AwAreness: How do you tune?

So I was in prayer about what to write next and The Holy Spirit challenged me with this thought: “why are you always so serious?  Some folks might want to know about your music and your tunings and how you feel about other issues.” 

So here it is – I use various open tunings – have since 1987.  Mostly generic tunings like open E, D, B, and G. 

Open E is a really fun blues tuning and it is great for playing slide which is what I do 97% of the time.  Just recently got back into regular 440 tuning for the new record AZA – lots of electric 12 string on that. 

The open E tuning is this: the normal tuning of 440 from strings 6-5-4-3-2-1 is E-A-D-G-B-E.    What you do is simulate an E chord with the new tuning 6-5-4-3-2-1 would be: E-B-E-G#-B-E.   So when you strum, it sounds like an E chord, but you are not pressing down on any notes.  It’s very cool and very easy to get started.  Just remember when you start playing that the 5 and 4 strings are now tuned a step higher and the notes you are used to will have changed position.  The 3rd string is a half step higher so those notes will change too.

Now decide on a slide bar.  I have found that if using an acoustic; a metal bar is better, you need a little more weight.  If you are using an electric I think the metal bar goes well with humbucker pickups and a glass slide is better with single coil pickups.

The object is to play in tune.  The slide simulates the fret so to speak.  So keep the slide even with the fret, parallel up and down.  To eliminate string buzz, mute the strings behind the slide with your next finger.  Say you have the slide on your third finger; then gently rest your second finger on the strings BEHIND the slide. 

Now you are ready to get started.  Strum the open chord, all 6 strings, then move the slide up to the 5th fret (A), then down to the 3rd fret (G), back down to open E, then up to the 12th fret (E octave).  You have the ultimate da- da-da-da – Dooiinngg – The blues riff on countless hit records. 🙂 

Experiment once you have this tuning down. If you have any questions give me a yell.

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