Alternate Tunings (But More Importantly…uh…Knowing When You're in Them)
Yep. Definitely played two songs last night with my A string tuned to G. Which can offer some cool possibilities…if, of course, you remember that you tuned your A to a G. If not, you end up with this really confused look on your face, going, ‘Okay, I know I’m playing a B minor right now. But something sounds off…oh well, maybe some more delay will help.’
See, at my church yesterday morning, we moved Wonderful Cross (the Passion version one) into the key of G so we could have the female vocalist lead it. (And if you haven’t tried girl voice leading it yet, you gotta! The melody was like, written for girl voice.) But I still needed that droning pedal tone on the tonic, so I tuned the A string on my strat down to G so that I could leave it open for the afore-mentioned ‘drone.’ And then I only used the strat for that song and the one right after; for the latter I just re-worked the chord positionings to work for the alternate tuning. But I told myself, after the services are over, I have got to tune right away. Or else I’m going to forget, pull my strat out at the next church tonight, tune it to G (because I know for a fact I never, ever actually look at the note I’m tuning to; I just watch the strobe move sharp or flat), and then be really, really confused halfway through the set. Oh ya. Rockstar.
(This is Christopher Walken in Sleepy Hollow. What does this have to do with this post? Wait for it… Okay, look at that picture. Now the look you have on your own face right now? That’s confusion…probably somewhere close to the look I had on my face when I hit the A string…or G string….whatever it was. Although, I do love Mr. Walken. He does whatever he wants, says whatever he wants, does any role he wants, and is always hilarious in it…even if it’s not necessarily supposed to be a comedic role.)
Luckily, at the Sunday night church, I only played the strat for two of the nine songs, and I only played full chords (meaning, hitting the A string…er…G string, now) during the bridge of the second song. That’s when the confusion started. And of course you check all the usual suspects. My fingers can’t be on the wrong string, and I can’t be bending the string out of tune, because of course I have way too much innate musical ability for that. And my guitar didn’t go out of tune, because, since I play it, it’s obviously the best guitar ever made and doesn’t go out of tune. It must be the bass player. Either that or the way the germanium chips in my fuzz or reacting to the proximity of the tubes in my delay and causing a weird harmonic reaction in the 7th scale degree. Unfortunately, that is quite true; no, not what I said, the fact that I actually think that stuff before ever considering the fault could possibly be mine.
And then of course, you have to hit the string one more time just to make sure, and then I just muted it when I needed chords, and stayed away from it for the rest of the song. (There was no space or time to tune.) And then I switched guitars, but still thoroughly confused. It wasn’t until during the message (I hope it’s not just me who spaces during the message thinking about the worship set and how awesome or un-awesome I think I played……not that that’s good; just real), that I realize that no, it was not the bass player; and no, my guitar didn’t go out of tune (at least I can keep my delusions that it’s the best guitar ever made); it was, in fact, due to my regrettable slowness. I was out of tune. And I did it on purpose.
I’m really not sure why I post these things. I think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel silly for making a blog in which I just assume that other people will actually care about my opinions (I prefer to call them facts) on gear and worship and guitars and such; so for my penance, I guess, I post things like this, which have a level of honesty that probably borders somewhere along the lines of stupidity. But it keeps my humble. And humility is way better than being rockstar; or, at least that’s what you have to tell yourself when you tune your guitar to the wrong note…on purpose.