Albert King

When it comes to guitar playing, it´s always refreshing to see a guitarist who does things differently. Albert King is one such guitar player.

For starters, he´s left handed. Now, that in and of itself isn´t anything out of the ordinary. Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, and many other well known guitarists are lefties. However, these guys all restrung
their guitars in order for the low E string to be at the top, and the high E string to be at the bottom. Albert King, on the other hand, simply turned the guitar upside down and played it that way, with his high E string where the low E Albert Kingstring ought to be.

But then again, his E string wasn´t even his E string. The tuning used by Albert King, from low to high, is C#-G#-B-E- G#-C#.

Playing an alternate tuning isn´t out of the ordinary, and many of the Rolling Stones biggest hits saw Keith Richards playing in open G tuning. Open tunings—a tuning where the guitar is tuned to a chord—are fairly common. For example, an open G tuning from low to high is G-D-B-G-D-B. A major chord by definition is the first, third, and the fifth note of a major scale, and if you tune the guitar stings to these notes you have an open tuning. Common open tunings are open C (¨Can´t get enough¨ by Bad Company), open D (¨Big Yellow Taxi¨ by Joni Mitchell), and open G (¨Honkey Tonk Woman¨, ¨Brown Sugar¨ and ¨Start Me Up¨ by The Rolling Stones).

The Albert King tuning mentioned above (and it should be noted that there is still some debate amongst guitar enthusiasts as to if that tuning is even accurate) would be an Open C minor 7th tuning. A very unconventional tuning to say the least, but it´s the tuning that King used on classic albums like Born Under A Bad Sign, I Wanna Get Funky, and Crosscut Saw: Albert King in San Francisco.

Author: Herb Winters

Herb Winters - Professional Guitarist 35 years - Hobbies Painting Dark Clouds

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