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  1. #1
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    Last edited by ScatterLogic; 09-02-2011 at 07:00 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    that a-symmetry of tuning is giving you more options.
    and these options are crucial in the guitar, where you are already limited in chords etc...
    what are the advantages of tuning only in fourths, exactly?
    it's only a little more convinent, perhaps, that the same notes have the same fingering and position over different string set. you also expand your range by... a half step.
    but so what?
    I'd take that 3rd anytime. like van eps said- thank god for it

  4. #3

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    Chords work just fine in 4ths as does everything else. There is a learning curve coming from std tuning but IMO the benefits are well worth it.

    The belief that std tuning gives more options leaves out the part that std also complicates the fretboard map which for most makes those "options" almost unusable - that's a big drawback.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    So 4thstuning, how long have you been deviant from the norm?

    I only ask because an opinion of this tuning is more meaningful coming from someone who has put in the time and gotten over the hump, so to speak.

    No offense to anyone who has discarded P4, just saying that if a guy has been living it he probably has a more experienced perspective on the pluses and minuses.
    I switched to P4 in the early 90's and haven't looked back, it's just made too much sense to me. For me it's been a great success and I get happier with my playing everyday. I think that's so in large part because I'm not fighting the fretboard confusion inherent in std.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    Wow, long time. Awesome. I'm inspired by that. I'm tired of fighting the foo too.

    Gonna devote to the switch. All fours. No standard for 3 months and see what happens. I predict success.

    Cheers Bro
    To aid your transition from the mundane to the sublime, check out the resources on the web. On Facebook there's a "Tuning in 4ths" group, many web pages devoted to the tuning, and there are many fine players using 4ths on YouTube (search on eadgcf/4ths/fourths tuning).

    If you have questions feel free to ask.

    Good luck and have fun.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    ... Gonna devote to the switch. All fours. No standard for 3 months and see what happens. I predict success.
    Hey, Scatter - I'm sure some number of us would be interested in your experience, if you care to post updates through your 3-month period.

  8. #7

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    One point about std tuning. That rogue major 3rd among the 4ths has a long history (from lutes too), so there must be something right about it.
    With lute, the M3 occurs between 4th and 3rd strings.
    IMO, it's to do with tuning by ear. If you tune in 4ths all the way, your bottom string is E but your top string is F. That's hard to compare with the lower strings (beyond the 2nd I guess). Easier if the outer 2 strings are in octaves - and the 2nd is its 5th (so to speak).

    This doesn't mean EADGBE is "better" than EADGCF. The latter has a lot to recommend it, especially if you haven't invested a lot of learning time in EADGBE.
    And remember there are plenty of other alternatives people have invented over the years: most of them only suitable for one or two keys (like DADGAD and various open tunings), but some, like Fripp's CGDAEG, designed to be at least as adaptable as EADGBE. Notice he still has a rogue interval: 5ths all the way, except for the minor 3rd on top. I'm guessing (like EADGBE) this is to put the top string in a good harmony with the lower strings, esp the 6th and 5th. (Or maybe trying to find a 1st thin enough to tune up to B was a stretch too far...)

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    One point about std tuning. That rogue major 3rd among the 4ths has a long history (from lutes too), so there must be something right about it.
    With lute, the M3 occurs between 4th and 3rd strings.
    IMO, it's to do with tuning by ear. If you tune in 4ths all the way, your bottom string is E but your top string is F. That's hard to compare with the lower strings (beyond the 2nd I guess). Easier if the outer 2 strings are in octaves - and the 2nd is its 5th (so to speak).

    This doesn't mean EADGBE is "better" than EADGCF. The latter has a lot to recommend it, especially if you haven't invested a lot of learning time in EADGBE.
    And remember there are plenty of other alternatives people have invented over the years: most of them only suitable for one or two keys (like DADGAD and various open tunings), but some, like Fripp's CGDAEG, designed to be at least as adaptable as EADGBE. Notice he still has a rogue interval: 5ths all the way, except for the minor 3rd on top. I'm guessing (like EADGBE) this is to put the top string in a good harmony with the lower strings, esp the 6th and 5th. (Or maybe trying to find a 1st thin enough to tune up to B was a stretch too far...)
    The "it's always been done this way" argument is neither correct nor relevant really. A casual look at a broader instrument spectrum reveals that there are a lot of different tunings used, including P4, that don't conform to octave displaced outer strings or the odd 3rd stuck in the mix.
    Stringed instrument tunings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Another comment: I played std tuning for almost 25 years before I switched (yes, I'm old). I was playing all the stuff from the Real Book and was comfortable with the tuning....that is till I started trying to play Parker heads in all keys and string sets. That was both my Waterloo and my epiphany. Being an engineer I examined the problem and came up with a logical solution. As stated before there was a learning curve and no guidance so it was definitely a solitary road. Still the ROI (for me) has been well worth it.

