• Menu of Guitar Tunings •

 


In-depth ‘taster menu’ of 100+ guitar tunings from around the globe. You’re probably yet to find your all-time favourite…


• 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 your chords? The only way to genuinely 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!

—SEARCH TUNINGS (100+)—

Enter notes, names, artists, adjectives, songs, sequences, intervals, moods, etc. Also see the Full Tag List:

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—ALL TUNINGS—
EADGBE (‘Standard’)Eb Std. (‘Hendrix’)D Std. (‘Tone Down’)Db Std. (‘Iommi’)C Std. (‘Two-Tone Drop’)B Std. (‘Baritone’)F Std. (‘Raise’)G Std. (‘Terz’)Drop DDouble-Drop DDrop C (‘Neon’)Low Drop C | Drop A (‘Slack Thwack’)Dmaj (‘Vestapol’)Dmin (‘Bentonia’)Dsus (‘DADGAD’)Gmaj (‘Taro Patch’)Gmin (‘Banjo Minor’)Gsus (‘Sawmill’)Cmaj (‘Wide Major’)Cmin (‘Wide Minor’)Csus (‘Wide Modal’)Amaj (‘Spanish’)Emaj (‘Vestapol’)Emin (‘Cross-Note’)Fmaj (‘Low Taro’)Fmin (‘Low Banjo’)All Min. 3rds (‘3s’)All Maj. 3rds (‘4s’)All Fourths (‘5s’) | All Tritones (‘6s’)All Fifths (‘7s’) | All Min. 6ths (‘8s’)AirTap!Albert Collins’ FmAlbert King’s F6 | Ali Farka TouréAlphabetAtta’s CBağlama (‘Saz’) | BanjoBlack CrowBlown a WishBruce PalmerCabbageCarnatic DroneCello (‘Haircut’)CharangoCoyoteDraculaDrop DGEad-GadEquilibriumEtherealFujiFunky AvocadoGambaleGhost ReveriesGodzillaGothicHaja’s BbHejiraI Only SaidIcarusIrisJack’s ChikariJosé GonzálezKabosy (‘Leonard’s C’)KarnivoolKeola’s C (‘Wahine’)Lefty Flip (‘Mirrored’)Lute (‘Vihuela’)Magic FarmerMath Rock FMauna Loa C6MesopotamianMi-composé (‘Elenga’)NashvilleNew Standard (‘Fripp’s NST’)One-Tone Drone (‘Ostrich’)Only ShallowOrkneyOud (Arabic)Oud (Turkish)Overtone SeriesPapa-PapaPapuan Four-KeyPink MoonPlace to BeRakotomavoRoadSchizophreniaSquare-Neck DobroTeardropTen Years (‘Decade’)Wind of ChangeYvette’s Dadd9Zen Drone (‘Dulcimeric’)Zigzag Thirds (Maj.)Zigzag Thirds (Min.)

—By category—
Standard | Drop | Open | Interval | Global | Artist | Misc.

Standard Tunings

Direct transpositions of the familiar ‘5-5-5-4-5’ pattern, as explored by guitar traditions of the past and present:


  • EADGBE (‘Standard’) | E-A-D-G-B-E | The Renaissance roots of ‘55545’, and a collection of the first ever guitar recordings…

  • Eb Standard (‘Hendrix’) | Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb (all -1) | Made famous by Jimi himself, ‘half-step lower’ leads to wilder bends…


  • Db Standard (‘Iommi’) | Db-Gb-B-E-Ab-Db (all -3) | Beloved by Black Sabbath, it also suits the bends and C# root of the sitar…


  • B Standard (‘Baritone’) | B-E-A-D-Gb-B (all -5) | Scandinavian ‘ragna-rok’, acoustic jazz fingerstyle, low-growling electric slide…

  • F Standard (‘Raise’) | F-Bb-Eb-Ab-C-F (all +1) | Wind all your strings a little tauter to ramp up the power and volume…

  • G Standard (‘Terz’) | G-C-F-Bb-D-G (all +3) | A small, cute, guitar-like lute, which once had Europe swooning…

