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  1. #1

    Major Thirds Tuning

    anyone experimented with Major Thirds Tuning?

    Major thirds tuning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I noticed Ralph Patt (vanilla book guy) uses it?

    anyone have some scale shapes in Major thirds tuning?

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Patt

    "He invented major-thirds tuning under the inspiration of first the atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg and second the jazz of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman."

    any examples of how this would help with applying 3rds tuning to Coltrane?
    Last edited by bobsguitars09; 05-25-2013 at 09:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Yup, it's awesome, but it's like a whole different instrument... I don't have enough time to bother!

  3. #3
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    For most part when you drift into land of alternative tunings your on your own and why doing it is also an great education in guitar and music theory to create resources for yourself.
    Last edited by docbop; 05-26-2013 at 11:24 AM.

  4. #4
    Ralph Patt

    Born 5 December 1929
    Kittanning, Pennsylvania
    Died 6 October 2010 (aged 80)
    Canby, Oregon

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesMan View Post
    Ralph Patt

    Born 5 December 1929
    Kittanning, Pennsylvania
    Died 6 October 2010 (aged 80)
    Canby, Oregon

    Didn't know Ralph had transitioned, I edited my post.

  6. #6
    a great loss. I wonder if he has any students floating around that have some of his knowledge?

  7. #7
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    Just made a post about this with my thoughts on M3 tuning in another thread:

    I tried both the symmetrical P4 and M3 tunings for a few months each when I was feeling in a rut artistically. What jster says is very accurate. I think if you are primarily interested in being a burning bebop or modern jazz player, the two tunings are really shortcuts for awesomeness.

    Having experimented with both, I think the M3 tuning is actually superior for single-line playing because you have all 12 keys available to you within a 4-fret span. Imagine if the Leavitt system worked without stretches, and you have something of an idea. There are also, then, only 4 possible fingerings for every melodic pattern depending on which of the four fingers on the left hand you start with. It really is nice, and cuts out a lot of the practicing you have to do. On Leavitt's system there are 24 possible one-octave major scale fingerings. In Ralph Patt's M3 tuning system there are 4.

    The huge downside of both systems is that you lose the great barre, and thusly your chord/melody style playing is severelyrestricted. You can certainly play some things that sound nice, and you can develop a concept that is different than traditional chord melody, but your ability to maintain bass/harmony/melody at the same time suffers. I love this style of playing enough that I couldn't stick with either symmetrical tuning.

    I've also found that as I'm getting older I'm more and more of a traditionalist and want to learn older music and be connected to the past. Changing the guitar tuning restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire. If you're more of an artistic maverick than me, it might be what you're looking for.

    The experiment did give me an appreciation for standard tuning and what an elegant solution lowering the B and E strings a half-step really was to opening up the instrument for more orchestral arrangements.

    do any learning systems benefit from 4ths tuning?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    I tried both the symmetrical P4 and M3 tunings for a few months each [snip]

    The huge downside of both systems is that you lose the great barre, and thusly your chord/melody style playing is severelyrestricted. You can certainly play some things that sound nice, and you can develop a concept that is different than traditional chord melody, but your ability to maintain bass/harmony/melody at the same time suffers. I love this style of playing enough that I couldn't stick with either symmetrical tuning.

    I've also found that as I'm getting older I'm more and more of a traditionalist and want to learn older music and be connected to the past. Changing the guitar tuning restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire. If you're more of an artistic maverick than me, it might be what you're looking for.

    The experiment did give me an appreciation for standard tuning and what an elegant solution lowering the B and E strings a half-step really was to opening up the instrument for more orchestral arrangements.
    Patt took six months of full-time practice to become professionally competent in major-thirds tuning. How much time did you spend?

    Patt's website has scores of recordings of his playing jazz standards in M3 tuning. Would you please discuss one of these recordings and explain why you think that Patt's playing suffers from the faults (that you claim to be associated with M3 tuning)?
    -"your chord/melody style playing is severely restricted"
    -"restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire"

    Patt noted that M3 tuning allows the playing of sevenths chords within 4 frets, which should be a considerable advantage for a jazz guitarist, who has trouble simultaneously covering 6 frets. Playing 7ths in closed position is "traditional chord melody", and is the basis for discussions of music theory and practice outside of guitars with Spanish-tuning.

    Patt's website focuses on 4-string chords for jazz guitarists. If you want to play around a campfire and want six-string chords to strum (in voicings more consistent than Spanish tuning), you can look at the chord guides by William Sethares and by Andreas Griewank, which are also linked from the Wikipedia article on Major-thirds tuning.
    Major thirds tuning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cheers,
    -Kiefer

  9. #9
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    Kiefer, do you have any examples of Patt playing in a chord/mel style? I've never heard him do it. The only clips I've heard are the ones on his website, and he's never doing unaccompanied solo work.

    I worked with M3 tuning for between 2-3 months, enough time to try to work up some short chord/mel arrangements and decide the system wasn't worth pursuing for me.

    Do you use 3rds tuning? Any clips of you demoing chord/mel playing with the tuning?

  10. #10
    I play a straight A major chord like this: 5x7644

    And A minor like this: 5x7544

    So I lose that low fifth. Not sure that is any real loss anyway.

    ecj, do you have any other specific chords that you feel you couldn't play where you felt the loss was greatest? I'd actually pay you for a list.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Do you use 3rds tuning? Any clips of you demoing chord/mel playing with the tuning?
    You shall laugh when you read this!


