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Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 12:48 pm
by soba losa
Has anyone heard of this?

I know it tunes the guitar to a Dorian mode, for example, DADGAD
as opposed to the open tuning for D (DADF#AD).

Now don't imagine that I understand what a Dorian mode is. It's Greek to me.

I'm looking for a sound that sort of blends Bluegrass Gospel and Gospel Blues into something a little less Presbyterian and more
for the Lay person. The functional part of that last phrase being "Lay".

My problem with it is that as I'm playing it, it sounds like I'm somewhere between a minor and a major key, and can't quite find the groove. Yet I'm told it is a very common tuning.

Anyone have the benefit of experience with it that can tell me how to get the most out of it?

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:57 am
by scribefreelance
I don't know if this is in any way useful or not ...

I listen to (and play a fair bit) of Neil Young's stuff.

He's a big fan of DADGBD. Now I don't know if that's what you are looking for or not. But give a bit of a listen to his acoustic solo unplugged album or his solo pieces on CSNY's "4 Way Street" and you'll hear it in all its droning glory.

I don't know if that'll translate to the sorta thing you do, but it does have a real knda rustic charm to it, I reckon. And to me that translates top "lay" appeal.

I do get sick of de-tuning and retuning all the time though.

Best just be buying more guitars then I suppose !

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:22 pm
by soba losa
Thank you, Scribe.

I'll give it a shot and see what it does.

As for the "Mountain Modal" tuning, I came across it when I was trying to pick out some of the music from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?". It sounds great on the CD, but when I do it it sounds like
I'm out of tune with tin cans tied to the guitar.

As for tuning and retuning--It is a pain in the saddle seat. I'm up to five guitars now, and still don't feel like I have enough. I am reminded of the blues harp player that has a belt of harmonicas across his chest. I can see myself with half a dozen guitars all hanging around my neck. Thank goodness I didn't take up the piano.

I appreciate your feedback, though, and will fool around with it for effect.

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:28 pm
by muddy roads
I play blues on the banjo. On banjo, mountain modal tuning is dCGDg, first to fifth (small letters an octave above the large case letters). I would translate that to DCGDGD for guitar. Could you play slide using that tuning? Don't know about that but if you play slide on a regular tuned guitar I do not see why not. Just thought ya'll'd find that interesting.


RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:48 pm
by cband
I just picked up Artie Traum's "DADGAD for Beginners" and it really opened my eyes. You can get just the first DVD or all three at Homespun Tapes online and it really moves your horizon back. I'm not trying to squeeze by with "simple" tunings but DADGAD makes every chord sound 'open'; the harmonics are amazing.


RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:50 pm
by ricochet
I haven't had much success playing slide in modal tunings. It's fine for playing single note leads with accompaniment, but for playing solo where you've got to provide your own bass and rhythm it's a big PITA.

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:08 am
by richard
hey all
i play banjo as well as slide, and a popular tuning ( i think called mountain Minor ) for a lot of clawhammer banjo songs is gDGCD ( like open G but with the B string tuned to a C ) - it gives a pretty interesting sound and makes a few different fingerings easier, but i don't use it a lot because when i play with others it makes it harder to play the usual open G chords.
try it out! i've never tried it on guitar, i must say.

let us know how it goes

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:18 pm
by ricochet
I'll have to try that out one of these days. Lately about all I play in is G minor tuning.

"Hi. My name's John. I'm a G minor slide guitarist."

Wanna see my minor G string? (Had to beat Grady to that one.)

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 12:54 pm
by richard
Actually, if you want to get technical then it isn't a minor tuning but rather a suspended ( or suspended forth ) tuning. It mixes nicely with a minor chord though, a nice variation on a major chord.

Banjo has taught me heaps about slide and open tuning guitar, because if you use open G then you can switch between the two, and banjo rolls sound pretty cool on a resonator - starts to get into dobro territory.

In my band, i play open G reso and banjo almost exclusively, which contrasts nicely with the mandolin and standard acoustic that the others play.

feel like playing now...

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:10 pm
by ricochet
Yeah, I know about the "modal tuning" being a sus chord tuning. I wasn't talking about that. Lately I've been mostly playing in G minor. DGDGBbD. I've really never been able to come up with anything interesting in DADGAD or its G equivalent, DGDGCD. But lots of other folks have.

RE: Mountain Modal tuning.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:28 pm
by richard
I agree about DADGAD, it just doesn't slide nice. it seems to be good for fingerpicking stuff, though. I think its used for a lot of Celtic type music. I once read that Kelly Joe Phelps uses DADGAD though, and he sounds pretty good to me.