Drop Tunings

Fast access to explore in looser, lower realms – tunings focused on slackening the 6str (/1str too):


  • Drop D | D-A-D-G-B-E • 7>5>5>4>5 | Probably the first altered tuning you ever learned: build up from a power-chord bass…


  • Drop C (‘Neon’) | C-A-D-G-B-E • 9>5>5>4>5 | Bass-dropped jazz-funk flexibilities, beloved by John Mayer & co…

  • Low Drop C | C-G-C-F-A-D • 7>5>5>4>5 | Loosen everything by two semitones, then drop the 6str by two more…


Open Tunings

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


  • Open D (‘Vestapol’) | D-A-D-F#-A-D • 7>5>4>3>5 | An all-time great slide configuration, matching our familiar Emaj shape…

  • Open Dm (‘Bentonia’) | D-A-D-F-A-D • 7>5>3>4>5 | Haunting minor blues, named for Skip James’ Mississippi hometown…

  • Open Dsus (‘DADGAD’) | D-A-D-G-A-D • 7>5>5>2>5 | Davey Graham’s Moroccan adventures spark an A-list altered tuning…

  • Open G (‘Taro Patch’) | D-G-D-G-B-D • 5>7>5>4>3 | Hyper-versatile global imaginings, mirroring a Standard-tuned Amaj…



  • Open C (‘Wide Major’) | C-G-C-G-C-E • 7>5>7>5>4 | Grow your guitar’s range with some uber-flexible drone-symmetry…



  • Open E (‘Vestapol’) | E-B-E-G#-B-E • 7>5>4>3>5 | Electric sliding horizons, nicknamed for an old Crimean folk song…

  • Open Em (‘Cross-note’) | E-B-E-G-B-E • 7>5>3>4>5 | Matching the contours of an Emin chord, making for Hellhoundish blues…

  • Open F (‘Low Taro’) | C-F-C-F-A-C • 5>7>5>4>3 | A super-slack transposition of Open G, put to use in Hawaii and beyond…

  • Open Fm (‘Low Banjo’) | C-F-C-F-Ab-C • 5>7>5>3>4 | A rare, deep-wavering minor species, ideal for haunting inversions…

  • Open A (‘Spanish’) | E-A-E-A-C#-E • 5>7>5>4>3 | The electric counterpart of Open G, used for countless axe classics…

Interval Tunings

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








Global Tunings

Tunings gathered from around the world – India, Iran, Mali, Turkey, Congo, Ecuador, Hawaii, Madagascar, PNG, & further afield:


  • Ali Farka Touré | G-A-D-G-B-E • 2>5>5>4>5 | A bass-raiser made famous by Mali’s master of the Islamic folk-blues…

  • Atta’s C | C-G-E-G-C-E • 7>9>3>5>4 | Some call Leland ‘Atta’ Isaac’s layout the ‘holy grail’ of Hawaiian harmony…

  • Bağlama/Saz | G-G-D-D-A-A • 0>7>0>7>0 | Double-course Anatolian lutes with frets made of fishing line…


  • Charango | G-G-C-E-A-E • 0>5>4>5>7 | Learn about the liberatory tuning politics of this cute Andean lute…

  • Haja’s Bb | Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C • 7>7>5>5>2 | Deep-wound electric resonances from a modern Malagasy innovator…

  • Jack’s Chikari | Ḋ-Ḋ-D-G-B-E • 0>0>5>4>5 | A sitar-like re-stringing by fellow Indo-Strat searcher Jack Jennings…

  • Kabosy | C-G-D-G-B-D • 7>7>5>4>3 | Transglobal links from Madagascar’s DIY box-lute tradition…

  • Mauna Loa C6 | C-G-C-G-A-E • 7>5>7>2>7 | Balanced slack-key stabilities, named for Hawaii’s eternal volcano…


  • Orkney | C-G-D-G-C-D • 7>7>5>5>2 | Multi-continental convergences from Steve Baughman…

  • Oud (Arabic) | E-A-Db-Gb-B-E • 5>4>5>5>5 | Syrian variants of a guitar ancestor, similarly stacking 4ths…

