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  1. #1

    New Standard Tuning

    and for my finale on alternate tunings.. I will open another can of worms.

    New Standard Tuning

    anyone used it?

    Among alternative tunings for the guitar, New Standard Tuning (NST) is a regular tuning that approximates all-fifths tuning. With its strings are assigned the notes C-G-D-A-E-G (from lowest to highest), NST's successive open strings have the perfect-fifth intervals {(C,G),(G,D),(D,A),(AE)}; the interval (E,G) is a minor third. On a guitar, the highest B of all-fifths tuning was impractical until recently. The NST has provided a good approximation to all-fifths tuning since the 1980s. Like other regular tunings, NST allows chord-fingerings to be shifted amid its regularly tuned strings. All-fifths tuning is used also for other stringed instruments, such as mandolins, cellos, violas, and violins.
    NST's C-G range is wider, both lower and higher, than the E-E range of standard tuning in which the strings are tuned to the open notes E-A-D-G-B-E. The greater range allows NST-guitars to play pieces like The Moonlight Sonata.
    NST was introduced by Robert Fripp, a guitarist for King Crimson. Fripp taught the new standard tuning in Guitar-Craft courses beginning in 1985, and thousands of Guitar Craft students continue to use the tuning. Like other alternative tunings for guitar, the NST has provided challenges and new opportunities to guitarists, who have developed music especially suited to NST. Indeed, many NST guitarists have become professional musicians and recording artists.
    The NST has required greater attention to strings than has standard tuning. String sets for standard tuning have problems being adapted for the New Standard Tuning: With standard string-sets, the lowest string is too loose and the highest string too often snaps under the increased tension. Special sets of NST strings have been available for decades, and of course some guitarists have assembled NST sets from individual strings.

    New standard tuning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  2. #2
    Some Internet Quotes

    "Arpeggios in themselves are so elegantly laid-out in fifths tuning, you might feel like you're cheating. For example, a Cma7 arpeggio (root 3 5 7) might be fingered as a simple box 5-9 (fifth string) 5-9 (fourth string). A Cm7 arpeggio (root b3 5 b7) might be 5-8 (fifth string) 5-8 (fourth string). A C7(b5) might be 5-9 (fifth string) 4-8.
    But the best thing is, everything you find on any pair of string can be played on the next pair, two frets over.? So, there are no surprises."

    "The advantages of fifths tuning (and therefore, NST) are best realized when improvising, I think, especially over changes. This is because the tuning is consistently the circle of fifths. ? By the same token, a consistent fourths tuning would yield a lot of benefits? in this area, but the symmetry gets a little obscured traversing over three strings rather than two."

    "Mainly, look at the mandolin family lore for how it works... For example, mandocello is the lower 4 strings of NST.? Cittern is the lower 5 strings. Octave Mandolin is strings 5, 4, 3, and? 2 of NST.

    This article may give you some idea of how the tuning works for you:
    jazzmando.com/tips/archives/001408.shtml "Fifths, Symmetry and You: Perceptual Economy"

    "I think you'll be surprise about the chords! Of course the voicings are different, but they are actually simpler... at least by? my way of thinking. I might be so bold as to point you to jazzcittern (dot) com/modeexplorerweb/home/lesso
    *ns/mandolin/chords.aspx to get some ideas? Though this is a mandolin method, the same applies to 86% of NST."

  3. #3
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    as they say in the computer world.... Standards are great there are so many to select from.
    Last edited by docbop; 05-28-2013 at 06:16 PM.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  4. #4
    The wider tuning will expand your range in one position but it takes 7 frets to complete a chromatic scale as compared to 5 frets for standard guitar and 4ths tuning and 4 frets for major 3rd tuning.
    A perfect 5th tuning would offer some cool unique (to guitar anyway) resonance chords but will involve more shifting and stretching to play standard things.

    Draw some diagrams of each to compare for yourself.

  5. #5

    Major scale harmonized in sevenths and triads: Progressions of chords

    I wrote a sheet (2 pages) about new standard tuning:
    • Major scale on C and then its harmonization in chord progressions:
      • Sevenths
      • Triads.


    Of course, all chord-shapes are standard on all but the highest (G) string: That is, they can be moved freely around the lower five strings, just like chords can be moved in all-fourths and major-thirds tuning.

    NST sounds as good as an open tuning.
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  6. #6
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    I play CGDA tuning on my cello banjo (a what?) and it is a great tuning for some things. Bach cello suites fit like a glove. Permit me a little indulgence:


  7. #7
    More difficult to play major 2nds and minor 2nd's within chords tho isn't it ?

    I love those 'rubs'

  8. #8
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    never gonna fly...

  9. #9
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    ...and it would be a harmless oddity, except for the potential to distract students from the persistent hard work that musical attainment demands...

