#1
On the G'nR version of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", they are playing in standard tuning, but the scale of the solo is all SHARPS & FLATS! I tried moving the solo back a half step to play it in G major, but it sounded flat compared to the G'nR solo. What scale are they using and why did they pick that scale over the G major or G minor scale? I'm not school trained in music, so I was just curious how G'nR came up with that scale for that song? Thanks.
#2
A very quick glance at the high rated Guitar Pro file here leads me to believe that the whole song is indeed in G major with very few if any accidentals.

But when there is a song with many accidentals, its simply because... why not? I could write a song in F minor, and it would have 4 flats in it, but that doesn't make it any more difficult to write or play in than say, A minor, with no flats. Write what sounds good, not what looks clean in notation.
#3
Whilst Guns n Roses used the "G shape", all of their guitars were downtuned a half step to Eb standard. This means that their cover of "Knocking on Heavens Door" was in F# major.

The solo uses the F# major scale.

The reason Slash chose to use the F# major scale over the F# major key was because it is the scale that fits best. All the chords are diatonic to F#, so there would be no clashes from using it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
I guess that's why when you see them changing guitars, it's to change keys. Like Knockin on Heaven's door, no need to tune down a half step, just use the guitar tuned to that key. Obviously, while playing in concert, you wouldn't sit there and tune down your guitar, if you had another. I'm not in a band, so I'm playing 'Open Mic' nights in bars solo. I suppose I could tune down my guitar for 'Knockin', then tune back to standard tuning for the next song. It's not practical to use two guitars because of the time restraints of other people waiting to get on stage.
#5
Or, you know, just play it half a step up?
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#6
Quote by Bandx
I guess that's why when you see them changing guitars, it's to change keys.


Nope. All of their guitars were tuned to Eb. Slash changes guitar half way through the song because the double-neck guitar is too heavy to run around with

Quote by Bandx
Like Knockin on Heaven's door, no need to tune down a half step, just use the guitar tuned to that key. Obviously, while playing in concert, you wouldn't sit there and tune down your guitar, if you had another.


That's one option, or just play it in standard like Georgy suggested. Half a tone isn't that big of a deal.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
^This.

I never really understood "tune 1/2 step down" vs. "learn how to play in Eb and F#."

I see the point, but not the need.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#8
Quote by AlanHB
Nope. All of their guitars were tuned to Eb. Slash changes guitar half way through the song because the double-neck guitar is too heavy to run around with


That's one option, or just play it in standard like Georgy suggested. Half a tone isn't that big of a deal.

Yeah. You can play the song in any key. If the original was in F# major, nobody could tell a difference if you played it in G major. It would still sound the same. Many bands tune down when playing live (to make it easier for the singer, especially if there are a lot of high notes). For example I think Metallica plays in whole step (or half step) down tuning live, even though their albums are in standard.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#9
Quote by Jet Penguin
^This.

I never really understood "tune 1/2 step down" vs. "learn how to play in Eb and F#."

I see the point, but not the need.


It's so the high E string doesn't keep snapping when you do crazy bends while playing Rock n' Roll.
This actually saved me a whole bunch of money while in highschool.
#10
I mean I guess...

I've never bent more than 2 steps. No problems so far.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#11
Quote by GoldenGuitar
It's so the high E string doesn't keep snapping when you do crazy bends while playing Rock n' Roll.
This actually saved me a whole bunch of money while in highschool.


I doubt you could bend more than 1 and a half tones, which is the same as standard.

The strings probably broke less because the string was a little looser and could tolerate your picking technique a little more.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
I don't know about that, since I never broke strings from picking before until I had to play those tunes for school.But this was like 7 years ago when I was most likely a terrible guitarist, so you could be right.
#13
I broke strings all the time when learning, it's just a result of bad technique, usually attacking too hard and having the pick too deep. I'm sure your technique is a lot better now, so break strings less.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#14
what strings are you using i hit mine like they stole something and they live forever stay in tune ect.. ect...
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#16
Hey Sean,
The reason I said the song was in standard tuning was, that I was going from an online tutorial that starts out saying the song is usually in Eb, but this tutorial is in standard tuning. So, he's using standard tuning in the tutorial and the solo starts out with F# G# F# G# C#. So, my question is; in this tutorial an F# major scale works with standard tuning better than the G major scale? You can look this tutorial up online. The guy is using a white Jackson flying V. The solo sounds great! Keep in mind that I'm not a school trained musician. Thanks.
#17
Why the standard tuning version must use the F# major scale is because the song is actually in the key of F# major. G major scale fingerings in Eb tuning sounds like F# major in standard tuning. If you don't play in the same tuning as the song was originally played in, you need to transpose, because you want to match the pitch of the song. Playing G major over F# major sounds horrible.

Edit:

Because the original tuning is Eb standard, playing the fingerings of G major (in that tuning) actually sounds like F# major (in standard tuning). That's why when you tune to standard, you need to play in F# major. Standard tuning is half step higher than the tuning the song is in, so you need to play a half step lower to match the pitch.

If you played G major in standard tuning, it would sound a half step higher than the original recording. And it just wouldn't work over the original recording - it would sound terrible.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 10, 2015,
#18
Thanks so much for the explanation. All the books I have on music & improvisation never explained this, the way you did. I'm trying to understand scale relationships to chords and some music theory. Thanks again for the help!
#20
Quote by Bandx
Thanks so much for the explanation. All the books I have on music & improvisation never explained this, the way you did. I'm trying to understand scale relationships to chords and some music theory. Thanks again for the help!

Usually the books assume that people use standard tuning. And if they don't use standard, they usually use the tuning the song is in. I also think an improvisation book assumes that you know the notes. Maybe start with some more basic stuff - an improvisation book may not be the best place to start. And not every book can start from the very beginning.

I don't think it's any complex. If you think logically, when you change tuning, your pitch changes. So if you tune down, your G major scale will sound lower than G major scale in standard tuning. Tuning down makes you sound lower. That's why if you tune down, you can't play the fingerings of G major over a song in G major, because your G major will sound lower than the "actual" G major. It's not complex at all, so I don't think it even needs to be explained. If you understand that if the song is in the key of G major, it also uses the notes of the G major scale, you should also understand that F# major over G major will not work, because it doesn't have the same notes in it.

Tunings can be a bit confusing, but just use logic. When you tune down, your pitch is lower. If you tune a half step down, your G sounds a half step lower than the "actual" G. So if you are going to play a down tuned song in standard tuning, you need to play it with different fingerings. If the original song is in Eb tuning and uses the fingerings of G major, it will sound a half step lower than the actual G major. That's why if you use standard tuning, you need to play in F# major, a half step lower than G major. Pretty simple, isn't it?
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