#1
Hello folks.
I recently discovered that the heavy metal band Mastodon tunes theyr guitars to A-G-C-F-A-D (low to high) in a couple of theyr songs, like Crack The Syke and some others. Whats the purpose of this? Most of the mastodon songs are tuned to D-standard (dgcfad,standard tuning whole step down) or drop-C (cgcfad, drop-D whole step down) wich are popular tunings in metal. So anyway, does anybody know why they do it? Ive never seen it before. Is it to get lower notes? In case, why not use a-standard baritone, dropped 7-string, or drop-A? First i tought it may be an open tuning, but an Am11#5 (i beleave?) does not sound right for that music anyway. So can anybody help me out?
#2
it's basically a 7 string without the 6th string (in this case low D).
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#3
It's just Drop C or D standard with the low string dropped to an A. It makes 0 on the A string and 2 on the G string an octave apart. Also gives you a string which is two octaves above the low string which is nice for leads, means you can do open note based lead parts. It's a cool tuning, Architects use it in Early Grave (except a half step down, so G#F#BEG#C#). I like it. It's basically just to get a lower note yeah, but I think it has advantages when it comes to composing.
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#5
Quote by frankibo
It's just Drop C or D standard with the low string dropped to an A. It makes 0 on the A string and 2 on the G string an octave apart. Also gives you a string which is two octaves above the low string which is nice for leads, means you can do open note based lead parts. It's a cool tuning, Architects use it in Early Grave (except a half step down, so G#F#BEG#C#). I like it. It's basically just to get a lower note yeah, but I think it has advantages when it comes to composing.
I tried it and discovered the octave thing, but wht not use sa atandard? It basicly the same with the octave thing, only one string higer. It also sucks whith agcfad, that powerchords are extremely annoying to play whith the odd shapes. The pedalpoint thing whith the high a string is also nice, if you are in the key of a, but i dont see the diffrence, than doing it whith the high e in standard tuning. Odd tunings are also cool for coming up whith new riffs, wich you can later transpose to standard or whatewer.
#6
Quote by Usernames sucks
Odd tunings are cool for coming up with new riffs, which you can later transpose to standard or whatever.


Not always true. If you write in that tuning and you have a riff that has, for example, 0 13 on the A string, and then 0 12 on the G string (both played at fast pass with hammer ons), transposing that to Drop A would would remove the 0 13 hammer and make the riff unplayable. These tunings are genuinely useful for coming up with new interesting riffs that can't be played in other tunings.

For example, Frak The Gods by Periphery.
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/p/periphery/frak_the_gods_guitar_pro.htm

That just doesn't work in another tuning, it relies on the hammer ons from open notes in that tuning.
Also see the unusual chords used later in that song, they wouldn't work in another tuning.
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Last edited by frankibo at Apr 17, 2011,
#7
Quote by frankibo
Not always true. If you write in that tuning and you have a riff that has, for example, 0 13 on the A string, and then 0 12 on the G string (both played at fast pass with hammer ons), transposing that to Drop A would would remove the 0 13 hammer and make the riff unplayable. These tunings are genuinely useful for coming up with new interesting riffs that can't be played in other tunings.

For example, Frak The Gods by Periphery.
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/p/periphery/frak_the_gods_guitar_pro.htm

That just doesn't work in another tuning, it relies on the hammer ons from open notes in that tuning.
Also see the unusual chords used later in that song, they wouldn't work in another tuning.

As well as their Zyglrox

Misha likes it cause it makes the octave easy to do on the bottom two strings, making it so they can go quickly from one note to the next using low octaves.
#8
Quote by DiminishedFifth
As well as their Zyglrox

Misha likes it cause it makes the octave easy to do on the bottom two strings, making it so they can go quickly from one note to the next using low octaves.


Together we just dropped a knowledge bomb.
My songs are all located here .
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#10
Quote by Usernames sucks
Hello folks.
I recently discovered that the heavy metal band Mastodon tunes theyr guitars to A-G-C-F-A-D (low to high) in a couple of theyr songs, like Crack The Syke and some others. Whats the purpose of this? Most of the mastodon songs are tuned to D-standard (dgcfad,standard tuning whole step down) or drop-C (cgcfad, drop-D whole step down) wich are popular tunings in metal. So anyway, does anybody know why they do it? Ive never seen it before. Is it to get lower notes? In case, why not use a-standard baritone, dropped 7-string, or drop-A? First i tought it may be an open tuning, but an Am11#5 (i beleave?) does not sound right for that music anyway. So can anybody help me out?

their whole first album is in Drop A. only a couple are in Drop C

but it makes the 6th string an octave of the 5th string
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#11
the way i see it, there are only two valid reasons to downtune:

1) to make a difficult passage more easily playable, and;
2) to change the timbre of the guitar.

sometimes it's also a great exercise in familiarity with the guitar -- i.e. downtune your guitar a certain interval and name all the new notes on the fretboard. it can help. but that doesn't really have any bearing on downtuning for a recording or performance.
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#14
So for this AGCFAD tuning, am I okay to still use my the 11s I use for Drop C/D standard? And if so, I'm guessing the low A string is supposed to be loose compared to the rest by a bit? 
#15
wasey_khan
I think you'd be better using a thicker string for the low A, you don't want it to be too loose, actually no looser than the other strings. Yeah, it's a pain in the ass to buy one odd string or try to find a hybrid string set that would work, but that's what you'd do ideally.
#16
NSpen1
Yeah i hear that, but its like for the sake of one tuning why bother to change it. I have way more stuff i play and have written in drop c/d standard and all that means is going up/down a step on one string.

Though this octave power chords thing sounds quite interesting :p