  10. #10

    Video California Guitar Trio

    The California Guitar Trio showcase the sound of NST:

  11. #11
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    Did not Carl Kress use this tuning, or something close to it?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    ... showcase the sound of NST: ...
    How can a tuning have the sound? Its still the same guitar, playing the same notes?
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  13. #13

    Video

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Did not Carl Kress use this tuning, or something close to it?
    Carl Kress used the all-fifths tuning
    • Bb-F-C-G-D-A

    according to The Guitar in Jazz, which commented that Kress's tuning facilitated "full, lush chords and bass lines"; Kress's "instantly recognizable sound" helped to establish him as a "leading sideman", enabling him to "rake in the bucks" and buy cars. (!)

    A tasteful performance of Kress's "After Thoughts [Afterthoughts ?]" (suggested by the mind-readers at YouTube)

    was uploaded by Rob MacKillop!


    Given splendid guitarists like Carl Kress and Robert Fripp (and his students), perhaps randalljazz should withdraw or rephrase his previous statements?

  14. #14
    4ths tuning does most of what standard does but w/ full symmetry.

    Ma3rds tuning a bit less so but eliminates the need for melodic extensions and is also symmetric.

    In NST, because the notes are spread out further, the chord voicings easily played are very
    different than standard tuning. No doubt that beautiful music can be made as evidenced by the video above.

    I understand, but I don't like the E-G interval. I would prefer to play a 5 string C G D A E, like an extended range cello
    or perhaps F C G D A E. The F string being more in the category of the low bass strings in a 7 string guitar setup. The Carl Kress Bb F C G D A is another possibility, but it is hard for me to visualize a long scale high A string. Carl obviously found a way to make it work. New standard tuning has some ways to go before it can live up to it's name.

    Rob, I like the sound of the cello banjo, nice touch dynamically switching to fingers.
    I play cello and I spend probably too much time transferring literal guitarisms to 5th's tuning which results often in sequential rather than simultaneous realizations of standard guitar voicings. The other challenges being the lack of frets and a body that forces the thumb out from behind at approximately the octave. I can't wait for the acoustic with a cutaway model.
    Last edited by bako; 10-02-2013 at 04:25 AM.

  15. #15

    Video Tunings' open-strings' sympathetic resonance

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    How can a tuning have the sound? Its still the same guitar, playing the same notes?
    The tuning (via its open strings' sympathetic resonance) is very important for each guitar's sound.

    Some examples to illustrate this fact:

    • A trivial tuning, like G-G-G-g-g-g, seems to have been used only for stunt guitar-playing and Chinese instruments....
    • If you want to kill an acoustic guitar, tune it in "tritone tuning", like B-F-B-F-B-F,
      which can be played with interest for only a minute even by the great Shawn Lane (RIP):
    • Open tunings are tuned so that the open strings form a major (or minor) chord. To my ears, open tunings do sound better (to my ears) than other tunings when you are playing minor and major triads.
      In my very limited experience, (some) open tunings make it difficult to play e.g. sevenths, which suggests that jazz guitarists may rarely use open tunings. (Are any jazz guitarists known for playing in open tunings?)
    • Major-thirds tuning sounds a bit duller than standard tuning, to my ears.


    Are the propositions that
    • sympathetic resonance is an important component of the guitar's sound, and
    • the tuning does influence the sound of individual notes

    agreeable?

    How can I---that girl standing there---
    my attention fix
    on Roman or Russian or Spanish tunings?
    (after William Butler Yeats)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    New standard tuning has some ways to go before it can live up to its name.
    The name "New standard tuning" is established, alas, despite attempts to provide a descriptive name... (the ironic overtones of "new standard" differ from bravado):
    the tuning that has been exclusively used in Guitar Craft to date, referred to as the New Standard Tuning (NST) with CGDAEG from 6>1, henceforward would be better named the Guitar Craft Standard Tuning or C Pentatonic tuning.

    Strictly, the latter might be called the C Major Pentatonic but, conventionally, the major is assumed where the minor is not specified.

    Diary of Robert Fripp
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 10-04-2013 at 05:13 PM. Reason: typo: should replaces would

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    I understand, but I don't like the E-G interval.
    Topped by the E-G minor-third interval, new standard tuning C-G-D-A-E-G approximates the overtone series C-C-G-C-E-G.

    (The overtone-series open-C tuning has rich major-triads, btw.)

    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    I play cello and I spend probably too much time transferring literal guitarisms to 5th's tuning which results often in sequential rather than simultaneous realizations of standard guitar voicings.
    The Guitar Craft classes and performance groups rarely play chords on individual instruments. With 20-100 guitarists, players strike individual notes.

    Would somebody post a video of NST chordal-guitar strumming, please?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    Given splendid guitarists like Carl Kress and Robert Fripp (and his students), perhaps randalljazz should withdraw or rephrase his previous statements?
    history is littered with the scattered boneshards of long-forgotten eccentrics in many fields...