    I am teaching myself guitar with M3 tuning G#-C-E-G#-C-E. I knew that my daughter's birth (and my professional duties) would mean that I would have little time to practice, and so I chose the tuning that would make learning the fretboard and learning basic chords the simplest.

    (I had heard that "you have no idea what your life will be like after she is born", and I am glad that I chose M3 tuning even as an ignoramus.)

    I shall be happy when I can entertain my daughter and wife.

    I have a cheap Russian classical guitar that I tune in a variant on English open-C tuning (CEGCEG), E-G-C-E-G-C-E, which my daughter can pluck and strum. It's close to my tuning, of course. It's fun to strum open chords. I'm hoping that my wife shall strum with me---and perhaps my daughter when she's 8 or so. Now, she is likely to bite the guitar!

    I warned you that you would laugh!


    Cheers!
    -Kiefer

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    I play a straight A major chord like this: 5x7644

    And A minor like this: 5x7544

    So I lose that low fifth. Not sure that is any real loss anyway.

    ecj, do you have any other specific chords that you feel you couldn't play where you felt the loss was greatest? I'd actually pay you for a list.
    Hey jster - those are the voicings I'm talking about. You lose the ability to sustain a low root note on the 5th or 6th strings and easily finger the 5th or root note above it on the high strings. I didn't say you can't voice the chord, it's just much harder to keep everything together, IMO.

    If you watch Joe Pass, Paco de Lucia, Segovia, most great unaccompanied players in different styles on the guitar, they rely extremely heavily on the great barre. It's just an elegant solution, and probably the reason that the guitar is structured the way it is in terms of tuning.

    Doing something like playing a descending Bb minor scale with a sustained bass note ringing on the 5th fret, 6th string is incredibly difficult. I found that my attempts to play chord/mel ended up sounding really broken up, and I lost a lot of fluidity.

    I abandoned it pretty quick after making this determination for myself, so I'm more than willing to eat my words if there are some really nice examples out there. I just haven't heard it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    You shall laugh when you read this!


    I am teaching myself guitar with M3 tuning G#-C-E-G#-C-E. I knew that my daughter's birth (and my professional duties) would mean that I would have little time to practice, and so I chose the tuning that would make learning the fretboard and learning basic chords the simplest.

    (I had heard that "you have no idea what your life will be like after she is born", and I am glad that I chose M3 tuning even as an ignoramus.)

    I shall be happy when I can entertain my daughter and wife.

    I have a cheap Russian classical guitar that I tune in a variant on English open-C tuning (CEGCEG), E-G-C-E-G-C-E, which my daughter can pluck and strum. It's close to my tuning, of course. It's fun to strum open chords. I'm hoping that my wife shall strum with me---and perhaps my daughter when she's 8 or so. Now, she is likely to bite the guitar!

    I warned you that you would laugh!


    Cheers!
    -Kiefer
    Congratulations on the new addition to the family!

    It's all about enjoyment in the end. I was just curious to see if you knew of folks who are using the M3 thing for serious solo guitar playing. I was torn about giving it up, because learning melodic things is so freakin' easy it's unbelievable. I just felt like the trade-off wasn't worth it for me.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Congratulations on the new addition to the family!

    It's all about enjoyment in the end. I was just curious to see if you knew of folks who are using the M3 thing for serious solo guitar playing. I was torn about giving it up, because learning melodic things is so freakin' easy it's unbelievable. I just felt like the trade-off wasn't worth it for me.
    Thank you very much for your good wishes, and for tolerating my abrupt questions!

    Besides Patt, there are two others who have posted recordings of their playing (known to me):

    Patrick Zemb independently invented M3 tuning, somewhat later than Ralph Patt. (I think Patt and he corresponded.) He has about 6 recordings at his site:
    La Guitare #5 par la diagionale des quartes, page D1 (en Francais)
    Google Translate ("English" via Google translator)
    In the first recording, he is playing with a bassist.

    Ole Kirkeby has posted Guitar Pro 6 files along with pdfs, etc. of many contemporary jazz standards at his website on M3 tuning, for solos
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Solo Arrangements
    and for duets:
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Duets
    To hear Ole Kirkeby playing, please look at his collaborations:
    Music Profile for m3roadworx - Kompoz.com

    Kirkeby and Zemb's websites' homepages are listed at the Wikipedia article on major thirds tuning (noted once before on this thread)
    Major thirds tuning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (There was also a website of a fellow offering lessons in M3 tuning, without any recordings, but I couldn't find it now.)

    Best regards,
    --Kiefer

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post

    Doing something like playing a descending Bb minor scale with a sustained bass note ringing on the 5th fret, 6th string is incredibly difficult. I found that my attempts to play chord/mel ended up sounding really broken up, and I lost a lot of fluidity.
    Do you mean 6th fret?

  16. #16
    I just checked this out on the guitar. So for Bbminor, you have a barre from the E to the C string. You can then catch the root on the C string 10th fret and run down the scale from there two octaves to the ringing bass.

    More generally, you don't lose the great barre. (Love the name by the way!) You lose a great barre and pick up another.

    Even more generally, this is something that has really been a pleasant surprise. When I started two years ago, I thought that I was definitely going to pay a price in the chords department. But that never happened. Rather some things became a little harder. Other things became easier. Overall, more things became possible because of the greater range. I was really surprised. That is why I said I would pay for a list of problem chords/concepts because I haven't really found that to be true. The only thing that I would say is that you can't play a Joe Pass arrangement exactly as he played it. But I am convinced that one could come up with something equally musical and chalk full of 6 note chords.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jster
    Do you mean 6th fret?
    Woops. Yes, the 6th.

