line

• Ali Farka Touré tuning •

G-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Associated with late Malian legend Ali Farka Touré (1939-2006), one of the Sahara Desert’s many towering guitar masters. The lowest 6str string is raised by a minor third, up to a G – which can then be used as a drone behind open-toned melodic lines in Gmaj (and its associated modes). […]

 

line

• Road tuning •

E-A-D-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Nick Drake’s beautifully concise tuning for Road  – itself a beautifully concise track – is a fantastic way to spark fresh chordal inspiration. And it’s only a quick 3str peg-slacken away from Standard…   The E7sus4 ‘open chord’ is fairly easy to adapt to, as the ‘new’ 3str note is just […]

 

line

• Mi-composé (‘Elenga’) tuning •

E-A-Ḋ-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Used by flamboyant 1950s Congolese guitarist Zacharie Elenga, also known as ‘Jhimmy the Hawaiian‘ – self-styled after country star Jimmy Rogers (already a global icon), and Elenga’s own virtuosic brand of thumb-and-forefinger picking (which, though formidable, had little to do with Hawaii).   Jhimmy shot to fame in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa), […]

 

line

• A ‘Slack Thwack’ tuning •

A-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Use the ‘slack thwack’ to access the bass guitar register in your lead playing (well, all but the very lowest 5 notes of it). Tuning the 6str right down to A – downwards a perfect 5th – will bring a strange buzz…but opens up some unique textures and grooves. Some guitars […]

 

line

• Drop C (‘Neon’) tuning •

C-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Dropping the 6str down four frets is fairly simple – but will give you a different perspective on how the other open string tones can fit together. Swapping the low E to a low C turns EADGBE’s somewhat vacant-sounding Em7(add11) open chord into a sultry, jazz-laden Cmaj9(13) voicing.   This drop […]

 

line

• Drop D tuning •

D-A-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • Probably the first altered tuning you ever learned. Easy to remember, simple to reach from Standard, and innately fun to jam in across a countless range of genres. Notably, 6-5-4str form a ‘straight line’ power chord, with the slackness of the 6str bringing subtle pitch instabilities when strummed hard (looser, lower […]