#1
Third Eye Blind uses Gb A Db Gb Ab E (little) for a large portion of their work. We can see that string 1 is unchanged, 2 is upped to Ab, 3 is dropped to Gb, 4 is dropped to Db, 5 is unchanged, and 6 is upped dramatically.

I have a few uncertainties, hopefully this is in the right section. Caution: a lot of theoretical/conceptual questions lie ahead.

Do artists pick the sound they want and then tailor the tuning to the one that will best match that sound?

Or do they decide on a tuning composition and then find their sound with what that tuning setup allows?

Every guitarist, sooner or later, discovers that there is more than one way to play the same sound. For example, open E, and 5th fret B string, have the same pitch. That is, they sound the same. You pick which fret you want based on the convenience, or "playability" of its location. Is this unconventional tuning a larger representation of that concept?

I also know that just because the pitch (note) is the same, doesn't mean the physical vibration of sound is the same. There is physical reverb, harmonics, and various invisible physics at play with the strings. Surely, Third Eye Blind can't be that deliberate in their music writing. I can understand why some bands, such as GNR, would use an Eb tuning. It's uniform and maintains the "musical" spacing between each string. What's the deal?

Also, is there an "easy" way to transcribe the odd tuning into identical composition on standard tuning, if at all possible? It will depend on the song, I'm sure.
#2
Quote by sojiasx
Third Eye Blind uses Gb A Db Gb Ab E (little) for a large portion of their work. We can see that string 1 is unchanged, 2 is upped to Ab, 3 is dropped to Gb, 4 is dropped to Db, 5 is unchanged, and 6 is upped dramatically.

I have a few uncertainties, hopefully this is in the right section. Caution: a lot of theoretical/conceptual questions lie ahead.

Do artists pick the sound they want and then tailor the tuning to the one that will best match that sound?

Or do they decide on a tuning composition and then find their sound with what that tuning setup allows?

Every guitarist, sooner or later, discovers that there is more than one way to play the same sound. For example, open E, and 5th fret B string, have the same pitch. That is, they sound the same. You pick which fret you want based on the convenience, or "playability" of its location. Is this unconventional tuning a larger representation of that concept?

I also know that just because the pitch (note) is the same, doesn't mean the physical vibration of sound is the same. There is physical reverb, harmonics, and various invisible physics at play with the strings. Surely, Third Eye Blind can't be that deliberate in their music writing. I can understand why some bands, such as GNR, would use an Eb tuning. It's uniform and maintains the "musical" spacing between each string. What's the deal?

Also, is there an "easy" way to transcribe the odd tuning into identical composition on standard tuning, if at all possible? It will depend on the song, I'm sure.


In answer to your first to questions. I think it works both ways, in a feedback loop. They look for tunings that give a particular sound, then develop more tunes that suit that sound. The great danger in this is that it ends up as "snowflake" music, all different, all the same.

It is partly related to playability, specially in polyphonic arrangements, and some things would be impossible in standard tuning. - Most chord-melody slide, for example.

I've got no idea why TEB chose that tuning. The intervals, bass to treble are 34524 semitones. I played a couple, and the music sounds quite melodic, so it isn't to generate discords.
#3
Another thing you might find, and this is something that seems to be pretty confined to a certain subset of players, is that people use alternate tunings to escape what they know about the guitar as much as possible.

Players like Andy McKee, Jon Gomm, and Michael Hedges, because they are extremely studied players, are all known to use tunings that will mean they can't use the chords and scales that their muscle memory knows so well. For them, this is a way of breaking out of the music they've practiced for tens of thousands of hours and getting in to the realms of finding things they haven't played before.

Like I said though, this is pretty confined to a certain set of players, I don't think that would be why most people use a tuning like that. I would reckon it's because a tuning sounds a certain way, whether they can put a reason on why it appeals or not. I mean, my favourite tuning is D standard (A standard on a 7 string)... but hell if I know why, it's just the most appealing to my ears
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#4
Like Zaphod_Beeblebr said, I think that new tunings inspire new musical thoughts. Alternate tunings let you play voicings and slide between chord forms that wouldn't be possible for standard tunings. They give access to nonstandard open strings. Playing familiar fingerings on an unfamiliar fretboard is exciting, you never know exactly what to expect. And working out familiar riffs on an unfamiliar fretboard often suggests new sound patterns and variations.
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#5
Sonic Youth used weirdo tunings to get different sounds so much so that they needed an army of guitars where ever they went. I think Thurston and Lee would just tune to random notes and try to write songs around that. Look at this tuning guide, you can't even try to play a lot of these songs normally or you'll bust your strings. http://www.sonicyouth.com/mustang/tab/tuning.html

That's a good example of guitarists really playing their instruments and pushing what can be done. They did this as a way of exploring, creating dissonance and strange tones. Joni Mitchell is also famous for her tunings, all the open ones and what not. Very cool as well. Of course Keith Richards has his open G with only 5 strings because the tuning fits his needs and makes those good ol' rock n' roll riffs sound even better. I think with alternate tunings it's really a great way to find something creatively, an artistic identity, it's not something I've explored but it's just another cool thing to do with guitar. Play it, don't let it play you!
#6
Personally I got into Robert Fripp's New Standard Tuning (CGDAEG) to break down a wall of frustration I was having learning E Standard. I was simply at a plateau and couldn't break out of it. This was new for me, because I found voice and cello to be pretty easy to pick up. Then I read about Fripp's tuning, and noted that the lowest 4 strings were tuned just like a cello's. I tried it out on an acoustic, and the instant familiarity utterly destroyed my block. Inwas playing tunes I had been playing for years, but on a different instrument.*

Now, when I returned to trying out E Standard, I hadn't progressed on any of those songs that frustrated me, but the time I spent practicing in NST had vastly increased my familiarity with the instrument, and had allowed me to concentrate on technique instead of note location.

Long-term bonuses like the increase in notes available and stimulating my mind to playing different music also accrued.


* Apparently, Bo Diddley did something similar: he started off as a violin player, and used a violin-like tuning to speed up his progress in learning guitar.
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#7
I drop everything down a whole step to D bc I have a deep voice and don't wanna sing no pussy shit
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