How Do I Tune a Blues Guitar?

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Blues guitar has slightly different tuning requirements from a traditionally tuned guitar. Get your guitar ready to sing the blues with help from a professional musician in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Applications for the Guitar
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Kirk Wilson, and I perform in studios as a session player on guitar in Hollywood, Burbank, and the surrounding areas of Los Angeles, as well as Orange County. And, I also teach in Irvine at Orchepia School of Music. And, this evening, we're going to talk about how to tune a blues guitar. First thing I want to say about that is, I know a lot of blues guitar players, and they tune just like me. But, there is a significant difference in that many of them kind of like don't really tune. They tune to a particular degree. Many times, when you play the blues on a guitar, like for example, if you play, like, a. So, if you're playing something like that, you know, you want it to be tuned generally. But, if you're playing, like, the solo, or if you're playing something like a. So, if you're playing a blues riff like. Sometime it can, like, you know if it's out. So, that's a little bit out. But, it gives you a little bit of, if I'm playing a blues piece, and I'm doing a riff. So, it may not be exactly in tune, but it gives it a little bit of character, because sometimes in blues, it doesn't always have to be perfect. You might hit, like, a bad note, like, I might mean to do this, but it might come out like. Now, that first note I hit was a little bit flat. It's not always perfect, but that's what gives blues its character. So, many times, you know, we thinking blues players are, like, tuning a special way. Not all the time. I've had guys - I've seen guys play, where they'll tune the E down to a D, and little tricks like that. And that's cool, but that doesn't define a blues player or a blues guitar. It's just, the main thing with tuning that I want to say, is that sometime this, see, it's kind of like out a little bit. Well, that's alright. If I'm going to play a solo, that might be my solo. But, it'll work when you play the blues, because it's not always perfect, and they're not always playing. It's not always perfect. But, it's the character of the blues that we like. And, my name is Kirk Wilson, and that's how you tune a blues guitar.

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