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• Icarus tuning •

D-A-D-G-B-C • OVERVIEW • Brings a mystical, floating resonance, resulting from the presence of four ‘clustered’ scale tones (4-5-6-b7 on 3-5-2-1str). Its intervals get progressively narrower as you rise in pitch (7>5>5>4>1), ending with a minor 2nd interval (2>1str) – a rare feature in the wide world of altered tunings. Use this harmonic shuffle to […]

 

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• A ‘Slack Thwack’ tuning •

A-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Use the ‘slack thwack’ to access the bass guitar register in your lead playing (well, all but the very lowest 5 notes of it). Tuning the 6str right down to A – downwards a perfect 5th – will bring a strange buzz…but opens up some unique textures and grooves. Some guitars […]

 

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• Low Drop C tuning •

C-G-C-F-A-D • OVERVIEW • The same pattern as Drop D, but everything is then moved down two semitones. Brings a loose, chaotic, imperfect texture: total string tension is lowered by around 25% – equivalent to a ~40lb drop on an acoustic (total string tension on a steel-string can often top 180lb/82kg…no wonder you need a […]

 

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• Drop C (‘Neon’) tuning •

C-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Dropping the 6str down four frets is fairly simple – but will give you a different perspective on how the other open string tones can fit together. Swapping the low E to a low C turns EADGBE’s somewhat vacant-sounding Em7(add11) open chord into a sultry, jazz-laden Cmaj9(13) voicing.   This drop […]

 

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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 […]