    Quote Originally Posted by jster
    I just checked this out on the guitar. So for Bbminor, you have a barre from the E to the C string. You can then catch the root on the C string 10th fret and run down the scale from there two octaves to the ringing bass.

    More generally, you don't lose the great barre. (Love the name by the way!) You lose a great barre and pick up another.

    Even more generally, this is something that has really been a pleasant surprise. When I started two years ago, I thought that I was definitely going to pay a price in the chords department. But that never happened. Rather some things became a little harder. Other things became easier. Overall, more things became possible because of the greater range. I was really surprised. That is why I said I would pay for a list of problem chords/concepts because I haven't really found that to be true. The only thing that I would say is that you can't play a Joe Pass arrangement exactly as he played it. But I am convinced that one could come up with something equally musical and chalk full of 6 note chords.


    I see what you're saying, but I really feel like making the #5 and b9 the notes easily accessibly by barreing from the 6th string ends up hampering your ability to play smoothly in the conventional realm of Western tonal music. I'd be interested to hear you try to adapt a classical pieces or Pass transcription to your tuning system - I couldn't get it together myself and gave up.

    I was just sharing my experiences with it, and some food for thought. A lot of times these discussions can end up sounding like conversations between evangelical proponents of religious faiths, and I think it's important for people (especially new players) to understand that there are pros and cons for different systems.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    Thank you very much for your good wishes, and for tolerating my abrupt questions!

    Besides Patt, there are two others who have posted recordings of their playing (known to me):

    Patrick Zemb independently invented M3 tuning, somewhat later than Ralph Patt. (I think Patt and he corresponded.) He has about 6 recordings at his site:
    La Guitare #5 par la diagionale des quartes, page D1 (en Francais)
    Google Translate ("English" via Google translator)
    In the first recording, he is playing with a bassist.

    Ole Kirkeby has posted Guitar Pro 6 files along with pdfs, etc. of many contemporary jazz standards at his website on M3 tuning, for solos
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Solo Arrangements
    and for duets:
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Duets
    To hear Ole Kirkeby playing, please look at his collaborations:
    Music Profile for m3roadworx - Kompoz.com

    Kirkeby and Zemb's websites' homepages are listed at the Wikipedia article on major thirds tuning (noted once before on this thread)
    Major thirds tuning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (There was also a website of a fellow offering lessons in M3 tuning, without any recordings, but I couldn't find it now.)

    Best regards,
    --Kiefer
    Thanks for sharing, Kiefer.

    As further food for thought, visit the Ole Kirkeby kompoz.com site you posted, scroll down about half way, and watch the solo vid of Dolphin Dance that he has up. That's kind of what I'm talking about. It's a nice arrangement, and he's a good player, but that looks like an incredibly difficult series of fingerings and a really tough arrangement. It ends up sounding pretty choppy because few of the transitions are nice and smooth like you'll see when you watch someone like Martin Taylor and his first finger is just barreing everything in site very comfortably.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Thanks for sharing, Kiefer.

    As further food for thought, visit the Ole Kirkeby kompoz.com site you posted, scroll down about half way, and watch the solo vid of Dolphin Dance that he has up. That's kind of what I'm talking about. It's a nice arrangement, and he's a good player, but that looks like an incredibly difficult series of fingerings and a really tough arrangement. It ends up sounding pretty choppy because few of the transitions are nice and smooth like you'll see when you watch someone like Martin Taylor and his first finger is just barreing everything in site very comfortably.
    Perhaps we could examine one of his tabs (generated with Guitar Pro 6, which I cannot access on my Ubuntu) and compare it with a standard-tuning tab?

    I was thinking that minor-thirds tuning would allow more barring, but for triads inversions would require muting a string (but for seventh chords would be simple).
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 09-13-2013 at 05:39 AM. Reason: I was thinking of triads, not sevenths chords, for which minor thirds tuning would allow simple inversions

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Woops. Yes, the 6th.



    I see what you're saying, but I really feel like making the #5 and b9 the notes easily accessibly by barreing from the 6th string ends up hampering your ability to play smoothly in the conventional realm of Western tonal music. I'd be interested to hear you try to adapt a classical pieces or Pass transcription to your tuning system - I couldn't get it together myself and gave up.

    I was just sharing my experiences with it, and some food for thought. A lot of times these discussions can end up sounding like conversations between evangelical proponents of religious faiths, and I think it's important for people (especially new players) to understand that there are pros and cons for different systems.[/COLOR]
    I don't think I'll be playing much classical in the future. I took a summer of lessons once for fun, and it was fun.

    As for jazz, I have only worked on maybe two chord solos since I started, but I didn't see any major problems. Of course the #5 and b9 are pretty well suited to Monk tunes.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    One final point about P4 vs. M3 that hasn't been touched on is arpeggios. For P4, and standard tuning, but not for M3, in addition to regular vertical arps, there are also diagonal arps that are made up of four note boxes. What is so amazing about them is that unlike vertical arps, the relation between a four note box and the next four note box in the cycle or moving step wise is crystal clear. Playing through the changes is super easy. Not only do I know eactly where the 1357 are for the chord I'm on, I know exactly where they are for the next chord. And that holds true even if I run up or down and octave or two. I can't emphasize this enough. In standard tuning, nobody uses these because they are an additional headache because of the G-B string wrinkle. But for P4, they are the single best thing about the tuning.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    I don't think I'll be playing much classical in the future. I took a summer of lessons once for fun, and it was fun.

