Tag Archives: open tuning

Antoine Dufour

Antoine Dufour – Acoustic Guitar  These Moments


Hammer ons, pull offs , taps, harmonics open tuning and beauty.

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Michael Hedges – The Great Acoustic Innovator

Many people are not aware of the great guitar player that influenced so many guitar players, Michael Hedges died in a car accident in 1993, he was 43 years old. He played open tuning guitar, what this means to the uninitiate is that the guitar was tuned differently. This guy is unbelievable. Be patient with this, he does his intro tune up and then. Personall I think he reinvented the acoustic guitar. He’s quite young in this video.

Enjoy the Michael Hedges youtube video

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Solo Acoustic Guitar Playing – Dropped D Blues Folk Jazz

Playing solo guitar is not only one of the most enjoyable ways of playing the guitar but as anyone that has played guitar for a while would know, it is probably the most demanding.  The reason being is that there is nowhere to hide.  The guitar player needs to play something that holds together from the beginning to the end, keeps the interest of the listener, stays in time and needs to manage to play a combination of moving parts such as chords, melodies and counter melodies similtaneously.  The classical guitarists manage to do this quite well and now have a massive repertoire of material to choose from.  But most others need to make it up themselves or create arrangements of songs.

In 1983 I was living in the hills and listening to a lot of acoustic instrumental guitarists and I wrote a number of songs.  At that time I was experimenting a lot with open-tuned guitars.   One tune I wrote was with a simple Dropped bottom D, the Bass E string tuned down a whole tone. A few years ago I decided to do I recording of the tune.  The original idea was to have a second guitar part improvising over the mid section  But I felt because this guitar blog/site is about guitar education I’d upload the song without the over dub, warts and all. 

The tune is a very reflective piece, I’d been travelling around Asia for quite some time and needed to settle in a place where there was a lot of trees e.g. forrest, a stream and plenty of clean air. I played it on a guitar I built myself and it was recorded direct via a Dana Bourgeous internal pickup system. 

 Here is the link to it http://www.the-acoustic-guitar.com/downloads/dropped_D_folk_jazz_blues.mp3

It’s an MP3 file almost 4 MB. You’ll need a reasonably fast Internet connection to download it quickly.

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Filed under acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, learning guitar, MUSIC, open tuning

C open tuning for guitar

Over a 25 years years I’ve experimented with a lot of open tunings.  originally I was inspired to do this after hearing John Martyn, John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman and then a few years after that, Michael Hedges, Pierre Bensusan, Alex de Grassi and of course Nick Drake. 

Finding material to play in normal tuning is easy these days, but getting a good range of tunes is not so easy in some of the other tunings.  what I’ve had to do over the years is create my tunes or rejig other tunes to suit.

A few weeks back , I was listening to an album by Anouar Brahem, the Oud player from Tunisia and the Norwegian sax player and I decided to arrange a piece of music in a version of  C tuning, it’s C G C G C F  from bass to treble. you’ll finfd the TAB and music notation at http://the-guitarplayer.com/?p=72 it’s very simple and short but a great piece to work with.

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DADGAD Blues for Acoustic Guitar

I wrote a simple downloadable blues in DADGAD tuning.  I uploaded it to my other blog because I have a bit more storage space.  It’s in TAB and music notation and is as free as it gets.  

Go to www.the-guitarplayer.com

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dadgad blues scale

DADGAD Blues Scale

I’ve had a couple of requests from people wanting to know how to play a Blues scale in D. I purchased some new software today, (that’s right, a guitarist who purchases guitar software).

I’ve decided to change the fingering a little to help players get out of the normal patterns and allow a few open strings to ring out.  Put it this way, if you want to do normal fingering, just stay in normal tuning; open tuning is about expanding as a guitar player.  

Below is a gif image, if you want a better print copy, Download the PDF at the link  dadgad blues scale for acoustic guitar in pdf

 dadgad blues scale

This is a Minor Blues scale (note the Flat 3 note, the F natural) , it also has a flattened 5th note which gives it that BLUE sound as well, yes it clashes sometimes with other notes, it’s about tension ……………..and………….release.

 Use it against a standard blues pattern in D.  As you may know the foundation chords would be D, G and A or A7th.