    Would I recommend it to other players? Well it depends on their goals and circumstances. If they want to play just like their idols, then it's probably best to tune like them. If they want to focus more on the music than the fretboard, then yes - but learn to read and acquire a little theory, it's a must because there's no one to help out.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    I'm trying to steal all your licks
    No theft required. Ask and ye shall receive, that is if I even know what I did.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    But on the other hand, as 4ths said...there have been a lot of other tunings that don't include the 3rd. And I submit that at least 2 of them are very successful: the bass and violin/mandolin tunings.

    Neither 4ths or 5ths tuning on these instruments hamper their abilities to create great music in any musical form. Solo or chord-wise.
    I think the real difference between the guitar (or lute for that matter) is the chord factor. The instruments above are not chord instruments in the same sense that the guitar is. I'll give you the mandolin, but its small scale makes this point irrelevant. If you take into consideration the harmonic emphasis of the guitar/lute and the type of harmony popular at the time standard tuning was "standardized", the 3rd makes a lot of sense.

    I may be wrong, but I would assume that most music written for guitar/lute is based on utilizing open chords, mostly triads, with a few dominant chords thrown in. If you limit the discussion of the benefits of standard tuning strictly to the instrument's traditional use of simple harmony, I think there's a lot less room for debate.

    Isn't the appeal of 4ths tuning for jazz related to the complexity of the harmony and the fact that open strings aren't a priority? I would suspect that modern harmony is the real leveling factor here. Take out the emphasis on cowboy chords and it's a whole new ballgame.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 08-13-2011 at 07:21 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I think the real difference between the guitar (or lute for that matter) is the chord factor. The instruments above are not chord instruments in the same sense that the guitar is. I'll give you the mandolin, but its small scale makes this point irrelevant. If you take into consideration the harmonic emphasis of the guitar/lute and the type of harmony popular at the time standard tuning was "standardized", the 3rd makes a lot of sense.

    I may be wrong, but I would assume that most music written for guitar/lute is based on utilizing open chords, mostly triads, with a few dominant chords thrown in. If you limit the discussion of the benefits of standard tuning strictly to the instrument's traditional use of simple harmony, I think there's a lot less room for debate.

    Isn't the appeal of 4ths tuning for jazz related to the complexity of the harmony and the fact that open strings aren't a priority? I would suspect that modern harmony is the real leveling factor here. Take out the emphasis on cowboy chords and it's a whole new ballgame.
    I sort of agree with you.

    Std tuning seems optimized for simpler harmonies within the limited CAGED key set. As harmony and tastes evolved, the guitar's tuning changed from being an efficient vehicle for musical accompaniment to something more challenging, nowhere near as bad as an autoharp in a jazz jam, but still confounding to too many players.

    Since std tuning has a long and established history and, with extra effort, it works just fine with modern harmonies, few players question its design, limitations, or alternatives.

  13. #12

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    Well too bad. I was hoping for a convert but it is hard going it alone so I understand your decision.

    Good luck and I wish you the best with your jazz guitar goals.

  14. #13

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    Now it's time to try the major thirds tuning!
    The Major 3rd Tuning

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    Now it's time to try the major thirds tuning!
    The Major 3rd Tuning
    The late, great Ralph Patt.

    I actually considered this tuning long ago but didn't like how the chords and single lines laid out and I thought the learning curve would be a lot steeper considering all 6 strings were changed.

    Is there anyone using Ralph's system today? (I couldn't find a 3rds player on YouTube).

  16. #15

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    I don't do too many stretches for my chords so I'm curious as to what you're doing. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer as best I can.

    Here are some other resources to help an aspiring 4ths tuner:

    Kanaal van passanova - YouTube
    (Matt Raines, hot jazzer out of Austin, TX. He has an instructional DVD for 4ths tuning on guitar and sells guitars too)

    Do a search on YouTube for "Ant Law guitar". He's a fine player out of England or Scotland or somewhere in the nethers who is promoting a book he recently published on how to use the tuning.
    3rd Millennium Guitar: An Introduction to Perfect 4th Tuning - by Ant Law - 22241EB | Mel Bay Public
    Mel Bay.com: Products for guitar, mandolin, banjo, dulcimer, fiddle, ukulele


    Facebook: "Guitar Tuning in 4ths" has some diagrams and there's a small community of people who talk about it...but I haven't seen any playing yet They also have a link to a couple of books on 4ths tuning.


    Learning in to play in "straigth fourths" (has some chord diagrams and bad spelling)


    Here are two English rock/funk/blues stylists using 4ths:

    Kanaal van tq105 - YouTube (he can play jazz too)
    Kanaal van bluesjamtracks - YouTube (Alex Hutchings)

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    ... M-ster, I'm sure you have a wisecrack for me, let it fly, I can take it
    Nope, not gonna do it!

