#1
Hello people, this post is sort of a rant+questions at the end so it may get long and I apologise for that.

So my story is this. I am not a total beginner to the instrument, but pretty darn close.
I have had a man to man classical guitar lesson in the past when I was 16, for a month or so before I lost interest and quit. I learned how to tune the guitar using harmonics, and one full song, that which I can still play to this day (which was really surprising...muscle memory wonders xD). I didn't even like listening to music anyways and had no sense of what I wanted to do, or goals of any kind when I was learning the instrument. I guess the only reason why I took it up in the first place, was that my highschool crush thought boys who played guitars were cool and I wanted to impress her (which did not happen ahaha).
Years went by after that, and music was behind me. I had other things to do, and not being able to play an instrument never killed anyone so that was that.

This year, I turned 30. I still had no interest in anything musical, never bought a headphone in my life thus far and just living a still life. One thing I realised over the years however was this strange thing..I would have moments where a melodic phrase would randomly pop up (flow?) in my head. I would never have the same phrase flow twice, and each time something similar to the previous or a completely new melody would randomly be thought of without consciously trying to do so. I am sure many of you get this also, and I figured this was a signal that my brain wanted to do something musical.

The story goes on; when I was attending night classes sponsored from work, I noticed an acquaintance of mine had brought a guitar one night. He was a decent player, and after a while I had a chance to have a strum. Strangely enough, I was able to dig through my brain and play the same piece that I was taught 14 years ago, without struggling much..and that was the moment when I decided I wanted to satisfy my dormant musical desires...with electric this time xD

I had spare time, and I was willing to spend money to take up guitar as a hobby. But there were obstacles. One major thing I had to consider was whether getting a teacher was worth it or not. I would not question this if I was much younger, but with age the world had made me a sceptical man. The thing about guitar teachers is that when I was 16, internet was still dial up, and there were no other means of learning something other than looking for a teacher who lived near by. However with technology at hand now, with the internet, and apps, having to see a teacher was no longer a compulsory thing.

Another thing that made me doubt guitar teachers was the fact that I could google guitar teaching material and find numerous websites that preyed on guitar teachers to sell their material. Sure, guitar teachers may be good at guitar, but not necessarily good at teaching and I didn't want to have to go through number of guitar teachers to find the right one for me. It was too much work and I would eventually get discouraged from doing something like that (although I did call up one teacher who is quite famous around where I live for a trial lesson, during the 30 minute lesson- the time I had bought with my money- he talked on his cellphone for 5 or so minutes. It wasn't a long call, but I found this very rude and never contacted him again).

So I decided to give self teaching a go, mainly from books.
I read up on how to read tab, some music theory, holding a pick, learning the scales...you know, the basic stuff. I was able to go at my own pace, and although I was learning slow, I was learning so it was all good. The thing is though, I was not learning any songs to play and since I knew how to read tab notations I decided to have a go at that. After all, being good at an instrument to me meant that I should have a big repertoire of songs that I could play on an instrument. This is where I ran into some problems and is also the reason why I made this thread.

My question is this;
I realised most of the songs I wanted to play were not in standard tuning. In fact, not many songs nowadays seem to be in standard. Does this mean I would have to give up those songs? alt tuned songs seem out of reach for beginners like myself.

The reason why I do not want to move off from standard tuning is because I am trying to learn the fretboard and scales as well and even if I successfully tune the guitar to one of the many alternate tunings out there wouldn't that mean I would have to learn the fretboard and scale positions over and over every time I change to a different tuning?
I think I have good memory, but not THAT good considering how many scale positions there are...

My second question is a technique related one;
When I lift my finger off a string after playing a single note, it would create a noise that I am supposed to mute with my palm but what if I had to play a note on the 1st string, 6th string, and back to first? would I have to wiggle my palm somehow to mute the ringing strings? it just seemed awkward so I was wondering how everyone out there were doing it

I sometimes see girls' hair bands positioned on the neck of the guitar to prevent the noise but I don't think I want to do this...

Anyways, thank you for reading this massive post. I wanted to talk about a lot of things from a beginners' position so it got quite lengthy but I hope you all understand.

