• Menu of Altered Tunings •


Detailed ‘taster menu’ of 100+ six-string guitar tunings from around the globe. You probably haven’t found your all-time favourite yet…

[under construction]


Type in notes, names, songs, artists, intervals, adjectives, keywords, etc. Also see tags, groups, & the full menu:



• What’s on the menu? •

The guitar offers incredible freedom to choose our ‘starting canvas’. Unlike a piano, horn, or drum, guitars can move fluidly between different tunings, opening up fresh geometries and spaces of the imagination at every turn. Why not choose your starting notes as you would chords? The only way to really know what you like best is to look outwards…

Try the layout of the Renaissance lute, Arabic oud, Indian sitar, Turkish bağlama, Andean charango, or Malagasy kabosy, and experience the geometric regularity of ‘interval‘ tunings. Sample the superlow, symmetric, overtonal, and cryptographic – and look to Joni, Drake, Hedges, Page, and other peg-twisting heroes of the past and present. Explore vibratory maths and liberatory tuning politics, and see how these themes have intertwined over time. And let me know what to add!

• Spotlight (late 2021) •

Five fascinating tunings, deserving of greater attention…

  • Slack Thwack A: unleash the low-end by going part-harp guitar
  • Papuan Four-Key: melodious concepts from a diverse island
  • Mi-composé: Jhimmy the Hawaiian’s wild life in 1950s Congo
  • Atta’s C: perhaps the ‘holy grail’ of Hawaiian kī hō’alu (slack-key)
  • Zen Drone: the transcendent curiosity of a genuine guitar monk

• Standard Tunings •

Transpositions of the familiar ‘5-5-5-4-5’ pattern, as explored by countless guitar traditions of the past and present (detail):

EADGBE (‘Standard’) | Eb Standard (‘Hendrix’) | D Standard (‘Tone Down’) | Db Standard (‘Iommi’) | C Standard (‘2-Tone Down’) | B Standard (‘Baritone’) | F Standard (‘Raise’) | G Standard (‘Terz’)

• Drop Tunings •

Exploring looser, lower realms – tunings focused on slackening the 6str / 1str (detail):

Drop D | Double Drop D (‘DDD’) | Drop C (‘Neon’) | Tone Drop C | Drop A (‘Slack Thwack’)

• Open Tunings •

Essential three-note maj, min, and sus4 open tunings – covering the classic open, slide, folk, & blues configurations (detail):

Dmaj (‘Vestapol’)Dmin (‘Bentonia’) | Dsus (‘DADGAD’) | Gmaj (‘Taro Patch’) | Gmin (‘Banjo Minor’) | Gsus (‘Sawmill’) | Cmaj (‘Wide Major’) | Cmin (‘Wide Minor’) | Csus (‘Wide Modal’) | Emaj (‘Vestapol’) | Emin (‘Cross-note’) | Fmaj (‘Low Taro’) | Fmin (‘Low Banjo’) | Amaj (‘Spanish’)

• Interval Tunings •

Intervallic (a.k.a. ‘regular’) tunings – all adjacent strings are separated by the same number of semitones (detail):

All Minor 3rds (‘Diminished’) | All Major 3rds (‘Augmented’) | All Perfect 4ths (‘Quartal’) | All Tritones (‘Symmetric’) | All Perfect 5ths (‘Quintal’) | All Minor 6ths (‘Aug. Flip’)

• Global Tunings •

Tunings gathered from around the world – India, Iran, Mali, Turkey, Congo, Ecuador, Hawaii, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, & further afield (detail):

Ali Farka Touré | Arabic Oud | Atta’s C | Bağlama | Carnatic | Charango | Haja’s Bb | Jack’s Chikari | Kabosy | C Mauna Loa | Mi-composé | Orkney (‘Tana’) | Papuan 4-Key | Rakotomavo | Turkish Oud | C Wahine (‘Keola’s C’) | Zen Drone (‘Dulcimeric’)

Artist/Track Tunings

Tunings associated with specific guitarists, pieces, or performances (detail):

AirTap!Albert Collins | Albert King | Black Crow | MBV Wish | Bruce Palmer | Cello | Coyote | Dracula | Equilibrium | Ethereal | Fripp’s New Standard | Funky Avocado | Gambale | Ghost Reveries | Godzilla | Gothic | Hejira | I Only Said | Iris | José González | Karnivool | Magic Farmer | Nick’s Road | Only ShallowUnison (‘Ostrich’) | Pink Moon | Place to Be | Schizophrenia | Teardrop | Wind of Change | Yvette’s D

Misc. Tunings

Various sources, concepts, & ideas – historical, experimental, instrument-based, non-melodic, oddball, etc (detail):

Alphabet | Banjo / Overtones | Cabbage | Square-Neck Dobro | Drop Tone DG | Stack 3rds (Min.) | Stack 3rds (Maj.) | Fuji | Icarus | Mesopotamian | Lefty Flip | Lute / Vihuela | Math Rock F | Nashville | Overtone Stack | Papa-Papa | Ten YearsYad-Gad

Next: more global tunings – Arabic maqam, Balinese gamelan, Carnatic ragam, Dhrupad drones, etc (see the Tunings Megatable)


Browse 100+ tunings: type in names, notes, artists, sequences, words, etc. Also see tags below & the Full Menu:


RJ’s ‘World of Tuning’

Everything you didn’t realise you wanted to know about guitar tuning: fresh perspectives from Ming Dynasty mythology to modern psychoacoustics via jazz, Joni, Madagascar, & more. Ad-free, open-access multimedia resources, continually updated (‘tuned’) over time. Feedback encouraged…

[under construction: out 2021!]

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rāga: ‘that which colours the mind’

George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher. I play guitar, tabla, and santoor, loosely focusing on jazz, rhythm, and other global improvised traditions. Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the human voices, cultures, and passions behind them. Site above, follow below, & hit me up for…


—guitar & global music—

Dedicated to Nigel Tufnel – a true tuning connoisseur

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