    Actually, I think the topic is incredibly intriguing. The symmetry of using a consistent tuning interval has a lot of intellectual appeal.

    My problem is that I've been so long in the traditional tuning that I'm wary of changing.

    Even re-tuning the old acoustic, say, to play open-D or open-G things freaks me out. I look at the neck and none of the notes are where I expect them to be. It's like I can no longer think. (Yeah, yeah, that might be a bonus.) Very strange and disconcerting!

    I applaud your efforts.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    Thanks for those links, 4ths!

    M-ster, I guess that's what I got frustrated with too (and still do), the new tuning makes you stop and have to rethink. You can't just pick up the guitar and wail like normal.

    Actually, the P4 is easier to get used to I believe than an open or modal tuning. At least 4 strings are familiar. It helps too that I've played bass a lot. I try to think of the tuning like bass with two more strings.
    Learning P4 is not any harder than learning the modes, chords, and licks of melodic minor for the first time...just put in the work and soon enough it changes from being something unfamiliar and over-complex to something familiar and intuitive.

  20. #19

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    Of course, it destroys the solo and classical repertoire completely, so one has to be a very dedicated, jazz-only player to go in this direction. It seems that it might be a good way to go for those looking for a horn-like approach.

    The built-in third is what makes the guitar idiosyncratic and gives us all an opportunity to solve that problem, and Van Eps implied.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Of course, it destroys the solo and classical repertoire completely,
    Classical players arrange and rearrange material all the time. They learn to read and write music so they can do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    so one has to be a very dedicated, jazz-only player to go in this direction.
    Links were provided earlier in this thread of some very good players in other idioms using this tuning.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    The built-in third is what makes the guitar idiosyncratic and gives us all an opportunity to solve that problem, and Van Eps implied.
    It's not idiosyncrasy if everyone is tuned that way ....and it's entirely possible that problems might actually be just that, problems.

    IMO the simple truth is that few players question tradition, they accept standard tuning without thought and never consider alternatives. That's fine but simply because everyone does it that way isn't to say that everyone should do it that way. This is a big world and it's only experimentation that leads to innovation. Peace.

  22. #21

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    I am new to "using" this tuning system. It's pretty awesome. Figured I would put together a chart for myself and share it.

    Major Modes Key C - Guitar Tuned in Fourths.pdf - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

    Alex Hutchings talks about his choice of tuning in 4ths

    Last edited by airpom; 08-21-2011 at 09:55 AM.

  23. #22

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    Sorry, but most of the classical guitar repertoire would be rendered completely useless with the P4 tuning, no matter what you say, as well as Flamenco. I'm not saying that folks shouldn't do this, I'm just pointing out that 500 or more years of tradition getting tossed out the window to make your scales easier to remember seems rather pointless. If not, it would have changed by now. The guitar is not the violin, mandolin or piano. It is the guitar, and a large part of its charm is the tuning and what can be done with it. Again, it's mainly for jazz players and experimentalists. Of all the players who have achieved a real public success, only Stanley Jordan has used this tuning, and, of course, his technique had little to do with what came before, so he is, in essence, inventing a new approach, which is very cool, as is Paul Galbraith's adoption of the 8-string guitar. I am not averse to new stuff, I play mostly 7-string guitar myself, but, again, the 4ths tuning eliminates much of what is truly beautiful about the guitar: its repertoire.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Sorry, but most of the classical guitar repertoire would be rendered completely useless with the P4 tuning, no matter what you say, as well as Flamenco.
    You're saying that the classical or flamenco repertoire can't be rearranged for 4ths tuning? Sorry but that seems absurd. Any music can be arranged for any tuning or instrument - happens all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    I'm not saying that folks shouldn't do this, I'm just pointing out that 500 or more years of tradition getting tossed out the window ...
    I don't see the need to toss anything out the window. Music is music and it's arranged all the time for different instruments. When I play new tunes I just work them out within the boundaries of the 4ths tuning system. I would do that if I used DADGAD, 3rds, or something entirely else too.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    ...to make your scales easier to remember seems rather pointless.
    The reason for an alternate approach to tuning has nothing to do with scales, they're the same on any instrument or tuning. The argument for 4ths tuning is about reducing or eliminating some of the positional complexities that are inherent in the traditional tuning.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    If not, it would have changed by now.
    Asserting that tuning would have changed by now if there were problems is affirming the current reality. People are indeed discussing alternatives. You're participating in a thread discussing one of the alternatives. Things ARE changing...it's just a fact.



