—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—]

• Menu: Overview •


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 imitating 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 else to add!

 

 

• Spotlight (Mar 2021) •

A few fascinating tunings I feel deserve some more 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

 

—SEARCH TUNINGS (100+)—

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

• STANDARD TUNINGS •

Transpositions of EADGBE’s familiar ‘5-5-5-4-5’ pattern – as used by countless guitar traditions of the past and present:

Standard


E-A-D-G-B-E

The Renaissance roots of ‘55545’, and the first ever guitar recordings…

 

Eb Standard / Hendrix


Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb

Immortalised by Jimi, ‘half-step lower’ brings many benefits…

 

D Standard / Tone Down


D-G-C-F-A-D

Tone down your sound by going two frets slacker and deeper…

 

Db Standard


Db-Gb-B-E-Ab-Db

Beloved by Sabbath, it also suits the roots and bends of the Indian sitar…

 

C Standard


C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C

Going ‘two tones down’ will open up low-key, quiet realms

 

B Standard / Baritone


B-E-A-D-Gb-B

Scandinavian ‘ragna-rok’, acoustic jazz fingerstyle, low-growling electric slide…

 

F Standard


F-Bb-Eb-Ab-C-F

Wind all the strings a little taut to ramp up the volume and power…

 

G Standard / Terz


G-C-F-Bb-D-G

A small, cute, guitar-like lute, which once had Europe swooning…

 

• DROP TUNINGS •

Exploring the lower realms – tunings primarily focused on slackening the 6str / 1str:

Drop D


D-A-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Double Drop D— 


D-A-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

Drop C / Neon


C-A-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Full Drop C


C-G-C-F-A-D

Tuning…

 

Low A / Slack Thwack


A-A-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

• OPEN TRIAD TUNINGS •

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

Open Dmaj / Vestapol


D-A-D-F#-A-D

Tuning…

 

Open Dmin / Bentonia


D-A-D-F-A-D

Tuning…

 

Open Dsus / DADGAD


D-A-D-G-A-D

Tuning…

 

Open Gmaj / Taro Patch


D-G-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

Open Gmin / Banjo Minor


D-G-D-G-Bb-D

Tuning…

 

Open Gsus / Sawmill


D-G-D-G-C-D

Tuning…

 

Open Cmaj / Wide Major


C-G-C-G-C-E

Tuning…

 

Open Cmin / Wide Minor


C-G-C-G-C-Eb

Tuning…

 

Open Csus / Wide Modal


C-G-C-G-C-F

Tuning…

 

Open Emaj / Vestapol


E-B-E-G#-B-E

Tuning…

 

Open Emin / Cross-note


E-B-E-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Open Fmaj


C-F-C-F-A-C

Tuning…

 

Open Fmin


C-F-C-F-Ab-C

Tuning…

 

Open Amaj / Spanish


E-A-E-A-C#-E

Tuning…

 

• INTERVAL TUNINGS •

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

All Minor Thirds / Diminished


G-Bb-Db-E-G-Bb

Tuning…

 

All Major Thirds / Augmented


E-Ab-C-E-Ab-C

Tuning…

 

All Fourths / Quartal


E-A-D-G-C-F

Tuning…

 

All Tritones / Symmetric


C-Gb-C-Gb-C-Gb

Tuning…

 

All Fifths / Quintal


A-E-B-F#-C#-G#

Tuning…

 

All Minor Sixths / Aug. Flip


F-Db-A-F-Db-A

Tuning…

 

• GLOBAL TUNINGS •

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

Ali Farka Touré


G-A-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Arabic Oud


E-A-Db-Gb-B-E

Tuning…

 

Atta’s C


C-G-E-G-C-E

Tuning…

 

Bağlama / Saz


G-G-D-D-A-A

Tuning…

 

Carnatic Drone


B-E-B-E-B-E

Tuning…

 

Charango


G-G-C-E-A-E

Tuning…

 

Haja’s Bb


Bb-F-C-F-Bb-C

Tuning…

 

Jack’s Chikari


Ḋ-Ḋ-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Malagasy Kabosy


C-G-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

C Mauna Loa


C-G-C-G-A-E

Tuning…

 

Mi-composé


E-A-Ḋ-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Orkney / Tana


C-G-D-G-C-D

Tuning…

 

Papuan Four-Key


F-Bb-C-F-A-C

Tuning…

 

Rakotomavo


Bb-F-C-G-C-E

Tuning…

 

Turkish Oud


E-A-B-E-A-D

Tuning…

 

C Wahine / Keola’s C


C-G-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Zen Drone / Dulcimeric


D-A-D-A-A-D

Tuning…

 

• ARTIST / SONG TUNINGS •

Tunings associated with specific guitarists, pieces, or performances – somewhat loosely delimited:

Airtap!