Cheers.
#2
consider buying more than one guitar for alt tuning pretty sure that won't bothers you too much
like one for practicing and one for alt tuning porpose
that's my advice
#3
Quote by joseph24
consider buying more than one guitar for alt tuning pretty sure that won't bothers you too much
like one for practicing and one for alt tuning porpose
that's my advice


thanks for the reply mate-
But my question still stands; whether it be scales, chords, fretboard note names we are all taught these in the standard tuning right? If we go alternate does this mean all of the above will have to be relearned with every alternate tuning? It just doesn't seem right.
#4
I do think if you changed the tuning your scale would sounds different and IMO i think that you already learned a scale then you changed the tuning you still remember finger layouts and stuff
btw wait for this guy to come >>trashlostfdu<< (god of guitar forums)
#5
Quote by _shuura
I realised most of the songs I wanted to play were not in standard tuning. In fact, not many songs nowadays seem to be in standard. Does this mean I would have to give up those songs? alt tuned songs seem out of reach for beginners like myself.

The reason why I do not want to move off from standard tuning is because I am trying to learn the fretboard and scales as well and even if I successfully tune the guitar to one of the many alternate tunings out there wouldn't that mean I would have to learn the fretboard and scale positions over and over every time I change to a different tuning?
I think I have good memory, but not THAT good considering how many scale positions there are...

Depends on the tuning. A lot of alt tunings are just the same as standard but shifted up and down - for these the scales are the same but just shifted up or down the fretboard. It takes a bit of getting used to shifting stuff about but it's no big deal. Drop tunings lower the 6th string by a whole step; that makes scale shapes a bit more awkward as that one string is changed, but still mostly the same and manageable. Open tunings like DADGAD and the like are a bit more complicated, since they change a lot more, and they do sometimes make scales impractical but a lot of songs based on open tunings only require a few simple chord shapes. There are some other kinds of alt tuning, but they're pretty uncommon.

Quote by _shuura
My second question is a technique related one;
When I lift my finger off a string after playing a single note, it would create a noise that I am supposed to mute with my palm but what if I had to play a note on the 1st string, 6th string, and back to first? would I have to wiggle my palm somehow to mute the ringing strings? it just seemed awkward so I was wondering how everyone out there were doing it

I sometimes see girls' hair bands positioned on the neck of the guitar to prevent the noise but I don't think I want to do this...

It's difficult when you're starting out, but you want to be muting with both hands. With your left hand, that sometimes means leaving your finger touching the string after the note ends, or muting open strings with a finger across the strings (or your thumb), depending on the context, while with your right hand it's generally about using your palm to mute strings you're not playing.

The hairband trick is favoured by shredders because they tend to use a hand position (with the thumb on the back of the neck) that makes left-hand muting difficult, and obviously they're playing fast, technical stuff. Those influenced by Hendrix often favour having the left hand thumb over the top of the fretboard a lot of the time, with which technique it's possible to play single strings or partial chords while keeping everything else muted, leaving the right hand a bit freer to do its thing. Basically, it varies.
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#6
Some alternate tunings require a rethink on chord forms, some don't, and that depends to a large extent on the reason for the alternative.

Most folks who use alternate tunings have separate guitars for each tuning. I use a Line 6 Variax JTV-series guitar instead. Virtually any alternate tuning at the turn of a switch with no change in string tension.
#7
You are not correct. Most songs are in standard tuning and many that are not can be played in standard tuning. No more than 5% are non-std in my experience.

Playing in non-standard tuning is not as difficult as you think it is. In fact the reason it is used is to make songs easier to play!

You can learn scales if you like but it is not necessary in order to learn to play songs. I would advise learning G major in all positions. and Am pentatonic. Once you have done this it's just a case of moving the patterns up and down and starting on different notes to get a whole load of other scales.

Muting. You will eventually learn to mute with both hands. This is essential for clean electric guitar playing. There are lessons on the internet (free ones on Youtube etc.).
While I'm talking about lessons, got to Justin Sandercoe's site and check out his lessons. He is the best internet teacher imo.

These hairbands? I've never seen. Are you sure they are not elastic capos? maybe I've never noticed them. I don't think I need one, but if you do then no issue, do what you need to do. There is no right way to play guitar despite what some classical teachers may have told us..
Last edited by PSimonR at Apr 5, 2016,
#8
Quote by _shuura
<guitar teacher>


Get a teacher. You'll improve much faster. I say this as somebody who doesn't like to take lessons because that's like having homework week after week (unless you're okay with not rehearsing and then practicing in the time with your teacher that you bought). I hate that.

They'll catch your mistakes quickly and prevent them from being ingrained. This is the most important reason why you need a teacher.