    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    The guitar is not the violin, mandolin or piano. It is the guitar, and a large part of its charm is the tuning and what can be done with it. Again, it's mainly for jazz players and experimentalists. Of all the players who have achieved a real public success, only Stanley Jordan has used this tuning, and, of course, his technique had little to do with what came before, so he is, in essence, inventing a new approach, which is very cool, as is Paul Galbraith's adoption of the 8-string guitar. I am not averse to new stuff, I play mostly 7-string guitar myself, but, again, the 4ths tuning eliminates much of what is truly beautiful about the guitar: its repertoire.
    For you it seems the beauty of the guitar is the combination of it's traditional tuning and the specific arrangments for that particular tuning. In other words, the tradition is important. I can't argue against that position other than to say that I don't share it.

    FWIW, I also play from an old and established repertoire and no one has realized yet that I'm not playing guitar.

  25. #24

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    Well, those are all rather specious and even silly arguments. Your claim that classical and flamenco guitar repertoire can be reworked for the fourths tuning is unrealistic, and it would seem that you don't have anything invested in that. People have been trying the 4ths tuning for decades, and it, for good reason, has never caught on, nor will it, since it destroys the innate character of the guitar, which is indelibly connected to its tuning. The argument for eliminating the third in the tuning is an argument for eliminating the very charm of the guitar, and turning it into something else. The current reality, to use your phrase, is that the guitar is one of the most beautiful instruments in the musical universe, and has been for centuries. It ain't broke, and it doesn't need fixing. On top of that, millions of players have chosen to play it as is, and have mastered it to an amazing degree, in spite of its "problem" tuning, which is not its problem, and is its personality. While i can genuinely wish you luck in your quest, I don't think your arguments have any basis in the larger reality, and I am 100% certain that you will forever be in a tiniest minority. It's more than tradition, by the way, it's the guitar's very voice. What you are doing may or may not be artistically valid and may or may not sound good, but it's certainly yours to do. You are, however, deluding yourself if you really think it's "better".

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Well, those are all rather specious and even silly arguments.
    Yet you haven't refuted any of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Your claim that classical and flamenco guitar repertoire can be reworked for the fourths tuning is unrealistic, and it would seem that you don't have anything invested in that.
    Again, anything can be rearranged. ...and it's true, I don't play classical or flamenco...just that boring jazz stuff mainly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    People have been trying the 4ths tuning for decades, and it, for good reason, has never caught on, nor will it, since it destroys the innate character of the guitar, which is indelibly connected to its tuning.
    Only a few guitarists have tried this over the decades and they've had to go it alone which I can testify is sort of hard to do. For some reason however there is more and more interest in it now, possibly because there is some support available via the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    The argument for eliminating the third in the tuning is an argument for eliminating the very charm of the guitar, and turning it into something else. The current reality, to use your phrase, is that the guitar is one of the most beautiful instruments in the musical universe, and has been for centuries. It ain't broke, and it doesn't need fixing.
    Yes, 4ths players lack charm and believe in fixing working systems...why else would they bother changing tuning?

    Expanding your reasoning, would it be fair to say that a standard tuned player sounds better than a 4ths tuned player? ...or that one could even tell the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    On top of that, millions of players have chosen to play it as is, and have mastered it to an amazing degree, in spite of its "problem" tuning, which is not its problem, and is its personality.
    The vast majority do play standard. I don't think it's because they weighed the alternatives though and came to a reasoned decision. Rather it's more likely they play standard because that's the way they were taught and that's the way it's always been done.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    While i can genuinely wish you luck in your quest...
    ...but you won't

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    ...,I don't think your arguments have any basis in the larger reality, and I am 100% certain that you will forever be in a tiniest minority. It's more than tradition, by the way, it's the guitar's very voice. What you are doing may or may not be artistically valid and may or may not sound good, but it's certainly yours to do.
    ...and if it did sound good? ...or allowed someone to do more than they could before? ...then would it be okay or perhaps tolerated?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    You are, however, deluding yourself if you really think it's "better".
    The fact is it is better for me. Some other facts are that it's better for many of its adherents - only they can judge of course. It probably not better for you.

    ronjazz, the original poster asked if anyone used P4 tuning. I responded because I have used it for a long time and for an even longer time I used standard tuning so I know both sides of the fence. Then for some reason you decided to jump in, and with no prior experience, criticize the concept. I think YOU have an issue with individual choice.

    If you are correct and 4ths tuning is doomed to fail, let it. History will prove you right...be sure to let the bass players know too, thanks. All I know is that I'm not going back, I've seen the light... hallelujah!

