#1
hey everyone, I am in a band right now getting ready to gig, we have 3 sets of songs and one of our sets is composed entirely of songs that are 1/2 step down for the singers ease. the singer is of the impression that putting our set of tuned down songs as set2 in the middle or even mixing 1/2 step songs with standard in the same set would sound weird to the audience. ion other words, he thinks we will sound out of tune or screwy if we switch from standard to 1/2 step mid set or something like that.
what do you guys think? I don't think it makes any differerence at all.
#2
If the singer is good he/she shouldn't have any troubles.
For me it would be better to put most of the songs that are in the same tuning together so the guitarist, bassist, etc won't be changing instruments or tuning after two songs.
#3
It will make no difference to the audience. At least no more than changing keys between songs.
#4
It will not sound weird or out of tune. If you have to do this, group all the downtuned songs together. Otherwise you will take far too much time switching instruments between the songs and people will lose interest.
My last band had a handfull of songs written in drop D. We put these songs back to back so we didn't have to change tunings often. I went the extra step and installed a hipshot on my bass. That way, I could get tuned quick and we did a little drum and bass solo thing while the rest of the band was tuning.
#5
It's not even a large difference - I don't think anyone would notice the difference. There are bands who use very varied tunings (e.g. Dream Theater jumped from E standard to 7-string in A standard on the last tour) and it doesn't sound weird at all, if something it adds variety. Musicians may notice that (and nothing bad about it), but most likely no one else, although in case of a half-step difference, I don't think anyone would.

Only agreed with the convenience issue - better group them together, if that can allow you for a good flow, so you don't have to switch guitars too often.
#6
Drop tuning your guitar doesn't make you sound out of tune, especially if the original key was in the tuning you are playing in. It just changes the key. If you tune from standard to Eb, you will just sound a half step lower (so if you are playing with E major fingerings, it sounds like you are playing in Eb major). Just make sure your guitar is perfectly in tune.

Alternating between tunings will not sound weird because the audience can't know your tuning. It will just sound like you are playing in different keys. Two songs in standard tuning can also be in different keys. The tuning doesn't matter. If the tuning bothers the singer, you could play the same songs just half step lower without changing the tuning. But IMO that would not make any sense. The tuning doesn't matter. A C is a C, no matter what tuning you are playing in.

But yeah, why not just play all songs in Eb tuning? Some bands like Metallica do this. They record in standard tuning but play live in Eb tuning. Nobody hears any difference.
#7
Yeah, the audience isn't going to notice that. And even if they do (there might be some musicians in the audience), they're not going to care. Playing a song in standard tuning followed by a song in Eb isn't going to sound weird in any way. No different than playing a song in one key followed by a song in another. And hell, depending on what chords you're using, you could even be in the same key with both tunings.

I'd agree on grouping them by tuning just to avoid prolonged instrument switching and tuning time, but there is literally no other reason to even think about it. Your singer doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.
#8
I prefer to play everything down 1/2 step. Jimi, EVH and SRV were right! The audience never notices except the groove seems so much better.
#9
I would probably just play the whole set a half step down. Stopping to retune everything a half step seems like a recipe for having part of your set be out of tune.

No, the audience won't notice. But the thing is (guessing that you're not very experienced) you'll find that when you're up there, all the stuff that seems super easy in practice is just a little more fraught. Those 15 seconds it takes you to re-tune normally are going to turn into 30 seconds and feel like (at least) 60. Dead time on stage is a huge turnoff for an audience.

Retune if you have to in order to play the stuff you want to play. If you need to be down a half step for some stuff, and can't be down a half step for other stuff (which seems unlikely) then use capos.

If you're going to ignore this advice and retune a half step mid-set anyway, do two things:

First, rehearse the change. That is to say, in practice, play your last half-step down song and then everybody retune without stopping and play your first standard song. Treat it like a dress rehearsal: no unnecessary yammering about what you're doing, not stopping to grab a cigarette at that moment, whatever. Practice it like you're going to play it.

Second, if it takes you more than 10 seconds, cover that time. For example, that is when your singer (if he's not also a guitarist) can step forward and say a few words, maybe introduce the band-members, or he's got one song that he likes to introduce with a little (rehearsed!) 20-second story, use that song as your first song in the new tuning and use his story to distract the audience while the band retunes.
#10
^ And if you retune your guitars (and this may be obvious but I'm still pointing it out), use a tuner that mutes your signal. Nobody wants to hear you tuning your strings. Polytune is a good pedal because you can tune all strings at once (and also see if some of them are out of tune really fast). It may make tuning a bit faster.

You could also use a (good quality) pitch shifter to play lower tuning stuff. Stay in one tuning and just use the pitch shifter.

But yeah, why not just play all songs in 1/2 step down tuning? I mean, it will also be easier for the singer. As I said, many bands do this when playing live, even if they use standard tuning in studio. It will just make everything easier - you don't need to retune.

If you have to play in different tunings, it's a good idea to have different guitars for different tunings. That way you don't need to tune your guitar between every song. And having a backup is not a bad idea either.

And as I said, there's no difference between different tunings. An E sounds like an E, no matter what tuning you are playing in. Your singer doesn't know what he's talking about.