  19. #19
    The arpeggio claim isn't really true because it doesn't apply to the top string. Also, despite having nice arpeggio boxes, most tunes move in fourths so those nice boxes don't fit together or if they do it is only moving downward. So as the tune is moving forward to climax, eg, ii-V-I, the most natural tendency for those arpeggios is to push the player towards lower notes.

    Does Fripp really improvise and play changes ever? I know he likes to write arpeggiated tunes. But that is quite different from improvising on the fly. If he improvised over a few ii-V-I's he might see that this tuning is not very good for jazz. Especially with that high string.

    Pretty pretentious to call something a standard when it is nothing of the sort. I'd think he was joking but he's not exactly known for his sense of humour. However, I am amazed that he could find so many people to sign on to learn this thing. Just goes to show...

    Rob, I love that clip. And I love that instrument. Can you play something like a jazz blues on that thing? Can you bend those strings? Do you have any clips? I'd love to hear that.

    UPDATE: I checked out some more tunes by Kress and obviously he makes P5 work. But his stuff is very heavy on 1-5 double stops (Is that what they are called?). Sounded nice in 1939 and nice and clear on 1939 equiment. But much more modern would be 1-4 double stops. And you would have to be John Stowell to easily play 1-b3. That alone is probably a deal breaker. But one thing I hear in his playing, because he uses a symmetric tuning, is that he has no doubt what he is going to play next. His default is a stream of notes. You don't get those where-am-I-going-to-start-my-next-line? pauses you hear in all but the top standard tuning players. Jump ahead to 2:54.
    Last edited by jster; 10-02-2013 at 05:52 AM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    Does Fripp really improvise and play changes ever? I know he likes to write arpeggiated tunes. But that is quite different from improvising on the fly. If he improvised over a few ii-V-I's he might see that this tuning is not very good for jazz.
    Fripp has been known for improvising since the 1960s. In the 1970s his albums with Brian Eno were improvised (and I believe the first, "(no pussyfooting)" was done in three takes.) Fripp improvised his famous riffs for David Bowies's "Heros" and "Fashion". His soundscapes are improvised.

    But again, he's not playing jazz. (I revived this thread because I think that NST's potential in jazz has been neglected, precisely because Fripp and his students work in traditions besides or outside of jazz.)
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    UPDATE: I checked out some more tunes by Kress and obviously he makes P5 work. But his stuff is very heavy on 1-5 double stops (Is that what they are called?). Sounded nice in 1939 and nice and clear on 1939 equiment. But much more modern would be 1-4 double stops.
    [....]
    But one thing I hear in his playing, because he uses a symmetric tuning, is that he has no doubt what he is going to play next. His default is a stream of notes. You don't get those where-am-I-going-to-start-my-next-line? pauses you hear in all but the top standard tuning players. Jump ahead to 2:54.
    Fripp's guitar-playing rocks and often has a heavy feel, which is especially prominant since he switched to NST, which features sevenths with 1-2 perfect-fifth intervals, which can be fingered with double stops (like Kress's).

    I don't know of any jazz guitarist as heavy as Fripp, and would love to learn of any....
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 04-30-2014 at 03:02 AM. Reason: perfect-fifth intervals, which can be fingered with double stops (like Kress's).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    The tuning (via its open strings' sympathetic resonance ... agreeable?
    Eeeehhhh, ... No. (In Buthead's voice)

    Sorry, but there's no logic in it. I know this is only tangential to your point, but I'm sensitive to propositions like "sound of tuning".

    Those examples you posted, they don't mention "the sound of ...". Seams you'd "to your ears" be promoted to logical propositions?
    Also, when I play, and I think majority of guitar players are the same about it, I want sympathetic resonance of open strings muted, unless I play open chord, which is not too often.

    So, how can tuning influence the sound of individual note, especially if all unused strings are muted?
    If I play same notes, same octaves, same frequencies (unused open strings muted), how can they make different sympathetic resonances, among themselves, dependent of tuning system?

    On guitar, there could be some difference in timbre, due plain and wounded strings, but that's not "the sound of tuning", it's property of a string quality. Even if it's about tension, arguably, it's possible to make two such strings to have same tension on same notes, even if they're tuned differently in regard to adjacent strings, wounded to compensate for thickness. So, again, nothing to do with tuning system.

    Maybe you refer to part of the string below fretting also resonating? No, not enough to have any real influence on sound, I think, but I may be wrong.

    Maybe I talk BS, but you did not provide valid explanation, or at least I did not understand it.
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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Eeeehhhh, ... No. (In Buthead's voice)

    Sorry, but there's no logic in it. I know this is only tangential to your point, but I'm sensitive to propositions like "sound of tuning".

    Those examples you posted, they don't mention "the sound of ...". Seams you'd "to your ears" be promoted to logical propositions?
    Also, when I play, and I think majority of guitar players are the same about it, I want sympathetic resonance of open strings muted, unless I play open chord, which is not too often.

    So, how can tuning influence the sound of individual note, especially if all unused strings are muted?
    If I play same notes, same octaves, same frequencies (unused open strings muted), how can they make different sympathetic resonances, among themselves, dependent of tuning system?