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Well, those are all rather specious and even silly arguments. Your claim that classical and flamenco guitar repertoire can be reworked for the fourths tuning is unrealistic, and it would seem that you don't have anything invested in that. People have been trying the 4ths tuning for decades, and it, for good reason, has never caught on, nor will it, since it destroys the innate character of the guitar, which is indelibly connected to its tuning. The argument for eliminating the third in the tuning is an argument for eliminating the very charm of the guitar, and turning it into something else. The current reality, to use your phrase, is that the guitar is one of the most beautiful instruments in the musical universe, and has been for centuries. It ain't broke, and it doesn't need fixing. On top of that, millions of players have chosen to play it as is, and have mastered it to an amazing degree, in spite of its "problem" tuning, which is not its problem, and is its personality. While i can genuinely wish you luck in your quest, I don't think your arguments have any basis in the larger reality, and I am 100% certain that you will forever be in a tiniest minority. It's more than tradition, by the way, it's the guitar's very voice. What you are doing may or may not be artistically valid and may or may not sound good, but it's certainly yours to do. You are, however, deluding yourself if you really think it's "better".
    Ron, I feel like you're having a different conversation from what was originally taking place. You seem to be addressing the unspoken assertion that 4ths tuning should become the new standard tuning, when I don't think that was ever implied.

    While much of classical guitar music is idiosyncratic of the instrument's tuning, just as much of it has been transcribed to new keys, tunings, such as Drop-D or Double Drop-D and transcribed from other instruments. I'm sure the many classical guitarists who have arranged transcriptions from lute music would disagree that it's somehow "whoring" lute music. Neither is learning to play and read traditional lute music somehow harmful to the guitar and its status as an instrument in its traditional tuning.

    I don't think anyone was asserting that everyone should stop playing in standard tuning. It was a discussion about using this tuning as an alternative to traditional tuning.

    Also, I personally feel that the issue of the guitar's traditional body of standard-tuning literature is kind of irrelevant to the discussion of playing in a style which is predominantly focused on improvisation and not performing existing works. (Again, if someone wants to transcribe stuff to a different tuning, whatever. Who cares?)

    It also implies the "one or the other" logic flaw about playing guitar in different tunings, fingerings, or otherwise learning completely different instruments.

    I know 2 or three fingerings of certain scales in one position and knowledge of a stretch fingering, CAGED fingering or 3-per-string fingering doesn't necessarily replace the other. Nor does learning and discussing a G chord on the Ukulele with a student make me forget that the same chord shape on the guitar is D.

    There's room in the brain for both. I would also imagine that learning to play in a different tuning wouldn't "replace" the standard tuning knowledge or skill acquired up to that point. It simply becomes a case of whether it's worth it to the individual to devote time to a new tuning that could be spent practicing something in the old, familiar tuning. Again, if someone wants to dedicate their personal time to it, how's that anyone else's business?

    Heck, there are classical guitar pieces that call for detuning strings and 1 and 6, aren't there? That's 2 strings! Remove all of the drop D pieces from what all classical guitarists consider "legitimate repertoire". Seems silly to me.

    Edit: 4thstuning posted while I was typing.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic View Post
    Hey air, welcome to the forum!!

    Yeah Hutchings smokes! Not that it's my style, but he shows the P4 can be a pretty formidable platform for shredding!!

    Check out the links back a page that 4thstuning posted. Lots of good info. I recently downloaded the Ant Law e-book from the Mel Bay website. It's pretty good. Kind of a theory for P4.
    Trivia: Ant Law claims he introduced Hutchings to 4th tuning.

  29. #28

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    I have often wondered why most of us use the standard tuning. It would seem to me that there are many good reasons for tuning in 4ths. For me, it would seem impractical to take this on because I have about 60 years of experience with training my fingers, my ears, my memory, my favorite chord voicings, my playing techniques, my "tricks of the trade" in the thought process for learning new approaches to improvising, etc..... I am, simply put, too old to change a lifetime study of mastering the ability to play what I hear. I do, however, totally agree that the symmetry and logic of tuning in 4ths makes a lot more sense than standard tuning in terms of learning to play the guitar. Along with that thought, you would need to be very intensely dedicated to learning mostly without instruction in order to become a good player. I would love to be younger (wouldn't we all!) and able to start all over again doing what I love to do most.

    wiz
    Last edited by wizard3739; 08-22-2011 at 11:39 PM.
    Howie

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard3739 View Post
    I have often wondered why most of us use the standard tuning.
    One word: "charm"

    Quote Originally Posted by wizard3739 View Post
    It would seem to me that there are many good reasons for tuning in 4ths. For me, it would seem impractical to take this on because I have about 60 years of experience with training my fingers, my ears, my memory, my favorite chord voicings, my playing techniques, my "tricks of the trade" in the thought process for learning new approaches to improvising, etc..... I am, simply put, too old to change a lifetime study of mastering the ability to play what I hear.
    There is definitely a learning curve, but as only the 'B' and 'E' strings change, so much is still the same.

    I was in my very early 40's when I converted and it took a year of part time but focused work. I think one could do it at any age and counter-intuitively the more one already knows the faster the conversion.

    Quote Originally Posted by wizard3739 View Post
    I do, however, totally agree that the symmetry and logic of tuning in 4ths makes a lot more sense than standard tuning in terms of learning to play the guitar. Along with that thought, you would need to be very intensely dedicated to learning mostly without instruction in order to become a good player. I would love to be younger (wouldn't we all!) and able to start all over again doing what I love to do most.

    wiz


    Correct. The question should always be why change? One needs a good solid reason that provides sufficient motivation to persevere through the transition. I had my reasons but they probably wouldn't seem reasonable to others.

