• OVERVIEW •
In keeping with heavy rock’s ‘ever lower’ trend, many Scandinavian death metal groups (‘ragnarok-ers’?) were tuning right down to B by the 90s, stringing heavier and often adding a 7th to accommodate. Still popular on the global metal scene today.
Also used on ‘baritone’ guitars, which have a 5-10% longer scale length than normal. Different bari designs take various downward transpositions – most are 4 to 9 frets below Standard – with B being the most common.
Pattern: 5-5-5-4-5 | Harmony: Bm7(11) | Intervals: 1-4-b7-b3-5-1
• TUNE UP •
• SOUNDS •
And for a few examples from outside metal: Stefano Mirandola (The Chicken), Tim Lerch (Grez Mendocino), Sungha Jung (Flaming), Axel Hagen (Blue Baritone), and Ariel Posen (Angeline, Tremolo, Funk Improv).
Jazz legend Jim Hall also seems to have tuned ‘down a fourth’ on a few recordings – including his 1963 Girl and a Guitar duet with vocalist Lee Schaefer and, and in a bassless ‘overdub trio’ with Jimmy Giuffrè and Bob Brookmeyer (Cabin in the Sky).
- Angeline Solo – Ariel Posen (2020):
• NUMBERS •
- See my Tunings Megatable for further such nerdery: more numbers, intervallic relations, comparative methods, etc. And to any genuine vibratory scientists reading: please critique my DIY analysis!
• RELATED •
—Associated tunings: proximities of shape, concept, context, etc…
- C Standard (this +1): everything a little further up
- Carnatic Drone: another loose, B-based layout
- Funky Avocado: like a ‘Drop B + DADGAD’ mashup
• MORE INFO •
—Further learnings: sources, readings, lessons, other onward links…
- Baritone guitars: read StringJoy’s overview, watch Guitar World‘s Mike Mushok model demo, ProGuitarShop’s Bari Tele demo, Fender’s Bari Jazzmaster demo (actually -2 down again) – and also Chords of Orion’s intro to ambient electric baritone
- Going deeper: more on Jim Hall’s possible downtunings on a MusikNews thread, hear Ariel Posen on his ‘Stratomule’ bari and see how he played that (^) solo – and check out Rob Scallon’s Down-Tuning Experiment for a pleasingly direct way to answer the question ‘does tuning lower make things heavier?’ (also features the mysteries of ‘drop-Q’ tuning)
Browse 100+ tunings: type in names, notes, artists, sequences, words, etc. Also see tags below & the Full Menu.
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• RĀGA JUNGLISM •
rāga: ‘that which colours the mind’
George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher. I play guitar, tabla, and santoor, loosely focusing on jazz, rhythm, and other global improvised traditions. Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the human voices, cultures, and passions behind them. Site above, follow below, & hit me up for…
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