Quote by _shuura

My question is this;
I realised most of the songs I wanted to play were not in standard tuning. In fact, not many songs nowadays seem to be in standard. Does this mean I would have to give up those songs? alt tuned songs seem out of reach for beginners like myself.

The reason why I do not want to move off from standard tuning is because I am trying to learn the fretboard and scales as well and even if I successfully tune the guitar to one of the many alternate tunings out there wouldn't that mean I would have to learn the fretboard and scale positions over and over every time I change to a different tuning?
I think I have good memory, but not THAT good considering how many scale positions there are...

This was a concern of mine too. Till today I work around songs in alternate tunings, not because they are more difficult, but because I was too lazy to change the tunings. I got myself an 8-string (funny story: 1 year later I'm still not 100% comfortable with it) for the purpose of playing pieces that even use a downtuned 7-string, then I realized it takes a lot of work because a lot of the music I listen to employ open-string pedal point motifs (i.e droning on an open string and interspersing it with other notes in between).

These days I just avoid anything not in standard or drop D.

Quote by _shuura
My second question is a technique related one;
When I lift my finger off a string after playing a single note, it would create a noise that I am supposed to mute with my palm but what if I had to play a note on the 1st string, 6th string, and back to first? would I have to wiggle my palm somehow to mute the ringing strings? it just seemed awkward so I was wondering how everyone out there were doing it

You can also mute with your left hand fingers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIEnzboW0Hc

Quote by _shuura
I sometimes see girls' hair bands positioned on the neck of the guitar to prevent the noise but I don't think I want to do this...

Good. It's always better to learn something the hard way. I'm all for using it while recording though.
#9
Few things:

1. As someone mentioned above, having two guitars (or more) is a benefit as you can just leave each one in a different tuning.

2. Yes you'll have to learn new positioning in alt tunings but that will come with some practice.

3. It's not a race. Take your time and it will all come together eventually.
#10
Our band tunes down a whole step to help the singer , we do drop C on top of that .... as far as practice we still call a E a E even though it's technically a D with full step down tuning .... no one in the Band seems to have a problem like that
Last edited by Fumble fingers at Apr 5, 2016,
#11
You can consider getting a pitchshifter pedal like the Digitech pitchshifter so you can change the pitch of your guitar without having to re-tune. You can also use computer software to change the pitch of songs so you don't have to re-tune. Of course, these will only work if the song is in a standard tuning just tuned down.

You're best bet would just get a decent hardtail guitar that you can use as an alternate tuning guitar. I recommend hardtail because you can tune them in hardly any time at all. You can tune from standard E to Drop D in 5 seconds. You can tune down a half-step in less than a minute, any tuning really is like this. It's good to have a guitar in your arsenal that you can abuse with tunings.

Playing in non-standard tuning is not as difficult as you think it is. In fact the reason it is used is to make songs easier to play!


It doesn't always necessarily make songs easier to play, alternate tunings also open up many more options by giving you different chord sounds/shapes, tones and phrasings that you wouldn't be able to get in a standard tuning which is why alternate tunings are used so often. It gives you more options and possibilities to come up with the sounds you're looking for rather than limiting yourself and what you can do with one standard tuning.
Last edited by mysticguitar77 at Apr 5, 2016,
#12
Quote by PSimonR
These hairbands? I've never seen. Are you sure they are not elastic capos? maybe I've never noticed them.

They're common among shredders, especially for legato passages where you have limited opportunity to mute.


Quote by PSimonR
I don't think I need one, but if you do then no issue, do what you need to do. There is no right way to play guitar despite what some classical teachers may have told us..

That's some solid advice. There are certainly counterproductive approaches, and indeed a few that can lead to injury, but all too often people think of their technique as "the right way" because it works for them. You do you; it's art, not (for the most part) science.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Apr 5, 2016,
#13
K33nbl4d3 hit on this a bit, but I felt the need to reinforce the point...


The way you're perceiving music is from a structured approach given a fixed position. You're attempting to shoot a fixed target, in a fixed location, from a fixed location. Your EADGBe tuning is going to have you learn that the 5th fret on the E string is an A. There is nothing wrong with this approach - and you stand to learn quite a bit from it.