    If someone is happy with their playing and progress, then I can't imagine the need to change something so fundamental.

    It's not for everyone.

  31. #30

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    Two points that get made a lot:

    1) I've invested two much time in the standard tuning.

    2) Only Stanley Jordan has achieved much success.

    Two responses:

    1) No reason you can't use both tunings every day. People don't say I can't learn alto sax because I've invested too much time in tenor. And people don't say I can't learn Italian because I've invested too much time in French. I play mostly in 4ths now, but there are lots of times that I use the standard tuning. Maybe I'll relearn some tunes in the 4ths tuning. But there is no rush. Most of you guys have more than one guitar right? You won't forget all your standard licks. I guarantee you.

    2) When one considers the fact that so few people play in 4ths, Stanley Jordan's success actually support 4ths tuning. 1 in 10,000 jazz players tune in fourths, yet 1 in 1000 top jazz players tune in fourths. Maybe your chance of success increases ten fold if you tune in fourths.

    Favorite Musician: Pythagoras

  32. #31
    Saw this post and finally decided to join the forum and inject my O.

    P4 tuning - I use it exclusively. Have for some time. For me it works. I only care about jazz, and P4 does jazz pretty well.

    Yup, I know standard is all about all the whole universe of guitar from A to Z, but I only care about the letter J.

    P4 covers J. I'm a happy camper.
    Last edited by CigaretteVodka; 09-10-2011 at 12:37 AM.

    "I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

  33. #32

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    This thread confuses me. Ive only ever played standard but, if I tuned to P4 it would take me about 20 min. to adjust and thats just dealing with muscle memory type issues. I dont see the revelation people are finding in it thats such an issue from standard?

    Are there any people in this thread that learned how to build chords instead of only memorizing shapes that find this way any different than standard? Im open to learn but, I seriously cant imagine this being anything more than one simple brain shift on one area of the neck.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conway View Post
    This thread confuses me. Ive only ever played standard but, if I tuned to P4 it would take me about 20 min. to adjust and thats just dealing with muscle memory type issues. I dont see the revelation people are finding in it thats such an issue from standard?

    Are there any people in this thread that learned how to build chords instead of only memorizing shapes that find this way any different than standard? Im open to learn but, I seriously cant imagine this being anything more than one simple brain shift on one area of the neck.
    You can theorize all you want but you'll never really know till you try it.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4thstuning View Post
    You can theorize all you want but you'll never really know till you try it.

    Yeah, I did. Right after I posted it. Redundant, just like my brain, "theorized." It made a small handful of chords easier to play while making another small handful more difficult. Thanks for your helpful reply.

    Seems the same as any other alternate tuning except you have less things different. From what I have taken its on par with, "Drop D" By no means better, just slightly different.

    I was hoping someone could inform me past what I could already deduct due to the adoration many people in this thread have that they believe its much better point of view. But again, thanks.

    I was looking for enlightenment unto possible understanding but, I got you instead.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Conway View Post
    if I tuned to P4 it would take me about 20 min. to adjust
    Well then you might give it a go. Maybe that will alleviate your confusion.

    "I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conway View Post
    Yeah, I did. Right after I posted it. Redundant, just like my brain, "theorized." It made a small handful of chords easier to play while making another small handful more difficult. Thanks for your helpful reply.

    Seems the same as any other alternate tuning except you have less things different. From what I have taken its on par with, "Drop D" By no means better, just slightly different.

    I was hoping someone could inform me past what I could already deduct due to the adoration many people in this thread have that they believe its much better point of view. But again, thanks.

    I was looking for enlightenment unto possible understanding but, I got you instead.
    Perhaps, after 20 minutes of so of practice, you would grace us with some clips of your playing using 4ths tuning to demonstrate how simple it is to switch?

    More seriously, your flippant style of inquiry is what elicited my brief, yet polite, response.

    If you had truly re-tuned and "built" some chords as you claimed, you might have realized what has already been stated on this forum:
    1. that there's only 1/3 the chord forms to memorize,
    2. licks are identical across string sets,
    3. there is a spatial symmetry between notes that is consistent across the fretboard so that less mental energy is spent mapping the neck (this may not be immediately apparent at first, but a modicum of logic would hint at the possibility).

    Does that answer your question?

  38. #37

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    I switched to P4 about a month ago and it seems easier, but i still stop sometimes to figure out some tricky chord shape. This happens for altered chords in particular. But more i play real gigs it comes easier. It's kind of relearning a bit. I also want to switch to fingerstyle instead of pick, so i relearn both hands and brain

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Conway View Post
    Yeah, I did. Right after I posted it. Redundant, just like my brain, "theorized." It made a small handful of chords easier to play while making another small handful more difficult. Thanks for your helpful reply.

    Seems the same as any other alternate tuning except you have less things different. From what I have taken its on par with, "Drop D" By no means better, just slightly different.

    I was hoping someone could inform me past what I could already deduct due to the adoration many people in this thread have that they believe its much better point of view. But again, thanks.

    I was looking for enlightenment unto possible understanding but, I got you instead.
    Wow. This tuning really seems to offend you. Maybe it's best if you stay in standard. Is it okay though if I remain in 4ths?

    "I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

  40. #39
    I don't understand the anger in this thread.

    If someone posted about their curiosity in exploring playing left-handed (or right-handed), learning to play in open E, or learning to play jazz on a penny whistle, would it generate as much irritation?

    Seems like a simple "take it or leave it". Why does it make people angry that people are exploring it (or at least discussing it)?

    It's not like anybody is trying to take your standard-tuned guitar away from you.

    (BTW, never tuned in fourths, here. No current plans to do it any time soon, honestly. I just like reading about it. )

  41. #40
    Live and let live.

    "I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I don't understand the anger in this thread.

    If someone posted about their curiosity in exploring playing left-handed (or right-handed), learning to play in open E, or learning to play jazz on a penny whistle, would it generate as much irritation?

    Seems like a simple "take it or leave it". Why does it make people angry that people are exploring it (or at least discussing it)?

    It's not like anybody is trying to take your standard-tuned guitar away from you.

    (BTW, never tuned in fourths, here. No current plans to do it any time soon, honestly. I just like reading about it. )
    Because it's not supposed to be tuned to 4th dammit!

    I agree though. I don't get it either. It's essentially just different shapes. It still sounds like a guitar to me; nothing is fundamentally changed..

  43. #42

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    Gregory Dobrov is another 4ths player who studied with Stanley Jordan but doesn't sound anything like him. He's part of a duet out of Chicago that plays Russian, Greek, and Spanish influenced music.







    his duet's channel
    ????? ?? GuitarfireMusic - YouTube

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by 4thstuning View Post
    Gregory Dobrov is another 4ths player who studied with Stanley Jordan but doesn't sound anything like him. He's part of a duet out of Chicago that plays Russian, Greek, and Spanish influenced music.







    his duet's channel
    ????? ?? GuitarfireMusic - YouTube
    Wow, those guys are awesome. Reminds me of De Lucia and Di Meola.

    "I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

  45. #44

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    How about P5?

    I'm relearning guitar (after a long time gone stale) in three different tunings -- standard tuning, straight 4ths & straight 5ths.

    In the '90's I wrote a bunch of songs (adult contemporary) on standard tuning ... kind of folk rock & prog rock stuff. It's decent material, worth keeping handy, somewhat commercial, may more so w/ a bit of updating perhaps. Old chestnuts....

    But on picking the guitar back up, I thought of Stanley J. & that I'd heard he played straight 4ths. I started trying to do tap/touch (I'm no Stanley Jordan, not by any measure, never will be, will always be a glorified rhythm guitarist...) & realized the asymmetry in std tuning got in the way of doing touch/tap technique (this is why SJ went to straight 4ths). Straight 4ths immediately solves some vexing problems w/ tap/touch technique, it affords symmetry in doing tap/touch repertoire while sticking to generally well-known voicings otherwise that are typically applied from the lower strings.

    But then I got crazy & tried Straight 5ths... MAN what a REVELATION! Straight 5ths provides a similar symmetry to Straight 4ths, but what it does otherwise is completely reinvent the instrument -- easy fingerings for some very interesting voicings, sweeps & runs that have a very different sound entirely. FWIW Robert Fripp used a variant of 5ths tuning during his work with Brian Eno. So do the players on Warr Guitars & Chapman Sticks (Trey Gunn, Tony Levin...).

    The problem with straight 5ths tuning on a standard bodied guitar is readjusting the bridge. I'm lucky enough to have a very fine 1969 Guild Starfire III with a Bigsby Bar & *floating* bridge (made of aluminum stock), so all I've had to do is re-angle the bridge placement. There *are* a few nettlesome compromises on alternating-string octaves w/ this guitars equal-tempered fretboard, but it'll pass. Its bridge piece is solid cast aluminum, so fine-tuning the bridge tuning beyond what I've done is a no-go, and since I want to switch back to 4ths, I really can't overspecialize the rig.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, I've also tweaked the string heights w/ alum. foil on the bridge for three of the strings to alleviate buzzing on some of the notes. The fretboard ain't "perfect...", so getting the string action tolerances down to what Stanley Jordan, or Tony Levin enjoy is somewhere down the road.

    I'm also using a heavy-gauge flat-wound jazz set, b/c the sound is superior, there's less buzzing on the low A (otherwise the low E on std tuning) & no squeaking.

