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• Fuji tuning •

Bb-G-D-G-G-D • OVERVIEW • An unorthodox Gmin inversion I came across while browsing the GTDB site for little-used layouts, submitted under the name ‘Fuji’ by a nameless user in an undated post. Tried it, loved it, included it here…   In the words of its anonymous creator: “Here’s one I made up…I like to lumber […]

 

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• Bağlama (‘Saz’) tuning •

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, while other local names include kopuz, irisva, balta, and bulgari). Played with a hard cherrywood pick, the frets, often made of fishing line, are moveable – opening up […]

 

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• AirTap! tuning •

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 way back in 2006: YouTube’s early days). Like playing piano, bass, & drums on the strings – all at the same time…   The interval structure matches our ‘classic’ Gmaj shape […]

 

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• Haja’s Bb (‘Bighand’) tuning •

Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C • OVERVIEW • ‘Haja’ (pronounced ‘Adz’) is an innovative modern-generation guitarist from Madagascar. His exuberant, rhythmic playing style fuses elements from across the island’s wealth of sonic traditions – showcased via breathtaking solo electric performances as well as in his long-running fusion group Solomiral.   His preferred layout (equivalent to Orkney -2), adapted from […]

 

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• Schizophrenia tuning •

F#-F#-G-G-A-A • OVERVIEW • Highly unorthodox droning triad used by Thurston Moore on Sonic Youth’s Schizophrenia (1987) – a Joy Division-like song that explores the tuning’s strange slacknesses with long, wordless interludes, replete with dreamy harmonics and a slight microtonal spice. Requires a thinner 4str.   Contains nothing but three sequential diatonic scale tones, all […]

 

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• Albert Collins Fm tuning •

F-C-F-Ab-C-F • OVERVIEW • Essentially ‘Open Dm raised by 3 semitones’ – thus matching the interval pattern of a Standard-tuned ‘0-2-2-0-0-0’ Em chord (or, more precisely, a ‘1-3-3-1-1-1’ Fm barre shape). Categorised as a ‘cross-note‘ tuning, as you can easily ‘cross’ from minor to major with the one-finger shape ‘0-0-0-1-0-0’ (whereas in Open Dmaj, the […]

 

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• Wind of Change tuning •

D-D-D-A-D-F# • OVERVIEW • A low-droning variety of Open D, featuring a powerful ‘triple D’ across 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 Harrison’s […]

 

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• Only Shallow tuning •

E-B-E-Gb-B-E • OVERVIEW • Though rare, this Esus2 layout’s distinctive ‘major 2nd in the middle‘ opens up unique melodic and harmonic possibilities. Most famously used for the droning shoegaze wails of My Bloody Valentine’s Only Shallow.   Given the snappability of the raised 4+5str, acoustic steel-stringers are best advised to transpose everything down a tone to […]

 

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• Atta’s C tuning •

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 (1929–1983), who used it to inject fresh, jazzy voicings into the kī hō’alu music of his era. Beautifully concise: only three notes are used, but all adjacent […]

 

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• Orkney tuning •

C-G-D-G-C-D • OVERVIEW • Forms a Csus2 (or Gsus4) voicing, with intervals that ‘narrow’ as you go higher in pitch (two 5ths > two 4ths > one maj. 2nd). Like a ‘Drop D’ version of Open Gsus, with the 6str providing added intrigue via creating a ‘C-G-D’ stack of 5ths on the low side. Each tone […]