I’m due a serving of KFC for asserting in the last chapter of GBTP that in guitar tuning the Major Third between strings 3 and 2 punctuates a sequence of Perfect Fifths. I should have said Perfect Fourths.
For me, the way to clarity often is to go the wrong way around, trapping errors until I rest on a patch of clearing. When I made my “Perfect Fifths” gaffe, I thought I was in control of the narrative about the intervals between strings. I wasn’t.
The high E-string is string 1. The low E-string is string 6. In ascending string order — 1 through 6 — the tuning is E-B-G-D-A-E. In descending string order — 6 through 1 — the tuning is E-A-D-G-B-E.
Why should we care about descending string order? Because the pitch sequence in that order is from low to high. And the commonly talked-about intervals are the ascending ones, where the second pitch is higher than the first.
For me if not for you a question hangs in the air: Why did the guitar strings get numbered in this cart-before-horse fashion anyway?
I will deconstruct the interval picture with symbology in the next chapter. It will make no more sense than now, but there you have it — coming next.
(c) 2019 JMN