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• Fuji tuning •

Bb-G-D-G-G-D • OVERVIEW • An unorthodox Gmin inversion I came across while browsing the GTDB site for little-used layouts, submitted under the name ‘Fuji’ by a nameless user in an undated post. Tried it, loved it, included it here…   In the words of its anonymous creator: “Here’s one I made up…I like to lumber […]

 

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• Oud (Arabic) tuning •

E-A-Db-Gb-B-E • OVERVIEW • The Arabic oud (fretless lute) is slightly larger than its Turkish cousin, and consequently takes deeper tunings. This interval pattern transposes a common tuning, popular in Syria and the surrounding region (…to jam with the original depth, move everything down 4 semitones: C-F-A-D-G-C).   Note the guitar-like circle of fourths (across […]

 

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• Oud (Turkish) tuning •

E-A-B-E-A-D • OVERVIEW • The Turkish oud (fretless lute) can take many different tunings. Often, the highest four courses (string-doubles) are set to B-E-A-D, while the deepest two tend to be set bespoke for the makam (melodic framework) in question (n.b. Also see my transposition of a common Arabic Oud tuning: E-A-Db-Gb-B-E).   This layout […]

 

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• Equilibrium tuning •

G-A-D-E-A-E • OVERVIEW • Showcased by solo acoustic master Erik Mongrain on Equilibrium, the architectural title track of his 2008 second album. 6str is slackened to a super-low G, over an octave below the neighbouring 5str: removing around 66% of its tension, and thus risking high levels of low-volume buzz (without a restring). Read on for […]

 

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• 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 way back in 2006: YouTube’s early days). Like playing piano, bass, & drums on the strings – all at the same time…   The interval structure matches our ‘classic’ Gmaj shape […]

 

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• Kabosy (‘Leonard’s C’) tuning •

 C-G-D-G-B-D • OVERVIEW • The kabosy is a small box-lute played in Madagascar, likely descended from the Arabic oud (thus implying it is also a much-removed cousin of the European guitar and lute). Often made from scavenged materials such as scrap metal, fishing line, and bicycle brake cables, most designs have 4-6 strings, set over […]

 

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• Rakotomavo tuning •

Bb-F-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Deep tuning by Germain Rakotomavo – a Malagasy master known for fusing the folk repertoire of Madagascar’s valiha (tube zither) with more guitaristic ideas, from jazz harmonies to the picking patterns of Merle Travis. This layout adapts a pattern common to the Antananarivo region and elsewhere (“I raise the B up […]

 

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• Haja’s Bb (‘Bighand’) tuning •

Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C • OVERVIEW • ‘Haja’ (pronounced ‘Adz’) is an innovative modern-generation guitarist from Madagascar. His exuberant, rhythmic playing style fuses elements from across the island’s wealth of sonic traditions – showcased via breathtaking solo electric performances as well as in his long-running fusion group Solomiral.   His preferred layout (equivalent to Orkney -2), adapted from […]

 

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• Yvette’s Dadd9 tuning •

D-A-D-F#-A-E • OVERVIEW • A melodious Open D variant, which retains Standard’s high E1str tone to give a spacious Dadd9. Pleasingly, the 6-2str intervals are arranged in descending order of width, narrowing in neat sequence as you go towards the treble (7>5>4>3: 5th > 4th > maj. 3rd > min. 3rd) – until you encounter […]

 

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• Godzilla tuning •

Db-Ab-Eb-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Jagged, uneven sequence used on Godzilla by Canadian-Mi’kmaq acoustic star Don Ross. Blends high-end clarity with a touch of bassy slack – ideal for his rhythmic thumb-slapping style.   Brings out tantalising, part-resolving harmonies, mixing perfect intervals (5ths & 4ths) with more dissonant separations (minor 2nds & 6ths). Features an ultra-rare ‘perfect […]