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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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• 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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• Banjo (‘Overtones’) 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 […]

 

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• Open A (‘Spanish’) tuning •

E-A-E-A-C#-E • OVERVIEW • Matches the structure of a Standard-tuned Amaj shape (‘0-0-2-2-2-0’). Open A is like Open G’s ‘electric counterpart’ – it has the same interval sequence, but everything is raised up a whole tone (electric strings are thinner, so can go higher). Also popular amongst acoustic bluesmen of the pre-amplified era, who often […]

 

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• Open Em (‘Cross-note’) tuning •

E-B-E-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Takes the same interval pattern as Open Dm, raised two semitones higher: thus mirroring the exact note sequence of our familiar ‘0-2-2-0-0-0’ Emin chord from Standard (…as if you’d tuned to its notes rather than fretting them). Best suited to the lighter strings of electric guitars, due to the high wind […]

 

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• Open E (‘Vestapol’) tuning •

E-B-E-G#-B-E • OVERVIEW • Open E follows the interval structure of a Standard-tuned Emaj chord (‘0-2-2-1-0-0’), thus making it a whole-tone-higher transposition of Open D – a general pattern sometimes known as ‘Vestapol‘ (after its use for an earnest 1854 folk song about the Crimean War, popular in ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century North America: […]

 

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• Open Gsus (‘Sawmill’) tuning •

D-G-D-G-C-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned ‘0-0-2-2-3-0’ Asus4 chord shape in terms of interval structure, giving an open, balanced sound (a sus4 is essentially ‘a root + the perfect 5ths above & below it’). Note the narrow maj 2nd interval at the top (2>1str) – useful for dropping open-string ‘cluster tones’ into your melodising. […]

 

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• Open Gm (‘Banjo Minor’) tuning •

D-G-D-G-Bb-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned Amin shape (‘0-0-2-2-1-0’) in terms of interval structure. Thus qualifies as a ‘cross-note’ layout: as you can easily ‘cross over’ to a Gmaj voicing with just one finger, as ‘0-0-0-0-1-0’ (something much less straightforward in the other direction, i.e. making Gmin voicings in Open Gmaj). Note the 5th in […]

 

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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). […]

 

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• Open Dsus (‘DADGAD’) tuning •

D-A-D-G-A-D • OVERVIEW • Resembles a Standard-tuned ‘0-2-2-2-0-0’ Esus4 shape in terms of interval structure. Neither major nor minor, DADGAD’s ambiguous open-chord resonance offers up incredible versatility, ideal for exploring the musical variety of many global traditions. Regardless of what you play, there’s always a certain fundamental stability to the tuning’s character, partly arising from […]