• Gothic tuning •



Introduced by Japanese solo star Ichika Nito to explore fresh avenues of his imaginative electric fingerpicking style. With a different tone on each string, it offers up a complex chordal canvas.


Only 4str stays familiar from Standard. Try raking through the divine natural harmonics at <12fr>, <7fr>, &<5fr>, and sliding up and down the 3str: wound a little tenser and louder than the rest.

Pattern: 4>7>7>1>2
Harmony: Cmin9(13) | b3-5-2-6-b7-1


• Home Menu | About •
Online Lessons!


In Nito’s 60-second Gothic Demo, released during the 2020 lockdown, he takes a clean tone, using the tuning’s slight buzzing looseness and strong middle-string tones to slide minor-key melodies and shapes around with great effect. In a rare interview with NatalieMu, he expands on the thinking behind his mellifluous two-handed tapping style:


“The idea is to divide the guitar into the upper half [6-5-4str] and the lower half [3-2-1str], and think of it as the bass and treble of a piano. I press the strings alternately with my right and left hands so that the sound is not interrupted. There are many notes…as I want to connect them as smoothly as possible…”. (n.b. More ambidexterity in my Lefty Flip writeup).


  • Gothic demo – Ichika Nito (2020):

“Recently I’m addicted to deathcore and African folk music…a little funky sound when changing chords: and your view of the world will be different…there is such a wonderful thing called music in front of me – the more I do it, the more fun it is…” (Ichika Nito)

Like everything on my site, the World of Tuning will always remain 100% open-access and ad-free: however, anti-corporate musicology doesn’t pay the bills! I put as much into these projects as time and finances allow – so, if you like them, you can:

Support the site! •

…and hasten the project’s expansion…
—Documenting more altered tunings—
—Further harmonic & melodic analysis—
—Engaging with peg-twisting guitarists—
—Ensuring that high-quality guitar knowledge will remain open to all, at no cost: free from commercial motive!—

Insights to share? Get in touch!


6str 5str 4str 3str 2str 1str
Note Eb G D A Bb C
Alteration -1 -2 0 +2 -1 -1
Tension (%) -11 -21 0 +26 -11 -11
Freq. (Hz) 78 98 147 220 233 262
Pattern (>) 4 7 7 1 2
Semitones 0 4 11 18 19 21
Intervals b3 5 2 6 b7 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!


—Associated tunings: proximities of shape, concept, context, etc…

  • Ethereal: another strange-twisted layout from Ichika
  • Haja’s Bb: same two high strings, booming low bass
  • Schizophrenia: like exaggerating the tension profile


—Further learnings: sources, readings, lessons, other onward links…

  • Ichika Nito: learn more about the solo star’s broader musicality – watch him on bass, and with his fusion group Ichikoro, and read a translatable Natalie.mu interview (“I was also conscious of the human voice in terms of sound quality. The frequency of the male voice is incorporated into the sound of the bass, and the characteristic of the female voice is imagined on the guitar. I haven’t put the lyrics on it, but I think I could have created a new expression by taking advantage of a stringed instrument that can play multiple tunes at the same time…”)
  • Gothic concepts: I’m unsure precisely what lay behind Nito’s choice of title (…was it originally translated from Japanese?) – but why not read about the word’s many intertwining connotations anyway: including the ancient tribe who sacked Rome in 410 A.D., their long-extinct East Germanic language family, the visual art and point-arch architecture of late-Medieval Europe, the romantic literary works of 18th-century Britain – and, of course, the dark-clothed subcultural phenomenon of the modern era (“coined by music critic John Stickney in 1967 to describe a meeting he had with Jim Morrison in a dimly lit wine-cellar…it was not until the early 1980s that ‘gothic rock’ became a coherent music subgenre within post-punk…”)

Header image: Ichika Nito performs on his Ibanez

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!

“An intrepid guitar researcher…”

(Guitar World interview)

everything 100% ad-free and open-access