    On guitar, there could be some difference in timbre, due plain and wounded strings, but that's not "the sound of tuning", it's property of a string quality. Even if it's about tension, arguably, it's possible to make two such strings to have same tension on same notes, even if they're tuned differently in regard to adjacent strings, wounded to compensate for thickness. So, again, nothing to do with tuning system.

    Maybe you refer to part of the string below fretting also resonating? No, not enough to have any real influence on sound, I think, but I may be wrong.

    Maybe I talk BS, but you did not provide valid explanation, or at least I did not understand it.
    Hi Vladan!

    Thanks for your informative and thoughtful reply, which seems to have corrected a misunderstanding of mine.

    I was thinking of music played according to "let ring" instructions, as you guessed. Your discussion would explain why I've never read a discussion of string resonance and tunings....

    Does everybody agree that muting is so effective that the tuning does not influence the sound of individual notes?

  23. #23

    Pat Metheny Sympathetic resonance: Pat Metheny's Pikasso guitar

    Harping on the value of sympathetic string resonance

    To maximize sympathetic resonance, Pat Metheny asked luthier Linda Manzer to build him a guitar with as many strings as possibly, resulting in Manzer's 42-string Pikasso guitar, which for years has inspired frolicking from Metheny:

    If the Pikasso guitar's 42 open-strings contain the chromatic scale, then this containment would balance the sympathetic resonance; balanced and full resonance avoids the uneven tone and volume of e.g. C-major and B-dim in open-C tuning.

    Perhaps the sympathetic resonance of New Standard Tuning's pentatonic open-notes enriches the sound of pentatonic notes (the C-major scale, excepting B and F)...? It seems a lot of Frippian and Crafty music is written in the keys of C and G (and their relative minors, and related modes...).
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 10-04-2013 at 04:19 AM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by randalljazz View Post
    ...and it would be a harmless oddity, except for the potential to distract students from the persistent hard work that musical attainment demands...
    Not to be argumentative, but Hawaiian "Slack Key" music is played in a number of alternate tunings and I have quite a few years of persistent hard work behind me trying to become a competent ki ho'alu player. Playing jazz in a traditional Western European tuning also requires persistent hard work to attain a high degree of competance, but I don't find either distracts from the other. I was at a kanikapela this summer and heard some amazing jazz standards being played in open tunings. If you did not watch the players hands (or did not know chord grips, arps and scale patterns) you would have thought the tuning was Western European. In my opinion, a particular tuning does not make musical attainment easier or harder, it just means you have more things to remember. Just my opinion.
    "Jus' press." - Raymond Kane

  25. #25
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    sure. and some people achieve competence on several instruments. but we of modest talent will labor long to attain any degree of mastery on one. for most students of the guitar alternate tunings and the like are a distraction , and a convenient excuse.

    and of course you meant to be argumentative. just own it.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by randalljazz View Post
    ...and of course you meant to be argumentative. just own it.
    RandalJazz, I don't believe I have ever had a discussion with you before. By argumentative, I meant it in the colloquial, not pedantic form, as in, "I'm not trying to be a 'know-it-all' asshole and totally dismiss your position" as some people are quick to do in forums. I was not attempting to be a Know-it-all asshole with my reply.

    In my reply I was pointing out the alternative viewpoint that using multiple tunings will not destroy your ability to be a competent player of Western European Jazz music for younger players that are considering exploring other forms of music, tunings or even instruments, a valid and verifiable opinion.

    I will assume your seemingly snarky inferences are not meant to be so, but merely just part of the "communications problems" so often attributed to using forum discussions.
    "Jus' press." - Raymond Kane

  27. #27
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    I am of the mind now that this is a distraction, and takes away from the single-mindedness of purpose that is required to play the best we can play. Our time is limited, and most of us-incluing myself--need to focus and work efficiently and usefully.

    This seems like re-inventing the wheel for no valid musical reason, with some significant drawbacks for jazz players. How in the world can you not play many chords and major and minor 2nds????

    For example, on the subject of honing in on a single-minded purpose, for myself, I have decided to concentrate most of my energies on finger-style technique. I will work on some pick technique, but my main focus will be finger-style. I want to develop that to the fullest.

    Finally, on the subject of focus and single-minded purpose, there is a kid who studied with my teacher for 10 years, from age 8-18, on classical guitar. He wanted to study jazz as well, but my teacher discouraged that for him, because he would, because of the student's incredible work habits and dedication, be caught in two minds, to the important detriment of his main focus: classical guitar.

    A couple of years ago, this student got a FULL scholarship to one of the best music schools in the U.S. He doesn't have to spend even a single cent for anything. After his audition, the classical guitar professor there contacted my teacher and said, "Well done, sir; in my 21 years here, I have never heard a player as good as this".


