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Feb 24, 2021 - 5:24:27 PM
4 posts since 1/9/2019

I often lower the fifth string to F# when playing melodic songs in the key of "D". Standard "G" tuning but with the 5th string tuned down for F#-D-G-B-D. On many songs it simplifies the fingering for increased speed without repeating the same string and can bring out the melody. I just posted several songs for examples because that tuning was not listed as an option when I went to post a tab. I don't know how many others do the same? I enjoy playing with fiddlers and working up arrangements from sheet music for a challenge. I posted a few standards in "D" if anyone wants to try them (Arkansas Traveler, Liberty, Mississippi Sawyer, Soldier's Joy). I also posted my version of Ragtime Annie in "D" melodic but with the 5th string tuned up to an "A" note. Mostly just wanted to know if anyone else is using this tuning and what songs they play using it. I will post more of my tabs in this tuning if anyone wants them, just leave me a note. Sorry in advance everything is in crude PDF. Not a computer guy..

Feb 24, 2021 - 9:54:55 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24584 posts since 6/25/2005

Bluerass players have done this for years on vocals because they often prefer to play in D position out of G tuning in order to keep the low D without retuning that string.

Feb 25, 2021 - 3:13:45 AM

4 posts since 1/9/2019

Thank you, that makes sense, I will have to try it. I'm only really comfortable in open "G" and "C" and rely on my capo for the rest. When I do play in open "D" I always tune the 5th string to "A". 

Edited by - flyakfish on 02/25/2021 03:17:07

Feb 25, 2021 - 3:25:31 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24584 posts since 6/25/2005

I think you’ll find that where you tune the 5th depends on the tune you’re playing. Sometimes A sounds better, sometimes F#.

Feb 25, 2021 - 7:48:37 AM

4273 posts since 6/15/2005

Keeping the 5th string at G can work too. I play a number of fiddle tunes in D out of open G, with no capo and no retuning at all, including Angeline the Baker, Eighth of January, Over the Waterfall, Liberty, Arkansas Traveler, Mississippi Sawyer, Snowflake Reel, St. Anne's Reel, Whiskey Before Breakfast. My arrangements are not strictly melodic, but use a combination of Scruggs, melodic and single-string - whatever lets me get a result I like. But it depends on the tune. With other fiddle tunes in D such as Forked Deer, Beaumont Rag and Bill Cheatham, I prefer to capo two and spike the fifth string at A.

Feb 25, 2021 - 9:26:17 AM

4 posts since 1/9/2019

You sound like an very accomplished player, probably much better than me. I'm sure you've played Bill Keith's "G" version of Arkansas Traveler. He begins Part B with a lush melodic run that I have always loved but no fiddle player I know will play the song in "G". I wanted to duplicate that run note-for-note but play it in "D" and the only way I could come up with (no single string or Scruggs), was by re-tuning the 5th string to F#. My tab Part B begins with that run but in "D". I also tried to mimic good fiddle players like the triplets to begin part A. Sorry for my crude transcription and approximate timing.

Feb 25, 2021 - 10:34:40 AM

4273 posts since 6/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by flyakfish

You sound like an very accomplished player, probably much better than me. I'm sure you've played Bill Keith's "G" version of Arkansas Traveler. He begins Part B with a lush melodic run that I have always loved but no fiddle player I know will play the song in "G". I wanted to duplicate that run note-for-note but play it in "D" and the only way I could come up with (no single string or Scruggs), was by re-tuning the 5th string to F#. My tab Part B begins with that run but in "D". I also tried to mimic good fiddle players like the triplets to begin part A. Sorry for my crude transcription and approximate timing.


Thanks, but my playing is not really exceptional. My rhythm and timing are solid, and I listen to and try to support the  people I jam or gig with.  Mostly, though, I've been playing a long time, and I played clawhammer for many years before moving to bluegrass styles, so I've seen and heard a lot. In fact, my bluegrass arrangement of Arkansas Traveler is pretty much same as the melodic clawhammer version I played long ago.

I've never attempted to play Bill Keith's version of Arkansas Traveler in G, for lots of reasons, the most important of which is laziness.  Almost everything I play is my own arrangement, and one of the reasons I like to combine right hand approaches is to find the easiest way to play a particular tune.  I also hate to retune - quite a depaerture from my old time/clawhammer days, when I knew a bunch of tunings, some of which were used for just one tune!

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