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Old 04-22-2010, 03:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
killedmyraindog
 
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Default A rant about guitar

let me say up front that I really want to love the guitar but every time I try, it drives me crazy. Heres a typical run in...

"hmm, well I really like "Death Letter" so maybe i'll try that.

[Tune your guitar to some ****ed up tuning with only 3 different notes]

"****ing....really?"

And every time I confess this dismay to someone, they say "oh well you can just move it up the neck" as if someone who Youtubes his guitar lessons would know what that is.

I tried figuring that out once, but between the b-string ruining everything, and the half-steps I just don't know if I can do it on my own.

Is anyone else this helplessly hopeless when it comes to the axe?
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As someone who has spent the better half of my life trying to master this instrument I can only say that i wish I had been given piano lessons as a kid.

The guitar is a counter-intuitive instrument when it comes to tuning. It is tuned in fifths with the exception of the B string which is tuned a half step down only to return to the fifth for the high E string. It makes no sense. The piano, on the other hand, is tuned linearly, and makes perfect sense. All of the naturals are layed out end to end in the white keys and all the sharps/flats are respectively layed out in correct interval to the naturals end to end on the black keys. I can sit down at a piano for hours, having a minimal amount of training, with the instrument and be completely enthralled with the possibilites of voicing, chord inversion, intervals, et al, but I get easily confused and annoyed,still, with the guitar and practiced at it a better part of my whole life.

The guitar's popularity has more to due with the fact that it is unobtrusive in live performance, it appeals to the rock star dreams and posturing that pre and post pubescent boys aspire to, which is the reason that most pick up the instrument, that and it's ubiquity in modern music. There are many other instruments that I enjoy playing more than the guitar, but for the sake of it's familiarity it's something that I continue to pick up and play.

I guess I'm saying I feel your frustration.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I genuinely feel like it was invented by someone who got most of the way through, then half-assed the rest because he just wanted to start getting his cup filled with coins.

I think its time they updated the damn thing.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I actually find the fact that the b string is a half step down adds to some of the interesting chord patterns I can make with the instrument. I've never received lessons and I have absolutely zero music theory knowledge, I really just play for fun. And as someone who has spent nearly all my time purely on chords and chord progressions, I really value how interesting you can make some of the chords sound just by changing one finger placing.

I see what you mean, for sure...and the piano really does seem far more intuitive. I just feel like the guitar is a bit more versatile. Alternate tunings are pretty weird when you first start them out, but I find playing in one can make it seem like a completely new instrument. Not to mention all the different sounds and effects (if it is electric) you can get out of it.

I definitely go through ups and downs. Sometimes when I play, I feel absolutely zero creativity coming out of it. Other times I feel like a guitar god. Anyways, this is getting long winded...that's my 2 cents.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The B-G string major 3rd can be both a blessing and a curse. Some technical things become easier, others more difficult. More importantly I think, it takes more effort to "see" all the notes on the instrument the way you can on a piano, but if you take the time to do that, (possibly a lifetime?) then just like a piano you're only limited by your creativity, and not the instrument. At least that's what I'm hoping.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TheBig3KilledMyRainDog View Post
"hmm, well I really like "Death Letter" so maybe i'll try that.

[Tune your guitar to some ****ed up tuning with only 3 different notes]

Is anyone else this helplessly hopeless when it comes to the axe?
so... i'm going to tear into your example and hope it addresses your actual issue a bit.

from what i'm finding quickly on google. the original 'Death Letter' is by Son House and tuned to open G - DGDGBD, the White Stripes version seems to be a half step up only whoever wrote the tab screwed up and forgot the B & E rule and put Db instead of C for the B string. so you can either try tuning to all the sharps and flats or tune it to the majors listed above and slap a capo on the 1st fret and add 1 to all the numbers in the tab.

the idea of just 'moving it up the neck' is reaction by someone half listening to what you're saying and thinking that because you're using an open tuning that it's the same as the song being in a different key and you could just 'move it up the neck' to the appropriate location with a capo. this is not the case and won't help your situation AT ALL.

and if you think that tuning is a hassle here's the one for Mind Riot by Soundgarden - EEEEee. yeah.

having said all that open tunings can be really awesome and open the instrument up to a variety of new sounds. again Soundgarden being the simplest and quickest example for me a few of their last singles (Pretty Noose / Burden in my Hand) were both written in open C7 (if i remember correctly) - CGCGBE for sure. Keith Richards was also a big fan of open tunings like open G or D. it makes it easier for the musician to play since they're now able to sound a specific chord shape by just laying one finger down across the fretboard, but that also frees up a few more fingers for accents and embellishments that would otherwise be impossible to pull off in standard tuning.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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and if you think that tuning is a hassle here's the one for Mind Riot by Soundgarden - EEEEee. yeah.
Isn't that also the tuning for My Wave?

I actually took the time tuning it correctly to play that song when I got an official tab book and even though it was a pain in the ass, once I got it it was a lot of fun to play.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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close, My Wave is EEEEBB

and yeah both Mind Riot and My Wave (and actually pretty much everything by Soundgarden) is super fun to play when you go through the hassles of tuning properly. i used to keep a beater guitar with random strings on it specifically to play SG's odder tuned songs back in the day.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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so... i'm going to tear into your example and hope it addresses your actual issue a bit.

and if you think that tuning is a hassle here's the one for Mind Riot by Soundgarden - EEEEee. yeah.
You know, I'm attempting to learn some things on three instruments right now. I'm starting to think Guitar isn't much different than Accordion.
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You know, I'm attempting to learn some things on three instruments right now. I'm starting to think Guitar isn't much different than Accordion.
wow, never heard that comparison before hahaha care to elaborate?

also, what other instruments are you learning?
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