Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: Which keys should I learn

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44

    Which keys should I learn

    Now in my second month of guitarhood, I've built a solid theory knowledge, and some decent speed,now I want to start learning massive amounts of chord voicings in some keys.

    I want to really focus on 5 keys.

    I know that on guitar they don't matter as much but hey.

    My biggest influeces are
    Greg tribbett/Mudvayne (Heavy use of octaves/Drop C tuning, a lot of rhythmic ideas)

    APC
    My love of complex and extended chords. Arpeggios. I known they use two guitarists.

    I want to play in a band with me as the single guitarist. I use a very mixed harmony/melody style.

    I'm thinking now
    C major (goes well with drop c)
    C minor (again, powerchords work up top, but with minor chord feel.

    What are some other keys worth learning heavily in.

    I'm thinking AGED keys are good, of course the relative minors I'll get familar with as well. What are the most useful minor keys of AGED major. I think it would be E minor and B minor right?

    Thanks for any insights you guys have!

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,850
    The common guitar keys are the easiest ones:

    Majors: C, G, D, A, E
    Minors: Am, Em, Dm

    (which, not coincidentally, are the basic open chord shapes)

    The further you go from these, the more barre chords you need. Which needn't stop you, but many guitarists understand the more remote keys as shifted versions of the easy ones anyway.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44
    I play in drop c though, so I think cmaj and c minor would be helpful. Drop c changes up the open chord shapes.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18
    Why do you only play in drop c tuning?

    It might be easier to use standard tuning right now, especially since your just starting. Most songs and lessons are written with standard tuning so it would makes things a lot simplier.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44
    I've already memorized all the notes, with both sharps and flats, in drop c. Also getting familiar with all interval shapes. I like how harmony sounds in drop c.

    I practice like 8 hours a day, so I'm pretty far along for how long I've played.

  6. #6
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Akron, OH
    Posts
    1,058
    I you wanted to learn everything from a downtuned perspective, I suppose you could, though it will be much harder when using learning material, as everyone has said, it is geared towards standard tuning.

    However, what you're doing isn't really that different from instruments like a trumpet or a sax. In fact, other than your 6th string being dropped a whole step, you're really transposing exactly like a Bb tenor sax (down a major 9th from concert pitch).

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44
    Like I said, I eat, breath, and sleep music. I practice 6-10 hours a day. I'm already well along in my theory understanding journy. My question is, which keys would be the most beneficial to learn for drop c tuning?

  8. #8
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Akron, OH
    Posts
    1,058
    Anything that would prominently use the note 'C.' C major/A minor, F major/D minor, G major/E minor, Eb major/C minor, Ab major/F minor, and Bb major/G minor. I chose those keys because 'C' is either the root, subdominant, or dominant (I, IV, or V) in either of the major or minor keys.

    However, I would recommend just learning them all. If you're already practicing that much per day, then the extra work won't be a problem, and it will give you a more complete picture of the fretboard.

  9. #9
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,850
    To say "I eat, breath, and sleep music. I practice 6-10 hours a day" - but only use drop C - that's a bizarre statement. It's like you're digging a big hole as a way of exploring the earth.
    I think you're making a mistake only using drop C. That's designed for playing in the key of C. Every other key is harder. If you're that interested in music, you should be keen on exploring every key (indeed many other tunings), without prejudice.
    The whole point of standard tuning is that it makes all keys as equal as possible.

    Of course, with drop C you can play in other keys by using a capo, which a lot of alternative-tuned guys in folk do. That means you can use all the patterns you've learned and just move them up the fretboard. Result!

    IOW, there's not a lot of advice we can give. You've made your own route here. My advice would be not to take that route in the first place - but it's your choice.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44
    Ok, now I'm confushed... I like drop C because of the sound, especially in harmony. While it would certainly be easiest to play in C, why would I need a capo unless I want to stick to the same chord voicings. Couldn't I play in a different key by emphasizing a different chord/root note. It's the same as drop D, just a whole-step lower. Guess the correct term would be drop-d one step down.

    And I'm not talking about totally ignoring the other keys. I am just going to try and teach myself a huge chord vocabulary with movable chord shapes and chords that use open strings in the keys I focus on.
    Last edited by Sabrok; 01-10-2007 at 01:06 PM.

  11. #11
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,135
    I do not think anyone has mentioned that the key we play is dictated by the soloists. Most of the time this is the vocalist, horns or saxophone.

