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• Jack’s Chikari (‘Sitaristic’) tuning •

Ḋ-Ḋ-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • My fellow British-based Indian raga explorer Jack Jennings replaces his Strat’s 6+5str with super-light gauges, both tuned to high D tones, in imitation of a sitar‘s chikari: two unfrettable ‘rhythm strings’ on the top side of the large Indian lute, used to add groove and textural colour to the main melody […]

 

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• Mesopotamian tuning •

B-A-G-D-A-D • OVERVIEW • ‘I once met a mysterious musician from Mesopotamia, who would only play guitar in his local tuning…’ Pattern: 10>10>7>7>5 Harmony: D6(sus4) | 6-5-4-1-5-1 • TUNING TONES • • SOUNDS • The actual music of Baghdad spans a rich variety of sonic and social influences, both ancient and modern. Long renowned as a […]

 

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• Cabbage tuning •

C-A-Bb-A-G-E • OVERVIEW • C-A-Bb-A-G-E is surprisingly tasty, if rather impractical. Forms a ‘crunchy’ C13 chord…with the root(s) at the bottom. Seems silly, and it definitely is – but it’s essential to just shuffle things up sometimes. Anyway, J.S. Bach – probably the G.O.A.T. of global harmonic development – did similarly, famously ‘signing’ his name in […]

 

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• Gambale tuning •

A-D-G-C-E-A • OVERVIEW • A high-strung, Nashville-style reshuffle of the ‘Standard’ 5>5>5>4>5 sequence – the whole guitar is raised up by a perfect 4th, and 1-2str are then lowered an octave from there (in relative terms: akin to capoing at 12fr, but only across 6-5-4-3str).   Developed by Australian fusion virtuoso Frank Gambale as part […]

 

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• Lefty Flip (‘Mirrored’) tuning •

E-B-G-D-A-E • OVERVIEW • Spare a thought for left-handed guitarists everywhere – though they can count Hendrix, Iommi, Cobain, McCartney, and many other six-stringed innovators among them, this comes as little solace whenever there’s only a ‘normal’ guitar lying around to jam on at a party.   This ‘mirror of Standard’ is an intriguing workaround: […]

 

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• Mi-composé (‘Elenga’) tuning •

E-A-Ḋ-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Used by flamboyant 1950s Congolese guitarist Zacharie Elenga, a.k.a. ‘Jhimmy the Hawaiian‘ – self-styled after country star Jimmie Rodgers (already a global icon), and his own virtuosic brand of thumb-and-index picking (which, while formidable, had little to do with the ‘slack-key‘ traditions of Hawaii). His tuning raises D3str by a full […]

 

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• Nashville tuning •

Ė-Ȧ-Ḋ-Ġ-B-E • OVERVIEW • A part-transposition of Standard, which retains the same notes while raising 6-5-4-3str up a full octave. This halves the range (12 vs. 24 semitones), and also radically shuffles up the order of the tones (low>high: 6, 5, 2, 4, 1, 3str) – essentially like a 12-string with the lower of each pair […]