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Fuji

Bb-G-D-G-G-D • OVERVIEW • Just one I came across on the GTDB website, submitted as ‘Fuji’ by an anonymous user via an undated post. Tried it, loved it, included it here…   In the words of its unknown creator: “Here’s one I made up…I like to lumber away on the first two strings, and use […]

 

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Bağlama / Saz

G-G-D-D-A-A • OVERVIEW • The bağlama is a three-course lute of variable neck length, popular in Turkish folk music (n.b. nearby cultures call similar variants the saz, and other local names include kopuz, irisva, balta, and bulgari). Played with a cherrywood pick, the frets, made of fishing line, are moveable – opening up infinite microtonal shades. […]

 

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Airtap!

F-A-C-F-C-F • OVERVIEW • Used by Montreal acoustic genius Erik Mongrain to facilitate the virtuosic ‘lap-tapping’ techniques of Airtap!, an oldskool viral favourite (uploaded back in 2006: YouTube’s early days). Like playing piano, bass, & drums on the strings – all at the same time…   The intervallic structure matches the guitar’s ‘classic’ Gmaj shape […]

 

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Wind of Change

D-D-D-A-D-F# • OVERVIEW • A low-droning variety of Open D, featuring a powerful ‘triple D’ across the 6-5-4str: meaning that you have to move vertically (i.e. up and down the neck) to generate melodic motion. Famously used by Peter Frampton on Wind of Change (a semitone down) – although he got the idea via browsing George […]

 

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Atta’s C

C-G-E-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • An Open C variant with an odd structure, mixing tense upwindings (4str) with radical slackenings (6str). Associated with the great Hawaiian master Leland ‘Atta’ Isaacs Sr. (1929–1983), who used it to inject fresh, jazzy voicings into the slack-key music of his era.   Beautifully concise: only three notes are used, but […]

 

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Open Fm

C-F-C-F-Ab-C • OVERVIEW • A rare, slackened transposition of Open Gmin: the same interval pattern is lowered by a tone. Another species of ‘cross-note’ tuning – as you can easily ‘cross over’ to playing in Fmaj as 0-0-0-0-1-0 (whereas the inverse maj>min flip in Open F/Open G is less straightforward). As is characteristic for this tuning family, harmonic […]

 

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Open F

C-F-C-F-A-C • OVERVIEW • Open F takes the interval shape of Open G, and lowers everything by a whole tone. So, while you can use it to play anything from the vast Open G repertoire, it’s worth focusing on its distinctive quirks too. Most importantly, it is much looser (~30% less tension than if the […]

 

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Open E / Vestapol

E-B-E-G#-B-E • OVERVIEW • Open E is like Open D’s ‘electric’ counterpart – the interval pattern is the same (also known, regardless of transposition, as ‘Vestapol’ – after The Siege of Sevastopol, an 1854 folk song about the Crimean War popular in the ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century America).   But here, everything is raised […]

 

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Open Cm

C-G-C-G-C-Eb • OVERVIEW • Open Cm (unlike Open Dm, Gm, and Em) doesn’t really match with any of our familiar Standard-tuned minor-chord shapes (although it’s closest to the ‘xx0231’ Dmin sequence). Another ‘cross-note’ tuning – as you can easily ‘cross-over’ to Cmaj (like: 0-0-0-0-0-1).   The b3 is placed on 1str, giving the only minor […]

 

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Open C / Wide Major

C-G-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Open C (unlike Open D, G, A, and E) doesn’t quite correspond to any of our familiar EADGBE chord shapes. It’s closest to the classic ‘xx0232‘ Dmaj shape in terms of interval pattern (actually it’s like ‘making a Dmaj shape in Drop D’, then all minus 2 semitones).   For me, this […]