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• Nashville tuning •

Ė-Ȧ-Ḋ-Ġ-B-E • OVERVIEW • A part-transposition of Standard, which retains the same notes while raising 6-5-4-3str up a full octave. This halves the range (12 vs. 24 semitones), and also radically shuffles up the order of the tones (low>high: 6, 5, 2, 4, 1, 3str) – essentially like a 12-string with the lower of each pair […]

 

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• Open A (‘Spanish’) tuning •

E-A-E-A-C#-E • OVERVIEW • Matches the structure of a Standard-tuned Amaj shape (‘0-0-2-2-2-0’). Open A is like Open G’s ‘electric counterpart’ – it has the same interval sequence, but everything is raised up a whole tone (electric strings are thinner, so can go higher). Also popular amongst acoustic bluesmen of the pre-amplified era, who often […]

 

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• Open E (‘Vestapol’) tuning •

E-B-E-G#-B-E • OVERVIEW • Open E follows the interval structure of a Standard-tuned Emaj chord (‘0-2-2-1-0-0’), thus making it a whole-tone-higher transposition of Open D – a general pattern sometimes known as ‘Vestapol‘ (after its use for an earnest 1854 folk song about the Crimean War, popular in ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century North America: […]

 

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• Open G (‘Taro Patch’) tuning •

D-G-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned Amaj shape in terms of interval structure (‘0-0-2-2-2-0’). Gives a more ambiguous resonance than the other ‘main’ maj-chord tuning – Open D – as its major triad is arranged in ‘inverted’ fashion, with the 5th (D) in the bass rather than the G root (which is on 5str). […]

 

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• Open Dsus (‘DADGAD’) tuning •

D-A-D-G-A-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned ‘0-2-2-2-0-0’ Esus4 shape in terms of interval structure. Neither major nor minor, DADGAD’s ambiguous open-chord resonance offers up incredible versatility, ideal for exploring the musical variety of many global traditions. Regardless of what you play, there’s always a certain fundamental stability to the tuning’s character, partly arising from […]

 

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• Open Dm (‘Bentonia’) tuning •

D-A-D-F-A-D • OVERVIEW • Matches a Standard-tuned Emin shape (‘0-2-2-0-0-0’) in terms of interval structure – with everything twisted a whole tone lower. Thus forms a ‘cross-note‘ layout, as (unlike in Open Dmaj) you can easily ‘cross over’ to major voicings with just one finger (e.g. ‘0-0-0-1-0-0’). Associated with haunting Delta bluesman Skip James (and […]

 

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• Open D (‘Vestapol’) tuning •

D-A-D-F#-A-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles EADGBE’s famous ‘0-2-2-1-0-0’ Emaj shape in terms of intervals – a general pattern sometimes known as ‘Vestapol’ (after The Siege of Sevastopol, an earnest 1854 American folk song about the Crimean War, popular in parlor guitar instructional manuals of the 19th century: more below). Thus, the tuning represents a logical […]

 

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• Double Drop D (‘DDD’) tuning •

D-A-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • ‘Double-dropping’ both the top and bottom strings to D provides you with strum-friendly open drone tones, while leaving the middle four strings intact from Standard. Like Open D, 6-5-4str form a straight-line power chord (D-A-D), and like Open G, the 3-2-1str give a G major triad (G-B-D) – with the famous […]

 

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• Drop D tuning •

D-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Probably the first altered tuning you ever learned. Easy to remember, simple to reach from Standard, and innately fun to jam in across a countless range of genres. Notably, 6-5-4str form a ‘straight line’ power chord, with the slackness of the 6str bringing subtle pitch instabilities when strummed hard (looser, lower […]

 

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• Eb Standard (‘Hendrix’) tuning •

Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb • OVERVIEW • Eb Standard, while most famously showcased by Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s, has been in use for centuries. Countless artists have tuned ‘one semitone down’ over the ages – both as a timbral/register choice, and as a method of safely breaking in new strings on any chorded instrument. Total tension […]