#1
Hey,

I've had this doubt in my head for a while now and just can't figure it out. It's about what to call keys when a guitar is in an alternate tuning.

For example, take some B minor lick played in standard tuning. If you play it on a guitar that is tuned half-step down, in practice, you're playing it in A# minor, right? Then, how come many virtuoso guitarits that play in lower tunings still refer to the keys of arpeggios, scales, etc as if they were being played in normal tuning even if they aren't? Is that simply the "standard" or is there a reason?

Thank you very much
#2
Make it easier.
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#3
They're playing the shape of whatever key they say it's in. So if you're in drop C, and you play a scale that sounds as C minor, it's played as a D minor shape.

Whatever the note sounds as in relation to a piano is the actual key.
#5
A down tuned guitar can be treated as a "transposing instrument". That way you don't need to change your thinking. For example the 0 2 2 1 0 0 chord is always E major. You don't need to think about changing all the note and chord names. The positions stay the same so why should you rename all the notes?

If your guitar is tuned to D standard, it is a "Bb instrument", just like trumpet, clarinet and tenor saxophone are. What this means is that when you play your open 1st string, it is notated as E but the actual pitch is D.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#6
the short answer: because they're idiots and don't know anything about real music, hence having to make a living teaching kids how to play fast
#7
Because they are thinking in shapes rather than notes and sounds.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
Quote by AlanHB
Because they are thinking in shapes rather than notes and sounds.

So are you telling me I'm not thinking about sounds when I play the trumpet? Guitar tuned down to D is a Bb instrument, just like trumpet. My C is your Bb and I know it but I still refer to it as C.

Also, if you have learned the note names for standard tuned guitar, you would need to relearn them for D tuned guitar - and I don't see a point in that. Of course you could transpose everything but that requires a lot of thinking. It's kind of the same as saying that if you know the notes on the open strings and know that every fret is a half step, you know all notes on the fretboard. Technically it is true but if you only learn the names of the open strings, you need to count all the time. It doesn't work in practice when you have to instantly play a note. You don't have time to count it.

I don't care what tuning I'm playing in (as long as it's a standard like tuning). I call my 0 2 2 1 0 0 chord an E major chord, no matter what tuning I'm in.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
This is a really good question because most of us have accepted the standard of A=440Hz. But, that standard did not always exist, and even today, not everyone accepts that standard. Throughout history, "A" has varied wildly (as evidenced by tuning forks extant from various time periods). I think tuning down 1/2 step is so common that refering to the notes as if they were not tuned down is OK - you'd just be wise to let it be known that you have, indeed, tuned down. The importance of it really depends on the situation. I used to tune down a 1/2 step, but I often found myself playing/jamming with people who did not (that is, they tuned standard A=440), so the string that was simply low E to me, became Eb, and I had to transpose on the fly. If was in a group as a permanent member, then we'd all tune one way or the other (and that would be our standard). At the end of the day, I think we're better off if we're not too dogmatic about pitch standards.
#11
Well, the guitar is a transposing instrument anyway. We're already playing every note an octave lower than notated.

But I would say that it's not because of "shape" thinking necessary, but even if you have a mental map of note names, there's no particular reason to shift them all unless you're talking to another musician you isn't similarly shifted. They're just names, and pitch names, without an external reference, mean nothing about the actual frequency of the note we're playing.

What is gained by saying you're playing in Cb rather than C, when you're tuned down a half step? If you're not playing with out musicians, nothing at all. So why think about things in a more complicated way than you have to?
#12
Quote by MaggaraMarine
So are you telling me I'm not thinking about sounds when I play the trumpet? Guitar tuned down to D is a Bb instrument, just like trumpet. My C is your Bb and I know it but I still refer to it as C.


I have no issue with you referring to a C note on a trumpet as a C note. I do see a problem though if I told you "hey lets play a jam in C, I'll play the guitar from your example" and then proceeded to play in Bb.

To more directly answer your question, yes, if you call a "Bb" "C" because it uses a C shape, you are thinking in shapes, not sounds.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
Quote by AlanHB
I have no issue with you referring to a C note on a trumpet as a C note. I do see a problem though if I told you "hey lets play a jam in C, I'll play the guitar from your example" and then proceeded to play in Bb.

To more directly answer your question, yes, if you call a "Bb" "C" because it uses a C shape, you are thinking in shapes, not sounds.

Yeah, of course.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115