    As for jazz, I have only worked on maybe two chord solos since I started, but I didn't see any major problems. Of course the #5 and b9 are pretty well suited to Monk tunes.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    One final point about P4 vs. M3 that hasn't been touched on is arpeggios. For P4, and standard tuning, but not for M3, in addition to regular vertical arps, there are also diagonal arps that are made up of four note boxes. What is so amazing about them is that unlike vertical arps, the relation between a four note box and the next four note box in the cycle or moving step wise is crystal clear. Playing through the changes is super easy. Not only do I know eactly where the 1357 are for the chord I'm on, I know exactly where they are for the next chord. And that holds true even if I run up or down and octave or two. I can't emphasize this enough. In standard tuning, nobody uses these because they are an additional headache because of the G-B string wrinkle. But for P4, they are the single best thing about the tuning.
    Christopher Calloway Brooks prepared illustrations of such P4 patterns

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    Christopher Calloway Brooks prepared illustrations of such P4 patterns

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
    what is he trying to show here?

  23. #23
    I asked this question in the 4ths thread also.

    can anyone give an example of how 3rds
    tuning would affect playing bluegrass? What

    are the disadvantages ? Are there any
    advantages? pertaining to playing bluegrass with 3rds tuning ?

  24. #24
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    For bluegrass? Yikes - you'll lose all your typical open cowboy chords. Those are like the heart and soul of the music.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    I asked this question in the 4ths thread also.

    can anyone give an example of how 3rds
    tuning would affect playing bluegrass? What

    are the disadvantages ? Are there any
    advantages? pertaining to playing bluegrass with 3rds tuning ?
    It would be natural to have an ensemble with different M3 tunings, with 6 string guitars, to cover high and low tones.

    Otherwise, it may depends on the player, more than the tuning.

    Somebody once declared that new standard tuning is bad for bluegrass.
    ;D
    Robert Fripp and his Guitar Craft students play the Wabash Cannonball with a nearly all perfect-fifths tuning, called New Standard Tuning. Watch at c. 4:45 minutes:seconds, please:


    A member of the California Guitar Trio is a fan of bluegrass, I think.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    Christopher Calloway Brooks prepared illustrations of such P4 patterns

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
    No. Those are scales. I was specifically making a point about arpeggios.

  27. #27

    M3 tuning pamphlet (pdf file)

    I created a signature, appended hereafter, which lists Wikipedia articles of interest to me, in particular a pamphlet on M3 tuning, which may interest some.
    Cheers,

  28. #28
    on Ralph Patt's page he says to tune

    6 (string)
    6th low E; 5th Ab; 4th C; 3rd E; 2nd Ab; 1st C;
    The Major 3rd Tuning

    on wiki it says
    G# C E G# C E what gives??
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rds_tuning.png

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    on Ralph Patt's page he says to tune

    6 (string)
    6th low E; 5th Ab; 4th C; 3rd E; 2nd Ab; 1st C;
    The Major 3rd Tuning

    on wiki it says
    G# C E G# C E what gives??
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rds_tuning.png
    G# (G sharp) and Ab (A flat) are enharmonically equivalent, as stated in Wikipedia's article.

    To be tuned in an M3 tuning, a steel-string guitar with a truss rod can tolerate open strings pitched between low C to high Ab=G#, which is nine pitches in M3 tuning. Thus, there are four M3 tunings with the same pitch classes, beginning with either C, E, G#=Ab, or C.

    Because of the regularity and repetitiveness of M3 tuning, it is easy to play each of the four tunings, simply by shifting either 0, 4, 8, or 12 frets (from your favorite M3 tuning). Kirkeby and Wikipedia give the G#-E M3 tuning; Patt the E-C on 6 strings. (Patt played with 8 strings pitched E-Ab.)
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 05-30-2013 at 12:35 PM. Reason: spelling, links

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    on Ralph Patt's page he says to tune

    6 (string)
    6th low E; 5th Ab; 4th C; 3rd E; 2nd Ab; 1st C;
    The Major 3rd Tuning

    on wiki it says
    G# C E G# C E what gives??
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rds_tuning.png
    I've switched to the low E on my (six-string) Ovation so that the tuning covers the low-E of standard tuning (and the high-E on frets 5-8 and higher notes through frets 9-20).

    My switch was prompted by my purchase of a Parker MaxxFly PDF105, which has 22 frets and a double cutaway, which has enough high notes for me!
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 09-05-2013 at 04:39 AM. Reason: remove aside on practice-amplifier Vox VT20+ with acoustic simulation, etc., for my Parker's piezo and humbuckers

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Thanks for sharing, Kiefer.

    As further food for thought, visit the Ole Kirkeby kompoz.com site you posted, scroll down about half way, and watch the solo vid of Dolphin Dance that he has up. That's kind of what I'm talking about. It's a nice arrangement, and he's a good player, but that looks like an incredibly difficult series of fingerings and a really tough arrangement. It ends up sounding pretty choppy because few of the transitions are nice and smooth like you'll see when you watch someone like Martin Taylor and his first finger is just barreing everything in site very comfortably.
    There is a long tradition of using bass lines on the Russian guitar, which is tuned (approximately in major thirds) in open-G tuning D-G-B-D-G-B-D, according to the monograph by Timofeyev:
    Timofeyev, Oleg V. (1999). The golden age of the Russian guitar: Repertoire, performance practice, and social function of the Russian seven-string guitar music, 1800-1850. Duke University, Department of Music. pp. 1–584. University Microfilms (UMI), Ann Arbor, Michigan, number 9928880.
    Of course, the Russian classical guitar has seven strings, which facilitates the bass-line playing and droning. (Forgive any sloppiness in terminology, please.)

