Resurrecting Fallow Guitars: Accessing All Keys Using Open Strings.

As an acoustic guitarist I love to use open strings when I can. Standard tuning is a rich tuning but might not offer me the open strings, pedal tones, or ease when desiring to play in a certain key, especially a flat 'b' key [and especially if I wanted to play slide]. Though the capo is a quick shortcut for me personally, if I choose to use a capo, I like to keep it down the neck, somewhere between the 1st and 4th fret. I might turn to another of my tuning configurations below as well, which are making using of multiple guitars in different ways: de-tuned, high strung, mid strung, low strung, baritone. This is also useful to me as a slide player, as playing with a capo on is not my first choice.

Perhaps you have a few guitars in your collection and one or two are not being used so much. Converting them opens up whole new emotional contents to explore. Enlisted into the service of a high strung or low strung tuning, or D-standard, etc., a guitar which has laid fallow can really inspire! And, when working in flat keys, they can provide new angles for expression.

Personally I like DADGAD, DADG#AD, DADEAD, DGDGAD, & CGCGCF [based on a sarod tuning]. I also have my Taylor set up in C for the relative configurations of these tunings on low strung: CGCFGC, CGCF#GC, etc. I keep one of my guitars in standard: EADGBD as well as one in D standard: DGCFAC. I have a high strung guitar [which is normally set up an octave above standard] set up in a key between standard and its octave. So in this instance the guitar is actually a 'mid' string, with the low string tuned to the A or B above the 6th string E in standard. Standard tuning on this guitar [tuned to A on the 6th string] for example would be: ADGCEA. The Dadgad equivalent would be: GDGCDG.

A baritone guitar is another consideration, usually having its 6th string tuned to the A or B below the 6th string E. Its standard tuning would be the same as my mid string tuning template given above: ADGCEA, but an octave lower. Baritone guitars inspire something completely different than any of the aforementioned examples.

If I wanted to approach the keys of `Bb`Eb`Ab`Db`Gb or `B and still get the most out of my open strings I would have a few different tonal center hubs in which to work from as well as a variety of sounds. And my somewhat neglected guitars would be happy again! The range of the acoustic guitar is a little over 3 octaves from the open 6th string to lets say the 1st string @ the 15th fret or higher if you have a cutaway [assuming you're not in an altered tuning]. This being the field in which we are working in, I am always interested in what kind of variation, voicings, spin, etc. on chords I can create; or the easiest way to play something, as the more complex a piece is, the more I want to have the individual elements broken down into their simplest components. What becomes complex is when those elements are combined to create 'beads on one string'. All of the possibilities above offer a variety of fresh ways to approach a key, while being able to use the open strings as well.