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aekoi
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Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new
      #1004366 - 19/08/12 08:08 PM
Hi axe wielders,

I'm working out Black Hole Sun for a guitar lesson and I've come up against the weirdest tuning confusion. Every tab I've seen starts with the chord 5555 from low E string up, and when I play these tabs all is well. But when I play along to the recording I'm one semi tone flat, starting at 6666 correct this.

A live version at Live Earth is played as most tabs, but the recorded version is a semi up. The recorded version sounds like there are open strings in there, so its maybe capo'd. Can anyone shed any light into the Black Hole Sun confusion?

Thanks in advance


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tomdot



Joined: 05/01/12
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004370 - 19/08/12 08:56 PM
I don't believe it is a semi tone sharp. It's kind of a half tone sharp to me. At first I thought I was out of tune, so thought I would listen to the album to make sure. I'm in tune with the other songs in standard tuning, so it's just that one song. I don't believe a capo was used, and anyway, if you check with a digital piano those notes don't match to either G or G#.

As far as I was concerned this song was always standard Drop D in G Major, played at the 5th fret. I think that Soundgarden used to experiment with odd tunings, and using some drop half tone thing may have been something that worked at the time.

Also, don't discount the tape being sped up after the fact to change the tempo of the track. This is a common thing to do, but back when it was all tape you couldn't keep the pitch in the correct key like you can now (at least not to my knowledge).

As a slight aside and addition, concert pitch is at 440, but certain orchestras use a different reference. I think the Berlin Philharmonic(?) used 420 or 430, and I'm sure that the Beatles recorded in a different pitch sometimes due to the orchestras that they would use on record. There are also tales of bands recording at high pitches in error - Run To You by Bryan Adams adn Love Buzz by Nirvana being good examples (guitars tuned to F as standard).

Basically, don't sweat it. It's in G Major and should be played at the fifth fret - and something I just found out is that if you type in the song name followed by 'key', Google will tell you what key it's in!

Edited by tomdot (19/08/12 08:58 PM)


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Gary_W



Joined: 18/10/06
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004373 - 19/08/12 09:07 PM
The chordsheet I have for it plays it open with the following progression

Asus4 C6/9 G5 F#5 Fsus4 E7

Played open like this it sounds absolutely fine until you play along to the record. I might be having a moment but I've just tried it with the official video.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mbBbFH9fAg

And I discovered that the above chord progression works just fine if you de-tune by a semitone It's not a capo you need, it's a reverse capo

Hope this helps. I'm off to de-flat my guitar now as it's making my ears upset


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Gary_W



Joined: 18/10/06
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004374 - 19/08/12 09:10 PM
But I take Tomdot's point about the tuning. Detuning exactly a semi gets it 'close enough for jazz' but it's still a gnats off to my poor old ears.


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: Gary_W]
      #1004376 - 19/08/12 09:17 PM
Quote Gary_W:

But I take Tomdot's point about the tuning. Detuning exactly a semi gets it 'close enough for jazz' but it's still a gnats off to my poor old ears.




So could this be a 48/44.1 KHz thang?


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tomdot



Joined: 05/01/12
Posts: 192
Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1004379 - 19/08/12 09:29 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:


So could this be a 48/44.1 KHz thang?




No because the rest of the album is perfectly fine when played along with in standard tuning. Aldo, this album would have been recorded onto tape. I would bet money on no computers being used on this record (it was 1994).


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Exalted Wombat



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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: tomdot]
      #1004389 - 19/08/12 10:51 PM
So I guess the tape was sped up a bit when mixing or mastering. This was quite common.


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004393 - 19/08/12 11:34 PM
many thanks for the replies. Yes it does seem to be not quite a semi tone up. It's one of those Highway To Hell's then, just a bit sharp relative to concert (at 440).


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Gary_W



Joined: 18/10/06
Posts: 446
Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004416 - 20/08/12 09:26 AM
Not sharp, flat.... If you de-tune by a semitone all round it's very, very close. It's closer to the semitone flat than anything IMO. If you go a tad sharp of 440 you'll make it worse if you're playing along. Going flat on the guitar will help you with the high notes if you're having a sing song too so it's win/win . I remember hearing a version of this which was just Chris Cornell and an acoustic and vocally he was fab but there were a few notes where I thought that many of us chaps would struggle to reach.

And EW - I hadn't thought of that. Because my experience of recording, such as it is, comprises entirely of fiddling around with DAWs at home that hadn't occurred to me. It's a good day when you think differently about something so many thanks for steering my brain down an alternative path


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: Gary_W]
      #1004422 - 20/08/12 10:30 AM
Pitch-shift the original back to standard tuning. Or tune your guitar to fit the recording. This really isn't a big deal.


