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Old 06-20-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
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Perfect fourths tuning

I currently just play in B standard tuning (BEADGBE) but am contemplating switching to a perfect fourths tuning (BEADGCF) since it just makes sense. I've been playing for a very short period of time though and there may be some major shortcomings of this that I'm not thinking of or am just not aware of. Anybody use this tuning and if so how does it work out for you? Thanks

And yeah, I know I can just try it and see, but at this early stage I don't want to confuse my fingers even more.

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Old 06-20-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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I think it really comes down to what you plan on doing with the tuning.
Open tunings are great for big open chords and melodic fingerstyle playing, but not the best for playing in multiple keys. Likewise, standard is more suited to being able to play in different keys, but requires more thinking when it comes to fingerpicking or hybrid picking

And there's obviously the downside of having to figure out your own chord shapes. But I would say try it and see how it works out and if you don't like it, worst case scenario you have to buy new strings

Last edited by Ror; 06-20-2012 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Expanded
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #3
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It does make a lot of sense but I found it wasn't good for large chords. Standard just lends itself to extended chord shapes so well.

You have to try making your own chord shapes in that tuning. I found standard, fifths, and alternating 5ths/4ths (CGCGCG..) good but not perfect 4ths once playing chords across more than a few strings. But it's all preference!

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Old 06-20-2012, 11:13 PM   #4
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The downside is that it makes a lot of 'standard' guitar material harder if not impossible to really play - pretty much anything with traditional 'folk' chords becomes challenging. Same thing goes for all of your crazy shred arpeggio shapes, you have to change them all.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:07 AM   #5
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I switched to all fourths tuning early on, and I haven't looked back. It does make the standard 'folk' chords a touch harder, but not impossible. Try barring with a slightly bent index finger in such a way that the top two segments are on the 7th fret for strings B, E, A, and D, but the lower segment is on the 6th fret for strings C and F. (The G string will most likely be muted, but this is okay.) Using that as the basis for barre chords, you'll be able to play most, if not all, of the standard 'folk' chords. Some of the weirder chords might need some re-voicing, but part of the fun is figuring out the fingerings for yourself.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Also a long term all-fourths player here.

For me the great thing about it is the consistency of all scale, chord, & arpeggio shapes on all strings. It makes it truly effortless to switch between anything from a 4-string bass to a 10 string ERG.

I also found after a few months playing all-fourths I came to see standard tuning as just all-fourths with a 1 fret glitch between the second and third strings. Standard is really not very different from all-fourths.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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Well its been a while since I posted this, but I finally decided last night to switch to P4 tuning for good. It just makes more sense for me. The only advantage of standard tuning seems to be for big bar chords that utilize six or seven strings. I never use those types of chord voicings. I really never play chords using more than four or five strings. It will take a couple of days to get used to it (you just have to move your fingers on strings one and two one fret towards the nut), but I'll be better off in the long run.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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I look at it this way:
There's a reason that all basses are tuned this way.
There's also a reason we tune guitars EADGBe.
If you don't plan on playing chords all that much, besides root-oriented voicings that still work on bass tunings, fourths might be your thing.

Notice the first one is a fairly basic, bass-friendly and root-oriented kind of voicing whereas the second one is, while being another chord entirely, relies on the M3 gap. Obvious things the M3 gap helps with is things like open (cowboy) chords and the fact that with a root on the 6th string, you have your root and 5th and hen your basic flatted 3rd and 7th on that same fret, which helps lay the basics for standard voicings and spinoffs.
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