I am bored with music, bored, bored, bored, bored, … and I really need some inspiration to pick up the 6-string again. And I think revising it to a 5-string might be the magic button I need! I like playing in alternate tunings, especially tunings that allow for big full-sounding chords.
So … I'm once again retuning the guitar to D A D A D and then just plain removing the high E string. The High A is a B string dropped down a full step, and the High D is an E string Dropped down a full step. Easy. No G string. (hah! that sounds naughty)
This tuning simplifies the fretboard immensely. It's just the same notes across the fretboard. A nice big fifth chord is just one finger across the whole fretboard, and you have the Root, 5th, higher root, then another 5th, and the highest Root note. It's basically a normal barre chord, without the major or minor triad note. So it's a very open sound, great for rock and metal where you have these great big chords ringing out. Great for slide chords, too.
Harmony parts are easily worked out just by playing the same pattern but moving to the next string (or the next string for an octave).
Sounds crazy, doesn't it! Well, Devin Townsend almost exclusively played in C G C G C E for years (he now tunes that down to B F# B F# B D#), and Max Cavalera of Sepultura/Soulfly only has FOUR strings on his guitar, tuned to B F# B E (the lowest four strings on the guitar, tuned to Drop-B).
And, for those of you loyal readers of this blog and my music for the past several years, I composed an entire album ("I Am Become Daevel" from 2008) on a guitar with only 4 strings on it (tuned to D A D G, basically Drop-D, bot no B or E strings). And several of my other albums have alternative tunings ("Light At the End of the Tunnel" is all C G C G C D, along with the first two songs of "fUTUREGRIND". A bunch of parts from Burn Without Me's debut album were in C G D G B E. And SUNset TZUnami was in D A D A D E). Deadside Manor was all Drop-D, along with most of my other Dimaension X recordings.
So yeah, I'm one of those musicians who almost NEVER plays in standard tuning anyway, but D A D A D just seems to be an interesting break from the "norm".