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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 back in 2006: YouTube’s early days). Like playing piano, bass, & drums on the strings – all at the same time…   The intervallic structure matches the guitar’s ‘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 maj triad sequence throughout all the strings in turn. Setting up your guitar this way narrows the open-string range to 19 semitones (5 fewer than Standard) – but the cycling regularity simplifies […]

 

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• Banjo 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 low […]

 

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• Open E (‘Vestapol’) tuning •

E-B-E-G#-B-E • OVERVIEW • Open E is like Open D’s ‘electric’ counterpart – the interval pattern is the same (also known, regardless of transposition, as ‘Vestapol’ – after The Siege of Sevastopol, an 1854 folk song about the Crimean War popular in the ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century America).   But here, everything is raised […]

 

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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 ‘cluster’ chord voicings and dropping open-string ‘unison […]

 

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• Open Gmin (‘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 forms a ‘cross-note’ layout: because 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. finding a Gmin voicing in Open G tuning). Note the 5th in […]

 

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• Open G (‘Taro Patch’) tuning •

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