1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Half step down question...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stevedeter12, Apr 23, 2003.

  1. stevedeter12


    Mar 10, 2003
    Nashville TN
    I just put it on the poll, but I thought I pose the question again...
    The band that that I'm in now, we play the blues, alot of Stevie Ray, Allmans, Jimi, BB etc. and we tune Eb-Ab-Db-Gb (Bb-Eb for the guitar player). It sounds fine but I've always used normal tuning. Not to sound stupid but I noticed that alot of blues stuff is played a half down, what's the reasoning behind that tuning?
  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I suppose the reason is that one is having a problem playing in a flatted key.

    I play quite a bit in flatted keys and I see no need to change the way I tune. If you can play in F and C, you should be able to play in any flat key.

  3. stevedeter12


    Mar 10, 2003
    Nashville TN
    I guess what I'm asking is if there's a reason behind why Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix and others tuned a half step down, not that the band is having a problem with playing in a flat key...
  4. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA

    As I understand it, atleast in Stevie's case, he liked using the heavier gauge strings on his guitar. So, to be able to play those rockn' blues licks that he did so well, he would tune his guitar down 1/2 a step; thus, making the strings slightly more flexible... typically, it's the jazz guitarists that use the heavy guages.
    As for Jimi???... hmmm, perhaps the playing left-handed?

    michael s.
  5. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    In my band we play a half step down for one because the song is written that way, sometimes we cover a song half step down from standard because it's easier for our vocalist to hit the notes, that may have something to do with it, good question.
  6. stevedeter12


    Mar 10, 2003
    Nashville TN
    Thanx for the info, I figured it was vocals as well. I asked the guitar player in my band(don't know why I never asked before but anyway)he uses heavy guage 13's like Stevie with a high action and bends the dog-snot out of the strings, so for him it's like Ziggy said the flexability thing.
    Thanx again...

Share This Page