Thomas L. McClain wrote:
> I just purchased Sarah McQuaid's DAFGAD book and Grossman & Renbourn's Anthology of >O'Carolan Music at a local book store. After reading the McQuiad book and looking at >the various tunings in the Grossman & Renbourn book:
> I am getting confused on whether to use standard tuning, another tuning, or, to throw >more a bit more chaos into things, ADD A CAPO <:o while accompanying.
> Is there a standard or is it to each their own? Do most folks use modal tunings (e.g. >DADGAD) or is it also hap-hazard? Any insight is greatly appreciated.
For accompaniment, I find that simple "drop D" tuning works the best for
me, (DADGBE), it gives the D and G chords a little extra punch. You can
slide up to the low G for effect. Also, I know the neck much better in
these tunings and I'm more brave about putting in the occasional more
"colorful" chord and little runs and things.
Alternative tunings can become, as you infer, pretty anal retentive.
Solo finger picking is the only justification FOR ME in the use of these
tunings. John Renbourne is a great one for retuning, and I like most of
his arrangements, but I play a 12 string and that can be a lot of
strings when people are waiting for the next tune and you're going to Bb
tuning (which I have never attempted in public, by the way). I like
Renbourne's arrangements in Gm tuning - DGDGBbD. And there are some
nice DADGAD arrangements of O'Carolan. My own arrangements are in
standard or drop D. El McMeene's web page has some nice arrangements in
C tuning, and he has a book out now (Mel Bay, I believe), which I
haven't looked at yet. That low C sounds great, though!
I use a capo when I accompany myself in a song, in standard and DADGAD,
because my voice prefers that range. But I also like the sound of the
guitar capoed up on the fifth fret or so. I need to get a tenor guitar
or cittern for that, I suppose.
To answer your question, IMHO, it's your guitar, find what works for
you; play around; have fun. I think most Irtradders use standard, drop
D, or DADGAD. And run don't walk away from people who shame your