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• Fuji tuning •

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 tuning •

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 tuning •

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 tuning •

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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• Magic Farmer tuning •

C-F-C-G-A-E • OVERVIEW • Another wide-spread tuning from steel-strung magician Michael Hedges, showcased on The Magic Farmer (1984) – the final track of Aerial Boundaries. The pensive, gently-paced composition was a dedication to flautist Mindy Rosenfeld, his then-partner and the mother of his children (‘Rosenfeld’ means ‘field of roses’ in German).   Degrees 1, 3, […]

 

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• Place to Be tuning •

C-G-C-F-G-E • OVERVIEW • Used to create the legato-tinged cluster voicings of Nick Drake’s Place to Be – the second track from 1972’s Pink Moon, his third and final album. Almost identical to his tuning for the title track: the only difference being that here, 2str is a full 5 semitones lower – decreasing its volume, […]

 

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• Pink Moon tuning •

C-G-C-F-C-E • OVERVIEW • A ‘widened’ Open C variant, with 1str left at E to create a Cmaj11 voicing. Used by enigmatic English folkster Nick Drake for Pink Moon, the opening track of his 1972 album of the same name: capoed at 2fr, and slightly sharp of concert pitch (n.b. lower 2str by 5 semitones […]

 

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• Carnatic (‘Drake’s Drone’) tuning •

B-E-B-E-B-E • OVERVIEW • Distinctive drone, used prominently on acoustic by Nick Drake – and on 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…”).   South India’s classical melodies tend to move in […]

 

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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 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 […]