View Full Version : Tuned down teaching

11-03-2004, 05:35 PM
He everyone! So I've got a question for some of the other teachers and students on here.

Last night I had a new student start and he's quite into the heavy metal. He's been playing for about a year and he's got a really good start.

It turns out he likes to tune down a full step. DGCFAD

I told him that I want him to come to lessons with a standard tuned guitar. I just think that it will make more sense to him as we get into scales and chords. I tell him for example that "A" is not necessarily a place on the fretboard but an actual pitch.

Are there any teachers out there or students that have some insight on this?


11-04-2004, 12:11 AM
C'mon people.....share some ideas. I know there's teachers on here.


Los Boleros
11-04-2004, 12:12 AM
I agree, it seems that that would waste alot of time because when you show him it will be in a different key. I gues you can play your examples a whole tone lower so he can hear them but then he cant see what it really looks like. If he has a whammy bar on that thing, he won't like switching tuning very much. Maybe you can make him take the lessons on one of your guitars.

11-04-2004, 12:18 AM
Hey, thanks for the input Boleros. I told him to bring a guitar tuned to EADGBE next time. He seemed pretty against it.....like it won't be heavy enough for him. I told him he's not here to be heavy, he's here to learn guitar.

It was just too difficult for him to grasp that I could play the same thing on my guitar in the same place but it would sound completely different.

Then I thought of me de-tuning, for the lessons. But it will just get too confusing for him. "No man... the A is on the 7th fret of the 6th string 'cause we tuned down". I can see a lot of that happening.

Thanks for your input Los Boleros!!


Los Boleros
11-04-2004, 12:22 AM
hey Ben, What was your inspiration for Landslide? It is so agressive! KoOol!

11-04-2004, 12:30 AM
My inspirationfor Landslide was wishing I still had a band to play Death Metal.

It's not metal but I wanted to sound as aggressive on my acoustic as possible. The trick is the tuning.....CGCGCC

Fortunately I'm jamming metal again........it's pretty fun, and I'm enjoying every bit of it.

Glad you liked it man!!


11-04-2004, 09:29 AM
i know your prob and had that as well with a student.
i'd tell him to come with the usual guitar tuning as well, as those downtuned guys don't detune to get different notes but just to sound loooow. so he should learn the usual positions and then just know that for example a low normal e-chord just sounds as a low d-chord for him.
my humble opinion ;) .

11-04-2004, 10:07 AM
I switched over to guitar from banjo (which is open G tuning as standard) --- and wanted to use open G tuning on the guitar as the fingering, chords, etc would be the same. Did not work because all the guitar tabs, patterns, etc are in standard tuning.

Much simplier to learn in standard tuning. Nothing says you can not go to any tuning you like after you learn how to play your guitar. But it is after you learn the basics.

11-04-2004, 03:37 PM
Just my 2 cents on this topic;
IMO, I would let him come tuned any way he see fit. The idea is not railroad anyone into anything... but to nurture and help the person grow musically in the direction they wish to go. It just seems to me, that if you make someone do something they dont like doing during the lesson, they will start to associate lessons with things they dont like doing...
Maybe, (and this is just me speaking here) the teacher should be the one to accomodate the student. I teach with a strat fixed bridge, so, it's no big deal for me to tune any way anyone wants to.
This ideal may not suit everyone, but I think the idea is to make people happy by facilitating their musical wants, as well as fundamental needs.
Thanks for listenin :)

11-04-2004, 03:55 PM
i treat my studends really bad, and they still keep coming back. :D
if they want an hour of fun they can meet their friends. if a student wants to learn guitar badly he is willing to take "the pain".
of course music should be fun, but learning things can't always be fun.
i don't let a student tell me what he needs - and they trust my experience and abilities to "lead them". that does not mean that i do my programm, no matter what, but after finding out where the student wants to go and what his goals are i take the responsability to show him what he needs.

i am just half the a**hole as i might sound :D .

p.s. i detune for students as well if we're playing to a downtuned cd, but all fretboard theory i do is with E A D G H E open strings.

