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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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• Bağlama (‘Saz’) tuning •

G-G-D-D-A-A • OVERVIEW • The bağlama is a three-course lute of variable neck length, popular in Turkish folk music (n.b. nearby cultures call similar variants the saz, while other local names include kopuz, irisva, balta, and bulgari). Played with a hard cherrywood pick, the frets, often made of fishing line, are moveable – opening up […]

 

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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 […]

 

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• Blown a Wish tuning •

F-C-F-Bb-Bb-G • OVERVIEW • An odd DADGAD variant – it is transposed upwards 3 semitones, with 2str dropped into unison with 3str, and 1str raised by a further whole tone (equivalent to ‘DADGGE capo 3’). Showcased by My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields on Blown a Wish (with a 1fr capo), track nine from their droning […]

 

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• New Standard (‘Crafty’) tuning •

C-G-D-A-E-G • OVERVIEW • Robert Fripp, of King Crimson and Brian Eno fame, devised his fifths-based ‘New Standard Tuning’ (NST) in the 1980s – chiefly seeking to open up a broader range of melodic movements. He stacked up four perfect 5ths, completing the tuning with a min. 3rd at the top to balance out the extreme […]

 

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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 very logical. After all, much of the 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 the fundamental, a.k.a. […]

 

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• All Fourths (‘Regular’) tuning •

E-A-D-G-C-F • OVERVIEW • A ‘regular’ stack of perfect 4ths (also forming a zigzagging Dmin11 inversion). Essentialy like EADGBE‘s more ‘logical’ cousin – the 3>2str ‘odd one out’ gap is eliminated (5>5>5>5>5), simplifying the fretboard’s geometry, and thus opening up a near-optimal facility for string-shifting mobility. Great for quartal voicings, and the C & F open […]

 

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• All Minor Thirds tuning •

G-Bb-Db-E-G-Bb • OVERVIEW • A ‘regular’ stack of minor 3rds (i.e. 3 semitones separate each string) – forming a diminished 7th arpeggio [1-b3-b5-bb7] regardless of where you start. These odd symmetrical properties arise because our 12-semitone octave divides neatly into 3 with no remainder – meaning that sequences of 3-fret jumps will always ‘orbit’ back […]

 

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• Open Csus (‘C Modal’) tuning •

C-G-C-G-C-F • OVERVIEW • Csus4 tuning, also known as C ‘Modal’, is the ‘suspended’ variant of the Open C family, with a perfect 4th at the top. This gives each side of the guitar a very different physical feel – unless you re-string, the high end gets tight and loud, while the low end falls looser […]

 

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• Open Cm (‘Wide Minor’) tuning •

C-G-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Open Cm (unlike Open Dm, Gm, and Em) doesn’t really match with any of our familiar Standard-tuned minor shapes (it’s closest to the ‘x-x-0-2-3-1’ Dm chord – or more precisely, it’s a ‘Dm shape in Drop D, then dropping everything 2 semitones’). Another ‘cross-note’ tuning – as you can easily ‘cross-over’ […]