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Alternate Tunings and Capo Use

Changing the tuning of the strumstick, or using a Capo at various frets, can give you many other keys to play your Strumstick in. You might wish to do this to adapt to the range of a singer, or to play with other instruments. This is an advanced topic; some re-tunings result in completely different fingerings for songs or chords, and some will be the same as you are used to, just higher or lower. The use of a Capo can scange the kind of scale you are playing as well as the key (see the Capo information)

These Tunings assume the normal strings on the Strumstick. For tuning beyond the range of the normal strings, as in developing your own special tunings, see: STRINGS AND TUNING CHART

For the G (Standard)Strumstick,

  • Standard tuning G D G' ( ' means an octave higher) Key of G
    Key of A:Up a whole tone A E A' ( you may break the first string, this is it's upper limit)

    Key of F
    : Down a whole tone F C F'
  • Key of E: Even lower E B E' ( strings are rather loose here)

Modified ( 5, 1, 5) tunings:

  • G C G' Key of C, all new fingerings
    Key of D: Up a whole tone A D A' ( you may break the first string, this is it's upper limit)

    Key of Bb: Down a whole tone F Bb F'
  • Key of A: Lower still E A E'

For the D (Grand) Strumstick,

  • Standard tuning D A D' ( ' means an octave higher) Key of D
    Key of E
    : Up a whole tone E B E'
    Key of C: Down a whole tone C G C'
  • Key of Bb: Even lower Bb F Bb' (strings are rather loose here)

Modified ( 5, 1, 5) tunings:

  • D G D' Key of G, all new fingerings
    Key of A
    : Up a whole tone E A E'
    Key of F: Down a whole tone C F C'
  • Key of E: Lower still B E B' (strings are rather loose here)

These are not all the possible tunings by any means. Tuning the 1st or third strings up or down by a whole tone, leaving the others alone, will give strange scale patterns and add notes that are out of the diatonic major scale.

Use of a Capo

Strumstick and Capos
A capo is a device (familiar to guitar players) which clamps all the strings at a particular fret, changing their pitch. With guitar, the capo simply changes the key. With the Strumstick, the capo changes the key, but also changes the type of musical scale you get.

Standard (G) Strumstick
Without Capo, key of G Major
Capo at 1st fret gives key of A mino
Capo 3rd fret gives C major
Capo 4th fret gives D minor

Grand (D) Strumstick
Without Capo, key of D Major
Capo at 1st fret gives key of E minor
Capo 3rd fret gives G major
Capo 4th fret gives A minor

We offer two different Capos, see the Capo catalog page. These are banjo capos. Most banjo capos will work. Guitar capos work, too, but they are rather large on the slender Strumstick. We recommend these two for their good fit with the size of the Strumstick.

 

 

Strumstick®: Alternate Tunings and Capo Use

Why does the capo change the scale?
The Strumstick frets are in an irregular pattern to give a diatonic (major) scale. This pattern gives a major scale (plus a flatted seventh “extra” note). If you capo at the first fret, you raise all the strings by a whole tone (to A, on the G Strumstick) but you also change the pattern of frets to a minor scale now in key of A (key of A minor). Some of the fret patterns you get with a capo are more useful than others. Keep in mind that the extra fret (the flatted seventh) may please or annoy you, depending on which fret you are capoed at. If that fret does not sound good, skip it when playing. Also, if you are using an alternate tuning you will get different results.