Hawaiian Slack Key tunings can be imitated with the alternative tunings capo.
The most common slack key tuning is called “taro patch” and makes a major chord. Capo at the second fret, the fourth string, the third string G, and the second string B. We call this [0, 0, 2, 2, 2, 0] from bass to treble, thick to thin- strings. In the traditional taro patch the chord is a G chord, but with the partial guitar capo it is an A chord. However, the open tuning is exactly the same interval by interval. I often keep my entire guitar tuned down a whole step for a richer sound. So for me, the Taro patch is an actual G chord.
There are upward to 50 slack key tunings. Far to much to cover here, but be aware that some slack keys will require two alternative tuning capo’s. For example, the G Wahine open tuning is: D, G, D, F#, B, D. This translates to: [0, 2, 2, 1, 2, 0] and requires Spiders at the 1st and 2nd frets.
The partial guitar capo also gives you options to address the huge variety of fingerboards in use today.
To achieve and important on place the capo tab flush against and in front of the fret rather than behind. This will result in the alternative tunings capo finger depressing the guitar string directly over the fret. The result is more precise intonation, but no fine tuning. Try this, many folks swear by it!
When you get your alternative tunings capo, take it apart. All you have to do is unscrew the knob and the slide fingers off. I put back four fingers and found, basically, unlimited tunings and less fingers to deal with. It’s easier and you don’t need all six unless you’re going to use it as a full capo. Take them off!
Why is it that all the strings on the guitar are roots of sharp keys?
Let’s see; E has four sharps, A has three sharps, D has two sharps, G has one sharp, and B has five sharps!
Horns on the other hand love to play in flat keys. For example, trumpet and tenor sax transpose a second, so their happy keys of C, G, F become Bb, F and Eb for us. All flat keys.No happy open strings. ugh. Any ringing open strings sound bad.
What’s a guitar player to do?
Ans: 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1.
Huh? This means, “capo at the 1st fret, strings 6, 5, 2, 1.” Your open strings are now F, Bb, D, G, C, F. All these notes are in the horns’ favorite keys.
Recipe: play as usual, watch for happy surprises, experiment with open strings using the partial capo! Guitar meets Horn.
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