i often sit down with the guitar to simply play. not to practise anything, no predetermined path, just follow my feelings and see where it goes. sometimes this can turn out to be a frustrating exercise, when it’s not gelling, probably because my mood isn’t allowing the free flow needed for a good musical exploration. other times though i surprise myself by finding something new.
it shouldn’t be so surprising to come across something fresh, even after over forty years of playing, particularly as i’m not the most knowledgeable player. you only have to put the radio on to realise that it’s possible to take the same three chords and create something that sounds different to what’s come before, but it’s this ‘discovery’ that re-ignites my enthusiasm for playing music.
a good place for new discoveries is with unorthodox tunings. most guitars are tuned to EADGBE. by tuning the bottom E down two notes to D you instantly get a new field to play in. i recently googled ‘guitar tunings’ and top of the list is a wiki page full of interesting alternatives to the standard tuning. on one of my tracks, Daisies, i de-tune the bottom E down to G, giving the note a beautiful resounding reverberation, almost like a double-bass. not all guitars can handle such a drastic de-tune.
my most recent recording, the enigmatically-named ‘before they close‘, is an instrumental piece based around the tuning CGDGBD. what i find interesting about the piece is that, while i composed it myself, i couldn’t play it at first! this is quite common for my compositions. i seem to play at the limit of my capabilities and have to train my fingers to do the right thing at the right time. this process can be painful and frustrating and sometimes it feels like i’ll never master a tricky solo, like ‘be my eyes‘, which i’ve yet to play properly live. you only get the one shot live. luckily for me the recording process allows for mistakes and re-takes, so i’m happy with the track below and still mystified by the magical process.
you have to keep the magic…
keef chemistry on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/keefchemistry
wiki guitar tunings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_tunings