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 thread  Author  Topic: How did Ant and Mike "discover" their tunings?  (Read 713 times)
Schrottrocker
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xx How did Ant and Mike "discover" their tunings?
« Thread started on: Oct 18th, 2015, 4:08pm »

Ant and Mike have used a hell of a lot of different guitar tunings, some of them really strange. Especially Ant seems to tune his guitars differently for every single piece he records (nearly...).

How do they find their tunings? What I mean is, tuning your guitar in some weird fashion is one thing. Playing things on it that make sense is another story... Ant and Mike (and sure enough other guitarists out there too) seem to be capable of mastering any weird tuning, they always find lots of chords and melodies to play no matter what. Aren't alternate tunings big challenges as you can't rely on conventional fingerings any longer?

The most bizarre thing about these strange tunings is when they tune the pair strings of their 12-string guitars on different notes. Ant has 12-string guitar pieces that feature pair strings (which should be in unison or in octaves in normal tuning) in thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths and sevenths. According to everything I know about guitar playing this must be extremely limiting, yet Ant seems to master this without any efforts. How does this work? huh

Disclaimer: I'm a keyboardist, I can't play guitar, I can however play a little bit mandolin so there's at least a tiny bit I get about fingering chords and stuff... I'm still fascinated how these guys manage to come up with new tunings over and over and how they always find lots of things to play, if I had to do this I basically had to learn playing guitar from scratch with every new tuning tongue
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xx Re: How did Ant and Mike "discover" thei
« Reply #1 on: Oct 19th, 2015, 06:06am »

Hi there



I think experimentation is the word when it comes to their tunings.



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xx Re: How did Ant and Mike "discover" thei
« Reply #2 on: Oct 19th, 2015, 2:23pm »

Some open tunings are actually easier to play in than in the standard tuning. This is often because the open tuning is a nice sounding chord all on its own, so changing chords involves very simple fingerings on a few strings. In some cases, you can slide around the same fingering all over the fretboard to get great chords.

Coming up with an open tuning often depends on which strings you want to remain ringing as open strings throughout. For example, if you are playing in the key of D, having strings that are tuned to D or A will allow you to have lots of drones (low or high) as part of the chords you are playing.

The stranger tunings you mention, where paired strings are not in octaves but are instead in other intervals, can still be fairly straightforward to work with. Tuning in 4ths or 5ths can lead to easy chording for the most part. Things get trickier with other intervals, but not too bad if only one or two pairs are tuned in this manner.
« Last Edit: Oct 19th, 2015, 2:24pm by Dr. John » User IP Logged

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xx Re: How did Ant and Mike "discover" thei
« Reply #3 on: Oct 20th, 2015, 08:55am »

Interesting. smiley Yes, I think I hear Ant play lots of open strings when he is in alternate tunings, but not so when he uses the regular tuning. I guess open tunings can make you a bit lazy because it will always sound well and you don't have to do much while the regular tuning forces you to finger a lot more.
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