Hey Everyone,

I was wondering if you guys thought there was any harm in spending time learning songs in alternate tunings. Some of my favorite guitarists (Ben Howard, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour) only use alternate tunings. Obviously with these tunings you don't learn how to do things (improvise,write, etc) in standard tuning. So should these be avoided until you are comfortable with standard tuning? Or just spend time on both?

Learning songs in alternate tunings? No harm in it. In fact, it'll actually be beneficial in a way because you'll be learning things you want to learn, which will keep you interested in playing. The only way it may be harmful is if you start to ignore standard tuning all together before you've become familiar with it. Learn scales, chords, etc. in standard tuning, then learn where they are in an alternate tuning and learn what else that tuning has to offer.
The only reason I don't do it is because I play by my ear and I'm accustomed to being able to play based on hearing and muscle memory and changing the tuning would make me have to visualize the keyboard more than I care to.

There's nothing wrong with it at all, but you may have to approach it a different way.
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If you can handle learning more than one tuning at a time, go for it. If it confuses you when you get back to standard though, I'd wait a little while. Personally it's easy for me to adjust to a new tuning, in the middle of learning Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle (c# f# b e g# c#) I figured out a couple cool riffs and started writing. Now I play in that tuning somewhat frequently, though not too often because its inconvenient. Haha.

Everyone is different, the way your mind works could be great for alternate tunings as a beginner. If not, don't stress it. You'll constantly find your strengths and weaknesses just like me or anyone else, just make sure to not ignore the weaknesses!