Bands that play in lower tunings live than used on albums

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by guitarfishbay, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. guitarfishbay

    guitarfishbay SS.org Regular

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    This is mostly a discussion about bands with singers who sing high notes at the top of their range. Sometimes bands end up playing songs in a lower key live to help the singer.

    What do you think about bands who do this? Would it alter your opinion about buying tickets to a show? If you didn't know they were going to do it how did you feel about it after you heard the gig in a different tuning, or did you even notice?

    I believe that the key of a song affects the feel, but I think the performance is paramount and that bands have to work around the singer. If they can nail the song a semitone down then I'd rather see that show than see the singer struggle all night.

    But I wonder if some people would be disappointed and feel the singer 'can't do it' if they couldn't keep up a whole show in album tuning for a tour, and needed the material played lower? It is one thing to record a song at the limit of your vocal range but a totally different thing to do a whole gig/tour pushing your limits. Would you rather the album was just recorded in the same tuning which would be used live?

    I've been watching some YouTube videos lately of studio recordings and live versions of the tracks and have noticed that a couple of the live performances were in a lower key, which sparked the idea for this thread.

    Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

    Cheers for any discussion.
     
  2. Alex6534

    Alex6534 SS.org Regular

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    I agree with you, much rather see the band perform their best, if this means tuning a bit lower to compensate the vocalist then go for it. For example, Trivium - Ascendancy was written in Drop D but now they play it live in Drop C# which suits Matt's voice much better.
     
  3. WhiteWalls

    WhiteWalls SS.org Regular

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    If it's half a step lower, or maybe even a full step, I have no problem with. It's pretty common in power/heavy metal bands who have been around for a long time and age is almost never very kind to singers.

    Just don't do like Being as an ocean, who played a song two steps higher (failing miserably) so they could play their whole set with only one guitar.
     
  4. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::wallbash:
     
  5. Aion

    Aion SS.org Regular

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    This happens all the time with bands, regardless of genre or who the singer is. In non-guitar based music it's even more common since the open strings don't matter as much. Tuning won't be changed, but the key of the song will be. It's extremely common in jazz gigs for the singer to ask for the song to be played up or down a couple of half-steps. The one exception might be classical music where you'll have the music first and find the singer second, then you look for someone who can sing everything they need to sing. But if you're sticking with one singer in a rock, metal, or jazz context the keys are going to have to move around a bit at some point.
     
  6. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    If Iron Maiden decide to tune down a half step to help Bruce's voice, I don't have an issue with it. Bruce can sing and proved that over his whole career. Metallica and Megadeth have already dropped their tuning live. But these are established acts that have already paid their dues - and that are getting on in their years. I guess I could be wary of a young group that can't perform their album live... but I don't really have an interest in most new music! Ha. :lol:
     
  7. MerlinTKD

    MerlinTKD EIght.Fold.Path / Hinge Theory Contributor

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    I remember a quote from Wayne Static (RIP :(), about guitars:

    "In the studio, it's all about how the guitar sounds: doesn't matter if it has a baseball bat neck or weighs fifty pounds, as long as it sounds right. Live, it doesn't matter how the guitar sounds, it's all about how it feels: when you're playing day in - day out, it's got to be comfortable."

    (Can't recall the exact quote, but that was gist of it)


    So yeah, vocalists should be the same way about their voices: if it's in your range, you can hit it 100% without hurting yourself, go for it; if you're going to be straining, hurting yourself, it's better to drop the song a step or two than damage your voice and cancel shows.
     
  8. guitarfan85

    guitarfan85 Banned

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    Ozzy has been singing a whole tone down for yeeeears
     
  9. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    I know Rush plays 2112 down a whole step, and anything from Hemispheres as well. Granted, Geddy has been singing for 40+ years but you get the point.
     
  10. leftyguitarjoe

    leftyguitarjoe Correct-handed

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    I never thought of that. I even saw them on the snakes and arrows tour. That priest of syrinx voice has got to be rough after all these years. They still got it though.
     
  11. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    Yeah, Geddy has mentioned it in interviews. Their old producer, Terry Brown (who I just learned was the voice of the hypnotist from Metropolis part 2 from DT :lol: ) even said that back in 1977 when they recorded Hemispheres, they probably should have recorded it a semitone lower because that put a lot of strain on Ged's voice.
     
  12. beerandbeards

    beerandbeards Majestic Shoveler

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    I think Whitesnake does now. David Coverdale isn't hitting the same notes as he did back in the 80s. Still great though
     
  13. MattThePenguin

    MattThePenguin SS.org Regular

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    Nightwish is playing Stargazers live again but it dropped lower, can't say I'm not a little disappointed
     
  14. Mprinsje

    Mprinsje st. anger ain't bad!

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    Metallica has been doing this for years, still would very much like to see them.
     
  15. guitarfishbay

    guitarfishbay SS.org Regular

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    I think this is a good way to look at it, cool quote. Hadn't heard that before.
     
  16. The Mirror

    The Mirror SS.org Regular

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    Well, since Once Nightwish are playing full in standard-D tuning. I can totally accept it, if they play their old songs live in that same tuning, especially since they do their pre Century Child stuff pretty rarely.
     
  17. MerlinTKD

    MerlinTKD EIght.Fold.Path / Hinge Theory Contributor

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    IIRC, it was a blurb for ESP, about his signature guitar, and why he switched from Gibson/Epiphone to ESP/LTD - his point was that with his new sig, he had one guitar that was all those things. Can't seem to find it now, it might be in the ESP interview he did in '07 (I can't see video at work, but I can sneak-post on ss.org! :lol:)

    /derail, back to your regularly scheduled thread ;)
     
  18. Rojne

    Rojne Köttbullar är fint..

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    I remember Evergrey playing Recreation Day (the song..) a whole step lower live, I think it's in A on the record and G live.. but I don't think it had to do with Tom's voice not keeping up, they just thought it sounded better and heavier!
     
  19. MatthewK

    MatthewK SS.org Regular

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    I remember when I was trying to learn Wolf & Raven by Sonata Arctica that even live recordings soon after the album's release were transposed down like a minor third. Doesn't really bother me.
     
  20. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Heh I don't mind, most of the time we wouldn't even notice if we didn't have the reference song.
     

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