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Actual Tuning On the 'Never Say Die' album?

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  • Actual Tuning On the 'Never Say Die' album?

    Over the years I've seen a lot of Black Sabbath tablature pages. Some good, some bad. In several places around the net (including the famous tab site @ http://www.rdrop.com/~mjames/sabbath/), the consenus seems to be that Tony Iommi was back to standard tuning on the "Never Say Die" album. I've tried playing "Never Say Die" and "A Hard Road" in standard tuning, and it sounds okay, but not quite right. I'm sure most people on this board who are Sabbath fans have probably seen the old "A Hard Road" promo clip on youtube or DVD. Did you notice the positions that Tony plays in are not even close to the online tabs? He's clearly playing higher up the neck to achieve the same key on the album. Was he just detuned for this clip, given it was filmed at the 1978 Hammersmith Odeon soundcheck? Or were his fret hands just where they were on the actual album? Also, I thought it was kind of cool he played a slightly different solo in the video than on the album.

  • #2
    Im pretty sure its standard dude. Paranoid was I think a half step above standard, but yeah, the tabs must be wrong or something. Check your tuning also.
    http://wickedinquisition.bandcamp.com/

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    • #3
      sn0wb1ind0zzy is right it's standard tuning. All the dominant open chords seem to be E std, A std, & D std etc.

      For the record, Don't count on an edited music video as a reliable source. A lot of editors are wannabe directors, and are not musicians. So they aren't worried about accuracy, and will even use shots from other songs. I just looked at Never Say Die from Hammersmith on youtube. They use the same shot of Tony playing the opening chords at least 2 times. It's at least close. But once in another part of the song he's nowhere close on the neck to the audio track. So even that is edited using shots out of sequence.

      Within the realm of possibilities yes he could be tuned to D lets say, and is just playing a whole step up, or is using a capo, which essentially is like tuning up a step or two. But listening to the audio on the live cut & the album it's standard tuning.

      Also if you're finding your guitar & the album aren't tuned perfectly, your intonation could be off. Or if you're playing to a cassette tape or a record, the motor speed is off on your player.
      Last edited by devstorm; 01-14-2009, 02:20 PM.
      The best blueberry muffins I ever had landed 6 people in prison, three for life.

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      • #4
        Thanks For The Insight

        Thanks for the insight, guys. Yeah, I always thought it was in standard tuning. I keep the intonation on my guitars pretty accurate. What I meant, was maybe more in the EQ on the 'Never Say Die' album. Sometimes, I've played with songs on the radio, which have been tuned a half-step down, but I was playing in standard, so I adjusted positions on the fretboard. Even when I did this, I wasn't quite perfectly matching the key of the song. But I guess I shouldn't have let the video fool me. I was just thinking that if the "Hard Road" video was filmed at the '78 Hammersmith soundcheck, maybe Tony was using the guitar that was already tuned down for the concert? I mean, he couldn't have been in standard tuning the whole time during the live show. I haven't watched it in a while, so I'm guessing he probably didn't play the same SG for the whole show, though. What's up with the different solo in the 'Hard Road' video, though?

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        • #5
          I wouldnt take much notice of the rdrop site, its wildly inaccurate on some things.

          Tunings are as follows

          Black sabbath/paranoid-concert
          master of reality/vol 4/sab bloody sab/sabotage-C#
          Tech ecstasy/never say die-varies, Eb, Concert, C#

          Dio era-generally Eb

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sacko11uk View Post
            I wouldnt take much notice of the rdrop site, its wildly inaccurate on some things.

            Tunings are as follows

            Black sabbath/paranoid-concert
            master of reality/vol 4/sab bloody sab/sabotage-C#
            Tech ecstasy/never say die-varies, Eb, Concert, C#

            Dio era-generally Eb
            Nice, I also think that he used Eb on the live Reunion double CD.
            ---------------------------------------------------------
            Ax wrestler, I try to play the guitar.
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            When out of whiskey Iíll go for beer.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mad Raxz View Post
              Nice, I also think that he used Eb on the live Reunion double CD.
              You are correct, any Ozzy era material that was originally played in standard was played in Eb tuning (anything from Black Sabbath, Paranoid or Technical Ecstacy) and the songs off all the other albums were still played in their original C# tuning.
              http://wickedinquisition.bandcamp.com/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by devstorm View Post
                Also if you're finding your guitar & the album aren't tuned perfectly, your intonation could be off. Or if you're playing to a cassette tape or a record, the motor speed is off on your player.
                This could be true, but I've found with many old recordings it occurs where its like a quarter step out, for whatever reason...maybe someone was out of tune that day and they all tuned without a tuner? I don't know.

                Xanadu by Rush and Baba O'Reilly by The Who are both examples.
                -rar

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                • #9
                  Sometimes its just the way they tunned up. Tony might have tunned to geezer or the otherway around. Even pros are not perfect. Take the solo from zeppelins heartbreaker and if you listen its actually outta tune from the rest of the song. He probably overdubbed this solo after the rhythm was down and didn't realize he wasn't in tune to the rest of the song.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sn0wb1ind0zzy View Post
                    You are correct, any Ozzy era material that was originally played in standard was played in Eb tuning (anything from Black Sabbath, Paranoid or Technical Ecstacy) and the songs off all the other albums were still played in their original C# tuning.
                    Except for Dirty Women which was played in C# also

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dehumanizer91 View Post
                      Except for Dirty Women which was played in C# also
                      No Dirty Woman is played in Standard, the key may be lower, but it is still played in standard.
                      http://wickedinquisition.bandcamp.com/

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                      • #12
                        I remember the confusion sabbath caused me when i was first learning guitar. I remember trying to figure out where those low notes were coming from. Then i read and article that mentioned the c# tuning and that was that.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sn0wb1ind0zzy View Post
                          No Dirty Woman is played in Standard, the key may be lower, but it is still played in standard.
                          Dude on Reunion it is C#. Thats what I meant

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fishtowner View Post
                            Sometimes its just the way they tunned up. Tony might have tunned to geezer or the otherway around. Even pros are not perfect. Take the solo from zeppelins heartbreaker and if you listen its actually outta tune from the rest of the song. He probably overdubbed this solo after the rhythm was down and didn't realize he wasn't in tune to the rest of the song.
                            True, that is another possibility.


                            On Reunion I'm sure they tuned down to Eb (with the exceptions of the C# songs) so Ozzy could sing them, no?
                            -rar

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rar View Post
                              True, that is another possibility.


                              On Reunion I'm sure they tuned down to Eb (with the exceptions of the C# songs) so Ozzy could sing them, no?
                              All the songs that were in standard tuning in the studio were in Eb (except Dirty Women which was C#) for the reunion and all the C# songs stayed in that tuning. Thanks, Ron

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