B Standard / Baritone



In keeping with heavy rock’s ‘ever lower’ trend, many Scandinavian death metal groups (‘ragnarok-ers’?) were tuning right down to B by the 90s, stringing heavier and often adding a 7th to accommodate. Still popular on the global metal scene today.


Also used on ‘baritone’ guitars, which have a 5-10% longer scale length than normal. Different bari designs take various downward transpositions – most are 4 to 9 frets below Standard – with B being the most common.

Pattern: 5>5>5>4>5
Harmony: Bm7(11) | 1-4-b7-b3-5-1




Many metallers on heavy electrics: Bloodbath (Hades Rising), Edge of Sanity (Twilight), Arcturus (The Sham Mirrors), Amon Amarth (Twilight of the Thunder God).


And for a few examples from outside metal: Stefano Mirandola (The Chicken), Tim Lerch (Grez Mendocino), Sungha Jung (Flaming), Axel Hagen (Blue Baritone), and Ariel Posen (Angeline, Tremolo, Funk Improv).


Jazz legend Jim Hall also seems to have tuned ‘down a fourth’ on a few recordings – including his 1963 Girl and a Guitar duet with vocalist Lee Schaefer and, and in a bassless ‘overdub trio’ with Jimmy Giuffrè and Bob Brookmeyer (Cabin in the Sky).


  • Angeline Solo – Ariel Posen (2020):


6str 5str 4str 3str 2str 1str
Note B E A D Gb B
Alteration -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5
Tension (%) -44 -44 -44 -44 -44 -44
Freq. (Hz) 62 82 110 147 185 247
Pattern (>) 5 5 5 4 5
Semitones 0 5 10 15 19 24
Intervals 1 4 b7 b3 5 1
  • See my Tunings Megatable for further such nerdery: more numbers, intervallic relations, comparative methods, etc. And to any genuine vibratory scientists reading: please critique my DIY analysis!


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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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