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• 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 (1929–1983), who used it to inject fresh, jazzy voicings into the kī hō’alu music of his era. Beautifully concise: only three notes are used, but all adjacent […]

 

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• C6 (‘Mauna Loa’) tuning •

C-G-C-G-A-E • OVERVIEW • A C6 known in Hawaiian kī hō’alu (‘slack-key’) as C ‘Mauna Loa’ – named after the world’s largest active volcano, which has erupted continuously since rising from the Pacific seabed over 400,000 years ago. The tuning’s regular stack of three perfect 5ths (6>5str, 4>3str, 2>1str) bring a similarly balanced solidity. Popularised by […]

 

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• Keola’s C (‘Wahine’) tuning •

C-G-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • An quick-to-reach Open C variant mixing two 5ths and 4ths with a major 3rd. Popular in Hawaii, where it is known as ‘Keola’s C’ after modern slack-key legend Keola Beamer (or C ‘Wahine’. The Honolulu maestro – who hails it as “one of the easiest and most user-friendly” tunings – uses it […]

 

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• 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 major triad sequence throughout all the strings in turn. Setting up this way narrows the open-string range to 19 semitones (like Standard minus a string) – but the cycling regularity simplifies the fretboard’s […]

 

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• Open G (‘Taro Patch’) tuning •

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