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El Salto

Tendonitis in the fretting hand

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"Trying to play in an open tuning method would present a challenge for me, almost like learning all over again"



I don't understand.  First, what's a challenge?  If you want something bad enough and there's a way to achieve it, then the challenge is worth the effort.  There's no such thing as being too old to learn new tricks.


Music is music and theory is theory.  Learning open tunings is really rather simple.  The same intervals apply as in standard tuning.  The most significant difference is where the notes start from.  When I first tried standard tuning on a lap steel, I taped a piece of paper to the side of the fretboard to indicate where notes sat for the octave strings.  It took no time at all to recognize the locations and get rid of the helper. 


In open D, the tuning is D-A-D-F#-A-D.  Play all open strings and you are playing a full D Major chord triad.  Play barred across the any fret and you are playing the corresponding chord to the sixth string root.  So fifth fret barred is your IV chord and seventh fret barred is your V chord.  Twelfth fret barred is your octave.  To begin you can play just those barred chords and have a lot of fun, particularly in a jam setting.  


The first, forth and sixth strings are octaves.  The same intervals exist as in standard tuning, you've only dropped the sixth and first string down a whole step.  If you've played in drop D, you've already got this down.  The fourth string is the same as in standard tuning.  So you already know where the notes are on the fourth string, now you simply move them to the first and fourth strings and play.


The fifth string is tuned identically to standard guitar tuning so you already know the note positions and intervals on the second string.  Basically, you're not learning anything new, you are only applying your current knowledge to play the notes on the strings.  Once you know where to find a note on the fifth string, you automatically know the notes on the second string.  You catch on easily - unless you tell yourself you can't do it.  Which basically means you'd rather sit and feel sorry for yourself.    


This is how I go about teaching little kids to play.  It cuts down their learning curve tremendously over trying to teach them six individual strings with a funky G to B string step in there.  


The few chords you might want to play that are not barred are very straight forward since you are dealing with octave relationships.  The problem most people have with this is, they are hung up on the guitar only being tuned the way they were taught to tune it.  


Give it a try at least.  No commitment other than the time spent tuning.



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Hope it all goes well, El Salto.


I did the nerve compression thing while using power tools and it wasn't funny for a while but fortunately for me it turned out not to be permanent damage.


Best of luck to you.

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After a three hour jam on Friday past, my thumb was in agony

Bizarrely, it seems better now, still uncomfortable, but better


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