I thought very carefully about the fingering, I was going to write in the fingering but I thought, why not offer a challenge.  My first fretted note would be with my 1st finger on the 3rd fret.

Good luck…plenty to follow on this topic.

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Open tuning guitar – beginning

The first thing we notice when we start playing open tunings after playing in standard tuning is that the guitar suddenly relaxes.  It’s a bit like wearing a suit and tie and then suddenly being barefoot on the beach wearing shorts.

I was ready to post an article on something else today but I received a question from a blogger called MulledVine, it got me thinking.  He was wanting to find some online resources e.g. good basic arrangements of DADGAD songs.  OK, on the spot I couldn’t answer that because I write my own arrangements if I want to play a song.  But I’ll see what I can find in the near future.  But the question had a number of things that prompted me to write this article.

 I had a great teacher (and many others)  Ike Isaacs (Stephane Grapelli Quartet), I’d been playing 20 years when I met him and what he said was ‘you only need to learn about three songs (contrary to popular opinion)’.  What he also said was you need to learn them inside out, play them in every key,  play them with lots of chord substitutions and improvise over them.  If you do all this to three good songs that have great chord changes, by the end of it you’ll be a great player.

Getting back to DADGAD.  If you play an open chord in DADGAD it will give you a chord that I would call a Dsus4(no3rd). 
This chord is neither minor or major because it doesn’t have a 3rd; a 3rd being the defining factor of whether it is min or maj.  It has the first, a D note, a 5th an A note and the 4th note of the D scale G ( D, E, F sharp, G,  1234). 

 A lot of people would like the 3rd ( an F sharp)  to make a standard D chord, me I don’t mind, it’s implied in some way, the ear fills in the gaps.  One of the beauties of DADGAD is that it doesn’t sound like normal tuning.  But if you want a D sounding chord without the frills, the added G note, all you need to do is add a finger at the second fret on your 3rd string and it will give you another A note, so what you have now is a stack of D’s and A’s.  This is very useable regardless of all the repeated notes.

dadgad.gif

Lots of songs have 3 chords, so for this post I’ll add a couple of other chords.  To play a  G (type of) chord is very simple, just add three fretted notes, one to the 3rd string on the 4th fret, one to the 6th string on the 5th fret, and also a note at the 5th fret of the 2nd string.  The notes you would have then would be G A (avoid this low A when you strum) D B D D.  This is a G chord. In some tunes,  leaving the 2nd string open and adding that high A is quite sweet and useable.

DADGAD G chord how to

The next chord we add will be an A chord.  All you need to do is slide the fingers up two frets. 
You’ll have A A D C sharp E D. You can use the added high D note depending on the tune. 

DADGAD Chord A

Now, above we have three foundation chords in the key of D, with 3 chords we can play a lot of simple tunes.

Many classical players have a glorious guitar technique, but sometimes ( not always) they haven’t developed an ear because when they studied guitar they learnt to rely on dots, dots are a bit like training wheels, there’s a time to get rid of them.  The remedy that I find is useful for fixing this is to sit with a guitar, hum a few notes and then play them.  Then gradually get to the point where you can hum a whole melody and then play it.  Whenever I work with a singer I always learn to play a complete arrangement of a song that includes the melody and the chords together.  If the singer falls off the stage or falls in love with someone in the audience and runs off, I can keep playing.

 If you are interested in DADGAD.  I highly recommend two things, artilcles from acoustic guitar magazine Oct 2007 edition and also the April 1997 edition if you can get your hands on it.  Also the Mel Bay Complete Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Book By Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker and El McMeen has some good arrangements. update I have checked the book this evening and I have noticed there are only three tunes in there that are DADGAD, but there are numerous arrangements by El McMeen in CGDGAD, these tunes are beautiful to play. There is a simple arrangement at http://www.guitarnoise.com/article.php?id=548.  which is worth a look and could easily be developed into something much larger.

 In a nutshell, what I’m implying in this article is:

  • Develop an ear for melody and the ability to play what you here
  • Learn some basic chords in DADGAD
  • DADGAD is different to normal tuning and chords are implied not necessarily played

The idea of playing in DADGAD is to broaden your musical possibilities.  Take a simple 3 chord song that you know and try and put it into the key of D.

To be continued…

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Filed under acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD