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I think too much
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
... is the different tunings people use and the different keys people like to play in.

I try to practice a lot at home, and that's where the magic happens. We tune to A440, so most of the time it really isn't a problem. However, some songs need those rich, open chords to sound right so we modulate them up a half-step. Playing a 1/2 step off from the recording is really awful sometimes.

Paradise City is particularly grueling. :ugh: How many of you are in cover bands, and do you tune down or not? Early on, I asked our singer if she wanted us to tune down and she said "absolutely not!".
 

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playing songs in a different key often sounds wrong. especially when you're used to hear the song in a different tonality.

i don't know what you're covering, but i'd imagine it can get quite ridiculous if you play songs in 3 or 4 different keys and have to tune each time. i'd consider using a 7-string if you're comfortable with transposing stuff so that you use the 7-string for Eb, D or whatever you need.

you could also simply tune lower and use a capo ;)
 

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I think too much
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why not tune exactly to what the song you're covering is tuned to? :scratch:
Well, because I don't want to take 4 guitars to each gig (primary and spare for E and Eb) and have to switch back and forth all night.

playing songs in a different key often sounds wrong. especially when you're used to hear the song in a different tonality.

i don't know what you're covering, but i'd imagine it can get quite ridiculous if you play songs in 3 or 4 different keys and have to tune each time. i'd consider using a 7-string if you're comfortable with transposing stuff so that you use the 7-string for Eb, D or whatever you need.

you could also simply tune lower and use a capo ;)
You'd be surprised. Some songs you can't tell the difference. We play Stevie Wonder's Superstition in F instead of Eb. You'd never know.

I have a 7 string, but it goes beyond single note requirements. We play some things in their original key, like Poison's Nothing But a Good Time (in Ab). However, when you need cowboy chords there's really no substitute, which brings me to your next suggestion.

I actually thought about tuning down and using a capo. That certainly would solve my cowboy chord dilemma, but would be an absolute trainwreck for 90% of the time when we're in regular tuning. Can you imagine having to go to the sixth fret for an A note? God help me. :lol:

The thing is, we don't want to modulate the original song unless it's mechanically necessary. By that, I mean trying to play "You Really Got Me" in Ab just doesn't sound the same on a guitar tuned to A440. You don't get that powerful open A chord. It's a vibe thing. Some songs are too low for our singer, so we have to raise them a bit.

I'm not really bitching all that much. I just find it a little painful being a half step off sometimes while practicing. :lol:
 

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I usually got around those issues with my RG7621. Though, I tried the pitch shifter on the GMajor... It kinda sounded pixelated, and I never gigged with it, but it was fun to fuck around with :lol:
 

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I am Groot
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Our cover band tunes a half-step down, and often capos up to get where we need to be. We're also not above dropping something a fifth, and then capoing up a step or so to get things where they need to be, while maintaining open chords. It is easy to be a stickler for playing something in the key it was recorded in, but if your band sounds like shit trying to sing it, then what is the point? Plus, most people will never notice. The most important part of any cover band is making the material yours, just owning it with total confidence. People who want to hear the song as recorded feed money to juke boxes. People who want to be entertained go see a good cover band, and I guarantee you that all the good ones move material around.

I recommend playing around to find the tuning that works best for the whole group, and learning to love the capo. We have three guitarists, so we often have two guys capoed at different positions, and one guy playing bar chords. It is a matter of carving out your own spot in the mix, and there is a lot of room to flesh something out when the original song had keyboards, horns, etc. Sometimes, the other two guys play absolutely nothing at all, or next to nothing, since the song calls for sparse. It really is about serving the material and not your own preconceptions.

Remember, you're not the band that wrote the song, you're just there to entertain people, and you'll be fine. Learn to approach it like an arranger, and not a parrot.
 

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Where?!
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Get a guitar with a trans-trem?
 

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Remember, you're not the band that wrote the song, you're just there to entertain people, and you'll be fine. Learn to approach it like an arranger, and not a parrot.
It's easier for you guys because you are an (almost) all-acoustic band. No one who comes to JWP gig expects to hear note-for-note recreations. But I've seen cover gigs where the band is expected to be sort of a "living radio." Personally, I think that sucks, but for playing wedding receptions etc. it's probably necessary, since the point is to be unobtrusive.

Personally, for pop stuff I think it would be easier to modify the vocal parts than to completely rearrange the song to get around transposing problems. If you've got a budding Aretha or Bruce Dickinson in the band, great, but if not I don't think anyone will care if the vocal line omits a few of the crazy high notes.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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... is the different tunings people use and the different keys people like to play in.