    Hard work, dedication and focus--to the extent possible. We all have different goals, but that whatever our final musical destinations and ambitions, there is no substitute for these qualities.

  28. #28
    Would a moderator please move off-topic discussions of the evils of alternative tunings to the thread on alternative tunings, allowing a discussion of a particular alternative-tuning, new standard tuning, to proceed?
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 10-07-2013 at 05:16 PM. Reason: please move off-topic discussions of the evils of alternative tunings to the thread on alternative tunings,

  29. #29
    I don't agree that alternate tunings are in any way a distraction, or a hindrance to an advancing musician, especially to someone who has the focus required to master an instrument.

    For a player already proficient at playing the guitar, it might very well be just an interesting thought experiment. But for someone just starting out, it might be just what they need to get them motivated enough to learn the instrument.

    Just because the std tuning has been around for hundreds of years (?), doesn't mean there isn't a different tuning that will help an individual achieve their goals more quickly.

  30. #30
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    It's one thing to use alternative tunings for a particular song (e.g., drop D). Everyone does that. No biggie.


    It's another thing to completely mess with your understanding of the fingerboard that doesn't allow you to play critical intervals or chords (again--no minor or major seconds?)

    The basis for everything we play is the chromatic scale. How easy is it to play this without more required movement with this tuning? I can play the chromatic scale with minimal movement now. I can play EVERY diatonic chord in a key (triad or 7th chord) in one area without significant movement (i.e., with some semblance of voice leading) now with regular tuning. This seems like it messes that up.

    For me, left hand fingering independence is always a 4 + 1 fret stretch up or down away. This seems to mess that up.


    I was told in my lessons that basic FUNCTIONAL fingerboard mastery (the type that says one is finally on to something) is a multi-several year process (four? five?) That's a lot of work. Why reinvent the wheel when you don't have to and when the "new" wheel won't take you to as many places you need to go?

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    [snip] to completely mess with your understanding of the fingerboard that doesn't allow you to play critical intervals or chords (again--no minor or major seconds?)

    The basis for everything we play is the chromatic scale. How easy is it to play this without more required movement with this tuning? I can play the chromatic scale with minimal movement now. I can play EVERY diatonic chord in a key (triad or 7th chord) in one area without significant movement (i.e., with some semblance of voice leading) now with regular tuning. This seems like it messes that up.

    For me, left hand fingering independence is always a 4 + 1 fret stretch up or down away. This seems to mess that up.
    NSJ qualified his statements with the phrase, "most students/players", without any evidence. On the contrary, considering that Fripp has taught NST to three thousand students, of whom a score or more have recorded albums, NST may increase the success rates of students! This thread has already documented that

    • the outstanding jazz-guitarist Carl Kress played in all-fifths, and that
    • Robert Fripp and his students play in NST (which has all-fifths for its lowest 5 strings).


    Regarding the repeated claim that NST has "no seconds" (sic.): On the contrary, closedly voiced seconds are available on the (E,G) strings, and openly voiced finger-style seconds are available on other string pairs.

    Lest you think that I am throwing stones without sin, let me confess that I mistakenly dismissed NST because it did not allow C-major triads (C,E,G) except on the highest strings. My mistake was in failing to recognize the charms of the (C,G,E) voicing (and its inversions). I've made other mistakes, also...!

    Consider the possibility that Spanish tuning is like the QWERTY keyboard, apparently the most popular contemporary keyboard, although it was designed for (non-electrical) mechanical typewriters.

    NST may not be best for jazz, but I think it deserved more consideration here than it initially received. I suspect that two other regular-tunings won't provoke such strong disapproval:

    • NSJ's arguments about the chromatic scale and fingering ease suggests considering all major-thirds tuning, which does allows comfortable seventh chords in voicings that are consistent with their underlying triads. Voice-leading in M3 tuning is easier because of the simplicity of inversions. Players with finger-style expertise would have even more flexibility with M3 tuning, of course.
      Thirds-based open tunings, like English CEGCEG or Russian DGBDGBD, were used when guitars were more popular (and pianos unavailable to most families). I can imagine a community in which hobbyists played in open thirds-tunings, as 200 years ago, while advanced guitarists played in major-thirds tuning.
      Further discussion of thirds-based tunings can occur in the thread on major-thirds tuning.
    • All perfect fourths tuning is used by Stanley Jordan and bass players; P4 tuning is discussed in this thread.

    It seems that many players who choose alternative tunings also compose music, which is probably an important factor in their musical and commercial success....
    I cannot praise a fugitive and cloister'd vertue, unexercis'd & unbreath'd, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortall garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    RandalJazz, I don't believe I have ever had a discussion with you before. By argumentative, I meant it in the colloquial, not pedantic form, as in, "I'm not trying to be a 'know-it-all' asshole and totally dismiss your position" as some people are quick to do in forums. I was not attempting to be a Know-it-all asshole with my reply.

