A valid question indeed. YouTubers Pete Cottrell and Andrew Baena paired up to bring the world UP-tuned Meshuggah, all in the name of science. The vast majority of us are well aware of the Swedes’ soul-crushingly brutal grooves on 7- and 8-string guitars…but what if ventures into the extended range hadn’t happened? How much, if any, of the brutality would be lost? Sure, plenty of bands out there have proven that down-tuning does not necessarily equal heaviness. Standard tuning or drop-D can blow the balls off of just about anything if notes are chosen carefully.
So, for this experiment, Pete and Andrew tuned a couple of sixers up one octave from Meshuggah’s tuning: F C G# D# A# F. Then they played a handful of recognizable riffs from “Stengah,” “Demiurge,” “Dancers to a Discordant System,” and a few others.
Oh the difference an octave makes. If anything, it actually kind of clarifies any ambiguity regarding how these riffs were originally written if you’re not an extended range player yourself. While I think the intended effect is a bit lost an octave up, overall Meshuggah’s work holds strong. That’s definitely a testament to the untouchability of those legends. Bless ’em. Maybe purple Strats will be in their future?