I try to practice a lot at home, and that's where the magic happens. We tune to A440, so most of the time it really isn't a problem. However, some songs need those rich, open chords to sound right so we modulate them up a half-step. Playing a 1/2 step off from the recording is really awful sometimes.

Paradise City is particularly grueling. :ugh: How many of you are in cover bands, and do you tune down or not? Early on, I asked our singer if she wanted us to tune down and she said "absolutely not!".
Does she sing it a half step higher than the recording, or does she sing it in the key of the recording, and expect you guys to compensate without retuning?

If the former, then that's no problem. If the later, then tell her not to be lazy, and she can either sing it up a half step, or you're tuning down.
 

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get an axe fx, use the pitch shifter. done deal....


:D


The best advice i see in here is the capo love. tuning down and then spending a few days relearning the songs.
 

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I think too much
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Does she sing it a half step higher than the recording, or does she sing it in the key of the recording, and expect you guys to compensate without retuning?

If the former, then that's no problem. If the later, then tell her not to be lazy, and she can either sing it up a half step, or you're tuning down.
Yeah, she sings it a half-step higher. It's no problem at practice, it's just interesting to play along with the original version and be a half-step up.

get an axe fx, use the pitch shifter. done deal....

:D

The best advice i see in here is the capo love. tuning down and then spending a few days relearning the songs.
Oh, I'll just go right out and do that. :lol: I just got a capo, so I'm going to have to ease myself into it.

Our cover band tunes a half-step down, and often capos up to get where we need to be. We're also not above dropping something a fifth, and then capoing up a step or so to get things where they need to be, while maintaining open chords. It is easy to be a stickler for playing something in the key it was recorded in, but if your band sounds like shit trying to sing it, then what is the point? Plus, most people will never notice. The most important part of any cover band is making the material yours, just owning it with total confidence. People who want to hear the song as recorded feed money to juke boxes. People who want to be entertained go see a good cover band, and I guarantee you that all the good ones move material around.

I recommend playing around to find the tuning that works best for the whole group, and learning to love the capo. We have three guitarists, so we often have two guys capoed at different positions, and one guy playing bar chords. It is a matter of carving out your own spot in the mix, and there is a lot of room to flesh something out when the original song had keyboards, horns, etc. Sometimes, the other two guys play absolutely nothing at all, or next to nothing, since the song calls for sparse. It really is about serving the material and not your own preconceptions.

Remember, you're not the band that wrote the song, you're just there to entertain people, and you'll be fine. Learn to approach it like an arranger, and not a parrot.
That's great advice, and I follow some of it. Instrumentation can be tricky when there's no keys. Often times, I'm doing some strange adaptation of a keyboard part. That capo business makes me really nervous though. Still, I should try it. :yesway:

I'd like to try something like that too, but I'm not sure I'd like how it will sound. Right now, I'm running analog effect pedals into a tube amp and I wonder just how glaring the tonal difference would be if I put something like that in the mix. Do they sound cheesy when they shift? I mean, kinda like one's voice does when you inhale helium? Stupid example, I know, but that's the gist of my concern. :lol:
 

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The shifting on my GMajor wasn't great, but it could get the job done in a pinch. Though, I wouldn't recommend using a clean tone with them. It's REALLY apparent when chording. Distorted single notes sound... alright.
 

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I think too much
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The shifting on my GMajor wasn't great, but it could get the job done in a pinch. Though, I wouldn't recommend using a clean tone with them. It's REALLY apparent when chording. Distorted single notes sound... alright.
Hmm. Maybe I'll just stick to trying the capo thing and pass on the electronic shifting of the entire instrument. I tend to make things more complicated than they have to be, and this is smelling an awful lot like that. :D
 

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I miss you Avalanche
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Ken, try one out. I did. Its really good actually. But the cables I was using in the store were really cheap, and it was feeding back when I used it, cuz I turned the sensitivity really high. I'm sure you could easily get it to work.
 

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For the practicing at home with the recording issue have you tried transposing the recording?

Transcribe! works amazingly well on Windows, Linux, or Mac, but if you're on Mac OS X use Capo which has a way way better interface.

Also for the playing live issue it sounds like a Trans-Scale guitar would be ideal S T E I N B E R G E R . C O M

Edit: on second thought the ZT3 would be ideal because you can instantly lock into E or Eb tuning and all your fretboard markers will stay in the same spot relative to the nut (in other words it doesn't feel like using a capo where the position markers are in a different spot relative to the open strings.)
 

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Wirelessly posted (A Destroyer of short people: Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4B1 Safari/419.3)

Yeah, Leo was teaching me slaughter of the soul in b standard and tuned his steiny right down from e standard and it worked seemingly well :shrug:
 
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