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  1. #1
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Default Van Halen tunings with Peterson strobe tuner reference

    I wanted to post an easy to refer list of Van Halen tunings that I have found and notated for those few out there who may be interested in getting as exactly in tune with the Van Halen recordings as possible. This helps a lot when you are learning the material.

    In order to use these tunings, you will need a digital strobe tuner with variable cent references. I recommend spending $130 on a Peterson StroboPlus HD...it will make tuning in general one hell of a lot easier and more accurate. It will also make it extremely simple to keep track of any tuning you find and tune to it more or less instantly. There is a free online storage and retrieval of any tuning you find or make up which you can save to the StroboPlus HD or any other Peterson tuner with variable cent offsets. I can't tell you how awesome this is.

    You can also get the Peterson digital strobe tuner app for $10 and spend another $6 for their "Sweetened" tuning presets. These presets make your guitar and any stringed instrument sound as in tune all over the neck as possible and your overall guitar sound will change for the better. So for only $16, you can jump in and start using the tunings that I have found.

    This thread contains tunings from Van Halen recordings that I have found using my Peterson StroboPlus HD digital strobe tuner. I generally refer to the isolated guitar tracks where possible along with the best available CD releases. I also try to use a guitar that is as physically close to the guitar that Eddie used on the original recordings as possible (at least as far as we know from Eddie's interviews). For example, for "Runnin' With The Devil" and "You Really Got Me" I used my '75-'76 Ibanez Destroyer. For the electric parts of "Ice Cream Man" I used my '78 era Musikraft/Locke Frankenstein with a standard Fender tremolo. For "Girl Gone Bad" I used my '58 reissue Gibson Flying V. For "Panama" I used my black Musikraft 5150 replica...That song may have been recorded with Eddie's '83 era Frankenstein, but I only own one guitar with a Floyd Rose, which is my Musikraft 5150, so I used that guitar as the closest I have to what may have been used on the original recording. I used my 1968 Fender Strat to find and notate the tunings on the recordings like the intros to "Women In Love" and "Hear About It Later" where Eddie used standard strat style guitars with three single coil pickups.

    I have used my Peterson to check the tunings all over the neck at various points during the tracks. There are some tracks that actually have different tunings on a different guitar used in an intro versus the rest of the song. For example, the "Women In Love" intro strat is tuned differently from the humbucker equipped guitar used for the main distorted electric parts that occur later in the song.

    I'm not interested in the "WHY?" question as to "Why" these tunings exist. This thread is intended to point out that they do indeed exist and to point out as closely as I am able to what the pitches for each of the strings are. All of these tunings assume that you are using a guitar that has been intonated as accurately as possible with a strobe tuner.

    Eddie backstage with the Peterson 420 strobe tuner...

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  3. #2
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    "Runnin' With The Devil"
    1st string: Eb +12.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +26.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +34.6 cents
    4th string: C# +35.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +35.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +26.7 cents

    "You Really Got Me"

    1st string: Eb +23.2 cents
    2nd string: Bb +20.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +22.6 cents
    4th string: C# +25.5 cents
    5th string: Ab +25.5 cents
    6th string: Eb +25.3 cents

    I found these tunings using the DCC Compact Classics 24Kt gold CD and the isolated guitar tracks. I also used my '75-'76 Ibanez Destroyer to find the tunings.

  4. #3
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    "I'm The One"

    1st string: Eb +5.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +5.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +7.6 cents
    4th string: C# +8.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +8.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +5.7 cents

    "Ice Cream Man" (electric guitar)

    1st string: Eb +12.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +12.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +14.6 cents
    4th string: C# +15.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +15.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +12.7 cents

    I used my '78 Musikraft/Locke Frankenstein with a standard Fender tremolo to find and notate these tunings.
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.05.16 at 10:38 AM.

  5. #4
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    "Women In Love" intro
    1st string: Eb +27.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +27.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +29.6 cents
    4th string: C# +30.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +30.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +27.7 cents

    "Women In Love" humbucker equipped/distorted guitar on rest of track

    1st string: Eb +12.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +12.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +14.6 cents
    4th string: C# +15.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +15.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +12.7 cents

    "Outta Love Again"
    1st string: Eb +27.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +27.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +29.6 cents
    4th string: C# +30.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +30.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +27.7 cents
    (This is the same tuning as the "Women In Love" intro.)
    I used my '68 strat to gauge the tuning of the "Women In Love" intro and I used my '75-'76 Ibanez Destroyer for the humbucker equipped/distorted guitar on the rest of the track of "Women In Love" and "Outta Love Again".
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.05.16 at 10:47 AM.

