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• Place to Be tuning •

C-G-C-F-G-E • OVERVIEW • Used to create the legato-tinged cluster voicings of Nick Drake’s Place to Be – the second track from 1972’s Pink Moon, his third and final album. Almost identical to his tuning for the title track: the only difference being that here, 2str is a full 5 semitones lower – decreasing its volume, […]

 

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• Pink Moon tuning •

C-G-C-F-C-E • OVERVIEW • A ‘widened’ Open C variant, with 1str left at E to create a Cmaj11 voicing. Used by enigmatic English folkster Nick Drake for Pink Moon, the opening track of his 1972 album of the same name: capoed at 2fr, and slightly sharp of concert pitch (n.b. lower 2str by 5 semitones […]

 

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• Coyote tuning •

C-G-D-F-C-E • OVERVIEW • Gives root to the sensual strums of Coyote, the first track from Joni Mitchell’s 1976 Hejira album – once described by literary academic Dr. Ruth Charnock as “either the most flirtatious song about fucking or the most graphic song about flirting ever written”.   Her tuning is essentially ‘Hejira + Open C’ […]

 

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• Math Rock F tuning •

F-A-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • This gently undulating maj9 sequence doesn’t take much peg-twisting to reach – but the shifts (two single-semitone raises and one double-semitone fall) will immediately put fresh melodic motions on the menu.   While the tension shifts are fairly subtle (with no resting required), you can still feel them: the raised 6+2str […]

 

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• Zigzag Thirds (Major) tuning •

F-A-C-E-G-B • OVERVIEW • A ‘stack of thirds’, alternating between major and minor (i.e. semitone gaps of 4, 3, 4, 3, 4). Proposed by Greek mathematician Dr. Costas Kyritsis as an ideal landscape for simplifying the shapes of all common diatonic chords – a logical point, given that much of Western harmony is built from […]

 

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• Ethereal tuning •

D-A-C#-F#-C#-D • OVERVIEW • Introduced by multi-tuned Japanese virtuoso Ichika Nito in 2019. His jagged configuration twists all but the 5str away from Standard – while never taking any of them more than 2 semitones from EADGBE either.   Fantastic for finding fresh melodies and cluster chord voicings – try teasing out the dissonance of […]

 

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• Cello (‘Haircut’) tuning •

C-G-D-A-B-E • OVERVIEW • While the highest two strings of this tuning are left as Standard, the rest are ‘widened’ in range to form a stack of perfect 5ths across 6-5-4-3str – thus matching the tuning of a cello. The treble side also gives open-string access to the next 5th up in the sequence, between […]

 

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• C Wahine (‘Keola’s C’) tuning •

C-G-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • An quick-to-reach Open C variant mixing 5ths, 4ths, and 3rds. Popular in Hawaii as ‘C Wahine’ (‘woman’) or ‘Keola’s C’ after modern slack-key legend Keola Beamer. The Honolulu maestro, who has long used it to explore fresh chord voicings and mellifluous natural harmonics (ho’opapa), hails it as “one of the easiest and […]

 

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• All Fifths tuning •

A-E-B-F#-C#-G# • OVERVIEW • In many ways, tuning to a cycle of perfect 5ths is a very logical approach. After all, much of the modern world’s music is constructed via stacks of 5ths – an interval which enjoys natural prominence as the first non-root overtone in the harmonic series (overtone #3 = 1902 cents above […]

 

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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 […]