Guitar tuning for ‘It’s A Hard Life’


[A reader noticed that Brian was playing A shapes at Prince’s Trust Concert on “Hard Life”, whereas the other musicians playing in a different key – see LETTERS] and EXPERTS]

Many thanks Martin. And … good spotting !

When we opened up the old book of “Hard Life”, I remembered that I must have retuned the guitar for the recording, to get those open string effects …

I always liked the ‘clang’ of open strings, and the fact that you can make them sustain while you’re doing other things …

So when we got into preparation for this gig with Tom Chaplin singing, it transpired that he wanted to do it in the original key (good for him – I can’t think of many singers who would have taken that on … ) so the same considerations applied. Rather than swap guitars at that point in the show (there wasn’t going to be time, especially since I was introducing Tom) I took advantage of the fact that digital effects boxes can do stuff at much higher quality than they used to ! Pete dialled in a semitone detuning (up) on one of our boxes (you’d have to ask Pete which one!) .. and … Bob’s your Uncle … I was playing happily in A and coming out in A sharp ! It’s a nice trick really … I can’t imagine I’m the only guitarist who’s thought of it !!!