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Old 06-28-2014, 08:28 PM   #1
ZILtoid_1991
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Dropping the habit of using too much open strings

While I fret very often and stuff (I don't play Djent), my songs tend to be in the key of the tuning of my guitar, thus end up sounding a bit too unoriginal. While I try to add some chromatic parts to my songs, it doesn't always help.

My preferred musical style can be described as progressive melodic death metal, if you ask.
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:45 PM   #2
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There isn't really a question here... if you're asking about how to drop the open string thing... you're just going to have to make yourself do it.
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Old 06-28-2014, 09:51 PM   #3
cdgraves
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The guitar isn't tuned to a particular key. It sounds like you just need to practice your scales/keys.
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Old 06-28-2014, 10:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cdgraves
The guitar isn't tuned to a particular key. It sounds like you just need to practice your scales/keys.


Surely he means that he is in the key of the note that he is tuned to. Presumably the minor key, of the note he is tuned to, as nearly all metal musicians, myself included, are guilty of.

The answer is really quite simply, write in different keys. Learn some songs that aren't guilty of what you're doing. Pick a root not and then do things with it that you couldn't have done if your key was the open note. Maybe construct a chord voicing that doesn't work on your lowest open note and build your song around that chord. Or take advantage of the fact that you now have notes that are lower than your root.
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:08 PM   #5
johnturner9
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I mean, using open strings is a very valid way of playing guitar that can be very original. The intervals and progressions are way more important than whether the notes are fretted or not. What tuning are you using? Have you considered an open chord tunings?

If you really don't want to use open strings, raise your music up a step

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Old 06-29-2014, 06:48 PM   #6
ZILtoid_1991
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I'm using drop A#, standard C, and occasionally standard H.

I did experiment with open C tuning back then, when I used thinner strings (10-52, instead of a 11-54 with the lowest string switched out to a 60) as one of my influences were Devin Townsend.
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:51 PM   #7
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZILtoid_1991
I'm using drop A#, standard C, and occasionally standard H.

I did experiment with open C tuning back then, when I used thinner strings (10-52, instead of a 11-54 with the lowest string switched out to a 60) as one of my influences were Devin Townsend.


Just to avoid confusion for anyone reading:

H is the same as B.

Ziltoid, you might want to refer to H as B around here; it'll confuse some people if you don't since I don't think many people use H here.
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:39 PM   #8
theogonia777
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Just a few thoughts on open strings...

Many styles of guitar playing make heavy use of open strings. You have many country and bluegrass flatpicking licks that require pull-offs to open strings, fingerpicked licks in the style of banjo rolls, particular in Bill Keith melodic idiom (think Jerry's Breakdown), certain styles of metal rhythm guitar that makes heavy use of open strings for be it pedal tones or otherwise, that Andy McKee sort of percussive guitar that uses a lot of tapped harmonics and whatnot, and many styles of folk music (such as Celtic) that use open strings as drone notes. And lets not forget good old open chords.

Basically in playing styles that require heavy use of open strings, you are limited to playing in whatever key a particular string (the low string for pedal tone riffs in metalcore for example) or that the majority of the strings fit into.

So for example, the banjo roll style example I mentioned would only work with keys that include the majority of the notes on the upper strings (D, G, B, E) which would be keys like A, E, G, D, C, and the relative minors of those keys, plus some of the parallel modes to those (A mixolydian).

On the other hand, a key like Ab, which consists of Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, and G would be impossible to play in that style without the use of a capo since none of the open strings fit into that scale, and since the style requires heavy use of open notes...

So...

While for some styles of playing, such as those used in a good portion of jazz, blues, power metal, technical death metal, punk, etc can certainly get by without so much as the use of a single open string, many other styles need them like oxygen, and so in those styles the guitar can be considered to be a keyed instrument, though certainly not to the same extent of say... a banjo, a guitar in an open tuning (like DADGAD for the aforementioned Celtic music featuring drone notes), etc.
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