What you're going to learn in the future - is that capo use and down tuning...unless you're altering the interval gap between strings (2.5, 2.5,2.5,2.5, 2, 2.5 steps where each fret is a half step), is just shifting the song into a different key. If you're playing... Run Around -Blues Traveler - You're playing a G, C, Am, D sequentially. If you capo on the 2nd fret (which alters your tuning to F#, B, E, A, C#, F#) you can still play the G, C, Am, D chord shapes..even though you're changed the realized chord names to A, D, Bm, E. Doing this will result in you trying to shoot a moving target from a moving platform.....more confusion, but promotes flexibility in your understanding of the way music is relational intervals.

Personally - I tune to either E flat or D Standard. I find it a bit easier to sing to, and for others to sing along with when playing for others. In D standard, I can still play the same G, C, Am, D chord shapes.... because the intervals are the same, and it'll still sound (mostly)like Run Around.


Now that I've completely confused ya - no matter the tuning, the interval distance on a fretboard is going to be the same no matter the tuning. If that weren't true, bar chords wouldn't work. (Look at a Bared F vs. an open E). If you take that F and slide the same shape to the 5th fret, you'll be playing an F shape...but producing an A. ....all based on relational intervals.
#14
My opinion is this. First of all you have to enjoy music and it sounds like you don't really lol. Second no don't get a teacher unless you can actually play first that way they can help you improve techniques otherwise you will be paying some dude to show you how to hold a guitar pick for an hour or play marry had a little lamb blah blah. Another reason to avoid a teacher right away is because you can youtube everything....like EVERYTHING ! So start there and learn what you actually want. Next... Alt tuning depends. If you stay in a standard tune EADGBE but just tune the whole guitar up or down to a Higher or lower pitch then scales are the same. Modes are the same just lower or higher sounding. If you tune to open tunings like open E,D,G,C,A and all the minors & 7ths then yeah those scales wont work. Lots of metal people tune the low E to drop a step below regular tuning so they can bar the fret and get a chord. Youtube dude.....youtube.
#15
Quote by Bromandudeguy
or play marry had a little lamb blah blah

What's wrong with that?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6lq0sRon0k
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#17
Hair bands/mutes will often show up where players are using a lot of high gain and particularly where there's a lot of tapping (particularly with both hands) involved.

This is typical:

(Invalid img)

And this is a variation of the Van Eps:



The charm of both of these is that they can be flicked off quickly. BTW, the Van Eps is named after George Van Eps, a jazz player who pioneered the use of 7-string guitars and, it turns out, string dampeners.
#18
Quote by dspellman
The charm of both of these is that they can be flicked off quickly. BTW, the Van Eps is named after George Van Eps, a jazz player who pioneered the use of 7-string guitars and, it turns out, string dampeners.

I've seen about 5 different videos of Michael Angelo Batio claiming he invented it
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#19
thanks a lot for the reply guys! really appreciate it.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Depends on the tuning. A lot of alt tunings are just the same as standard but shifted up and down - for these the scales are the same but just shifted up or down the fretboard. It takes a bit of getting used to shifting stuff about but it's no big deal. Drop tunings lower the 6th string by a whole step; that makes scale shapes a bit more awkward as that one string is changed, but still mostly the same and manageable. Open tunings like DADGAD and the like are a bit more complicated, since they change a lot more, and they do sometimes make scales impractical but a lot of songs based on open tunings only require a few simple chord shapes. There are some other kinds of alt tuning, but they're pretty uncommon.


I was hoping this would be the case. I often see drop "note" tuning and if it is just the sixth string it definately seems more manageable. Cheers mate!

Quote by PSimonR
You are not correct. Most songs are in standard tuning and many that are not can be played in standard tuning. No more than 5% are non-std in my experience.

Playing in non-standard tuning is not as difficult as you think it is. In fact the reason it is used is to make songs easier to play!

You can learn scales if you like but it is not necessary in order to learn to play songs. I would advise learning G major in all positions. and Am pentatonic. Once you have done this it's just a case of moving the patterns up and down and starting on different notes to get a whole load of other scales.


So is it safe to assume that once I learn G maj and Am pentatonic scale position it would work as a universal form for most scales and I would just need to apply it on different frets to play different scales?

Quote by Fumble fingers
Our band tunes down a whole step to help the singer , we do drop C on top of that .... as far as practice we still call a E a E even though it's technically a D with full step down tuning .... no one in the Band seems to have a problem like that


This is interesting...so you guys would call it an E not as in a note E but(standard tuning) position E if you get what I mean. I imagine I would do the same if I played with other people.

