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> Tunes A Half Step Down, Why is this?
post Feb 19 2009, 12:47 PM
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Hi David,

I was going through your lessons and found the "In the Style of Stevie Ray Vaughan" lesson which is absolutely brilliant. And also apart from the lesson in it self you state something that always have troubled me and I haven't really found a good answer for this. And that is why so many blues players, well many players overall, actually tunes the guitar a half step down? Is this to get another sound? Feeling? And if so why? I realize that this perhaps isn't easy to answer...

I have just recently discovered Andy Timmons (he is truly amazing...) and tried to practice some of his licks and style and he also tunes down the guitar a help step without explaining this to me smile.gif
And since Andy is a really "bluesy" player I figured that your "statement" that "Stevie Ray tunes a half step down, just like many blues players do" also applies to Andy.

Thanks in advance and keep it up!

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Jakub Luptovec
post Feb 19 2009, 12:52 PM
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Well basically blues players (like SRV) tend to use quite heavy gauge strings (13' and more I believe) so they downtune half step to make those strings a bit loosier - they use more than whole step bends which is hard by itself and now take into account those heavy strings..

Another reason is, that it just sounds better half step down. You can try this in standart tuning. Take a few bluesy licks and try them in different keys (Especially in B, Bb, E, Eb and A, Ab) and you will see how the sound, feeling and emotion is different - even tho there is only one halfstep defference.

Btw. Agree on Andy:) he is truely a beast with unbelievable tone smile.gif

EDIT: Oooops sorry david for hijacking biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Jakub Luptovec: Feb 19 2009, 12:54 PM

my youtube account with riffs and ideas:
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David Wallimann
post Feb 20 2009, 02:57 PM
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You're right man, it does sound different.
There can be various reasons to tuning the guitar down.
One of them is that bends are easier to achieve considering the fact that most blues players like heavy sets of strings.
That is I believe the most common reason.
Another one is that it enables your vocals to sound a bit better with your instrument. Not always, it depends of your vocal range, but that is one explanation...

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