18 July 2011

The benefits of standard tuning

One of the reasons that I bought my Roland VG-8EX is that I broke a string.

I was trying to tune one of my guitars in major thirds. The standard tuning for guitar consists of perfect fourths except for the interval between the second and third strings, which is a major third. It would be nice if the tuning were uniform. Also, standard tuning requires shifting position to get to certain notes even on the middle strings. Tuning to straight major thirds addresses both those issues.

The Roland “virtual guitar” systems allow you to “virtually” retune each string, so you can experiment with wacky tunings without having to worry about strings breaking, being too loose, or non-uniform tension across the neck. So, I have been able to play around with major third tuning without breaking any more strings or being worried about abusing my guitars.

Major third tuning is cool. Strangely, though, it has also given me a new appreciation for standard tuning. Those challenges that standard tuning presents are also opportunities for creative solutions. (e.g. Instead of shifting to get to a note, bend to it.) Or sometimes simply pushing yourself to do something that isn’t easy. And that can spur musical creativity too.

1 comment:

Ragnorakk said...

My appreciation for standard tuning grew after playing around with alternate tunings for a while. It is a broadly efficient tuning.