    We play in the key/scale they like. So we need to be flexible. Or if lucky, concentrate on the key/scale used by our soloists.

    If Dropped C fits with your soloist have at it......... However if you do not have a specific soloist......... and must be flexible ........... then standard tuning IMHO is what you need to be working with.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 01-10-2007 at 04:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,542
    On the light of Malcolm's point. The answer is all of them. Be sure you are proficient in all 12 keys all over the neck. This will take you a long time but since you practice 6-10 hours a day (a luxury many of us just don't have) you could easily hit up ALL those keys in one week. Or if you prefer, you could "live" in one key for one week and then move on to the next the following week. That will keep you challenged and in about a year you will be able to play equally proficiently in all 12 keys. Once you have that down, then you need to apply all the new knowledge you get onto those 12 keys you now know, chord progressions, scales, arpegi etc, etc, etc.

    Good luck.


    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    660
    I'd learn the general concept of the major scale - then you may slowly learn each and every key, dependent on your preference.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44
    I already know the W W H W W W H
    I know the formulas for scales,
    All the notes in each scale and their relative minors, and I know the notes all over the fretboard in drop c pretty good.

    I don't want to be a virtuoso or anything, I just want to be good at what I do. I'm pretty sure in the band I'm going to start in a couple of months I want to play in drop c, I guess I might have to experiment with several vocalists.

    I will definately familairze myself with C major and minor (Many chord voicings of all the chords in those keys). And I'll experiment around with a few more, I don't want to play in the same key every song, that's why I was asking for some good key ideas. I'll take poparod's advice and experiment around with a few of those.


    For what I play, I really need drop tunings. Parts of my songs rely heavily on fifth chords.

    For the kind of music I play, Drop D and C are standard :O I don't know of any bands I like that play in standard tuning. Some will take standard tuning down say 1 1/2 steps, this is actually lower than drop c besides the low e string. I don't see the advantage of this really, I'd rather have the perfect fifth interval up top.

    My style is kind of the power chord driven lines of mudvayne mixed in with the more progressive elements of bands such as APC. I learned a lot about using time other than 4/4 from both of them. These are just the two bands I've studied the most through power tab and listening. I might pick up more influences later. I kind of like where my style is headed though.


    Thanks for all your insights!
    Last edited by Sabrok; 01-10-2007 at 06:17 PM.

  15. #15
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,850
    OK I see where you're coming from.
    Drop tunings are designed for playing in one key (and of course to give you easy power chords), but they don't actually make it that hard to play in other keys - only one string has been changed after all, and that's not a string you need to include in any solo scale work.
    The only disadvantage of the lower 6th string for scale pattern work is that you need to stretch the pinky to get all the available notes. (That's why standard tuning is the way it is. Violins and mandolins are tuned in 5ths - 4 notes per string in one position - because they are smaller.)

    I don't know much about the kind of music you're talking about - so you probably know more about the keys and scales you need than I do!
    But I suspect most of the bands - if they use specific tunings - will be working off what is practical in that tuning. They will be finding what sounds good without much theoretical input. (They may know the theory, but they will be led by what lies under their fingers.)

    Remember the only advantage of drop C (as opposed to drop D) is if you are playing below 2nd fret, where you get sounds and chord voicings you can't get on a normal guitar. This is really why I said these lowered tunings are designed for one key, for one low sound.
    Suppose you want to play in the key of E (say to suit a vocalist)? Damned hard in drop C tuning. It's possible - it's just not a key you would normally choose. That's where the capo comes in - put it on fret 4, now you have "drop E" tuning (E-B-E-A-C#-F#).
    Capos mean you can learn everything in easy open position, and just transfer those shapes up the neck for other keys.

    In short, while drop C certainly tends to be limiting, it doesn't have to be. But you may to work out your own strategies of how to expand on it.

Similar Threads

  1. What keys do you play in?
    By marrkus in forum Piano & Keys Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-15-2012, 01:05 AM
  2. How Did the Giants Learn Guitar?
    By Bongo Boy in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-11-2007, 05:42 PM
  3. Begginer Tryin To Learn Theory
    By adverse youth in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-16-2006, 09:50 AM
  4. Scales and Modes sounding depressingly similar!
    By Angry Hamster in forum Improvisation
    Replies: 59
    Last Post: 07-17-2005, 01:15 PM
  5. Please give me suggestions on how to learn the basics of music.
    By ComposerRyan in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-11-2004, 09:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •