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Carnatic Drone

B-E-B-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Distinctive drone, used prominently on acoustic by Nick Drake – and on electric by ‘Guitar’ Prasanna, a South Indian virtuoso acclaimed for playing Carnatic classical ragas on his Epiphone (in Guthrie Govan’s words, “If you don’t know about Prasanna, prepare to be terrified…”).   South India’s classical melodies tend to move in […]

 

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Papa-Papa

D-A-D-D-A-D • OVERVIEW • ‘Double-dad’ tuning is handily symmetrical, mirroring its ‘D-A-D’ pattern across the guitar’s centre line to form a stacked D power chord.  (like a double-decker sandwich filled with ‘A’). Only one string differs from the more famous DADGAD – the 3str is lowered by a fourth, going super-slack to add psychedelic phasing […]

 

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Bruce Palmer / Judy Blue Eyes

E-E-E-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Two-tone drone tuning, often known as ‘Bruce Palmer (modal)’ after its creator, Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer (1946-2004). Famously showcased by his Buffalo bandmate Stephen Stills at Woodstock, anchoring David Crosby & Graham Nash’s soaring vocal harmonies on the rhapsodic, romantic Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.   Forms a many-rooted E5 power chord – […]

 

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Zen Drone

D-A-D-A-A-D • OVERVIEW • Author, educator, and NYC busker Philip Toshio Sudo (1958-2002) included this two-tone drone in his famous 1997 book Zen Guitar, intended as a gateway to spontaneous improvisation for beginners. I applaud his participative philosophy, and the general freedom of the tuning…but you gotta be careful not to ruin the calm by […]