Anyone use Open G tuning for Sunday Morning worship sets? I've been playing around with it just recently and unfortunately everything I play seems to have the Keith Richards/Rolling Stones feel to it.

 

Do you find that this tuning versatile enough? I'm just learning, so maybe it's that, but I find that I have more chord options in Standard Tuning. Probably because I'm new to Open G, but I can only really get Blues or Rock-ish voicing/sounds? Slide is nice too, but I don't see myself using it for a whole worship set.

 

Also, I had the guitar with 6 strings, but I'm thinking I'm going to get rid of the low D a la Keith Richards with Micawber. Seems to make barring much easier. However that makes that guitar an "Open G" only guitar then. (I mean someone would argue I'm halfway to a banjo now!)

 

Thoughts?

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I think how you cope with open tunings is a mixture of practise and how your brain is wired. Some people effortlessly switch from one tuning to another (eg. bass-meister Michael Manring, who switches tunings mid-song or even mid-note on a regular basis) while others struggle with anything that breaks out of what they first learnt. Mr Manring has, of course, put in decades of practise but I suspect it came easier to him than for some others, just like some people can play the drums and I struggle to keep two limbs working in a solid rhythm, let alone three or four.

 

What is the open G you are using? DGDGBD? The tuning I have my guitar in is DGCFBbEb (4ths all the way across and an octave up from my six string bass). It isn't an open tuning per-se but is similar in mucking up all your regular chords and most of your riffs. The advantage is that patterns are consistent all the way across the neck. However, I have to admit that, about 3 years in, I am only just getting to the point where I feel fairly fluent when I am having to think about the notes involved (as opposed to just playing by ear, where the regular intervals are a boon).

 

Don't give up too easily but do make sure you put in a lot of time practising the material you will be playing at church and seeing if you can get the range of sounds you want. Also, don't forget the value of (a) a capo and (b) chord shapes that only use two or three fretted strings, perhaps with an open string or two to fatten them out.

 

Wulf

Odd tuning there for your Six. Most of the time I thought people play B-E-A-D-G-C. Like a 5-string, just with C added on top (vs. a B with 6-string guitar). The D would definitely tighten things up on some basses as I find the low B just too loose and flabby on some. I guess the 4ths make for shorter patterns too (and hence less stretching) ;)

 

(I'm a drummer too, but at least with drums there aren't any key-changes!)

 

I'm going to keep trying. For sure the patterns are different, so they take a little getting used to. The "D" also seems to be in way as I said. I think I might try a Keith Richards 5 string next. At least the G will be low fundamental...

 

I'm a little worried that I'll get bored soon. I had the Cut-Capo that so in-style for worship a few years ago. However it just wasn't versitile enough for day-to-day use. Everything was easier to finger, but sounded the same.

 

thanks Wulf!

I used to use the BEADGC tuning but decided that I very rarely used the lowest notes. Since I was hankering for a bit more range on top (in a smallish church at the time I often end up playing chords higher up the neck to fill out the sound) I decided to change the tuning. I kept the idea of tuning in 4ths but started a bit higher; the low note is as low as I need and the top string is only a tone shy of the high F normally found on 7 string basses.

 

When I got an electric guitar, I decided to replicate the tuning an octave up. I certainly can't play a lot of things that come easily on a "normal" guitar but I didn't want to sound the same anyway!

 

Wulf

I'm also just working on open G because I'm trying to learn Clawhammer. It seems that a lot of the pieces I'm trying to play are in open G. So far, I find that it's set up well for easy melody and alternating bass notes - lots of country stuff is done on it. The Stones used it a lot! If you wan't different, listen to Leo Kottke, Vaseline Machine Gun.

 

But you bring up a good point - I had never thought to use open things during worship.

 

Each tuning lends itself to different things. Open C is good for situations where you want a lot of strong ringing bass notes and strummed 3rds and such. You can play open C without ever finger picking a thing although a lot of Travis picked tunes are done on it. Open D seems well suited for Travis picking stuff. 

 

Of course none of this is to say that you can't coax other things out of it, but it seems that each tuning has a character of it's own. Try some Michael Hedges tunings!

Stevo,

 

I'm going to look some of that stuff up. For sure each tuning has it's own voicing, and open G sounds good. It's very recordable, not impossible to learn. However I think the deal breaker for me is going to able to have it versatile enough for a just about any worship set.

 

Like I was telling Wulf up top, my cut capo sits in a box after 6 months of use and being heralded as the next great thing for guitarist.

 

Original Short Capo

 

Moving both capos around was a pain...but someone else has come up with a new 2x capo monster for cut capo...

 

Cut Capo - Tranpocapo

 

I'm going to give a try for a little longer. There might be a reason I've never seen it in a contemporary church worship team...

There might be a reason that you don't see it almost anywhere. I have seen people do capo gymnastics, but in a worship setting, and most other settings, it's just not needed and you don't gain much from it. I would expect the reason for using open tunings in worship (especially open C) is to get all the ringing octaves and fullness when strumming.

 

People like to use open tunings for several reasons. Keef was brilliant at one time, and I'm sure he had a reason for using open G on so many songs. My suspicion was laziness though... But most other times, open tunings are for Travis picking, Clawhammer picking or even bizarreness like Michael Hedges songs.

 

All that aside, if you can come up with a good reason and way to incorporate it into worship, you'll be the next Michael Hedges, the new Leo Kotke, a veritable Bruce Cockburn/Lindsay Buckingham hybrid. Go for it!

A capo is a boon if you are in an open tuning. Generally, the open tuning will be great for one key and decent for a couple of others. Throw in a capo and you have a lot more flexibility. I play a lot of folky stuff (including some bluegrass worship) with a friend who normally tunes in DADGAD but uses a capo at all points along the neck to enable us to use a range of different keys.

 

Even EADGBE tuning is better for some keys than others - there's a reason guitarists often balk at keys like Eb.

 

I'd love to worship with a guitarist who played like Michael Hedges!

 

Wulf

You almost have to have a capo when using open tunings - it's the only way to get into the right key. But the funky capos - that's what we were talking about.
You're too funny Stevo.. I'll be happy not to look like an idiot on stage +_+...
Yes, the double capo back flip is kind of risky.

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