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Old 10-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
jpnyc
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On the relative mainstreaming of low tuned guitars in popular music

So, in my limited knowledge, the history of low tunings in popular music seems to be: Tony Iommi dropped to C# on master of reality. Then, in the late 1980s some stoner bands in California (Sleep, Kyuss) and Type O Negative in New York City started dropping down to the B – C# range, but the music was far from mainstream. In 1993 Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses went platinum, was this the first platinum rock record in a low tuning since Sabbath? That same year Morbid Angel’s Covenant, with guitars in B flat, was a relative hit in the death metal scene, would go gold, and has been hugely influential. Then in 1994 Korn had a massive hit recorded on a 7-string with a low B. At this point metal bands started jumping to tunings in the A# – C# range. By 1998 nu-metal had replaced grunge as mainstream rock.

I am sure I am missing something between Ozzy-era Sabbath the 1993 breakout. Was anybody doing well in low tunings during the 1980s? Or were downtuned guitars relegated to underground music until 1993?
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #2
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Until the Nu-Metal craze came along low tunings were mainly ignored apart from the guys you mentioned (stoner bands), but even then they were 90's mainly.

I think you'd have the odd song or two in lower tunings, but nothing on a larger scale (lower scale, if you catch my drift).

Its odd because now we'll have Muse writing most of The 2nd Law in A and A#, which is more a normal rock band more than anything.

I've seen more "pop punk" bands like Lower Than Atlantis play stuff in drop G (check out normally strange). Its becoming a more popular thing in rock bands, and its just not like Progressive or Nu-Metal/Death/whatever metal bands doing so. Some people might scoff at rock bands tuning lower, but i'm liking the sound it produces.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:04 PM   #3
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Actually, Napalm death and other proto-death metal bands like Bolt Thrower also used low tunings in the mid/late-80's. Scum, for instance, is in B standard on the B-side.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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Whatever happened to good old Drop D.........
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
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The Stones routinely used Open G- Keith loves it- and CSN used a lot of DADGAD, but there really wasn't a huge breakthrough in "drop" tunings until that platinum album you mentioned. Yeah, there were many (mostly metal) bands using them, but they weren't really moving huge numbers of albums.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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Savatage's first album(Sirens, 1983) is in Drop D, and the second(The Dungeons Are Calling) might be too since they were recorded at the same session but I could be wrong, and The Beatles also used Drop D for Come Together(I believe? I only know a few Beatles songs on guitar, never been a huge fan though I like a few scattered songs). Death used D Standard as far back as '87 for sure.

Eb was also a very common tuning in the '80s(Candlemass, Crimson Glory, Guns N' Roses, Skid Row, I THIIIIINK Sanctuary, Slayer, Van Halen, Malmsteen etc. etc....), Steve Vai came up with the modern 7-string in the late '80s sometime, and Morbid Angel might've used the 7s in Bb on Blessed Are The Sick 2 years before Covenant but I'm not sure.

I believe Russian musicians also came up with a 7-string guitar in the 1800s too for traditional music, which was tuned to Open G starting on a D and some variations going down to A from what I can tell.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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Chuck schuldiner form death was playing in D (DGCFAD)
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Well, if you want to go back to the Russians in 1800, realize that what we call "Standard Tuning" took a long time to evolve and become the standard- as far back as 1555 tunings for the six courses were given as ADGBEA and GCFADG.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
The Stones routinely used Open G- Keith loves it- and CSN used a lot of DADGAD, but there really wasn't a huge breakthrough in "drop" tunings until that platinum album you mentioned. Yeah, there were many (mostly metal) bands using them, but they weren't really moving huge numbers of albums.


Hearing that tuning said straight only makes me think of Kasmir and Black Mountain Side. *.*
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpiExplorer
Actually, Napalm death and other proto-death metal bands like Bolt Thrower also used low tunings in the mid/late-80's. Scum, for instance, is in B standard on the B-side.


Napalm Death is E standard, and Bolt Thrower is Drop D/Drop C#... Maybe C# standard....
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