Why Do Guitarists Tune to E Flat?

Have you ever wondered why guitarists tune their guitars to E flat instead of drop D or open G ? Someone says they often tune their guitars to E flat because of better sound. Is this true?

The main reason why guitarists tune to the E Flat is that it reduces tension. Playing longer strings of the guitar gives much trouble. In thicker strings, guitarists have to provide much force on the strings. But E flat tuning helps to shorten the strings. So, it makes the guitar easier to play and preserves better sound quality. 

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Yet, to play your guitar, like famous guitarists and bands, E flat tune is a must. It would be best if you tuned in E flat when you are eager to make your guitar sound compelling. 

Why Is E Flat Tune Very Popular?

E flat tune did not get popular overnight. The cause of its popularity is that the E flat tune gives a flexible string tension. Besides, there are also more reasons for the popularity of E-flat tuning on guitar. Some reasons are- 

To Bring Sound Like Popular Guitarists

Most popular guitarists feel comfortable with E-flat tuning. They thought this tune was very harmonious to the vocal range. So, It is easy to sing a song with E-flat tuning. For example, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan played songs in this tune. 

Of those guitarists, Stevie Ray Vaughan loved E flat tune much. That’s why he always tuned his guitar in E Flat. He never used standard tunes on his guitar. 

B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix also played songs on E flat tuning. Their guitarist fans want to play the guitar like them. So, The fans also tune their guitar to the E flat. 

To Make The Easiest Bending

Is bending so hard? Nope! Tuning E flat will make your guitar string bending easier. So, E-flat tuning is preferable to make your guitar string bending comfortable. 

Guitarists want to master the techniques of blues guitar playing. It helps to learn the guitar most effectively. By no means E flat tuning is one of the techniques of blues guitar playing. Beginner guitarists give their best shot to get the method of E flat tune. 

Unfortunately, bending the strings high enough is not so easy. So, It is hard enough to hit the target pitch with heavy strings. Hence, everyone looks for an easy way of bending. 

At the same time, when the high string is harassing you, you can solve this problem in two ways:

  • Using a light guitar string instead of a heavier string.
  • Tuning your guitar on E flat. 

Of these two ways, the second one is superior. Because of E flat tuning, you can manage heavy guitar strings easily. 

To Make The Tone More Impactful

E flat tuning will bring thickness and consistency to the tone and warm it. All these things depend on your guitar setup. 

Suppose you want to play like Stevie Vaughan. He used to play with open strings on his guitar. So, it would be best if you do the same thing. [source}

Again, suppose you played in standard tuning but changed it to E flat. Can you observe any differences? No, You will not see a massive change. The tune will just make a fundamental change in your tone. 

Making an impactful change in your guitar tone is not only a physiological issue. It depends on your guitar setup. So, change your tuning and notice the difference. 

To Make the Singing More Easy

An E flat tune’s final and crucial benefit is making the singing easy. It would help if you felt more comfortable singing than another tuning when you use E flat tune. This tune can create a balance in your singing and guitar tone. 

The specialty of E flat tune works much on male voices. Because its primary function is to bring thickness to tone, if you are a male singer, E flat tune will make your singing easier depending on your vocal range. 

How to Tune Actual E Flat in Your Guitar?

Is it hard to tune E flat on my guitar? No! It is not very hard to adjust the E flat tune. E flat means to tune your guitar string one step down—the string tune of E flat tuning like Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb. 

Tuning to E flat is more accessible because each string has to adjust at an exact distance. So it is easy to remember the setup. You notice a change in your string distance when you tune your guitar. 

Yet, it would help if you tuned every guitar string on a step-down. The height of the strings will decrease much. Finally, you will get the complete tuning. 

Why Is E Flat Tune Very Useful?

Tuning in E flat is very beneficial for every guitarist. Most celebrity guitarists also preferred this tuning.

Some benefits of E flat are:

  • The height of the strings is not much higher.
  • The elasticity of the strings is comfortable.
  • The bending is much easier. 
  • Easy to tune the strings.
  • Not to give much force on strings. 

Besides, here is a video that will clearly help you to know the benefits of an E tune on guitar: 

Why Do Bands Play to E Flat?

Bands love to play an E-flat tune because of its lower string height and high voices. Bands like Kiss, Guns N Roses, and ZZ Top are playing their guitar on an E flat tune. So, they are enjoying the benefits of an E-flat tune. 

If bands use the standard tune, they must force much on strings. But when they use E flat tuning, they give a little force and get their result. So, They prefer mostly E flat tunes. 

What Songs Are Favorable for E Flat Tune?

Every song can be played with an E flat tune. The difference will be in sound. There are a few songs that sound more melodious in an E-flat tune. The songs are-

  • Say It Ain’t So by Weezer.
  • Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
  • Lenny by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
  • The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy.
  • Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N Roses.
  • Paradise City by Guns N Roses.
  • Brain Stew by Green Day. 

Related Questions

Is E Flat Tune Effective for All Guitars?

Yes. Because every guitar has a vibrato system. Suppose any guitarist wants to change the guitar tune; he can. The basic setup of guitar strings is a standard tune. But if anyone wants to set up his guitar in an E-flat tune, he can do it. 

Why Do Lots of Bands Prefer to E Flat?

Lots of bands prefer to E flat tune because of its uniqueness. It gives them much pleasure to play the guitar. They don’t feel any disturbance when playing the guitar with an E flat tune. However, They can manage the tune very quickly. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, you can tune your guitar in many ways, such as standard, drop D, open G, and E flat. According to your preference, you can adjust your guitar. Because tuning does not affect the song, it impacts on sound. 

Even so, you can tune your guitar as you wish. But E flat is preferable to tune because of its particular type. You must use an E flat tune to get a clear and friendly sound. 

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