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Unread 10-23-2006, 06:22 AM   #1
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Major Thirds Tuning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_third_guitar_tuning

Heard about this on Wikipedia last night. It sounds interesting, but the main problem I can see with it is that it isn't significantly 'better' than standard tuning, it's just different.

Any thoughts? Anyone tried it?

Define 'well-adjusted'...

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Unread 10-23-2006, 08:05 AM   #2
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Would give you less range than tuning to 4th's, not by a whole lot I don't think. I've always wanted to try out one of those funky tunings (5ths, etc) just to challenge me to learn to play scales and stuff without just following a pattern.
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Unread 10-24-2006, 11:29 AM   #3
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I can't for the life of me see how that tuning could be very useful for anything other than melodic stuff.

though standard tuning already does kind of blow as far as barre chords are considered..
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Unread 10-26-2006, 03:31 PM   #4
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It makes playing triads an seventh chords easier. It's easier to play the diminished, whole tone and six tone symetrical scales as well. But that's all I can think of.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 07:21 PM   #5
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Major-Thirds Tuning Tutorial

I have written a tutorial on major-thirds tuning outlining its strengths and providing chord charts for several chord types. It is called "Chord Shapes for Major-Thirds Tuning on a 7-String Guitar". View it online at www.keith.bromley.name . Feel free to give me any feedback on how to improve it.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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I've always been a total bore when it comes to tunings, especially on my electrics- most of them tuned to the usual intervals of standard tuning. I read that article; how come there's no clips of that Ralph Patt guy playing to be seen.heard on youtube? really want to see someone use the tuning who knows what they're doing, ie its inventor

Like JJ said, it would almost be worth it just to have a go at doing it to have a go at playing guitar based of musical instinct using your ears- I'm sure it would take you down some loco sonic-alleys!
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Unread 10-31-2013, 09:13 PM   #7
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I had my 7 tuned like this while I was in Afghanistan (same range as a standard tuned 6). I loved it:
  • It's symmetric -- the same chord shapes everywhere on the neck
  • The same interval always falls under the same finger
  • It makes it easier to play across the neck, not just up/down the neck
  • It's great for denser, more piano-like chords
  • Spread-voiced chords don't require some of the "almost the same" chord substitutions (e.g. dimDb7 for a C7b9)
  • Melodic, scale runs, sight reading, etc. are easier.
  • Two full octaves in one position, no stretches.
  • +more. See the sites listed below.
It was especially nice for playing finger-style blues

I'm currently tuned CGDGBE (Steve Tibbetts tuning) because I need to keep the top four strings in standard tuning (for the meantime) to not confuse the heck out of my daughter playing with her Classical lessons, and I have no 7-string at this time. Also, M3rds Tuning is not as good for Me, Myself & I playing as having those stacked fifths in the bass.

When I get/build an 8-string, I'll almost certainly go back to M3rds.

Some other resources:

The Ultimate Question: What string gauge is needed for 18.84# of tension when tuned to E2 on a 27" scale guitar?
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Unread 10-31-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
I have written a tutorial on major-thirds tuning outlining its strengths and providing chord charts for several chord types. It is called "Chord Shapes for Major-Thirds Tuning on a 7-String Guitar". View it online at Dr. Keith Bromley . Feel free to give me any feedback on how to improve it.
Welcome aboard. It's nice to have another Ye Olde Farte around here, especially a M3rds Fan.

Do you play primarily 7-sting Jazz?


Ray

The Ultimate Question: What string gauge is needed for 18.84# of tension when tuned to E2 on a 27" scale guitar?
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Unread 10-31-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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audio clips of M3 guitar playing

Unfortunately, Ralph Patt died in October 2010 at age 80. There are some audio clips of his playing on his web site Ralph Patt's Jazz Web Page.

Let me thank Kiefer Wolfowitz for the following links to M3 recordings:

Patrick Zemb independently invented M3 tuning, somewhat later than Ralph Patt. He has about 6 recordings at his site:
La Guitare #5 par la diagionale des quartes, page D1 (en Francais)

Ole Kirkeby has posted Guitar Pro 6 files along with pdfs, etc. of many contemporary jazz standards at his website on M3 tuning, for solos
M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Solo Arrangements
and for duets:
M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Duets
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Unread 10-31-2013, 09:43 PM   #10
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Ray,
Thanks for the Welcome. I was somewhat hesitant to submit a new post to a thread that hasn't been active since 2006. But I think that exploring alternative tunings is exciting. I am a big fan of regular tunings, and I wanted to share what I had learned about both P4 and M3.
I have an Ibanez AFJ957 7-stringer tuned to major thirds (E Ab C E Ab C E) and a Schecter Jazz-7 7-stringer tuned to perfect fourths (B E A D G C F). I like to play old pop/jazz standards, some Bossa Nova, and some Chet-Atkins country fingerstyle.
How about you?
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Unread 11-01-2013, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
Thanks for the Welcome. I was somewhat hesitant to submit a new post to a thread that hasn't been active since 2006.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
... I am a big fan of regular tunings ...
Same here. I like the denseness of M3rs and the airiness of P5ths. I'm planning a multi-scale 6-string build and will almost definitely go all 5ths (F#CGDAE - middle four like a cello + a 5th higher and lower)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Bromley View Post
I like to play old pop/jazz standards, some Bossa Nova, and some Chet-Atkins country fingerstyle.
How about you?
I'm in a tough spot right now. I like harder-edged finger style blues, surf and neoclassical shred that's not too meedley-meedley-meedley. Right now, my "me" time is scarce and I've been so on-again-off-again over the years that keeping a working piece ahead of my daughter's Classical lessons is about all I can manage. Eventually, I will be pushing into more rhythmically complex finger style and having the regular tunings fall right into that.

Ray

The Ultimate Question: What string gauge is needed for 18.84# of tension when tuned to E2 on a 27" scale guitar?
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Unread 11-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Retune to play quartertone scales. Microtonal beginners guide
Not quite major thirds but related and so close it is easy to retune to. This shows how all neutral thirds can be usable for playing quartertone scales and chords. It's somewhat awkward for melody but excellent for chords.
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Unread 11-03-2013, 05:44 PM   #13
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The point of going with an alternate tuning is to explore possibility. It's not so much about what's possible with the tuning so much as it is pushing us to make music with a fresh approach that we never would have thought to make with standard tuning, because it's so alien when compared to standard. Being pushed out of a comfort zone is great for growth, and on the plus side, there's also new music that comes out of the tuning which is always pretty sweet.
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