    In my reply I was pointing out the alternative viewpoint that using multiple tunings will not destroy your ability to be a competent player of Western European Jazz music for younger players that are considering exploring other forms of music, tunings or even instruments, a valid and verifiable opinion.

    I will assume your seemingly snarky inferences are not meant to be so, but merely just part of the "communications problems" so often attributed to using forum discussions.
    no. i was being a jerk. please pardon.

    i made no assertion that other tunings "destroy your ability to be a competent player of Western European Jazz music".


    what i said, and here repeat, is that such things are a distraction: that is, they take time and effort that are really needed to reach competence. for those who are casual about the instrument it makes little difference. but as any good teacher will tell you, many students fail to apply themselves, and then wonder why they don't make more progress.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by randalljazz View Post
    i made no assertion that other tunings "destroy your ability to be a competent player of Western European Jazz music".
    Randalljazz, thanks for the reply. Agreed, my mistake. I overgeneralized while composing my reply the other morning; sorry about that. As far as a distraction goes, I concede that it may be a potential distraction for a student, but in my opinion it would just be one of many possible distractions. While learning alternate tunings or other musical genres simultaneously with studying Jazz guitar might be correlated to failing at improving, I do not see it as specifically causal; that was the point I was trying to make. Agreed on failing to apply ourselves, I think that is something most of us have grappled with at some point in our lives, I know I am guilty of more than my share, as I am certain my current instructor would quickly point out.
    Last edited by ah.clem; 10-08-2013 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Typo on Randalljazz
    "Jus' press." - Raymond Kane

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    The arpeggio claim isn't really true because it doesn't apply to the top string. Also, despite having nice arpeggio boxes, most tunes move in fourths so those nice boxes don't fit together or if they do it is only moving downward. So as the tune is moving forward to climax, eg, ii-V-I, the most natural tendency for those arpeggios is to push the player towards lower notes.

    Does Fripp really improvise and play changes ever? I know he likes to write arpeggiated tunes. But that is quite different from improvising on the fly. If he improvised over a few ii-V-I's he might see that this tuning is not very good for jazz. Especially with that high string.

    Pretty pretentious to call something a standard when it is nothing of the sort. I'd think he was joking but he's not exactly known for his sense of humour. However, I am amazed that he could find so many people to sign on to learn this thing. Just goes to show...

    Rob, I love that clip. And I love that instrument. Can you play something like a jazz blues on that thing? Can you bend those strings? Do you have any clips? I'd love to hear that.

    UPDATE: I checked out some more tunes by Kress and obviously he makes P5 work. But his stuff is very heavy on 1-5 double stops (Is that what they are called?). Sounded nice in 1939 and nice and clear on 1939 equiment. But much more modern would be 1-4 double stops. And you would have to be John Stowell to easily play 1-b3. That alone is probably a deal breaker. But one thing I hear in his playing, because he uses a symmetric tuning, is that he has no doubt what he is going to play next. His default is a stream of notes. You don't get those where-am-I-going-to-start-my-next-line? pauses you hear in all but the top standard tuning players. Jump ahead to 2:54.
    Lest anyone be confused by the "stream of notes" at 2:50, that was a very young Tony Mottola. Carl Kress performed and recorded in a duo with Dick McDonough until McDonough's untimely passing. After McDonough's death, Kress recruited Tony Mottola to continue the duets. Kress-McDonough was strictly acoustic while Mottola played an electric guitar with Kress. Carl Kress specialized in rhythm amd chord solos and rarely played single string melody. George Barnes, who later formed a duo with Kress, said that Kress tuned his 1st string an octave lower and his 5th string an octave highr to facilitate closer voicings.

  35. #35
    I stand corrected. Guy plays pretty well for standard tuner. :P

  36. #36
    Further discussion of second & third intervals in all-fifths and NST revived an ill-fated thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    [... snip ....] Fripp's "New Standard" tunings (i.e., cello tunings in 5ths).

    How in the world can you play M2 and m2s, as well as other intervals and chords, with that? How is that beneficial to play jazz? Seems like drop 2s and drop 3s open voiced chords work just fine with the standard tuning.

    EDIT: what about M and m 3rds? and, via the octave displacement, 10ths? Those intervals are the bedrock fundamental elements of tonal music. (see, for example, any Sid Jacobs master class where the most important thing to play and represent in one's lines is major or minor--i.e., 3rds. How can Fripp more or less disregard them?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    [...snip....]All tunings have limitations. As a thought experiment, ask yourself whether Andrés Segovia, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, or Jimi Hendrix could have created wonderful jazz with NST? At times they would have had to find new forms of guitar playing, but I doubt that they would have had any trouble....

    About thirds, you might consider looking at a book on harmony or orchestration---or even a guitar book covering seventh chords, for which R-5-7-3 is conventional.

    • Berlioz noted that that for major chords a preference for R-5-3 over R-3-5 was common.
    • Like many guitarists, Fripp dislikes the equal-temperament thirds.
    • Bass guitar players especially are prone to play R-5-3, to avoid muddiness.


