Daily Archives: September 23, 2008

Alternate Tunings

Yesterday morning, I woke up just before 5:00 a.m. and since it was my day off, I was a bit frustrated because I could have used that extra hour of sleep.  Sunday had been an enormous day at church, 15 hours worth, and though I was fine to get up early enough to Anjie to the airport, 5:00 was earlier than I wanted.  But I was awake, so I got up, grabbed some coffee and wandered into the living room, where my guitar was looking bored.  Instinctively, I picked it up.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed playing guitar as much as I am these days.   I’m not much a player, but for reasons that I’ll have to blog about later, my skills are improving, and it’s just fun.

So I’m playing along in the key of A, holding a simple figuring, enjoying the fact that as I move it up and down the fretboard, I’m getting sounds I like, what they call droning chords (I think that’s what they call them), and it occurs to me to shift the fingering down a string, so that now we’re working in the key of E.  But it doesn’t work, because the “G” string isn’t right.  It’s an open string, so I think, what I’m doing will work if I were drop the G to an F#. So I do.

Sure enough, what I was trying to do worked.

Alternate ways of tuning the guitar is something I’ve always wanted to mess around with.  David Wilcox plays all kinds of tunings, but I’ve never taken the time to learn how all that works.  But the sheer delight of accidentally discovering that simple move from G to F# has inspired me.  As I played up and down the fretboard much of the day, I felt a kind of joy that often escapes me.

It’s not hard to make the application that change is like that.   Small re-tunings, a mere half-step’s worth, is often enough to dislodge the dissonance

No lyrics, though…

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