    The sound of the Russian guitar's open tuning motivated me to experiment with the overtones open-tuning C-C-G-C-E-G on my Ovation, with the cross-note (minor) variant replacing E with Eb. I loved the rich major and minor chords: The sympathetic resonance of the barre-chord strings makes the guitar come alive!
    My daughter enjoyed strumming the guitar much more than she does with the augmented chord of major thirds tuning.

    It was trivial to alternate between bass notes and power chords on the low strings and melody on the high strings. (My left pointing finger is now much stronger after a month of barring, also.)


    You are right. These musical goods are unavailable with M3 tunings with six strings. Apparently droning and bass lines are conventional in Russian guitar, which has seven strings.

    On the other hand, sevenths chords (in closed position) were often difficult with the overtones tuning C-C-G-C-Eb-G, and I broke strings experimenting with G# (often reaching to A).... So the open tuning was not for me....

    I suspect that Martin Taylor makes almost any amateur look choppy, but I agree that the Ole's fingerings are difficult.

  32. #32
    It's fun to strum open chords. I'm hoping that my wife shall strum with me---and perhaps my daughter when she's 8 or so. Now, she is likely to bite the guitar!

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post

    One final point about P4 vs. M3 that hasn't been touched on is arpeggios. For P4, and standard tuning, but not for M3, in addition to regular vertical arpeggios, there are also diagonal arpeggios that are made up of four note boxes. What is so amazing about them is that unlike vertical arpeggios, the relation between a four note box and the next four note box in the cycle or moving step wise is crystal clear. Playing through the changes is super easy. Not only do I know eactly where the 1357 are for the chord I'm on, I know exactly where they are for the next chord. And that holds true even if I run up or down and octave or two. I can't emphasize this enough. In standard tuning, nobody uses these because they are an additional headache because of the G-B string wrinkle. But for P4, they are the single best thing about the tuning.
    I am exploring the relative merits of M3 vs. P4. I don't understand what you mean about diagonal arpeggios and four-note boxes and why they are clearer in P4 than M3. Could you please help me to understand this - or point me to a reference that discusses this?

  34. #34
    Ma7 arpeggio (standard tuning)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------5--------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------5-----------3----6------------------------------
    --------------------------------------4-----------2---5-----------3--------------------------------------------
    --------------4-------------2----5-----------3---------------------------------------------------------------
    ------2--5-------------3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    Ma7 arpeggio (P4th tuning)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------4--------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------4-----------2----5------------------------------
    --------------------------------------4-----------2---5-----------3--------------------------------------------
    --------------4-------------2----5-----------3---------------------------------------------------------------
    ------2--5-------------3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





    Ma7 arpeggio (Maj 3rd tuning)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------6--------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------6-----------3----6------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------6----------3---6-----------3--------------------------------------------
    ---------------6-------------3----6-----------3---------------------------------------------------------------
    ------3---6-------------3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --3---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  35. #35
    Thanks for the diagrams!

    You have displayed nice arpeggios with major-seventh chords in standard and P4 tunings.

    Can you explain why you think having such arpeggio-diagonals is so important?
    Doesn't every tuning feature some nice patterns (by Ramsey Theory)?

    Sincerely,
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 09-02-2013 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Remove stupidity

  36. #36
    @Keith

    Cmaj7 diagonal arp beginning on the 5th (using 1st and 4th fingers):

    F string: C E
    C string: G B
    G string: C E
    D string: G B
    A string: C E
    E string: G B

    C7 diagonal arp beginning on the 5th (using 1st and 3rd, then 1st and 4th fingers:

    F string: C E
    C string: G Bb
    G string: C E
    D string: G Bb
    A string: C E
    E string: G Bb

    Generalize to all 7th chords.

    Then generalize to beginning on the root, 3rd, and 7th.

    So for four types of 7th chords you will have 4x4=16 diagonal arps. Since there isn't much difference between starting on the 5th and starting on the root, we could say that there are only 8. But there are different ways to finger some of them, so that might increase the number we count.

    I explained above why these are so good: "What is so amazing about them is that unlike vertical arpeggios, the relation between a four note box and the next four note box in the cycle or moving step wise is crystal clear. Playing through the changes is super easy. Not only do I know eactly where the 1357 are for the chord I'm on, I know exactly where they are for the next chord. And that holds true even if I run up or down and octave or two."
    Last edited by jster; 09-03-2013 at 10:50 AM.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    @Keith

    Cmaj7 diagonal arp beginning on the 5th (using 1st and 4th fingers):

    F string: C E
    C string: G B
    G string: C E
    D string: G B
    A string: C E
    E string: G B

    C7 diagonal arp beginning on the 5th (using 1st and 3rd, then 1st and 4th fingers:

    F string: C E
    C string: G Bb
    G string: C E
    D string: G Bb
    A string: C E
    E string: G Bb

    Generalize to all 7th chords.

    Then generalize to beginning on the root, 3rd, and 7th.

    So for four types of 7th chords you will have 4x4=16 diagonal arps. Since there isn't much difference between starting on the 5th and starting on the root, we could say that there are only 8. But there are different ways to finger some of them, so that might increase the number we count.

    I explained above why these are so good: "What is so amazing about them is that unlike vertical arpeggios, the relation between a four note box and the next four note box in the cycle or moving step wise is crystal clear. Playing through the changes is super easy. Not only do I know eactly where the 1357 are for the chord I'm on, I know exactly where they are for the next chord. And that holds true even if I run up or down and octave or two."
    How is this significantly different than standard tuning? I have never really seen what is so different about 4ths tuning. Other than that one little shift between the third and second strings, it's exactly the same. Your arpeggios are a good example of this. You can do exactly the same in standard tuning.
    Last edited by ColinO; 09-03-2013 at 11:36 AM.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
    How is this significantly different than standard tuning? I have never really seen what is so different about 4ths tuning. Other than that one little shift between the third and second strings, it's exactly the same. Your arpeggios are a good example of this. You can do exactly the same in standard tuning.
    Well, as I said above, it is a lot more complicated. Right away you have a huge difference between diagonal ones where the root is on the E string and those where it is on the A string. So that will double your number of patterns right there. Really, it is far worse because the standard tuning diagonal patterns are only defined by how they sit across all six strings. The P4 patterns are defined by how they sit across 2 strings. And, as I said above, linking P4 patterns through a cycle of 4ths/5ths is super clear. Everything is much much easier. Everything takes 1/7th the time. Perhaps it is even more extreme. There is no question that I could teach a beginner how to play through changes far earlier than if he were using standard tuning. It's "not exactly the same". Not even close. Exactly the same might be tuning the whole guitar down. There are monstrous costs for destroying symmetry the way standard tuning does. If you look at bathroom tiles that are all the same size, it is easy to visualize how they fit together. If you look at odd shaped tiles, then it is much much harder to do so. Imagine a piano where the 66th key is removed and the others are shifted over. Would that be "exactly the same"? All the notes are there. No, it would be a nightmare. But that's what guitarists do. And it's not, like say English poetry, where lots of different meters have been tried and the ones that work best get used over and over. It is not like that at all, although that argument gets made from time to time. Rather, the vast majority of guitarists do what they are told and put in an enormous amount of time before they ever, if they ever, consider different tunings. And just for kicks, consider open chords. With P4 you have 6 notes, with standard only 5. So P4 actually allows you to play more open chords than standard tuning.

  39. #39
    I'm not knocking P4. But I think that you are exaggerating the differences. In terms of the point that you are making:

    1. Difference when starting on A doubles the number of patterns. Not really - it's the same patterns as P4 only you have to remember to shift the pattern up a fret when you get to string 2(ascending). The patterns are the same otherwise.

    2. "standard tuning diagonal patterns are only defined by how they sit across all six strings". I'm not sure what you mean by this. You can play two string arpeggios using standard tuning using essentially the same patterns as the ones used in P4. Again, the one fret shift doesn't really change the pattern.

    3. "linking P4 patterns through a cycle of 4ths/5ths is super clear". I don't really see what's unclear about them in standard. Again, standard IS essentially P4 with that one shift.

    I'm not saying don't use P4, but I just think the disadvantages of standard are overblown sometimes. For example, there really are only three simple patterns to play a first inversion Maj7 arpeggio in standard tuning and the same goes with m7, 7, and m7b5 arps. Not the dozens that P4 advocates would have people believe. It may take a small amount of time to get use to the shift, but once you do, standard is not that different from P4 IMHO.

  40. #40
    jster and bako,
    Thank you for your help. I now have a much better understanding of vertical and diagonal arpeggios.

    jster,
    Unlike CollinO, whose inquiry compares P4 with standard, my interest is in comparing P4 with M3. I am trying to understand your comment "For P4, and standard tuning, but not for M3, in addition to regular vertical arpeggios, there are also diagonal arpeggios that are made up of four note boxes." It seems to me that one can play diagonal arpeggios with four note boxes in M3 tuning and that chord relationships are still clear. What exactly is it that your "but not for M3" refers to?

    In P4 the circle-of-fifths progresses vertically across the fretboard (i.e., G, C, F, & Bb are all on the 3rd fret), whereas in M3 the circle-of-fifths progresses diagonally. So arpeggio four-note boxes would have to be shifted diagonally by a fret for each string step. Is this what you are referring to? Or am I missing your point completely?

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
    In P4 the circle-of-fifths progresses vertically across the fretboard (i.e., G, C, F, & Bb are all on the 3rd fret), whereas in M3 the circle-of-fifths progresses diagonally. So arpeggio four-note boxes would have to be shifted diagonally by a fret for each string step. Is this what you are referring to? Or am I missing your point completely?
    Here is an example of root-bass closed-position sevenths-chords (from the major scale on C) progressing by perfect fifths (perfect fourths):
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F..._M3_tuning.pdf

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
    jster and bako,
    Thank you for your help. I now have a much better understanding of vertical and diagonal arpeggios.

    jster,
    Unlike CollinO, whose inquiry compares P4 with standard, my interest is in comparing P4 with M3. I am trying to understand your comment "For P4, and standard tuning, but not for M3, in addition to regular vertical arpeggios, there are also diagonal arpeggios that are made up of four note boxes." It seems to me that one can play diagonal arpeggios with four note boxes in M3 tuning and that chord relationships are still clear. What exactly is it that your "but not for M3" refers to?

    In P4 the circle-of-fifths progresses vertically across the fretboard (i.e., G, C, F, & Bb are all on the 3rd fret), whereas in M3 the circle-of-fifths progresses diagonally. So arpeggio four-note boxes would have to be shifted diagonally by a fret for each string step. Is this what you are referring to? Or am I missing your point completely?
    I have never tried M3, but I'm thinking that the patterns would be simply too skew to be comfortable. So with P4, up 2 strings and over 2 frets gets you back to the start, but with M3, up 2 strings and over 4 frets gets you back to the start. But now you are really playing along the neck and so it's hard to "run" that pattern. Even with P4, the diagonal patterns in places stretch you a bit. So in M3, you would have nice patterns also that are easy to visualize and connect with other chords in the cycle nicely. But, you would have large stretches and shifts requiring lots of elbow work. I'm up two octaves in four frets. M3 players need 8 frets to get up two octaves. P4 has diagonal patterns of 45 degrees. M3 has diagonal patterns of more like 30 degrees. Someday, I would like to try the tritone tuning. The question is what happens to arps, scales, and chords.
    Last edited by jster; 09-03-2013 at 09:23 PM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
    I'm not knocking P4. But I think that you are exaggerating the differences. In terms of the point that you are making:

    1. Difference when starting on A doubles the number of patterns. Not really - it's the same patterns as P4 only you have to remember to shift the pattern up a fret when you get to string 2(ascending). The patterns are the same otherwise.

    2. "standard tuning diagonal patterns are only defined by how they sit across all six strings". I'm not sure what you mean by this. You can play two string arpeggios using standard tuning using essentially the same patterns as the ones used in P4. Again, the one fret shift doesn't really change the pattern.

    3. "linking P4 patterns through a cycle of 4ths/5ths is super clear". I don't really see what's unclear about them in standard. Again, standard IS essentially P4 with that one shift.

    I'm not saying don't use P4, but I just think the disadvantages of standard are overblown sometimes. For example, there really are only three simple patterns to play a first inversion Maj7 arpeggio in standard tuning and the same goes with m7, 7, and m7b5 arps. Not the dozens that P4 advocates would have people believe. It may take a small amount of time to get use to the shift, but once you do, standard is not that different from P4 IMHO.
    Colin, I'm not really interested in debating it. You haven't tried it. I played over 10,000 hours of standard and maybe 1000 hours of P4. I'm trying to tell you my experience. If you read this thread and the other one that popped up at the time you will find another person who has tried it and can confirm the advantages I have described. Symmetry is immensely powerful. I'm not BSing. I could launch into a litany of heavy points about symmetry in math and science and the arts. Symmetry allows you to simplify problems immensely be they theoretical or practical. Indeed, there are physicists who think that all laws are really just the result of underlying symmetries. What about the arts? Imagine you were going to create a huge mosaic. And suppose I asked you whether you wanted the tiles to all be the same size or you wanted different sizes for different colors, which would you choose? The former I hope. And indeed, that is the symmetric choice. Or if you were hiring dancers, would you choose ones that were similar in height? Or ones that were different?

    You keep describing it as a "little shift". If we had much larger brains, it would not be a problem. But we don't. Think of all those times you have some musical project but then you do the combinatorics and realize that there 7x5x6x12 possibilites. And so you despair. With P4, often, you have an order of magnitude fewer possibilities. I'm not like a guy who joined some new religion and now wants everybody to come pray with him. In fact, I dislike people who exaggerate in order to make their choices look better to others. I fully expected P4 to have a bunch of draw backs. Usually in life there are trade offs. But that wasn't what happend. If it had happened, I would no doubt be writing threads about how I started using this stupid tuning and how I regret it.

    Everytime you have to remember to do a "little shift", I can spend that time thinking about something more interesting, like how I can make the line more melodic, and indeed I do. Since my tiles are all the same size, I can easily imagine GREAT WAYS to join them together. People could do nuclear physics with roman numerals. But arabic numerals are much easier. They could do computer science with base 10. But they switch to base 2 because it is much easier. These aren't "little" matters. They save enormous amounts of time. Ask a hardware engineer how much harder it would be be to use base 10. He will probably say that it would take him more than twice as long.

    P4 was 10 times better than I thought it would be.

    Basta
    Last edited by jster; 09-03-2013 at 09:16 PM.

  44. #44
    jster. I understand what you are saying and am happy that P4 worked well for you. I'm not saying that symmetry is not a good thing. I'm saying that it exists in standard tuning in the same way that it exists in P4. For the record, I don't "keep" saying little shift, I said it once - not to understate its presence but to avoid overstating it. 7x5x6x12 possibilities is the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's just not a fair representation of Standard.

