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Author Topic: Were the Beatles guitars tuned down when performing live?  (Read 217 times)

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m3tan

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Were the Beatles guitars tuned down when performing live?
« on: June 14, 2014, 01:21:00 AM »

The guitars are tuned down a half step in almost all the recordings of live shows. Was this to make it easier to sing live or are there just issues with the video transfer or something else that altered the original pitch of the live sound. It's particularly noticeable on the Ed Sullivan appearances and Budokon shows. Anyone know the definitive answer?
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Were the Beatles guitars tuned down when performing live?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 03:13:12 AM »

The Beatles did that a lot, m3tan.  Yes, it was easier for them to sing to and the half step down tuning made playing the guitars easier too.  Later on, they made extensive use of Varispeed in the studio and their recordings were sped up to tune.

Rain is an interesting recording.  John's guitar is tuned one half step down.  He played an A chord fingering, an A D E progression.  George used an open D tuning which was most evident right after Ringo's big drum hits at the end of the song.
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Moogmodule

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Re: Were the Beatles guitars tuned down when performing live?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 04:22:38 AM »

That's interesting. I didn't know they did that in concert. Lucky they weren't much into using keyboards. That could have made it tricky.

Their use of varispeed and other tricks was always interesting. I've found even with modern computer recording, if you transpose a piece down using the softwares pitch shift feature it really thickens the sound similar to what they did with Rain.

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