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Great discussion..... lots of homework to research.
On the technical side> there still seems to be the overlapping concepts of tuning and calibrating. Tuning is the bottom line, in the ear of the musician, calibrating - using a reference such as a tuner or a tuning fork is more academic(??).
I saw one video on open E tuning featuring Joe Walsh. He likes to tune with open tuning since he could adjust the tension with one hand and strum with the other at the same time. So cool to listen to the individual string sounds "disappear" into the chords as each string was adjusted. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTddO4LHgFo] -@ 3:40-5:10 mins.
Even with std. tuning the "open G" strings d,g,b offer the same opportunity. But while this method harmonizes the guitar it may not be exactly an "G" chord - it may somewhere between a Gb and G#. As long as the triad frequency is in proportion of 4:5:6 it qualifies as a major chord.
However, what difference does it make? The western convention of the octave and 12 half notes/harmonic is just that - convention. Many stringed instruments do not have frets and many guitar players do all sorts of improvisations - bending strings, rolling the finger over the fret bars, altering the pressure on the strings on the fret bars (to give some percussion) etc..
The Guitar has to be the most versitile instrument - portable and adaptable to all sorts of venues and genres. Irresistable to the crudest amatuer.
Again, great discussion, thanks for noticing.
P.S.: on the Social context > I usually try to show some riffs - Smoke on the Water I-IIIb-IV (and IV#) and "Bad Moon Rising" are easy and recognizable. Then when the audience realizes that you can't play the entire song any hidden pros in gathering leap out and grab the guitar and entertain the crowd - you don't feel too bad because you initated the performance and you might learn something new.
You can go out on a limb and play the open G strings (d,g,b) up and down the neck tapping the "C" chord pattern (one fret up on the b string and two up on the D) and your random riffs sound like something from Keith Richards!Check out this [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szeklc_Pnck] @6:00-7:00 so cool it is hot!
Also the 12 bar I,IV,V pattern in any key with any strum pattern sounds like something! Another is the boogie shuffle 1,3,5,6,6# and back again. Try this in the 12 bar form on the E,A,B scales on the larger strings!
Another thing with my holiday social event, the host's mother jumped in and played some John Denver numbers. When the host took over again with blues/rock she wondered (out loud) if the guitar was really in tune. Ah - parents! Always detecting any fragility in the confidence of their child at any age (thats how they survive as parents, I suppose). The host was then tweaking the guitar for the rest of the session!
Happy New Year!
One of the really overlooked problems is that almost all guitars have the nut too high. This means that all the fretted notes in the low positions are very slightly sharp since the strings are being bent in order to reach the fret - but by differing amounts since the tension/pitch relationship for each string gauge is different. This causes a huge amount of frustration because people either tune the open strings to a tuner and then all the chords sound out, or they tune to a chord and then that one sounds in tune, but others don't. This sometimes makes them think the tuning is 'slipping', since it seems in tune when you tune it and then not afterwards.
The problem is not that obvious unless you're aware of it, and adjusting the intonation at the bridge won't fix it either. Compensated nuts are sometimes recommended as a solution, but they're not actually necessary if the nut is cut correctly low enough - and low enough means *really* low without being lower than the first fret.
The way to check it is to fret each string in turn at the third fret, and look at the gap between the string and the first fret - if it's any larger than about 1/10th of the string diameter, it's too high - yes, this means that for a .010" gauge top E string the gap should be about .001"... about the thickness of a Rizla paper.
The whole nut position does have to be compensated slightly forward from the mathematically correct position as well, but this is to cure a different problem, which is the restriction of the string vibration by the nut groove - which makes the open strings play slightly flat and is pretty consistent across all string gauges, so a straight nut still works.
If you get the nut position and height exactly right you can have a guitar that plays perfectly in tune (to the equal temperament scale) at every fret position.
"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand" - Homer Simpson
Sorry, cant resist, one more comment on the Amatuer Social jam sessions..... I always think of Mike Myers (Waynes World)[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOt3r_aNNxE] - my recent host actually played some Stairway!! I mentioned WW, I think he may have not understood - he was pre WW, I think!