    My only point is that you can look at exactly the same patterns you describe in P4 on a Standard tuned guitar and find the same symmetry and the same number of ways of playing if you are looking for them, and that to suggest that standard tuning creates the kind of complexities that you are talking about is just not true. I though that your arpeggio example was a good one. P4 uses exactly the same pattern as Standard other than moving up a fret when you get to the second string in Standard. I don't find that confusing and I doubt most people would.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    I have never tried M3, but I'm thinking that the patterns would be simply too skew to be comfortable. So with P4, up 2 strings and over 2 frets gets you back to the start, but with M3, up 2 strings and over 4 frets gets you back to the start. But now you are really playing along the neck and so it's hard to "run" that pattern. Even with P4, the diagonal patterns in places stretch you a bit. So in M3, you would have nice patterns also that are easy to visualize and connect with other chords in the cycle nicely. But, you would have large stretches and shifts requiring lots of elbow work. I'm up two octaves in four frets. M3 players need 8 frets to get up two octaves. P4 has diagonal patterns of 45 degrees. M3 has diagonal patterns of more like 30 degrees. Someday, I would like to try the tritone tuning. The question is what happens to arps, scales, and chords.
    M3 tuning facilitates position playing on 4-fret segments. To raise a note one octave (from strings 6-4) simply shift the finger by three strings. This is simpler than the diagonal shifting for P4.

    You are correct that for shifting one octave from string 3, one needs to shift diagonally, and the M3 diagonal-shift requires 2 more frets than does P4. However, since beginners (and even Patt) play in only three positions (1-4, 5-8,9-12), a shift by four frets is routine for M3 players.

    A 4-fret diagonal-shift is a small price to pay for bass-root closed-position seventh-chords and for automatic inversions (staying on the same frets). Easier inversions reduce the need for diagonal shifting, also.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    Ralph Patt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "He invented major-thirds tuning under the inspiration of first the atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg and second the jazz of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman."
    any examples of how this would help with applying 3rds tuning to Coltrane?
    Patt observed that M3 tuning simplifies inversion and allows comfortable closed-voicings of sevenths chords.

    In the interview in American Lutherier, Patt stated that position-playing made it easy to improvise and sight read, because he always used the same finger for the same note.

    For 12-tone playing, the 12 tones of the chromatic scale are packed into three strings and four frets, so one could simply sample without replacement from one 3x4 box at a time. Did Patt explicitly suggest this?
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 10-09-2013 at 04:35 PM. Reason: nesting quote

  47. #47
    I made some comparative diagrams to help visualize common musical events within each of the 3 tunings.

    3 Tunings (flats).pdf

    3 Tunings (sharps).pdf

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    A 4-fret diagonal-shift is a small price to pay for bass-root closed-position seventh-chords and for automatic inversions (staying on the same frets).

    Keifer,
    I am exploring the relative merits of P4 and M3. Let me ask about two points you raised to verify whether my understanding is correct. The M3 property of automatic inversions (staying on the same frets) applies only to triads. It takes advantage of the fact that picking up your left-hand finger from the triad's bottom note and raising it 3 strings gives exactly the same note an octave higher. This generally does not work with chords occupying more than 3 strings. Is this correct?

    Also, does your point about having a bass-root closed position seventh chord refer to the fact that M3 guitarists can easily play a G-B-D-F chord whereas P4 guitarists have difficulty playing a G-B-D-F chord directly and have to resort to an inversion such as G-D-F-B?

    I am not trying to make any point. I am simply trying to make sure that my understanding of your points is correct.




  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
    The M3 property of automatic inversions (staying on the same frets) applies only to triads. It takes advantage of the fact that picking up your left-hand finger from the triad's bottom note and raising it 3 strings gives exactly the same note an octave higher. This generally does not work with chords occupying more than 3 strings. Is this correct?

    Also, does your point about having a bass-root closed position seventh chord refer to the fact that M3 guitarists can easily play a G-B-D-F chord whereas P4 guitarists have difficulty playing a G-B-D-F chord directly and have to resort to an inversion such as G-D-F-B?
    Inversion by shifting three strings: Triads?
    Your "only" is too strong. The inversion by shifting by three strings applies to triads, automatically, for major-thirds tuning.

    Inverting (closed voicing) seventh chords uses a vertical shift by three strings and a diagonal shift (one more string and four frets).
    Ralph Patt gives examples of inversions of seventh chords at this page:
    Chords
    Of course, omitting the fifth note from a seventh chord is standard practice. Omitting the fifth is especially attractive when inverting seventh chords in M3 tuning, because then the abbreviated seventh-chord can be inverted like a triad.

    Seventh chords:
    G-B-D-F (M3) versus G-D-F-B

    Perfect! Like other musicians (especially keyboard players or ensemble players), M3 guitarists can play canonical seventh chords (without 2nd inversions or drop-2 voicings, etc.).

    Does anybody know of a harmony book that is not written for guitarists that discusses or advocates 2nd-inversion drop-2 seventh-chords?
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 09-07-2013 at 02:50 PM. Reason: copy edit

  50. #50
    I recognize the merits of M3 tuning and am seriously considering switching to it, but there is one problem that I am hoping one of you experts can help me to solve. In standard or P4 tuning, I love to play using a Chet-Atkins-style alternating bass-line. I use my right-hand thumb to pluck strings 5,4,6,4,5,4,6,4 to play notes C,E,G,E,C,E,G,E. My left hand plants my middle finger on the 4th-string E while my ring finger toggles between the C and G on the 5th and 6th strings. This leaves my first and little fingers free to play other notes. I've done this vamp a million times and it feels very comfortable.

    When I try to do the same bass line in M3 tuning, I find that I have two options: One is to move my ring finger sideways by one fret as I toggle between the 5th and 6th strings - which is very difficult to do while holding the middle finger stationary on the 4th string. (Human fingers have very little independent sideways motion.) The other is to allocate three fingers to these three notes - leaving only my little finger to play other notes as required for a chord or a melody line. Both of these choices are undesirable. Have any of you discovered some other trick that easily enables this style of play?

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