Quote by mysticguitar77

You're best bet would just get a decent hardtail guitar that you can use as an alternate tuning guitar. I recommend hardtail because you can tune them in hardly any time at all. You can tune from standard E to Drop D in 5 seconds. You can tune down a half-step in less than a minute, any tuning really is like this. It's good to have a guitar in your arsenal that you can abuse with tunings.


It doesn't always necessarily make songs easier to play, alternate tunings also open up many more options by giving you different chord sounds/shapes, tones and phrasings that you wouldn't be able to get in a standard tuning which is why alternate tunings are used so often. It gives you more options and possibilities to come up with the sounds you're looking for rather than limiting yourself and what you can do with one standard tuning.


Thanks for the advice. I never considered having two guitars as an option but it makes perfect sense.

Quote by dPrimmy
K33nbl4d3 hit on this a bit, but I felt the need to reinforce the point...


The way you're perceiving music is from a structured approach given a fixed position. You're attempting to shoot a fixed target, in a fixed location, from a fixed location. Your EADGBe tuning is going to have you learn that the 5th fret on the E string is an A. There is nothing wrong with this approach - and you stand to learn quite a bit from it.

What you're going to learn in the future - is that capo use and down tuning...unless you're altering the interval gap between strings (2.5, 2.5,2.5,2.5, 2, 2.5 steps where each fret is a half step), is just shifting the song into a different key. If you're playing... Run Around -Blues Traveler - You're playing a G, C, Am, D sequentially. If you capo on the 2nd fret (which alters your tuning to F#, B, E, A, C#, F#) you can still play the G, C, Am, D chord shapes..even though you're changed the realized chord names to A, D, Bm, E. Doing this will result in you trying to shoot a moving target from a moving platform.....more confusion, but promotes flexibility in your understanding of the way music is relational intervals.

Personally - I tune to either E flat or D Standard. I find it a bit easier to sing to, and for others to sing along with when playing for others. In D standard, I can still play the same G, C, Am, D chord shapes.... because the intervals are the same, and it'll still sound (mostly)like Run Around.


Now that I've completely confused ya - no matter the tuning, the interval distance on a fretboard is going to be the same no matter the tuning. If that weren't true, bar chords wouldn't work. (Look at a Bared F vs. an open E). If you take that F and slide the same shape to the 5th fret, you'll be playing an F shape...but producing an A. ....all based on relational intervals.


Yes I am totally confused by what you said here xD. I do understand that no matter what I do the interval will always stay the same making alt tunings applicable once I get the hang of things playing in standard- or were you trying to say something different?

Thanks for your reply. I get the feeling this is the kind of information I would be wanting once I progress further.

Quote by Bromandudeguy
My opinion is this. First of all you have to enjoy music and it sounds like you don't really lol. Second no don't get a teacher unless you can actually play first that way they can help you improve techniques otherwise you will be paying some dude to show you how to hold a guitar pick for an hour or play marry had a little lamb blah blah. Another reason to avoid a teacher right away is because you can youtube everything....like EVERYTHING ! So start there and learn what you actually want. Next... Alt tuning depends. If you stay in a standard tune EADGBE but just tune the whole guitar up or down to a Higher or lower pitch then scales are the same. Modes are the same just lower or higher sounding. If you tune to open tunings like open E,D,G,C,A and all the minors & 7ths then yeah those scales wont work. Lots of metal people tune the low E to drop a step below regular tuning so they can bar the fret and get a chord. Youtube dude.....youtube.


You sir, are quite quite sharp in my opinion. Good observation.
It is true that I have not really enjoyed music in the past but as I got older I started to appreciate what I had missed all of these years. Although I may come across as someone who wants to play the guitar for the sake of playing it and not enjoy music, I beg to differ. I would like to get better at it to express myself musically which ties in with enjoying music also I think.
#20
Quote by _shuura

This is interesting...so you guys would call it an E not as in a note E but(standard tuning) position E if you get what I mean. I imagine I would do the same if I played with other people.


yes , we all learned the fret board in standard E tuning ...... so even though we dropped it a full step (2 frets ) we still call the notes as if it was in standard tuning so everybody knows what fret or chord shape we are talking about .... so we keep calling a E an E instead of a D which is what it really is when tuned down ..... and we still play a open D chord in our step down tuning as D chord in standard tuning ...... the Band communicates real easy like this