  6. #5
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    "Take Your Whiskey Home" acoustic and electric guitars
    1st string: Eb +9.7 cents
    2nd string: Bb +9.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +11.6 cents
    4th string: C# +12.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +12.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +9.7 cents

  7. #6
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    The vintage Stratocaster used for the "Hear About It Later" intro is tuned to "Drop Db" tuning with the following offsets as near as I can tell:

    1st String: -31.7 Cents
    2nd String: -31.9 Cents
    3rd String: -21.6 Cents
    4th String: -22.0 Cents
    5th String: -22.0 Cents
    6th String: -31.7 Cents (Drop Db Tuning)

  8. #7
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Here is the tuning I found for the full band electric track "Little Guitars" (not the acoustic intro) from the Diver Down LP. The main guitar on this track was Eddie's small-scale mini Les Paul replica with mini-humbuckers made by Dave Petschulat:

    1st String: G -1.7 Cents
    2nd String: D -1.9 Cents
    3rd String: Bb -3.6 Cents
    4th String: F -4.0 Cents
    5th String: C -4.0 Cents
    6th String: F -9.7 Cents (Drop F Tuning)

    I used the isolated track from Guitar Hero for reference and I used a small scale Fender Squier mini Strat to find this tuning. Unfortunately, this is as close as I have to the mini Les Paul at the moment.

  9. #8
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    "Panama" from the 1984 album:

    1st string: Eb +35.7.0 cents
    2nd string: Bb +30.9 cents
    3rd string: F# +28.6 cents
    4th string: C# +39.0 cents
    5th string: Ab +30.0 cents
    6th string: Eb +29.7.0 cents

    "Girl Gone Bad" from the 1984 album (one of the Roth era songs that was tuned close to standard pitch):

    1st string: E +11.7 cents
    2nd string: B +11.9 cents
    3rd string: G +13.6 cents
    4th string: D +14.0 cents
    5th string: A +14.0 cents
    6th string: E +11.7 cents

    I used my black Musikraft 5150 replica with a vintage 1983 Floyd Rose to find the tuning on "Panama" and my '58 reissue Gibson Flying V for "Girl Gone Bad".
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.09.16 at 03:14 PM.

  10. #9
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    In general, I try not to ask "why" a certain tuning exists, but I do simply quantify and notate that a tuning does exist. But I will say that if these tunings are intentional, and I believe that they are, they were done so that certain intervals sound more sympathetic with each other within a certain song.

    As James Taylor explains:

  11. #10
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    I'll post more tunings as I find them. My goal is to find and notate the tunings from all the Van Halen albums beginning with Van Halen and going through 0U812. If anyone has a digital strobe tuner like the Peterson Strobo Plus HD or the Peterson strobe tuner app and you find any tunings that you can share as I have, please post them here as well. If you find any errors I have made, please let me know and I will try to correct them.

    Thanks to those few out there who care!


    One of many shots of Ed with the Peterson 420 strobe tuner...
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.05.16 at 11:19 AM.

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  13. #11
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Just a reminder on the "Girl Gone Bad" tuning. All tuning offsets for this song are ABOVE standard pitch...NOT from 1/2 step down tuning like most of the Roth era recordings.
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.09.16 at 03:18 PM.

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    "You're Doing It Wrong."


    The ribald tale of James Taylor, a Peterson 420 strobe tuner, and a handful of "sweetened tunings" only a dog can hear.

    The # 1 Bestseller of 2016
    Written by: Garbeaj

    I kid, I kid!!!!! Just ribbing ya!
    The whole thing is pretty cool.
    Last edited by we die young; 07.05.16 at 12:59 PM.
    Rest In Peace Dad. 1938-2015

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  16. #13
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    "You're Doing It Wrong."


    The ribald tale of James Taylor, a Peterson 420 strobe tuner, and a handful of "sweetened tunings" only a dog can hear.

    The # 1 Bestseller of 2016
    Written by: Garbeaj

    I kid, I kid!!!!! Just ribbing ya!
    The whole thing is pretty cool.
    Hah! Lol! No offense taken. I know this thread is not for everyone, but I know there are at least a few people out there who are interested and I wanted to have a Sticky thread with the tunings I've notated that would be easy for those very strange few to find
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.05.16 at 01:05 PM.

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    Haha! No problem man....I couldn't resist. I know you've taken your punches with some of this info, so thought some levity might diffuse things a bit.
    I've actually been playing around with this stuff a little more intensely...Not so much for VH, but just for my own work. It's actually quite fascinating.
    There was actually a really good doc years ago hosted by Yo Yo Mah, where he actually was part of an investigation of some very old instruments, and how they were tuned. It actually opened up a whole other realm of study regarding the very real fact that some of the pitches we typically define as A, B, C, D ,E, F, G notes were actually considerably different.
    I can't remember the whole crux of how they determined it, but the reality was, when they played specific classical pieces of music with these different tuning, they took on a whole other life. It was very cool.
    Last edited by we die young; 07.05.16 at 01:22 PM.
    Rest In Peace Dad. 1938-2015

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    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Also, I'll repost the tuning offsets that Eddie gave Guitar World in the March 2016 issue again. This is proof that Eddie actually does use alternate tuning offsets. This is the first time that Eddie has ever mentioned what specific tuning he used and it is the first time he has admitted to using offset tunings where individual strings are deliberately tuned to be out of tune with each other to varying degrees:

    In the March 17, 2016 issue of Guitar World:

    LIVE 2015 TUNING:

    Eb -9 cents
    Bb -9 cents
    Gb -3 cents
    Db -1 cent
    Ab +/-0 cents
    Eb +/-0 cents
    D-Tuna Db -4 cents

    http://www.guitarworld.com/eddie-van...r/26073?page=4
    Last edited by garbeaj; 07.05.16 at 02:00 PM.

 

 

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