The Rolling Stones Tune Up

When thinking of some of the great opening riffs of a Rolling Stones song, tunes like Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’, Brown Sugar, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Woman and Jumpin Jack Flash easily come to mind of anyone into the Stones.  All of these tunes (and others) involved Keith Richards tuning his guitars to open tuning and demonstrates how the Rolling Stones were able to think outside the box to create a great song.

In the case of Jumpin Jack Flash, Keith used open D-tuning on a Gibson Humingbird acoustic and a capo.  Another guitar was placed over top using a Nashville tuning he learned from the George Jones country band while on the same bill as them in San Antonio in 1963.  This higher sounding Nashville tuning has a unique configuration â” the low E, A and D strings are replaced by G, B and high E strings tuned an octave higher than standard.

Keith Richards could write a top selling tune with a hook that grabs you in the first few bars.  These tunes do not always sound experimental, yet the unique tunings used demonstrate that Keef was.

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