Watch the Trans Extended Perf. online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
Trans Extended Perf./Breakdown
I've experimented with a number of lower tunings over the years, including a whole step, minor third and major third below concert pitch. I'm getting interested in investigating a few alternate tunings, but for now I've retained the relative pitches, so to date I'm using familiar chord shapes. In the last few years I've settled on tuning down a major third (from C to C) and that is the tuning I'm using throughout this course when the guitar is tuned lower. I enjoy this sound when playing alone or in some duo settings without bass (vocalist, horn player, pianist). There are some adjustments to make here: it takes some time to accustom yourself to the lower sonorities and hear things in tune. I also avoid close intervals in the lower register, as everything tends to run together. Open strings sustain longer, so some care must be taken with the right hand to occasionally dampen a note. I've also experimented with different scale lengths for the neck. In my case I'm using a 27" scale for this tuning, and the longer scale creates more sustain, overtones and general clarity.
In this performance, I'm taking advantage of the lower register to approach using the bottom two strings to integrate bass lines into my improvisation. The use of the pick and fingers of my right hand facilitates isolating the notes of the chords I'm using as I solo, as well as allowing me to move easily between bass lines, chords and single lines. Note the use of my middle finger on my right hand to articulate individual notes as well. My right hand technique is a bit unorthodox. It evolved organically over time without any real game plan. Learning chord melodies (your own or someone else's) is a great way to develop right hand dexterity, ideally with some combination of pick and fingers, or fingers and thumb. Several friends of mine have also had success using classical right hand technique in a jazz setting.