  • Oud (Turkish) | E-A-B-E-A-D • 5>2>5>5>5 | An alternate layout from the world of the fretless Islamic lute…

  • Papuan Four-Key | F-Bb-C-F-A-C • 5>2>5>4>3 | Fresh narrowness from an astonishingly diverse island…

  • Rakotomavo | Bb-F-C-G-C-E • 7>7>7>5>4 | Modern fusions of jazz and the Malagasy valiha tube zither…



Artist/Track Tunings

Tunings associated with specific guitarists, compositions, or performances:


  • AirTap | F-A-C-F-C-F • 4>3>5>7>5 | Fostered to facilitate the viral virtuosity of Erik Mongrain’s lap-tapping style…

  • Albert Collins Fm | F-C-F-Ab-C-F • 7>5>3>4>5 | Take a high-wound blues walk with the jovial owner of a 100ft amp cable…

  • Albert King F6 | C-F-C-F-A-D • 5>7>5>4>5 | Favoured by the Mississippi colossus towards the end of his legendary life…

  • Black Crow | Bb-Bb-Db-F-A-Bb • 12>3>4>3>2 | Deep-sided double-octave designs drawn from Joni’s drumless funk…

  • Blown a Wish | F-C-F-Bb-BbG • 7>5>5>0>9 | MBV’s odd DADGAD tweak, with a glorious variety of horizontal intervals…


  • Cello (‘Haircut’) | C-G-D-A-B-E • 7>7>7>2>5 | Expand your low-end capacities with Pavement’s stacking of perfect 5ths…

  • Coyote | C-G-D-F-C-E • 7>7>3>7>4 | Joni’s graphic tale of flirtation is built on a close-clustered major sequence…

  • Dracula | C-G-C-F-Bb-D • 7>5>5>5>4 | Robust interval pairs from Don Ross, set in a neat descending order…

  • Equilibrium | G-A-D-E-A-E • 14>5>2>5>7 | Architectural low balance by Erik Mongrain, well-scattered with balanced 5ths…

  • Ethereal | D-A-C#-F#-C#-D • 7>4>5>7>1 | Electric fretboard tapping from Ichika Nito, with divergent parallel octaves…


  • Funky Avocado | B-A-D-G-A-D • 10>5>5>2>5 | Bass-buzzing funk from Michael Hedges, jammed over a local disco…

  • Gambale | A-D-G-C-E-A • 5>5>5>(4)>5 | Like a 6-3str capo at 12fr, unearthed via synth patches by Frank Gambale…

  • Ghost Reveries | D-A-D-F-A-E • 7>5>3>4>7 | Good enough for the Swedes who claim to be the ‘world’s most evil band’…

  • Godzilla | Db-Ab-Eb-E-B-E • 7>7>1>7>5 | Don Ross’ tantalising blend of bassy slackness and high-end clarity…

  • Gothic | Eb-G-D-A-Bb-C • 4>7>7>1>2 | Ichika Nito’s complex chordal canvas places different tones on each string…

  • Hejira | C-G-D-F-G-C • 7>7>3>2>5 | Stretching to divine arpeggiations, from helping Joni’s ‘run with honour’…

  • I Only Said | E-A-B-G-G-E • 5>2>8>0>9 | Kevin Shields’ vast shifts present phase-friendly unison possibilities…

  • Iris | B-D-D-D-D-D • 3>12>0>12>0 | John Rzeznik’s odd-wound power ballad balances purity with dissonance…

  • José González | D-A-D-F#-B-E • 7>5>4>5>5 | Lute-like nylon-string magic from the low-fi Swedish songwriter…

  • Karnivool | B-F#-B-G-B-E • 7>5>8>4>5 | Australia’s low-tuning prog explorers place a power chord in the deep…

  • Magic Farmer | C-F-C-G-A-E • 5>7>7>2>7 | Michael Hedges’ pensive arrangement for calmer harmonic relationships…

  • Road | E-A-D-E-B-E • 5>5>2>7>5 | Nick Drake’s concise 3str-drop, ideal for multi-rooted fingerpicking sequences…

