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) | Intervals: 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).


  • 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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Dedicated to Nigel Tufnel – a true tuning connoisseur

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