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#1496517 - 07/21/05 07:39 PM Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Registered: 04/05/02
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I did a search over on the Guitar Noise Forums' Slide and Alternate Tunings Forum, and was surprised that it turned up no mention of Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys"-tuning. That is, tuning a guitar to F#-A#-C#-F#-A#-F# (each note coresponding to a "black key" on the piano), low to high, or any tuning relative to that.

Cool tuning; I used to tune a flat-top acoustic guitar to F-A-C-F-A-F (the same, but down a half-step), or E-G#-B-E-G#-E (down a whole-step). And sometimes a Strat-stylee axe.

Anybody here ever try that one, or its relative tunings?

It's been years, but I used that tuning to write and play a piece of my own that I called "The Haunted Water-Clock", that I can only recall parts of. I did that a lot, using too many alternate tunings and not documenting the fingerings of different tunes that were dependent upon them (or the tunings, for that matter) and forgetting a lot of them over time... Anybody else ever do that?
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#1496518 - 07/21/05 09:30 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Franky Offline
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Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 132
Loc: Here
That does sound cool.

I think using alternative tunings can make the guitar seem like a differant instrument. I'll have to try some of them. Any sound samples?

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#1496519 - 07/21/05 09:34 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Heh heh... it just so happens, that my signature line below links to a two-guitar track of myself noodling around briefly, but in Open-D, fretted (not slide). One clean, one overdriven.

Folks around here are probably tired of me pointing out my wonky little gem there, like that "kid", "Stewie", on Mad TV goin', "Look what I can do!"... :rolleyes:

...probably seems kinda old 'n' lame! \:D
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Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

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#1496520 - 07/21/05 10:12 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
DIAMOND DUST Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 1188
Quote:
Originally posted by CaevanO'Shite:
Heh heh... it just so happens, that my signature line below links to a two-guitar track of myself noodling around briefly, but in Open-D, fretted (not slide). One clean, one overdriven.

Folks around here are probably tired of me pointing out my wonky little gem there, like that "kid", "Stewie", on Mad TV goin', "Look what I can do!"... :rolleyes:

...probably seems kinda old 'n' lame! \:D
Never "Old 'n' lame. I play it alot. \:\)
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#1496521 - 07/21/05 10:30 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
fantasticsound Offline
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Registered: 04/07/01
Posts: 16867
Loc: Madison,TN, UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Franky:
That does sound cool.

I think using alternative tunings can make the guitar seem like a differant instrument. I'll have to try some of them. Any sound samples?
Sunshowers/Sparkle Shoes, from the "Goofball webpage" in my sig. Sparkle Shoes is played in

.D A E .E B E
.

Which, when I wrote the song in 1986 or 87 was in
CGDDAD
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#1496522 - 03/30/06 11:13 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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> B U M P < for fesquell...
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Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

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#1496523 - 03/30/06 11:16 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Guitar55 Offline
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Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 1901
Loc: NJ
Didn't Albert Collins use a similar F#-type tuning?

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#1496524 - 03/31/06 07:00 AM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5234
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
I seem to remember Albert Collins used a D minor tuning... it's in an old GP interview somewhere.

Re: forgetting our good ideas. I think MOST of us do, and shouldn't. That's what tape recorders are for, and fingering diagrams, and blank sheet music! But I still don't always get around to recording them!

It's too bad, because there are many potential great songs/pieces/licks that disappear into the ehter! And it only takes a minute or two to write the stuff down, or press a record button!

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#1496525 - 03/31/06 07:09 AM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Dr. Ellwood Offline
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Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 16337
Loc: MoTown
Albert used F# tuning on most things, Ice pickin mojo man that he was!!
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#1496526 - 03/31/06 09:20 AM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Registered: 04/05/02
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Now, wasn't Albert Collins' favorite tuning a minor tuning, like F# m or something alkong those lines (not to mention capoed way up high much of the time)? Too lazy to search for it today (actually, slightly pressed for time)...
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Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

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#1496527 - 03/31/06 09:51 AM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Hound Dog Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 968
Everytime I have ever experimented with different tunings I always came to the sames conclusion:

I need more guitars!

I love playing around with different tunings. Problem is, it's a pain to retune.
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#1496528 - 04/01/06 03:12 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
D_dup3 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/16/01
Posts: 0
Loc: Tucson,AZ,UNITED STATES
There may be some confusion here about Albert Collins's tunings [which was a minor chord based on either C# or F# & usually capoed at the 7th fret] & Albert King's tuning [which is matter of some dispute/ Steve Cropper &, IIRC, Dan Erlewine both insisting on different versions].

I recall reading about Mayfield's tuning in an interview but somehow lost track of the details.
Thanks for bringing it back!
It will be interesting to look at what positions it puts those sliding 6s & 9s into.
I't also interesting in that most popular tunings have an emphasis on the 5th; this one seems to lean toward the 3rd.

Personally, I've always preferred straight standard, even for slide, just for it's versatility but it's good to know what other people were doing, too. Sometimes it makes the difference in deciphering exactly what they played.

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#1496529 - 04/01/06 04:35 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning
Rhino Madness Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 1268
Loc: Oregon
Quote:
Originally posted by Eric Iverson:
Re: forgetting our good ideas. I think MOST of us do, and shouldn't. That's what tape recorders are for, and fingering diagrams, and blank sheet music! But I still don't always get around to recording them!

It's too bad, because there are many potential great songs/pieces/licks that disappear into the ehter! And it only takes a minute or two to write the stuff down, or press a record button!
What I've done these last few years is to get someone to videotape me when I've got a new idea going. This way, I get to hear the proper rythm and drive of the song and watch the fingerings I've used. If I use an unusual tuning, I describe it when the tape starts rolling.

There are a couple of tunes I had completely forgotten (not just the fingerings but also how the melodies went, etc.) and I used the video to re-learn them. It was so odd to learn my own songs that way, copying myself \:D .

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#2849568 - 04/14/17 10:24 PM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
VladimirLogachev Offline
Member

Registered: 04/13/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Russia

I've made a guide with chords of Curtis Mayfield «Black Keys» Open F# Guitar tuning.
Available as PDF/ePub/Online.
Please take a look. smile

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#2849633 - 04/15/17 08:48 AM Re: Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning [Re: VladimirLogachev]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6016
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Intersting thread !
Many already know that I usually avoid non-standard tunings myself (other than a 2nd gtr tuned 1 step down for alternate chord forms) but it's still a worthwhile subject for tryna figue what some players are doing.

Besides Mayfield & Collins, blues legend Nehemiah "Skip" James used a minor tuning = D-A-D-F-A-D [1-5-1-b3-5-1].

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYALBzfY5QY


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWzUVghWmKA
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