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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.

  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.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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:
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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?
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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)
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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?
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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).
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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?
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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,
    Kiefer Wolfowitz

  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?

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