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• Fuji tuning •

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’) 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, 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 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 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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• Haja’s Bb tuning •

Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C • OVERVIEW • ‘Haja’ (pronounced ‘Adz’) is an innovative modern 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 chosen tuning (equivalent to Orkney -2) forms a […]

 

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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 tuning •

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

 

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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 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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• Only Shallow tuning •

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

 

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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 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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• 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 by creating a ‘C-G-D’ cycle of 5ths on the low side. Each note […]