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Sep 20, 2022 - 7:25:05 AM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

41938 posts since 3/7/2006

There have been a lot of discussion about playing in G# - just because Earl did....

I am curious to know if you prefer to tune up to G# (g#D#G#B#D#) or if you prefer to use a capo on first fret in ordinary G tuning. Personallyt, I prefer to tune up one half tone, rather than capo (when I have time to retune). The pitch will be the same but if tuning up the tension in the strings is higher and give brighter sound. I think Earl chose to tune up?

Sep 20, 2022 - 8:43:39 AM
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phb

Germany

3576 posts since 11/8/2010

I change the pitch of the recording to make it play back in G.

Sep 20, 2022 - 9:02:09 AM

Owen

Canada

11911 posts since 6/5/2011

I'm only 11 or so years in, but so far the desire (?) to use alternative tunings hasn't come around.  Once in a fairly long while I use a capo.   I generally apply the same rationale that some have applied to "keys" ...  i.e. "There's G and not G."  Btw, who's Earl?  wink

Sep 20, 2022 - 9:15:59 AM
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2029 posts since 2/10/2003

quote:
Originally posted by janolov

There have been a lot of discussion about playing in G# - just because Earl did....

I am curious to know if you prefer to tune up to G# (g#D#G#B#D#) or if you prefer to use a capo on first fret in ordinary G tuning. Personallyt, I prefer to tune up one half tone, rather than capo (when I have time to retune). The pitch will be the same but if tuning up the tension in the strings is higher and give brighter sound. I think Earl chose to tune up?


Earl and the band tuned up a half step, which if you are in a band and performing/recording would be the way to do it.  If you are at a jam, or playing together in a pick up situation, it would be advisable to stay in standard G tuning, rather then ask everyone to tune sharp.  If you are by yourself, do whatever you prefer capo or tune up. 

Sep 20, 2022 - 9:37:02 AM
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13692 posts since 6/2/2008

About 50 years ago I tuned up a half step to learn Togary Mountain off of Will The the Circle Be Unbroken. After that, I only played it in actual G. I never tuned up to learn anything of Earl's and was unfamiliar with his band's practice of tuning up a half step. The only non-standard tuning I've ever done with others goes back to the days before electronic tuners when someone at a practice, gig or jam would say they had tuned to some record and so we trusted their pitch regardless of how accurate it was. If we were off, at least we were all off together. Sometimes someone had a pitch pipe or tuning fork.

I have no desire to play anything in G#.

Sep 20, 2022 - 12:18:41 PM

38 posts since 3/28/2022

I presume I'm the recent one to start rambling about G#. Having poked at it for a few weeks on and off now, it seems like everything Scruggs sounds better with it, everything by other artists sounds worse. It's certainly fun to play with, and retuning between the two doesn't take that much time, so it's easy to add into a play session. I'm sure it only sounds better because I listen to a lot of scruggs in my freetime.

I also avoid using a capo where possible, my digital tuner shows it doesn't quite move an exact step.
G# is a fun toy to play with, but certainly not a replacement for standard open G.

That said, Your banjo, your time, play with it for a bit and see how it treats you!

Sep 20, 2022 - 1:20:18 PM

273 posts since 7/22/2012

If I want to play in G sharp for one reason or another, sometimes I put the capo on, sometimes I tune up.

Sep 20, 2022 - 2:26:11 PM
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RB-1

Netherlands

3856 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by bobhasawebsite

it seems like everything Scruggs sounds better with it,


I don't agree.

I like Earl's Granada a lot better the way it was in the later years, when he tuned to G.

The banjo seemed to 'open up' compared to the late 40-ies and early 50-ies.

Sep 20, 2022 - 2:54:02 PM
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2158 posts since 11/17/2018

I used to tune up to play with recordings.

Never did for a jam or band performance.

Sep 20, 2022 - 3:43:53 PM
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3491 posts since 10/17/2009

In OT fiddle tune world, it's fairly common folks prefer to tune up a whole step; to A or D, rather capo up. As well, Key of G# doesn't really exist in that world, nobody really tunes to G# on purpose; rather just more considered non A440. 

Sep 20, 2022 - 4:54:08 PM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1870 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by janolov

There have been a lot of discussion about playing in G# - just because Earl did....

I am curious to know if you prefer to tune up to G# (g#D#G#B#D#) or if you prefer to use a capo on first fret in ordinary G tuning. Personallyt, I prefer to tune up one half tone, rather than capo (when I have time to retune). The pitch will be the same but if tuning up the tension in the strings is higher and give brighter sound. I think Earl chose to tune up?


I don't think anyone given the choice would capo at 1.

As for tuning to open G#...if you play/practice by yourself there's no issue. Not sure why anyone would think it's a detriment or worse.

Sep 20, 2022 - 6:03:18 PM
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4343 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog
 

I don't think anyone given the choice would capo at 1.

 

 


Hmmm....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPHWoniyqq8

Sep 20, 2022 - 7:30:40 PM
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3121 posts since 4/19/2008
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I see that the fiddle player wanted no part of that , he tuned down a half-step!

Sep 20, 2022 - 11:36:51 PM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

41938 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

I see that the fiddle player wanted no part of that , he tuned down a half-step!


That sounds logic if the fiddler knows the tune in A. and not G Tuning down a half-step and he can still play it as in A.

Edited by - janolov on 09/20/2022 23:49:22

Sep 21, 2022 - 6:05:58 AM
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4343 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

I see that the fiddle player wanted no part of that , he tuned down a half-step!


That sounds logic if the fiddler knows the tune in A. and not G Tuning down a half-step and he can still play it as in A.


Tad is an expert fiddler. He could surely have played in A-flat in standard tuning, but Lynn liked those open-string sounds. When he toured with her, he would take two fiddles--one standard and one tuned a half-step low, as in the video I linked. Lynn had a reputation for playing in pretty much every key. 

What I find interesting is that there are three different approaches to A-flat in that video: capo 1 (guitar and banjo), "real" A-flat (bass and mandolin), and tuned down (fiddle).

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 09/21/2022 06:06:17

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