Check out my latest for Gibson.com – a brief history of tuning down.
Tuning down is extremely common today. In fact it’s almost a quaint curiosity when a band chooses to perform in standard tuning. But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, almost everybody played in standard tuning (E A D G B E). But guitarists, like Indiana Jones and astronauts, are always striving for adventure and discovery, and this quest has led them to all sorts of lowered tunings. These tunings are of course distinct from the popular chord tunings (such as Open G) traditionally used in blues music, and generally their raison d’etre is to increase the heaviness of a riff.