Alternate Tunings

Alternate Tunings

Strumsticks can be placed in various alternate tunings to facilitate playing in different keys, to adapt to the range of a singer, or to play with other instruments. Some shift all the strings up or down by the same amount, basic fingerings remain the same. Others Modify the tuning relationships, these will require different fingering. Note: Using a capo is another way to get into different keys, see Capo Use or capo info below.

An Electronic Tuner is very helpful with retuning.

For the D-33 Strumstick:

1, 5, 1 tunings (like D A D)
• Regular tuning D A D' Key of D
• Key of E: Up a whole tone  E B E'
• Key of F: Up more  F C F'
• Key of C: Down a whole tone  C G C'
• Key of Bb: Even lower  Bb F Bb'
• Key of A: Way down, a little on the loose side A E A
    note, this is a full octave lower than the A E A' tuning for G Strumstick

Modified (5, 1, 5) tunings (like D G D): note, all new fingerings!

• D G D' Key of G, all new fingerings
• Key of A: Up a whole tone E A E' 
all new fingerings
• Key of F: Down a whole tone C F C' all new fingerings
• Key of E: Lower still B E B' all new fingerings

For the G-29 Strumstick:

1,5,1 tunings
Regular tuning is G D G' (' means an octave higher) Key of G
• Key of A: Tune Up a whole tone: A E A'
• Key of F: Tune Down a whole tone: F C F'
• Key of E: Tune Down even lower: E B E'
• Key of D: Tune Same as D Grand: D A D'(strings are rather loose here)

Modified (5, 1, 5) tunings: note, all new fingerings!
• G C G' Key of C all new fingerings
• Key of D: Up a whole tone A D A' all new fingerings
• Key of Bb: Down a whole tone F Bb F' all new fingerings
• Key of A: Lower still E A E' all new fingerings

There are many more possible tunings: Try tuning the first or third strings up or down by one whole tone. This will give interesting minor scale patterns and add notes that are out of the diatonic scale.

Capo and Changes in Tunings

The Capo is a device that clamps across the strings at a given fret to raise the pitch of each string by the same amount.
   • On a chromatic (sharps and flats) instrument like guitar, this merely raises the notes.
   • On a diatonic instrument like the Strumstick, the scale pattern also gets changed, because of the diatonic fret spacing.

Guitars capos can work on the Strumstick but they are a little bulky. Banjo capos work great, we sometimes have one available (See Accessories)

With the normal tuning, try this:

Capo at 1st fret (raises by a whole tone, gives minor scale) A minor scale on G -29, Em scale on D-33.
Capo at 3rd fret (raises by a fourth, gives major scale) C major scale on G-29,  G scale on D-33.
Capo at 4th fret (raises by a fifth, gives an eastern flavored minor scale) D minor scale on G-29,  Am scale on D-33.

(If you started off tuned higher or lower, the name of the Capoed key will change by the same number of half tones you tuned up or down.

A D strumstick, tuned down to C G C (2 half tones down) capo at first fret gives key of Dm