Good Method on Quickly Switch Between Tunings

Ultimate method on how you could switch quickly between different tunings used in modern rock music.

Ultimate Guitar
It's no secret that modern metal/rock bands constantly tune to Eb, D, Db, C, B, Bb, and sometimes A or Ab. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how I could switch quickly between these different tunings - this is ultimately the method I chose and it has worked extremely well. I started by tuning to AEADGB - you could use a 7-string tuned AEADGBE. That would make the fretboard look like this:
       x   x   x   x     X   
Now, you can place a capo at the 5th fret: D A D G C E 4th fret: Db Ab Db Gb B Eb 3rd fret: C G C F Bb D The only difference is the 2nd string: it will always be one half-step away from what it would be if you had detuned it. With this, you can play everything from Korn to AC/DC and everything in between - the only band I know of who tunes lower than A is Staind (A flat), but you can tune to A flat and continue to use the capo.

37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Get a guitar with a floyd rose and that'll stop u prickin around with different tunings.....
    you can stick with ur screwy tunings. i prefer standard tuning or C-G-C-F-A-D.
    nostress: METALLICA RULES THE FU***** WORLD OF METAL Why did Metallica sell out so bad? I bet it was Lars' idea... all drummers do is beat skin for a living neway
    Yeah, i play everything in standard A anyway, and gettin a 7string soon, so this is a waste of time.
    Bah, Its E or Dropped D all the way .. *Clinches in anticipation of flamage*
    i write songs in standard but then transfer them to drop-d,you can play something instandard and have it sound exactly the same as in drop d like this: e----- ----- B----- ----- G----- ----- D -5-5-5-5---- - -- A-5-5-5-5----- ----- E-3-3-3-3----- ----- IS THE SAME AS e----- ----- B----- ----- G----- ----- D-5-5-5-5 ----- A-5 -5 -5-5----- D -5-5-5-5----- -
    Emenius Sleepus
    I tell you guys what, standard tuning is the basics of the guitar playing - like the bible or something - and yes, it is the most common and useful tuning and it isn't really a good idea to tune differently until you have mastered the standard stuff (detuned standard is still a fair game). Other tunings (whether open, higher, lower, or capoed or whateva) however allow for different chords that otherwise would be impossible to play, as well as different tonal variations either due to different string tension or lower/higher frequencies, or different chords yet again. In short, it gives you different sound to work with. Of course if you can't be creative with standard tuning then you probably suck anyway, but the advantages of tuning your guitar differently shouldn't be underestimated. It takes your writing and playing attitude in entirely different direction. It creates different moods, for instance. Then you could always have two guitars tuned differently and that shows in recording and in general playing - they don't blend together so you can hear both, or just use them for different things. Staind, for example, have the electric guitar tuned low, and an acoustic guitar tuned standard ( just 1/2 step lower). Tuning so low makes for a very distinct tone, at least distortion-wise, that you couldn't really achieve otherwise. Basically, alternative tunings can be quite useful.
    why the *** do you have to change tuning quickly any way....the only time you really need to is if your playing live....and thats why you have mroe than one guitar...
    i play for three years and i never really liked alternative tunnings till yesterday when i tune by beast down to c#. i loved it cause it sounded like the what i wanted to play. if you gonna tune down for the sake of having it down dont do it. you must have a good porpuse and must like not to try and invent a riff that sounds like st anger because is tuned down. remember there must be a reazon of why. but i still think that the standard tunning well tuned sounds better than anything else. and for beginners you should learn your theory before you attenpt to change the tunning. METALLICA RULES THE FU***** WORLD OF METAL
    This is crap. So what if you tune it lower, I get tired of standard honestly. You get different tones and completely different sounds when you change the tuning. I am still looking for a tuning that fits my music style for the songs i am writing myself. "ONly play in standard, low tunings are for people who cant play" is the stupidest comment i have ever heard. John Petrucci of Dream Theater uses low tunings but i don't see many people saying that he is a sorry guitar player. Most of it stems from the fact that most people cannot accept change because it threatens their nice little box of self-deluded perfection and the fact that they think they have got all the answers for guitar playing. Be creative....invent...dont just follow the same rules as other players. Most of the most revolutionary guitarists were inventors and made their own sound[ Hendrix, Clapton, Frampton,Malmsteen,Page, Zappa]. Don't just be a follower of scales and keys.I'm not saying that learning theory is a bad thing[in fact it's very useful]but break away and play from the heart, not a book.
    I agree with existence, if we all played a les paul ('59, of course) through an outdated (vintage) marshall in standard tuning all the time, the guitar world would be really boring. And saying its bad to drop tunings to make it easier seems pretty stupid. Why do guitar players but guitars with necks they like? If you make it easier for yourself then you can play better. And if the only objective of being a guitarist was to play things you found difficult nobody would ever stop shredding... Plus, the majority of guitarists will sometimes, if not always, play other people's work, and plenty of good stuff is in dropped tunings.
    It's nice to play in different tunings for a bassier or heavier sound to a song, but I do think tuning to open chords is lazy. The only time I would use, say, drop D would be if I was playing a song with plenty of fretwork above fret ten or so, and wanted to lay in a power chord between (if you know what I mean!). Otherwise, stardard tunings (to whatever key) are the best for positioning groups of notes you'll want close together in easy reach.
    metallicahhut wrote: screw the whole capo thing stop being so damn lazy and pick up a damn tuner a tune like a damn regular person
    obviously coming from a guy that has never played a show before what happens when i got two or 3 guitars and 5 songs that need different tunings? Hold up everyone let me grab my tuner a second... *3 minutes later* mmkay the show can go on?
    Anybody listen to the Goo Goo Dolls? Nearly half of their stuff is in a different tuning. It makes some nice sounds.
    im just trying to learn how to do scales and stuff in different tunings and still be in key. like white summer- i WANT that sound!!
    why dont you just shut the *** up about what tunings suck and what are good... its not what you the moron thinks, it is about what the guitar player personally wants his tone to be like, not to mention how he plays it
    Tom Martin
    and you cant play korn using this tuning, they tune a standard tuned 7 string down 1 step
    screw the whole capo thing stop being so damn lazy and pick up a damn tuner a tune like a damn regular person
    Tom Martin
    this is the method i use with my seven string... its a good method, apart from one thing, the tunings are wrong that damned third string screws it all up on the seven string :@ but once you get past that it is a very quick and easy method
    ad_lib_oz: meh...what ever happened to EADGBE being the standard tuning????? i agree.
    yeah more bands are directing the tunings lower and lower...its not far from rediculas...i personaly like half-a-step down. capos do mess up inlays. it sucks!
    open tunings are for lazy people you dont want to train their fingers to make real chords.... i only like such tunings when the person playing them has a better purpose for tuning it that way. otherwise, standard is the best.
    my guitar is usually in standard. it is the most practical tuning. drop-d can be useful if you know what youre doing and have a good ear. standard is what my guitar is in 99.99999% of the time.
    I agree with redwing on this one. Why not stick to standard?! my guitars are either standard or dropped 1/2 a step, none of this drop d rubbish unless I'm learning a song played in drop d or creating something different. all this drop A and B or whatever is people that can't come up with anything original in standard so they have to do a normal song dropped 3 steps or something stupid.
    P-City HXC
    When you tune that low you need sum phat strings or it\\\'l be too lose to even hear wat is being played. I used to play drop B but the heavy strings just became anoying and hard to play on. I think that the tuning you play in, helps the depict the feeling or mood of a song. Different keys and things can completely cahnge the way a song makes you feel. If you are gonna change tunings just get another guitar or 2 and have them pre tuned. Much more professional. No body wants to hear you on stage tuning your gat!
    hey now, ya can\\\'t blame the guy for trying, I think it could work if you gave it some time, but oh well, I\\\'ll just stick w/ my tuner on my pedal