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Rush - studio songs on which Alex uses a non-standard guitar tuning


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#1 Relayer2112

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 09:40 AM

Does anyone know on which songs, in Rush's studio repertoire, that Alex does not use the standard EADGBE guitar tuning?  Also, are there any studio songs on which he used a capo?

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#2 toymaker

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 09:42 AM

Main Monkey Business and Hope for sure.  Some drop D stuff like Between the Wheels.

I don't think he's ever used a capo, but I may be wrong.

#3 stoopid

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:07 AM

I'm pretty sure Stick It Out is drop D.

#4 JARG

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

#5 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:27 AM

View Poststoopid, on 14 September 2016 - 11:07 AM, said:

I'm pretty sure Stick It Out is drop D.

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

Yep for both.

Pretty sure Headlong Flight is tuned to something different, but I never tried learning that one.

#6 toymaker

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:33 AM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 14 September 2016 - 11:27 AM, said:

View Poststoopid, on 14 September 2016 - 11:07 AM, said:

I'm pretty sure Stick It Out is drop D.

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

Yep for both.

Pretty sure Headlong Flight is tuned to something different, but I never tried learning that one.

Yeah, it looks like one-finger chording on the main riffs.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...

#7 Relayer2112

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:50 AM

Thanks for the info...it looks like headlong flight may use some kind of slide tuning.  I wonder why he didn't use a slide for it.

#8 toymaker

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:59 AM

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 11:50 AM, said:

Thanks for the info...it looks like headlong flight may use some kind of slide tuning.  I wonder why he didn't use a slide for it.

It would sound cool, but maybe less cruncherific, with a slide.

#9 Relayer2112

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

#10 toymaker

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:06 PM

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

Yeah - there's a perfect place to use a capo!

#11 Relayer2112

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:06 PM

View Posttoymaker, on 14 September 2016 - 11:59 AM, said:

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 11:50 AM, said:

Thanks for the info...it looks like headlong flight may use some kind of slide tuning.  I wonder why he didn't use a slide for it.

It would sound cool, but maybe less cruncherific, with a slide.

I wonder if maybe he tried it with a slide originally and it came across too much like a ZZ Top song :)

#12 JARG

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:15 PM

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

My guess is that he wanted to use certain chord shapes and/or open strings and those would only work if the guitar was tuned up a step.

#13 Relayer2112

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:31 PM

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 12:15 PM, said:

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

My guess is that he wanted to use certain chord shapes and/or open strings and those would only work if the guitar was tuned up a step.

Isn't it kind of weird that it happened only on this one song???  I guess the world may never know.  The funny thing is that they probably don't remember why they did it either.

#14 stoopid

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 01:41 PM

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 12:15 PM, said:

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

My guess is that he wanted to use certain chord shapes and/or open strings and those would only work if the guitar was tuned up a step.

In addition, when using a slide you have to be very mindful of your attack.  Too hard and it twangs pretty quick.  So if he's playing aggressively, a slide probably wouldn't sound right.

As far as capo - I've never had a capo applied to a guitar and had it retain exact tuning, usually one or more strings are over/under tension.  Fretting is an exact science, if you push too hard or too soft it changes the note being played [as well as where in that fret space you're pressing].

Edited by stoopid, 14 September 2016 - 01:42 PM.


#15 HemiBeers

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 02:11 PM

View Poststoopid, on 14 September 2016 - 01:41 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 12:15 PM, said:

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

My guess is that he wanted to use certain chord shapes and/or open strings and those would only work if the guitar was tuned up a step.

In addition, when using a slide you have to be very mindful of your attack.  Too hard and it twangs pretty quick.  So if he's playing aggressively, a slide probably wouldn't sound right.

As far as capo - I've never had a capo applied to a guitar and had it retain exact tuning, usually one or more strings are over/under tension.  Fretting is an exact science, if you push too hard or too soft it changes the note being played [as well as where in that fret space you're pressing].
When I use a slide it usually ends up sounding like cats in heat. That's not a band name...I'm referring to actual felines in heat.

#16 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 04:23 PM

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 12:15 PM, said:

View PostRelayer2112, on 14 September 2016 - 12:02 PM, said:

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

I've always wondered why a player would tune in that way (I know that Eddie VH would typically tune his guitar a half step down so that he could do more bendy stuff, but why would Alex on just this one particular song tune a step up).  Is it just that they couldn't get the right feel on the song otherwise?  I'd love to know the thinking that went into it.

My guess is that he wanted to use certain chord shapes and/or open strings and those would only work if the guitar was tuned up a step.

Exactly. He wanted the song in that key and wanted to play with open strings and harmonics in that key.

#17 BowlCity

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:38 PM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 14 September 2016 - 11:27 AM, said:

View Poststoopid, on 14 September 2016 - 11:07 AM, said:

I'm pretty sure Stick It Out is drop D.

View PostJARG, on 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM, said:

I think on The Big Money Alex's guitar is tuned up a step.

Yep for both.

Pretty sure Headlong Flight is tuned to something different, but I never tried learning that one.

I'm positive Headlong Flight is standard.

At least, I'm playing it in standard :Alex:

#18 BowlCity

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:42 PM

Songs that aren't in standard...

Between The Wheels is Drop D
Big Money is step up
I think Mystic Rhythms is half step down - someone else please confirm
Stick It Out is Drop D

About half of Test For Echo is D standard - title track, Driven, Color of Right, Totem, I don't know the story on the rest of them for sure

A few on Snakes and Arrows are either Drop D or D standard - Hope, Monkey Business, Bravest Shit, We Hold On

#19 BowlCity

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:43 PM

I don't believe Alex has gone out of E standard before they wrote Between The Wheels.

#20 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 06:05 PM

View PostBowlCity, on 14 September 2016 - 05:42 PM, said:

About half of Test For Echo is D standard - title track, Driven, Color of Right, Totem, I don't know the story on the rest of them for sure

You're right about Test For Echo, but Driven is definitely in normal E standard. That main riff is all pulloffs to an open A string, and the riff after the bass interlude ends on an open E.

Not sure about those other T4E songs -- never learned those.




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