    Looking at a scale chart the most obvious difference between straight 4ths & 5ths is that the half-step pairings across the board are inverted. Obviously there's more to it than that, but that's all I'm good for on the theory side -- the difference really is to be experienced.

    I've been a programmer by trade , so I'm thinking of writing an application (after prototyping it on spreadsheets) that'll take MIDI notation & convert it to finger charts for whatever tuning I chose.

    Anyway, if a beginner like me can pick it up & run with it, dunno what you ol' timers are complaining about. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by leebert View Post
    How about P5?
    I've tried it. Ouch!! The stretches are murder for chording. But I'll admit it's pretty intuitive for melodies. They seem to come pretty easy with P5.

  47. #46

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    I just recently dedicated an old guitar to the Major thirds tuning.

    I'm still experimenting with it, and I really like it so far. Scales and arpeggios repeat on each set of 3 strings, and inverting triads is a breeze. I'm definitely going to keep toying with it.

    Tuning in Major thirds seems more practical to me than P4s, mostly because of the repeating patterns on each set of 3 strings, and the fact that you can comfortably play any interval less than an octave harmonically.

  48. #47

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    After looking at a chart I have for the P4 tuning, it seems like it has it's own set of advantages. It forces you to play symmetric scales diagonally, you have a bigger range, and it's not too different from standard tuning.

    I definitely want to keep a guitar around in one of these uniform tuning.

    4thstuning, I'd be interested to know what disadvantages you've come across playing in the P4 tuning for as long as you have.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by count0 View Post
    4thstuning, I'd be interested to know what disadvantages you've come across playing in the P4 tuning for as long as you have.
    hmmm.... I suspect that you mean the term 'disadvantage' to imply difficulty in reproducing specific sounds/grips/licks that are common in std tuning. Is that fair?

    Assuming I've interpreted you correctly, there are certain idioms in std tuning that are harder to emulate in 4ths (but the reverse would be true too and for every seeming difficulty there seems to be an acceptable substitute).

    That said, here are some easy pickings (pardon the pun):

    I've not found, or looked for, a '4ths' way to do folk style finger picking with the thumbed alternate bass notes below the harmony/melody lines. This is a nice feature of std tuning in that one can play some 'E' or 'A' grip with a barre and almost mindlessly make some music.

    Another very minor ex: The major 7 arpeggio (1,3,5,7), is difficult to play on 4 strings so I do it on 3 (two notes on one string). Also that same Maj7 grip is hard to reproduce so subs must be used.

    In general, there are many grips in std that aren't available in 4ths so alternate "spellings" have to be constructed.

    Now getting back to the interpretation of the term "disadvantage". This is subjective and above I tried to answer it in terms of how I presumed you meant it. My personal perspective is that what little one gives up is more than compensated with the simplicity provided by the symmetric map, the reduced number and consistency of forms, the availability of all string sets, and always being able to find an acceptable substitute. So for me, not necessarily anyone else, there are no unacceptable disadvantages.

    Bottom line, the 4ths tuned guitar is not quite the same instrument as the std tuned guitar. One should expect different limitations and outcomes.

    Does this answer your question? If not, let me know.

  50. #49

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    Yes, I meant disadvantages when playing jazz and similar styles.

    Thanks for that detailed response. I agree with you completely that the the reduced forms and symmetry are worth whatever you give up in terms of time required to learn, even without the resources one has available for the standard tuning.

    Especially for someone like myself, because I've started playing at a later stage in my life, and would like to apply whatever knowledge of music theory, etc. I've gathered until now to the guitar in a quick and painless way.

    I'll keep reading this thread. I find it very interesting.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeyLime View Post
    I've tried it. Ouch!! The stretches are murder for chording. But I'll admit it's pretty intuitive for melodies. They seem to come pretty easy with P5.
    I noticed that as well .. it *is* a different instrument, really, in P5. Non-inverted 3rds are pretty much out w/ pick/strum.

    P5 (Mandolin-like tuning, FWIW) really forced me deeper into tap/touch instead of finger picking. There are quite a few chord structures that P5 won't provide readily w/out resorting to tap/touch, or inversions.

    The melodies however do just spill out all over the place, and some two-part melodic structures avail themselves quite readily (major/min 9th & 10th unisons). Watching Trey Gunn & Tony Levin/Bob Culberton on Warr & Chapman Stick (5ths on the lowers, 4ths on the uppers), jazz voicings are available on the lowers, but they have the benefit of having the lowers inverted down the middle of the neck. That's really a radical redesign, I'm trying to find a compromise method, so yes, I see your point.

    Since I'm interested in writing very different new material I'm using P5 to get me into different textures & sounds, but have also been able to accommodate some blues melodics, so some stuff is certainly possible, but it's still via touch/tap, not strum/pick.