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Old 06-05-2014, 03:45 PM   #1
guitarmageddon0
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Tuning down half step vs whole step.

I'm having a bit of trouble singing some of the songs that my band wrote in their original key. I only need the songs tuned down a half step but it seems like the songs sound odd tuned down a half step, but not when they are tuned down a whole step.

Is this commonly the case with tuning down? Does it frequently sound more natural to transpose songs by a whole step than a half step?
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmageddon0
I'm having a bit of trouble singing some of the songs that my band wrote in their original key. I only need the songs tuned down a half step but it seems like the songs sound odd tuned down a half step, but not when they are tuned down a whole step.

Is this commonly the case with tuning down? Does it frequently sound more natural to transpose songs by a whole step than a half step?



It depends, but it's not a general rule of thumb, no.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:50 PM   #3
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Sometimes when you tune down or up and play songs that are written in a different tuning they really lose "it". You should either basically write the songs in an lower or higher tuning if you are only able to sing it like that or you just accept that they dont sound the same anymore and play them on another tuning.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:36 PM   #4
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I prefer most everything down 1/2 on guitar. Jimi, SRV, and EVH had a clue.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmageddon0
I'm having a bit of trouble singing some of the songs that my band wrote in their original key. I only need the songs tuned down a half step but it seems like the songs sound odd tuned down a half step, but not when they are tuned down a whole step.

Is this commonly the case with tuning down? Does it frequently sound more natural to transpose songs by a whole step than a half step?

Typically, a song sounds best in the tuning it was written in. It may be easier to sing if you transpose a song, but it may sound as good.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:28 PM   #6
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^ Yeah. Though I would also suspect an awful lot of songs written on guitar are written in that specific key because it's easy to play at that position, rather than because it sounds good there (Though admittedly the fact the guitar is tuned the way it is suggests that the "easier" keys probably do sound good already.)
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:43 PM   #7
slap-a-bass
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your ears just need to get used to it. listen to the song a few times in the tuning you want to play it in, half or whole step down and once youve gotten used to it, it will sound more natural, and the audience will not notice a single thing (unless of course you're not properly tuned with each other and yourselves)
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:19 PM   #8
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Something else that could have an effect on this is the intonation. If your guitar is set up to play in standard and you drop the tuning without changing the saddle positions the notes higher up the fretboard will be slightly out of tune. Of course, a half or whole step distance usually doesn't have a very noticeable effect, but this can have a larger effect on some guitars. So, I'd say you should try that and see if it makes much difference.

If you don't know, to set your intonation you basically just move the saddles closer or farther away to make sure the 12th fret is perfectly in tune. http://www.projectguitar.com/articl...-intonation-r43
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
^ Yeah. Though I would also suspect an awful lot of songs written on guitar are written in that specific key because it's easy to play at that position, rather than because it sounds good there

True...but still.
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:46 PM   #10
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^ Agreed. I was just pointing it out (and the bit I wrote after that meant I pretty much agreed with you).
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:43 PM   #11
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Fair enough. lol
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:05 PM   #12
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