  • Only Shallow | E-B-E-Gb-B-E • 7>5>2>5>5 | MBV’s iconic shoegaze drones offer a narrow-centred suspension…


  • Pink Moon | C-G-C-F-C-E • 7>5>5>7>4 | Unearthing the ambiguous moods in Nick Drake’s solo songwriting…

  • Place to Be | C-G-C-F-G-E • 7>5>5>2>9 | A wide-spread major layout from Nick Drake’s fast-strummed folk…

  • Schizophrenia | F#-F#-G-G-A-A • 0>13>0>2>0 | A highly unorthodox tone-trio, designed to disorient the familiar…

  • Teardrop | D-A-D-A-B-E • 7>5>7>2>5 | José González acoustifies a heart-beating Bristolian trip-hop anthem…

  • Wind of Change | D-D-D-A-D-F# • 0>12>7>5>4 | Low D-drones, pinched from George Harrison by Peter Frampton…

  • Yvette’s Dadd9 | D-A-D-F#-A-E • 7>5>4>3>7 | An ascent-narrowing interval stack explored by Yvette Young & co…

Miscellaneous Tunings

Various sources, ideas, & quirks – historical, experimental, instrument-based, non-melodic, oddball, etc:


  • Alphabet | A-B-C-D-E-F • 14>1>2>2>1 | An Aeolian-toned meta-signifier for the ambiguities of the everyday alphabet…

  • Banjo / Overtones | G-G-D-G-B-D • 0>7>5>4>3 | An alternate form of Open G, mirroring the natural harmonic series…

  • Cabbage | C-A-Bb-A-G-E • 9>1>11>10>9 | A delicious alphamelodic layout, with chordal crunch and deep-set roots…

  • Square-Neck Dobro | G-B-D-G-B-D • 4>3>5>4>3 | Looping major triads, used on dobros, banjos, and Russian guitars…

  • Drop DG | D-G-D-G-B-E • 5>7>5>4>5 | Take the 6+5str down by two semitones, reaching most of an Open G…

  • Fuji | Bb-G-D-G-G-D • 9>7>5>0>7 | A mountain-shaped landscape, left undated online by an anonymous creator…

  • Icarus | D-A-D-G-B-C • 7>5>5>4>1 | Folksy reconfigurations, coloured by the clash of a high-end minor second…

  • Mesopotamian | B-A-G-D-A-D • 10>10>7>7>5 | Captivating for sure, but not actually the tuning of the Tigris River…


  • Lute / Vihuela | E-A-D-F#-B-E • 5>5>4>5>5 | Travel back through guitar history by re-shuffling the ‘kink’ of Standard…

  • Math Rock F | F-A-C-G-C-E • 4>3>7>5>4 | A gently undulating major voicing made from subtle tension shifts…

  • Nashville | Ė-Ȧ-Ḋ-Ġ-B-E • 5>5>5>(4)>5 | The classic four-string octave-jumper has a storied studio history…

  • Overtone Series | G-B-D-F-G-A • 4>3>3>2>2 | Soak up a six-string summary of nature’s fundamental resonance…

  • Papa-Papa | D-A-D-D-A-D • 7>5>0>7>5 | Palindromic verticality with a double-drone set right at the heart…

  • Ten Years | D-E-C-A-D-E • 2>8>9>5>2 | A widened middle between narrow outer jumps, with uneven tensions…

  • Ead-Gad | E-A-D-G-A-D • 5>5>5>2>5 | Slacken only the highest two to stumble upon fresh harmonic clusters…

  • Zigzag 3rds (Minor) | F-Ab-C-Eb-G-Bb • 3>4>3>4>3 | Demystifying the mathematical tomes of Dr. Costas Kyritsis…

  • Zigzag 3rds (Major) | F-A-C-E-G-B • 4>3>4>3>4 | An alternate layout for rationalising the geometry of chords…

— Also see my Tunings Megatable —

Search the Altered Tunings Menu (100+): type in notes, artists, adjectives, intervals, sequences, etc. Also see Tag List:

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George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher (guitars, sitar, tabla, & santoor). Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the voices, cultures, and passions behind them. See Home & Writings, and hit me up for Online Lessons!

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