Liberty Guitar Frequently Asked Questions...
How do I get started with Liberty Tuning?
You need a standard-tuned guitar, a special kind of partial capo, and the knowledge of what to do. You don't need to know anything about music, you just hold down some simple fingerings and strum chords. Almost anyone can master the basic chords instantly, but it can take some to apply them to specific songs, to learn what a chord change is and how guitar chords apply to each song. One of our books (paper or digital) together with a Liberty capo cost about the same as a one-hour guitar lesson, and they blast open the door to a huge world of home-made music. Depending on whether you already play guitar or are a total beginner, or if you want to use the Liberty method with adults or children, you'll want to choose the right book. You'll also want to have a standard full capo. To get an idea of what is possible, you can listen to 2 albums of music by Harvey Reid & Joyce Andersen, done with just 2-finger chords in Liberty Tuning. (search for "Liberty Guitar" on the internet in music downloads like Amazon or iTunes.) We are working on instructional videos that will be in place soon.
Can I teach myself Liberty Guitar?
There is no reason you can't follow the careful insturctions laid out in the Liberty guitar books, that show you how to set up your guitar and where to put your fingers to play the easy chords. You may get confused, and you might do better with the help of a guitar teacher, though this idea is so new that none of them will know how it works either. Any skilled player or teacher should be able to figure it out and assist you once it's been shown to them, though it will have them scratching their heads. The hardest part is figuring out if you can use this idea to play your favorite song in the right key for your voice. As long as you follow the books, it's pretty straight-forward, but choosing and arranging new songs can be tricky. It can take a while to figure out what a particular song's chord changes are, if they work right in Liberty Tuning, and if the song can be adapted so that a particular person can sing the song.
Do I have to stick with Liberty Tuning?
Absolutely not, unless you only have limited use of your left-hand fingers. Playing guitar is all about learning new fingerings, and the simplified 2-finger chords at the heart of the Liberty Tuning idea are part of normal guitar chords too. In 10 seconds you can get out of Liberty Tuning and you're looking at a normal guitar in standard tuning. Liberty Tuning can convince you that you are musical, and that it's just motor skills in your way. If you can sing and strum and enjoy yourself in Liberty Tuning then you can also do those things later in standard tuning if you want to take the time to learn the harder chords.
Isn't Liberty Tuning just a new open tuning?
No. It is a "hyper-tuning," a combination of an unusual but very slight retuning with the use of an unusual partial capo. (It is not possible to make a smaller change to the tuning!) You can't create the magic with just a capo or just by retuning. This is what gives it its musical power, and also what has kept it hidden for 4 centuries and countless millions of guitar players experimenting. It really doesn't behave like the other tunings you may have tried. There is nothing like it. In a few seconds it completely changes the landscape of what is possible on a guitar fingerboard, and creates a new environment of its own where millions of great songs can be played almost instantly by millions of great people.
Can I use any partial capo for Liberty Tuning?
The Spider and Third Hand brand universal partial capos can both do it, though they are pretty unsightly and bulky. If you have a common 3-string "Esus" capo you can do part of the magic, but not all, and you may have trouble making it work higher up the neck on many guitars. (This is needed for young children...) Esus capos are made to be used at the 2nd fret, and the common brands have trouble with some important parts of the Liberty Guitar experience. If you already have one, you might as well see what it can do. Harvey Reid has designed the Liberty "Flip" capo, a new kind of partial capo that does both versions of the Liberty Tuning on almost all guitars. (It also does everything an Esus capo does and a lot more. If you have never owned a partial capo at all, we strongly recommend this one. It will get you going, and it's the only partial capo you'll ever need.)
Is Liberty Tuning only for beginners or children?
Definitely not. The new "hyperspace" that appears in the fingerboard is fascinating to players of any level. The fact that you can play so much music in this tuning with just 2 fingers of the fretting hand means that it is ideal for people who can't already play guitar chords, but if you are a player, songwriter or guitar teacher you'll also have endless fun exploring all your new options. You can do a lot of things with those "extra" 2 fingers, and the new geometry and symmetry of the tuning is very appealing, no matter what you know or don't know about the guitar. The Liberty Tuning Chord Book is the best introduction to the idea if you already play.
Do I need a special guitar or strings for Liberty Tuning?
No. Any guitar can be put into Liberty Tuning in a few seconds if you have the right partial capo. Normal string gauges work perfectly and won't break.
Can I use Liberty Tuning on a children's guitar?
If you are planning to use the Liberty Guitar method to teach guitar to a young child, you'll want to read carefully about your options. You will be better off without a small-scale children's guitar, but if you have one already, you can use it. You'll want to tune it above standard pitch to get some tone from the strings, and to pitch the music into keys that work for young voices. This may mean that the strings will be hard for a small child to press down, but it may spark some excitement in them and get the ball rolling.
Can I use Liberty Tuning on a classical guitar?
You'll need a universal partial capo or a new Liberty "Flip" capo. The other common brands of partial capos will frustrate you if you have a typical 2" wide, standard classical guitar neck. Some of the newer, narrower-neck nylon-string guitars work vastly better.