A lot of bands I've noticed when they play live they play songs of their's in a different tuning. For example Metallica, when they play their song One or Master of Puppets live nowdays, they always play it in E Flat tuning, but on the original recording it was standard tuning. Watch some recent performances on youtube and see for yourself. Metallica didn't do that in their earlier years like the 80's though. I've noticed this with a lot other bands too such as Muse, Sum 41, just to name a few.

So why do they do it? I know it probably isn't such a big of deal to people but is it because they only have one guitar or bass in E Flat so they have to play the song like that? But the high end bands in the industry have loads of different guitars/basses on stage with different tunings, why do they pick a different tuning or key to the original song?
Various reasons. Porcupine Tree play Trains live in a different tuning (well, different capo) to accomodate for vocal difficulties. I believe Muse have played Plug in Baby half a step out in acoustic recordings, more likely because it suited the shift in instrumentation.
Sabbath tunes down to C and D standard tunings, which makes their songs so f*cking heavy live. It's awesome.
Aging of the vocalists voice, none of these guys have the range they had in their twenties, that's why all Metallica songs from Kill 'Em All are played live in Eb tuning now, same goes for Rush with 2112 (it's also the reason that they play more of the 80's stuff nowadays), Geddy can't do the highs from stuff like Anthem, Bastille Day, Xanadu.
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Originally Posted by Tulkas
Stairway is required on any list of anything involving the words guitar or song, I believe Congress amended the constitution in order to put it into federal law.
Last edited by KerNeL_KLuTcH at Jul 5, 2013,
To thicken the sound usually. A lot of bands that play standard play a half step down live because it makes everything sound more full. When your recording, there's different tricks to make you sound heavier (adding a third guitar over a particular riff, adding accoustic guitar parts of electric, etc.). Metal bands are usually the ones that do this more frequently. Another reason, as stated above, it makes things easier. Usually, bands like the strings to be changed before each show and since strings stretch out over time, playing a half step down makes bends a little easier until they do stretch out.
I wouldn't have a problem with Metallica doing it if they didn't have such sh*t live tone. im a huge metallica fan, but when I listen to their live tone these days, its awful