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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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• Equilibrium tuning •

G-A-D-E-A-E • OVERVIEW • Showcased by solo acoustic master Erik Mongrain on Equilibrium, the architectural title track of his 2008 second album. 6str is slackened to a super-low G, over an octave below the neighbouring 5str: removing around 66% of its tension, and thus risking high levels of low-volume buzz (without a restring). Read on for […]

 

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• Rakotomavo tuning •

Bb-F-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Deep tuning by Germain Rakotomavo – a Malagasy master known for fusing the folk repertoire of Madagascar’s valiha (tube zither) with more guitaristic ideas, from jazz harmonies to the picking patterns of Merle Travis. This layout adapts a pattern common to the Antananarivo region and elsewhere (“I raise the B up […]

 

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• Haja’s Bb (‘Bighand’) tuning •

Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C • OVERVIEW • ‘Haja’ (pronounced ‘Adz’) is an innovative modern-generation guitarist from Madagascar. His exuberant, rhythmic playing style fuses elements from across the island’s wealth of sonic traditions – showcased via breathtaking solo electric performances as well as in his long-running fusion group Solomiral.   His preferred layout (equivalent to Orkney -2), adapted from […]

 

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• Alphabet tuning •

A-B-C-D-E-F • OVERVIEW • ‘Alphabet’ tuning, while admittedly easy to remember, isn’t exactly the most melodically (or physically) practical. Nevertheless, there is always unique value to be found in embracing some creative chaos – in this case, via exploring the arbitrary nature of ‘Alpha-melodic’ tunings (i.e. those with notes chosen via some spelling-derived method).   These […]

 

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• Black Crow tuning •

Bb-Bb-Db-F-A-Bb • OVERVIEW • Deep-sided tuning used by Joni Mitchell for Black Crow, track seven of her 1976 Hejira album – surely among the funkiest drum-less songs of all time (…just the trio of Joni, Jaco Pastorius on bass, and Larry Carlton on electric). Much of the percussive spice instead comes from her own low […]

 

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• Iris tuning •

B-D-D-D-D-D • OVERVIEW • Unique droning layout created by John Rzeznik for Iris, the Goo Goo Dolls’ 1998 smash-hit power ballad. Balances purity and dissonance: 5-1str are all tuned to D, while the 6str is taken right down to a superlow B – giving a narrow, crunchy minor 3rd gap between the deepest pair.   […]

 

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• Funky Avocado tuning •

B-A-D-G-A-D • OVERVIEW • ‘BADGAD’ – essentially ‘drop B DADGAD’ – was showcased by steel-string colossus Michael Hedges on The Funky Avocado, a near-disturbingly groovy duet with fretless bass virtuoso Michael Manring. According to Hedges, “it starts out with a medium R&B tempo, slows down into some heavy rock, and finishes up in a fit […]

 

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• Carnatic (‘Drake’s Drone’) tuning •

B-E-B-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Distinctive drone used prominently on the acoustic by Nick Drake – and on the electric by ‘Guitar’ Prasanna, a South Indian virtuoso acclaimed for playing Carnatic classical ragas on his Epiphone (in Guthrie Govan’s words, “If you don’t know about Prasanna, prepare to be terrified…”).   Highly versatile despite offering only two […]

 

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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 […]