#1
hey, so I'm after some advice on E flat tuning. I understand how to do it but not sure on the implications.

Just starting out in a 3 piece (guitar, drum, bass) doing covers. I play guitar and sing but i'm not the greatest, especially singing, someone suggested tune my guitar to e flat.

So my questions are how does this effect everything else? does the bass need to tune down? can we stay in e flat for all songs that are in standard tuning? does it change the lead parts, so if I play the rhythm whilst singing can I then play the solo exactly the same as I would in standard tuning?

Thanks for help.
#2
Quote by al.ex
Just starting out in a 3 piece (guitar, drum, bass) doing covers. I play guitar and sing but i'm not the greatest, especially singing, someone suggested tune my guitar to e flat.
Tuning the guitar down, is normally in response to the singer not being able to hit the highest note in the melody. However, this only works for 1 or 2 semitones, more than that the strings might go too slack.

If you're just missing, (flatting), the highest notes in a melody, that is something common to inexperienced singers. The cure is to push more air into the nasal cavity with the diaphragm.

Play the melody note, use your diaphragm, and see if you can match the pitch.

Now, if the notes are just too high for you vocal range, IE, you begin to screech or go to falsetto, tuning the guitar down would help with that.

If 1 0r 2 semis isn't enough, then you have to re-key the song. In choral work, the baritone simply sings a full octave down from the soprano, and the high notes are generally limited to E or possibly F above middle C. When you tune down to D-d standard, the "G" (3rd fret e-1) becomes an F. In fact the entire G major chord becomes F major.

Quote by al.ex
So my questions are how does this effect everything else? does the bass need to tune down? can we stay in e flat for all songs that are in standard tuning? does it change the lead parts, so if I play the rhythm whilst singing can I then play the solo exactly the same as I would in standard tuning?

Thanks for help.
IMHO, tuning the bass down to Eb would be the best way to go. That way, everybody's parts would be played exactly the same as they are now, it would just sound lower, or if you prefer, be in a lower key.

Specifically, yes you would play the solo exactly, note for note, the same way you do now.

Before you do any of this, I would suggest obtaining some help from the choir director at your church or school, (or any other trained singer), and let that person diagnose your vocal issues. Perhaps they could determine your true vocal range, and maybe even give you a few pointers.

My point here being, tuning down sounds like a good idea if you truly can't hit the notes. OTOH, if you're missing from lack of training, you might start flatting notes, even after you drop tune your guitar.

Singing while strumming the guitar is a fairly difficult proposition. Not too many people are able excel at it. You have to sing your songs while you're practicing the guitar. Singing takes as much practice as the guitar, if you want to get good at it.

A good idea for any would be singer, is to learn to read music. Just the melody line is sufficient to start. If you can read music, and then play the one note simple line that you're supposed to be singing on either your guitar, or a piano, it will help immensely in you being able to determine your shortcomings, and correcting them.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 15, 2014,
#3
Quote by al.ex
hey, so I'm after some advice on E flat tuning. I understand how to do it but not sure on the implications.

Just starting out in a 3 piece (guitar, drum, bass) doing covers. I play guitar and sing but i'm not the greatest, especially singing, someone suggested tune my guitar to e flat.

So my questions are how does this effect everything else? does the bass need to tune down? can we stay in e flat for all songs that are in standard tuning? does it change the lead parts, so if I play the rhythm whilst singing can I then play the solo exactly the same as I would in standard tuning?

Thanks for help.

The note relationships stay exactly the same (a 3 fret jump will still sound like a 3 fret jump). For example you can play the Smoke on the Water riff similarly in both Eb and E standard tunings. When played in Eb standard, it will just sound a half step lower. But that doesn't matter. The main thing is that the note relationships stay the same. It won't of course work over the studio version because you are playing it a half step lower. But that's the whole point. You said you wanted to play the songs lower so that they fit your vocal range better.

Playing the same thing in another key is called transposing. So you are transposing the song to another key when you change your tuning (if you play it with the same fingerings).

Yes, you should also tune the bass to Eb if you want to use the same fingerings as the original song. You could of course learn to play it in another key without tuning down. But for some songs it just doesn't work that well.

If you keep the fingerings of the rhythm part the same, you need to keep the fingerings of the lead part the same because again, the note relationships are the same.

When you play in Eb tuning, your open D string will sound the same as 4th fret of A string in standard tuning. So instead of changing the tuning, you could just play everything one fret lower. Or maybe two frets lower if one fret is not enough. As I said, you don't need to change the tuning to play the same thing lower. You just need to move every note the same amount of frets lower or higher so that the relationships between the notes stay the same.

Here's just one last example. Let's take a simple progression like C-F-G-C. You can play it in another key and it will sound the same because the note relationships stay the same. In F major the same progression would be F-Bb-C-F (you move every note a fourth up or a fifth down). In A major it would be A-D-E-A (you move every note a minor third down when compared to C major).

Now figure out what the same progression would be in D major.
#4
The bass does not HAVE to tune down, but it is best if it does, since it will want the low Eb note and the bass player will not want to learn all his parts in a different key to what he has practiced them in.

You just stay tuned as you are and play EVERYTHING as if you are in normal tuning.

Many bands drop to D, some even to C, especially for rock and metal.
#5
There is also the simple dodge of playing the tune in another key that you can sing it in. I mean, this was normal practice for all folkies....Either transpose the thing to a key you can handle or capo and sing the tune and octave "under".
Fer-instance.... Many bluegrass tunes are in "G". Very handy key for all those standard bluegrass runs and licks...The so-called "Flatt run" (after Lester) is also called the "G run".
Anyway, I couldn't sing most of these tunes in G. so I capoed at the third fret making it B-flat and sang quite comfortably...
#6
Tuning lower can make your guitar more br00tal in some band settings. Other settings it can allow you to use e-shaped chords while playing in a different key, as the key of E can get annoying to hear again and again.