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Yesterday: Gear & Tone


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For "Yesterday" all six strings of the guitar are tuned down 1 whole step:

E = D
A = G
D = C
G = F
B = A
E = D

This is essentially the opposite of what a capo does. Alternate tunings and capos are great tools and are most often used in service of finding a way to play the song that fits your vocal range.

Give your guitar neck a minute to adjust to the change in tension released by tuning down the full step. I tend to tune each string down quickly to begin with, and then give each string a bit of a push to completely release the tension. Then I go through again more carefully with the tuner, always tuning UP from below my desired note. Don't be surprised if you have a few tuning issues at first, your guitar will "settle" in and it will sound extra fat!

Returning back up to standard pitch can have the same problems in reverse, so take your time and again don't be surprised if it takes a couple of times through to get back in tune. This is one reason I have more than one guitar when I perform: I do not want to take time to re-tune, and a lot of up and down in pitch can make it harder to keep your guitar in tune (your neck is saying, "what?! make up your mind! You release tension, you add tension, I'm confused!"). The truth is, you probably don't need to tune down to play this song outside of Guitar Tricks, but today we are old school so down we go!

Now we're going to think about the idea of tone from an acoustic point of view. Learn the chords, learn the strum pattern, then start thinking about how your guitar sounds. How you play can make or break the vibe of your song, so consider checking out my technique video, "right hand technique," where I dig deeper into this subject. You can have a perfect chord in your left hand, but fail to communicate that to your listener with a sloppy right hand. Obviously the greatest strumming in the world won't conceal a chord full of buzz and clunk! A big part of being a good player is getting your hands to work together.