times is getting to try out all of the coolest gear around.
We've teamed up with Guitar Trader to inform you of the latest and
greatest affordable gear on the market today.
focus this month isn't going to be totally on the new, rather a
mix of the classic tones and the affordable price. We don't want
to show you gear that only the minority can buy, we want you to
have the best bang for your buck and that's exactly what we're going
to do in this article.
nice sounding, quality acoustic electric guitar is hard to find
at a reasonably low price. Fender has come out with a great instrument
and Guitar Trader has the best price so let's start off with what
makes this guitar such a nice catch.
I won't go to Fender for my first choice in acoustic instruments,
however, I had one experience that completely changed my view on
how Fender makes some of its products. I found this Fender acoustic
one day at my local music store that had $300 written on the tag
and I thought I would try it out as I was looking into buying one
for my friend.
was pleasantly surprised with its tone. It had a nice bottom end
and was well setup and fun to play. I have not had the chance to
personally play the DG-22CE, but I can tell you that this guitar
is made of the right stuff. Fishmen pickups are some of the best
on the market and will offer you something that you can grow into.
Unfortunately the top is laminated, which bothers me but I can compromise
due to the fact that it's a cutaway.
this price, you could get a better guitar for a beginner looking
to grow into a new instrument or for the intermediate guitarists
who wants the best bang for their buck.
I admit that it won't be for everyone, but no guitar is. Go try
it out for yourself and be your own judge!
word for this beauty... Wow! I was taken back by this guitar's looks,
style and what it has to offer. Not only is it made to look like
a million dollars, it's made to have the tone of one too! There
aren't many styles of guitars that I like better than hollow bodies.
They are made to sound deep with a touch of attitude that really
allows you to run the show and get the sounds you want.
have heard hollow body guitars play everything from beautiful jazz
to soulful blues and hard core rock. The possibilities are endless.
This guitar has a tune-o-matic bridge, mahogany body and Grover
tuners. This guitar is a must have to anyone who is looking for
a new guitar to get off their feet with or to have as a backup.
a great guitar for all skill levels as pickups can easily be changed
to suit personal tastes and styles. With a price like this, this
can be made possible without breaking your wallet. I have heard
a good product rating from Dean and believe it is a name that can
guitar doesn't always have to be made by Fender or Gibson to be
considered a great sounding guitar. Go with what you know you like
and you'll create better sounding music that reflects who you are.
I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't mention this little marvel.
It has hit the guitar world by storm as one of the best practice
amps out there and professionals and beginners alike are loving
it. What makes it so unique? Well, it's more of a question of what
isn't unique on this puppy.
like you want to play with a full band before going to work? No
problem! Simply plug your guitar into this amp and it will provide
a full band for you. Perhaps you enjoy country but would like to
try out rock... great, just turn a knob and the styles change simultaneously.
Fender also thought it would be cool to pack in a tonne of great
sounding effects for you to play around with, after all, you don't
want to sound bad in front of the band.
a clipping from Guitar Trader on some of the great features:
G-DEC is a 15-Watt combo amplifier with an 8" Special Design speaker.
It has the familiar appearance of a Blackface Fender amp with
special features added, such as a digital LCD display interface
screen. It was designed from the ground up by the same Fender
tone-team that brought you everything from the entry-level Front
man series to the flagship Cyber-Twin SE. Features:
Easy recall of guitar tones from Heavy Metal to Jazz to Punk to
Country-- at the twist of a knob! o Drum beats, Bass lines, and
other instruments provide musical backing in any style and tempo
Internal synthesizer with MIDI interface allows playing with MIDI
song files via computer- play all the backing tracks through the
G-DEC! Every instrument from Piano to Percussion is in there!
MIDI keyboards can also be hooked up to G-DEC to play the internal
Special effects like Reverb and Echo plus crazy, creative sound
Easy-to-use automatic guitar tuner
The amp's top provides a flat surface for placing a portable CD
or MP3 player; these devices can be hooked up with the G-DEC for
"play along" capability
Internal Phrase Sampler can sample the incoming guitar signal
to create loops, or song snippets from CD/MP3 may be captured
for careful study.
Shoulder strap for easy transport
15 Watts of power with a Special Design 8" speaker
Future software upgrades can be loaded via MIDI
highly recommend this amp for its workmanship, price and overall
"fun factor." I've played with them, read about them and
now I want to share what I think of them. With lessons on all kinds
of different styles right around the corner, you may want to consider
this amp to give you the sounds you want to get the job done.
it's not a professional 200W tube amp but it is something that everyone
can enjoy and have fun with. Beginners can get used to playing to
a beat and get an idea of the effects they want to use while advanced
players can let loose and have a great practice session.
Contrary to many of your suspicions, we didn't forget about picking
a winner for our Satriani Giveaway. Guitar Trader and Guitar Tips
teamed up to randomly draw a winner from thousands of entries. Thankfully,
we didn't have to search long before Ian Stenseng of Miles City,
Montana was drawn from the top ten finalists.
is 19 years old and already has a Fender guitar and was more than
happy to find out that he would be adding an Ibanez to his collection.
always felt that I wouldn't win anything except for a coloring contest
for Albertsons when I was a kid, and I was looking at www.GuitarTrader.com,
and just happened to see this contest on a Joe Satriani signed guitar.
Well, I thought to myself, What's it going to hurt? Besides, I really
like his guitar work. Well, here I am, and I feel great about it.
I just hope one day I'll be able to meet Joe in person to tell him
how great he is. Thanks Guitar Trader."
here at Guitar Tips sends their best and wishes you all the best
in the future, Ian!
may have noticed that there's no shortage of guitar sites available
on the web who are more than willing to teach you guitar. The unfortunate
part is that many charge annual membership renewals and some sites
just overcharge you to begin with. Guitar Vision developed a program
that is unlike any other on the web and it's not only affordable
but it's also effective.
Vision uses a brand new software technology that shows you your
fretboard in 3D and essentially tells you where to place your fingers,
what picking patterns to use and gives chord diagrams according
to the transitions in the songs. I must say, I have never seen anything
like this in my entire career of teaching guitar!
software needed to show you the guitar in 3D and play the songs
is absolutely free! All you need to do is buy the songs that you
want to learn to play and the player will log them and play them
for you. The pay as you go feature is extremely cost effective and
you get exactly what you want when you want it.
Vision has approval from publishers to teach note for note or easy
versions of songs by more than 130 artists, including Stevie Ray
Vaughan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Ozzy Osbourne, and
many more. This is invaluable for those of us who need more than
tabs to understand how to play the song. I relate it to having a
virtual guitarist sitting in front of you plucking away at the guitar
so you can learn every detail.
can slow down the tempo, go note for note around the fretboard or
see it all in it's full glory at blistering fast speeds. It's up
to you and your skill level. Any guitarist can benefit from this
site and after some navigation and experimentation you can be up
and running and playing along to your favorite hits in under an
you've had a song that you've been trying to figure out but just
couldn't quite get it, this may be the answer you have been looking
for. Guitar Visions library is extensive and offers some rare songs
that many other sites just don't have. With Guitar Vision you get
safe, hassle free transactions and the songs played right in front
of your eyes.
also have a great contest offer that you might want to check out.
You could win just by checking out the software for free.
hope that you've enjoyed this edition of our Guitar Tips newsletter.
Everyday there is a new world to discover in the realm of music,
which is partially what makes being a guitarist so much fun. You
have many options to expand your knowledge and skill sets, so being
stuck in a box is no longer an option.
tunings require a new kind of patience and a better ear. Whether
you realize it or not, you're making connections between different
areas of music from theory to technique. Experimentation is key
when dealing with a new concept. Please post some of your creations
online at our Guitar Forum. We want to see what you guys are coming
the coming weeks, we will be taking a look at different genres of
music and how to go about playing them. We'll cover everything from
rock to country in anticipation that we have stars out there waiting
to be discovered. Learning a new style of music is challenging as
well as rewarding, which is why it's so important to try some of
always love to hear your feedback and thoughts on our newsletter.
I'm now set up to answer emails more promptly and provide a better
service to you. If you don't receive a quick response, email me
again as your email may not have gone through.
congratulations goes out once again to Ian Stenseng and thanks to
all who participated. You can look forward to more giveaways in
the not so distant future.
next time, keep on picking!
BY GUITAR TIPS
If you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar but
never had the chance, give me 17 minutes a day for 90 days
and I'll show you how to play virtually any song you want!