    It does seem that NST is less flexible than all-fourths for inverting seventh chords. After NSJ kindly left his like, I add these videos of a jazz-fusion guitarist using all-fifths and NST:
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 05-01-2014 at 03:20 AM. Reason: space between period (.) and "After"

  37. #37
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    Thanks, that was played very well. Personally, I'm gonna stick to regular tunings, I'm not that good where I can afford to be distracted from the main task at hand. This sounds like something for very advanced players who have already worked on a sophisticated level of performance and want to experiment with different and new things. but I also have a 7 string guitar, and that added 7th string is huge in terms of being able to play music as originally written (playing that low E or low F bass note normally played on the 6th string open or 1st fret, but being able to find it in like 8th position.that's huge. )

    That reminds me, there's this cat named Kurt Rodarmer who was a long time student of my teacher, , who put out a record on Sony Classical on the Goldbergs. What he did was unique, he stayed true to the music--which normally can't be played on guitar as originally written-- using overdubs and specifically designed guitars tuned in 5ths that allowed him to play the bass lines (can't do that on a regular guitar).

    So, here, he used a specific tuning (cello-based, 5ths) to solve a particular musical problem.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Goldberg-V.../dp/B0000029M2

    Some reviews of that:

    "Unlike many Bach works adapted for guitar, the intricacies of the Goldberg Variations lie beyond the scope of six strings. Guitarist Kurt Rodarmer circumvents these limitations via overdubbing--either playing duets with himself or else trios and quartets. Rodarmer also employs a custom-made guitar on which the bass register extends down into the cello register. While idiomatic keyboard effects, such as the cross-handed sequences, fall by the wayside, Rodarmer manages to convey the music's linear vitality at tempos that make most guitarists green with envy.."


    Navdeep Singh.

  38. #38
    In NST The California Guitar Trio play Bach.

    This seems to be an original composition:

  39. #39

    New standard tuning with dropped D, C-G-D-A-D-G

    New standard tuning with a dropped D,

    • C-G-D-A-D-G,

    has three perfect-fifth intervals in the bass and two perfect fourths in the treble; the two consecutive fourths allow guitarists to use in the treble three-string chords from standard tuning, etc.

    This drop-D NST is especially attractive to beginners, who can use the open-strings and frets 2-5 in the keys of C, G, and D major---or use a capo for other keys---particularly in folk and rock guitar. In such genres, NST and dropped-D NST's 4-6--string chords seem more convenient than those of all perfect-fourths tuning (P4); of course P4-tuning is used by jazz guitarists like Stanley Jordan.

    This tuning has been used by Steve Ball. While NST has pentatonic open-notes (C-D-E-G-A), dropped-D NST is tetratonal (C-D-G-A), , so perhaps it could be called a "quaternion" (after its four open-notes) or "full house" (after its intervals).
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 05-03-2014 at 06:44 AM. Reason: copy edit

  40. #40
    New standard tuning is intelligently discussed in this blog posting, beginning with perfect-fifths/power-chords, which can be played with one finger, of course.

    The author reports surprising success with two (Spanish tuning/old standard) songs, Green Day's "When I Come Around" and Alice in Chains's "Man in the Box" with comments, followed by "Spoonman," "Message in a Bottle," "Welcome to Paradise"---none of which are jazz standards just yet!

  41. #41

    Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    I wrote a sheet (2 pages) about new standard tuning:
    • Major scale on C and then its harmonization in chord progressions:
      • Sevenths
      • Triads.



    Of course, all chord-shapes are standard on all but the highest (G) string: That is, they can be moved freely around the lower five strings, just like chords can be moved in all-fourths and major-thirds tuning.
    Updated chords for the key of C major.
    The triadic forms (R-5-3, 5-3-R, 3-R-5) are given separately before the triadic template R-5-3-R-5-(5). Seventh chords in their 3 inversions are shown.
    5-6 string chords for strumming then appear.
    Finally, substitutes for the basic Mel Bay chords in his first volume are shown.
    Attached Images Attached Images New Standard Tuning-nst-key-c-major2-png 
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 06-10-2014 at 03:00 PM.

  42. Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    I am of the mind now that this is a distraction, and takes away from the single-mindedness of purpose that is required to play the best we can play. Our time is limited, and most of us-incluing myself--need to focus and work efficiently and usefully.
    It may indeed seem counter intuitive and there is not really an objective way to prove it, but could it not be that single-mindedness of this sorts is not the most productive route to go?

    Many people in many fields deliberately turn to things that would seem to divide their primary focus in an effort to improve that primary focus.

    I was friends with, in my opinion, one of the best pianists around when I lived in Denver and through him met some of the best jazz guys in the state (Ron Miles and the guys that often play and record with him were among them). They were all obviously very serious about their first instrument, but all of them played others for both enjoyment and the improvement of themselves on their primary one.

