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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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• Oud (Turkish) tuning •

E-A-B-E-A-D • OVERVIEW • The Turkish oud (fretless lute) can take many different tunings. Often, the highest four courses (string-doubles) are set to B-E-A-D, while the deepest two tend to be set bespoke for the makam (melodic framework) in question (n.b. Also see my transposition of a common Arabic Oud tuning: E-A-Db-Gb-B-E).   This layout […]

 

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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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• Godzilla tuning •

Db-Ab-Eb-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Jagged, uneven sequence used on Godzilla by Canadian-Mi’kmaq acoustic star Don Ross. Blends high-end clarity with a touch of bassy slack – ideal for his rhythmic thumb-slapping style.   Brings out tantalising, part-resolving harmonies, mixing perfect intervals (5ths & 4ths) with more dissonant separations (minor 2nds & 6ths). Features an ultra-rare ‘perfect […]

 

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• Magic Farmer tuning •

C-F-C-G-A-E • OVERVIEW • Another wide-spread tuning from steel-string wizard Michael Hedges, showcased on The Magic Farmer (1984) – the final track of his landmark Aerial Boundaries album. His pensive, gently-paced composition was dedicated to flautist Mindy Rosenfeld, his then-partner and the mother of his children (‘Rosenfeld’ means ‘field of roses’ in German).   Degrees […]

 

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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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• Coyote tuning •

C-G-D-F-C-E • OVERVIEW • Gives root to the sensual strums of Coyote, the first track from Joni Mitchell’s 1976 Hejira album – once described by literary academic Dr. Ruth Charnock as “either the most flirtatious song about fucking or the most graphic song about flirting ever written”.   Her tuning is essentially ‘Hejira + Open C’ […]

 

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• Cabbage tuning •

C-A-Bb-A-G-E • OVERVIEW • C-A-Bb-A-G-E is surprisingly tasty, if rather impractical. Forms a ‘crunchy’ C13 chord…with the root(s) at the bottom. Seems silly, and it definitely is – but it’s essential to just shuffle things up sometimes. Anyway, J.S. Bach – probably the G.O.A.T. of global harmonic development – did similarly, famously ‘signing’ his name in […]

 

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• Papa-Papa tuning •

D-A-D-D-A-D • OVERVIEW • ‘Double-dad’ tuning is handily symmetrical, mirroring its ‘D-A-D’ pattern across the guitar’s centre line to form a stacked D power chord (like a ‘double-decker D sandwich, each filled with A’). Only one string differs from the famous DADGAD – 3str is lowered by a fourth, going super-slack to add psychedelic phasing […]

 

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• Lefty Flip (‘Mirrored’) tuning •

E-B-G-D-A-E • OVERVIEW • Spare a thought for left-handed guitarists everywhere – though they can count Hendrix, Iommi, Cobain, McCartney, and many other six-stringed innovators among them, this comes as little solace whenever there’s only a ‘normal’ guitar lying around to jam on at a party.   This ‘mirror of Standard’ is an intriguing workaround: […]