11-04-2004, 11:23 PM
Ask him if he thinks his heroes learned the basics de-tuned (And hope they don't, which I doubt they did) Tell him that if he can play heavy in standard, imagine how heavy he can play detuned :D !


11-05-2004, 02:26 AM
I have a friend who plays detuned and to teach him anything in standard would be a waste, none of it would translate. I've tried and he has another friend that plays guitar that's even better than I am who also said "You'll never learn if you tune it like that"

He just says, "I just want to riff." I suppose if I were going to teach someone like that I'd tell them that I'd show them some rhythm stuff and then suggest they find another person that plays that style well to teach them more advanced (I use the term lightly for that crap) rock/metal. Using my friend as an example, he can only play power chords but his rhythm isn't very tight (he's gotten much better lately, honestly the average person would probably rather listen to him play than hear me screwing up a solo or something.)


11-05-2004, 04:08 AM
Yeah!! DanF is back! I missed your postings dude. Really. Good to see ya. :cool:

11-05-2004, 05:36 AM
Put a capo on his guitar!! :) That might work.

11-05-2004, 08:11 PM
Depends on the situation, but I tend to let them tune any way they want. Sure, an A is a note (not a location on the fretboard), but it's all the same, really, since his band-mates are probably tuned down, too.

More often than not, I'll accomodate the student's tuning (assuming he or she is intentionally tuned down - hahaha!!!).

BTW: Landslide rocks, man. Bullfight is pretty cool, too. I like how it starts mellow and builds up. You use the pickup to record those, or mic 'em?

Los Boleros
11-05-2004, 10:11 PM
I once tune my guitar down a minor third to C#. I was able to use my guitar as a Bow and fling arrows across the room.:D

Len H
11-06-2004, 01:49 AM
I read an article somewhere about the fallacy of "concert pitch" A440. It seems throughout history that there has been quite a variation depending on the time and place. Until recently concert pitch has been somewhat lower than the A440 standard of today. By the way, the current standard was proposed in 1930s Germany (yep, the Nazi Party) to brighten the sound of their bands and orchestras. I personally tune down a half step because it simply sounds better to my ears.


11-06-2004, 02:43 AM
I've heard that it was 410-415 in Mozart's day, and it's steadily gone up. There are some who use 444 and 448!

11-06-2004, 08:56 PM
I once tune my guitar down a minor third to C#. I was able to use my guitar as a Bow and fling arrows across the room.:D

Hahahaahhaha.....This made me laugh when I decided to look back here. And the suggestion about the capo......that's a cool idea too.

Thanks for the input people.........see ya!


11-07-2004, 02:52 AM
Yeah!! DanF is back! I missed your postings dude. Really. Good to see ya. :cool:

Not to hijack the thread, but thanks for noticing Dan! :P Did I miss anything good while I was gone? (Hehe maybe a PM would keep me from getting in trouble).

-Dan (AKA #2)

11-07-2004, 05:16 PM
I had a student like this once, good kid, had some school band experience and played guitar before taking my lessons. He was a bit arrogant about keeping his tuning because he understood that I could play a chord in standard and all he had to do was play, for example, a step higher. I couldn't really argue with him about WHY he had to be in standard, so I kept telling him we're trying to learn the basics in standard because that's how we learn the BASICS, but I only made him retune a few times over the year or two I taught him. I got sick of his stubborness, so I just took the money and gave him the best info I could. He was one of those teens who had a really sharp musical ear and mind, understood much of the theory stuff I threw at him...but he still didn't practice much of it, so he was still sloppy.

I lean towards the a**hole approach the other teacher mentioned. I'm not there to be your jukebox; you're paying for my knowledge and ideas on guitar. You don't have to worship it as gospel--and I'll certainly tweak the lessons based on your goals--but at some point you gotta let me do my job and share what I know.

I suppose I could get another guitar, though. Detune it for those sorts of lessons.