line

• 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 […]

 

line

• 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 […]

 

line

• 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 […]

 

line

• Square-Neck Dobro tuning •

G-B-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • Dobros, resonators, banjos, and 7-string ‘Russian guitars’ often take ‘repeated’ open G tunings – such as ‘looping’ a G-B-D maj triad sequence throughout all the strings in turn. Setting up your guitar this way narrows the open-string range to 19 semitones (5 fewer than Standard) – but the cycling regularity simplifies […]

 

line

• Banjo tuning •

G-G-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • Like ‘normal’ Open G, but with 6str tuned to G rather than D, either upwards or downwards. This takes the open harmony into ‘uninverted’ territory (i.e. the open Gmaj chord now has a G in the bass). Whether set as octaves or unisons, the adjacent Gs (6+5str) beef up the low […]

 

line

• Open F tuning •

C-F-C-F-A-C • OVERVIEW • Open F takes the interval shape of Open G, and lowers everything by a whole tone. So, while you can use it to play anything from the vast Open G repertoire, it’s worth focusing on its distinctive quirks too. Most importantly, it is much looser (~30% less tension than if the […]

 

line

• Open E (‘Vestapol’) tuning •

E-B-E-G#-B-E • OVERVIEW • Open E is like Open D’s ‘electric’ counterpart – the interval pattern is the same (also known, regardless of transposition, as ‘Vestapol’ – after The Siege of Sevastopol, an 1854 folk song about the Crimean War popular in the ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century America).   But here, everything is raised […]

 

line

• Open C (‘Wide Major’) tuning •

C-G-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Open C (unlike Open D, G, A, and E) doesn’t quite correspond to any of our familiar EADGBE chord shapes. It’s closest to the classic ‘xx0232‘ Dmaj shape in terms of interval pattern (actually it’s like ‘making a Dmaj shape in Drop D’, then all minus 2 semitones).   For me, this […]

 

line

• Open G (‘Taro Patch’) tuning •

D-G-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned ‘0-0-2-2-2-0’ Amaj shape in terms of interval structure. 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). […]