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1004453 - 20/08/12 12:20 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:

Pitch-shift the original back to standard tuning. Or tune your guitar to fit the recording. This really isn't a big deal.




Many thanks, I've been looking for a way to get round this prob for ages, I'll try one of the methods you suggest and see how I get on.


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004457 - 20/08/12 12:47 PM
Re the 'its flat not sharp' school (and ignoring the acoustic chords above for a moment)

The opening chord is commonly tabbed as 5555 from low E up on adjacent strings. Locating the chord here allows for the open strings which occur later in the piece. (There is a clear open G ringing throughout the 2nd last chord of the intro.)

However, if you play this 5555 chord along with record you are flat, shifting up one fret to 6666 puts you almost exactly in tune (to my ears) but playing in this position means no open strings (ie difficult chord shapes). So the only solution is to retune almost a semi tone sharp to maintain the 5555 position.

The acoustic chords above only work with semi down tuning because they compensate for the semi up of the original. Gmaj a semi up is A maj a semi flat.

I'm right? Am I right? Am I not right? Thanks for the suggestions and input.


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Gary_W



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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004471 - 20/08/12 02:10 PM
Just looked again. Unless you are playing a different version to the official video I linked to earlier (or my ears and two different tuners are duff which of course I cannot discount!!) then the opening note is an Ab or thereabouts.

Doing it with barre chords just means you need to tune to drop D...... Just drop the bass E string to a D and leave the others tuned to standard. If you do this then you can indeed play 6666 for your opening arpegio and it works perfectly with the video.

If you want to do it open, detuning everything by a semitone as stated before also works. The chord shapes involved are just variations on Am, C, G and F. Nowt too stretchy in there Playing with the barre just involves a couple of fingers down here and there to hit the right notes whilst you slide the overall shape

Edited by Gary_W (20/08/12 02:13 PM)


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004520 - 20/08/12 07:33 PM
Can I correct my statement above: there isn't an open G in the second last intro chord, there is and open E and D in the last chord however assuming you choose to tune up by a semi-tone.


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004522 - 20/08/12 07:59 PM
Thanks Gary. Yes the opening note/chord is Ab, but in order to avoid a fairly tricky barre shape, 1413, and replace it with 0302 (for the final chord of intro), you need to start with 5555, as the link to the band playing live demonstrates. And hence you need to tune a semi up.

I'm teaching mainly young beginners and improvers and therefore would like to avoid 1413. Also, it would be pretty unusual for this song to be written 'between the dots' if you get my drift. Guitar songs are normally in guitary keys. Im still baffled by this tuning anomaly.


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Gary_W



Joined: 18/10/06
Posts: 446
Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: aekoi]
      #1004525 - 20/08/12 08:26 PM
Quote aekoi:

Thanks Gary. Yes the opening note/chord is Ab, but in order to avoid a fairly tricky barre shape, 1413, and replace it with 0302 (for the final chord of intro), you need to start with 5555, as the link to the band playing live demonstrates. And hence you need to tune a semi up.

I'm teaching mainly young beginners and improvers and therefore would like to avoid 1413. Also, it would be pretty unusual for this song to be written 'between the dots' if you get my drift. Guitar songs are normally in guitary keys. Im still baffled by this tuning anomaly.




I'm probably being dense here, but how does tuning UP a semitone all round do this? If you go up a semitone from concert and play 5555 then the opening note will be A#

Or are you dropping the E string to Ab then tuning all the other strings up half a tone?

I played through the whole intro earlier in drop D and there were no complex barre shapes - just the barre and a single finger down where needed got you the chord. I only had a quick whazz through but don't think it was far out....


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aekoi
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: Gary_W]
      #1004550 - 20/08/12 10:36 PM
"I'm probably being dense here, but how does tuning UP a semitone all round do this? If you go up a semitone from concert and play 5555 then the opening note will be A#"

Not in drop D I'm sure. In drop D, but tuned a semi up (Eb Bb Eb ect) then 5555 is G# maj sus (or Ab maj sus) so you can playalong to the recorded version, which we both seem to agree is in Ab. (Thats real Ab, relative to concert 440 and NOT just Ab on the mistuned gtr).

Does that make sense? We'll get there soon I'm sure


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pumpkin
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Re: Black Hole Sun tuning confusion new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1007908 - 10/09/12 02:01 PM
I'm sure I remember reading that the deviation from standard tuning was deliberate...

I definitely recall reading an interview with the band where they discussed the recording process and that song in particular, and I'm sure they talked about speeding up the tape to slightly increase the tempo.



So:

Quote Exalted Wombat:

Pitch-shift the original back to standard tuning. Or tune your guitar to fit the recording. This really isn't a big deal.




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