F-A-C-F-C-F

Tuning…

 

Albert Collins Fmin


F-C-F-Ab-C-F

Tuning…

 

Albert King’s Last


C-F-C-F-A-D

Tuning…

 

Black Crow


Bb-Bb-Db-F-A-Bb

Tuning…

 

Blown a Wish


F-C-F-Bb-Bb-G

Tuning…

 

Bruce Palmer / Judy Blue Eyes


E-E-E-E-B-E

Tuning…

 

Cello / Haircut


C-G-D-A-B-E

Tuning…

 

Coyote


C-G-D-F-C-E

Tuning…

 

Dracula


C-G-C-F-Bb-D

Tuning…

 

Equilibrium


G-A-D-E-A-E

Tuning…

 

Ethereal


D-A-C#-F#-C#-D

Tuning…

 

Fripp’s New Standard


C-G-D-A-E-G

Tuning…

 

Funky Avocado


B-A-D-G-A-D

Tuning…

 

Gambale


A-D-G-C-E-A

Tuning…

 

Ghost Reveries


D-A-D-F-A-E

Tuning…

 

Godzilla


Db-Ab-Eb-E-B-E

Tuning…

 

Gothic


Eb-G-D-A-Bb-C

Tuning…

 

Hejira


C-G-D-F-G-C

Tuning…

 

I Only Said


E-A-B-G-G-E

Tuning…

 

Iris


B-D-D-D-D-D

Tuning…

 

José González / Drop D6/9


D-A-D-F#-B-E

Tuning…

 

Karnivool


B-F#-B-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Magic Farmer


C-F-C-G-A-E

Tuning…

 

Nick’s Road


E-A-D-E-B-E

Tuning…

 

Only Shallow


G-G-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

Ostrich / Unison Drone


D-D-D-D-D-D

Tuning…

 

Pink Moon


C-G-C-F-C-E

Tuning…

 

Place to Be


C-G-C-F-G-E

Tuning…

 

Schizophrenia


F#-F#-G-G-A-A

Tuning…

 

Teardrop


D-A-D-A-B-E

Tuning…

 

Wind of Change


D-D-D-A-D-F#

Tuning…

 

Yvette’s Dadd9


D-A-D-F#-A-E

Tuning…

 

• MISC. TUNINGS •

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

Alphabet


A-B-C-D-E-F

Tuning…

 

Banjo / Overtones


G-G-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

Cabbage


C-A-Bb-A-G-E

Tuning…

 

Square-Neck Dobro


G-B-D-G-B-D

Tuning…

 

Drop Tone DG


D-G-D-G-B-E

Tuning…

 

Stacked Thirds (Minor)


F-Ab-C-Eb-G-Bb

Tuning…

 

Stacked Thirds (Major)


F-A-C-E-G-B

Tuning…

 

Fuji


Bb-G-D-G-G-D

Tuning…

 

Icarus


D-A-D-G-B-C

Tuning…

 

Mesopotamian


B-A-G-D-A-D

Tuning…

 

Lefty Flip


E-B-G-D-A-E

Tuning…

 

Lute / Vihuela


E-A-D-F#-B-E

Tuning…

 

Math Rock F


F-A-C-G-C-E

Tuning…

 

Nashville


Ė-Ȧ-Ḋ-Ġ-B-E

Tuning…

 

Overtone Stack


G-B-D-F-G-A

Tuning…

 

Papa-Papa


D-A-D-D-A-D

Tuning…

 

Ten Years


D-E-C-A-D-E

Tuning…

 

Yad-Gad


E-A-D-G-A-D

Tuning…

 

• NEXT •

Coming soon: more tunings from around the globe – Indian raga, Arabic maqam, Balinese gamelan, etc (see the Megatable for more)!


—SEARCH TUNINGS—

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!

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• RĀGA JUNGLISM •

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…

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—guitar & global music—

Dedicated to Nigel Tufnel – a true tuning connoisseur

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