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Fuji

Bb-G-D-G-G-D • OVERVIEW • Just one I came across on the GTDB website, submitted as ‘Fuji’ by an anonymous user via an undated post. Tried it, loved it, included it here…   In the words of its unknown creator: “Here’s one I made up…I like to lumber away on the first two strings, and use […]

 

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Equilibrium

G-A-D-E-A-E • OVERVIEW • Used 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 5str – removing ~66% of its tension, and thus risking high levels of low-volume buzz (he strings heavy…).   Brings a harmonically […]

 

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Rakotomavo

Bb-F-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Used by Germain Rakotomavo – a Malagasy master known for fusing the folk repertoire of Madagascar’s valiha (tube zither) with more traditionally guitaristic ideas, from jazz chords to the fingerpicking patterns of Chet Atkins & Merle Travis.   In Rakotomavo’s words, EADGBE “doesn’t sing. It’s for playing chords”. His tuning adapts […]

 

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Alphabet

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

 

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Cabbage

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 playfully shuffle things up sometimes. Anyway, J.S. Bach did much the same, famously ‘signing’ his name in The Art of Fugue as Bb-A-C-B (read […]

 

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C Mauna Loa

C-G-C-G-A-E • OVERVIEW • A C6 known in Hawaiian kī hō’alu (‘slack-key’) guitar as C ‘Mauna Loa’ – the name of the world’s largest active volcano, which has erupted non-stop since rising from the Pacific seabed over 400,000 years ago.   The tuning’s regular stack of three perfect 5ths brings a similarly balanced stability (6>5, 4>3, […]

 

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C Wahine / Keola’s C

C-G-D-G-B-E • OVERVIEW • An quick-to-reach Open C variant mixing 5ths, 4ths, and 3rds. Popular in Hawaii as ‘C Wahine’ (‘woman’) or ‘Keola’s C’ after modern slack-key legend Keola Beamer. The Honolulu maestro, who has long used it to explore fresh chord voicings and mellifluous natural harmonics (ho’opapa), hails it as “one of the easiest and […]

 

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Open C / Wide Major

C-G-C-G-C-E • OVERVIEW • Open C (unlike Open D, G, A, and E) doesn’t quite correspond to any of our familiar EADGBE chord shapes. It’s closest to the classic ‘xx0232‘ Dmaj shape in terms of interval pattern (actually it’s like ‘making a Dmaj shape in Drop D’, then all minus 2 semitones).   For me, this […]

 

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Slack Thwack A

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 […]