    It may be the case that alternate tunings are actually too close to standard for some people and therefore may cause enough confusion to be a problem, but that would depend upon the student and their own situation.

    Also I find the dismissiveness and almost fear that comes up in these types of discussions very un-jazz-ish.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by tallermanwithguitar View Post
    It may indeed seem counter intuitive and there is not really an objective way to prove it, but could it not be that single-mindedness of this sorts is not the most productive route to go?

    Many people in many fields deliberately turn to things that would seem to divide their primary focus in an effort to improve that primary focus.

    I was friends with, in my opinion, one of the best pianists around when I lived in Denver and through him met some of the best jazz guys in the state (Ron Miles and the guys that often play and record with him were among them). They were all obviously very serious about their first instrument, but all of them played others for both enjoyment and the improvement of themselves on their primary one.

    It may be the case that alternate tunings are actually too close to standard for some people and therefore may cause enough confusion to be a problem, but that would depend upon the student and their own situation.


    Also I find the dismissiveness and almost fear that comes up in these types of discussions very un-jazz-ish.
    In all fairness, after his first post(s), NSJ did try to think about the issues and indeed noted that his acquaintance had played well using all-fifths tuning.

    Most of us can be dismissive at first, but it's a good sign when somebody steps back and reconsiders whether there might be [something] said on behalf of another viewpoint.
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 06-11-2014 at 07:30 PM.

  44. Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    In all fairness, after his first post(s), NSJ did try to think about the issues and indeed noted that his acquaintance had played well using all-fifths tuning.

    Most of us can be dismissive at first, but it's a good sign when somebody steps back and reconsiders whether there might be said on behalf of another viewpoint.
    My reply is not a critique of him, but his comment.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    Rob, I love that clip. And I love that instrument. Can you play something like a jazz blues on that thing? Can you bend those strings? Do you have any clips? I'd love to hear that.
    Yes, you could play blues and bend. I haven't anything like that on video, but here is Monday Morning Blues and Blue Stocking from the early jazz era:




  46. #46
    I uploaded a new & improved NST chord booklet (PDF) to the Wikimedia Commons, along with associated image (png) and sound (wav, midi, and orbis vogg) files.

  47. #47
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    The intricacies of non-standard tunings are beyond my puny brain to comprehend. However, it should be noted that the standard tuning evolved for guitar because it was logical AND comfortable to play given the scale of the instrument. It facilitated common chordings.

    IMHO there are 2 reasons to use non-standard tunings on guitar. One is for specific purposes, like slide guitar where you want to be able to play open chords and barre them with a slide, and the other is as an intellectual or academic exercise.

    In the field of jazz, Pat Metheny and Ralph Towner use a lot of alternate tunings. In addition to his special guitar with drone strings for Shakti, I think John McLaughlin has experimented with open tunings. John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Joni Mitchell also use open and non-standard tunings. (Joni in particular is an underrated guitarist who has always been crazy into experimental tunings.)

    Robert Fripp is a musical genius who approaches music from a highly intellectual point of view, so I'm not surprised he would support the above tuning. (One of my med school classmates who was a non-musician actually attended one of his guitar workshops.) I think, unless I'm very mistaken, most of his standard hard-rock chords and runs with KC and other collaborators would have been done on a Les Paul tuned to standard tuning.

    Having said all that, I've nothing against other tunings for jazz if you have the time and energy to deal with them and you can wrap your mind around them. It's like using a router to joint a board--it can be done that way, there's nothing wrong with it. Most people would use a joiner if they had one though because it's easier.

  48. #48
    The claims that the Spanish tuning "evolved" are not supported by evidence. I have trouble seeing how they could be, given that the Spanish guitar inherited its tuning from the viol and existed with open regular tunings in England and Russia.

    I am similarly skeptical that Qwerty keyboard has evolved and is popular because of its merits! I use Qwerty keyboards because they are available wherever I go (and I invested time in learning how to type). (One should not over-emphasize natural selection; a lot of evolution happens because of random drift.)

    In jazz, all perfect-fourths tuning and standard tuning seem to be vastly more popular than Fripp's new standard tuning, I agree. NST has advantages for rock (power chords) and folk music (cowboy chords), genres which I enjoy.

    Please look at the harmonized triads and seventh chords in NST on my pdf file, which I wrote after dissatisfaction with my inversions in P4 tuning. I would be happy to learn of a similar document for perfect fourths or Spanish tuning, particularly harmonized/consistent voicings that blend well. (I ignored Drop 2 chords in P4 and Spanish tuning, due to my limited technique.)

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    Robert Fripp [...].
    I think, unless I'm very mistaken, most of his ... hard-rock chords and runs with KC and other collaborators would have been done on a Les Paul tuned to standard tuning.
    What evidence do you think you have?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    How can a tuning have the sound? Its still the same guitar, playing the same notes?
    Notes fretted in different position on strings of different gauge have different tabre. Also, chords tend to have wider intervals (stacked 3rds virtually impossible).

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