ProGuitarShop

Intro to Alternate Tunings

August 23, 2013

By PGS Fitz

EADGBE: boring!

Okay, standard tuning isn’t boring, it’s probably the language that we all speak in every day on our guitars—but it is exactly what its name implies: standard. We’ve talked in the Corner before about different ways to open up your playing and songwriting, so today we’re taking a high-level look at open and alternate tunings that you can try out on your instrument, no matter what style of music you play.

Using alternate/open tunings has the obvious benefit of breaking you out of your comfort zone and can force you to rethink how you play your guitar, but there’s also a tonal benefit to playing certain songs in certain non-standard tunings. You can play “Start Me Up” in standard tuning, but it won’t have the same sweet resonance as if you were playing it in open G. A good trick/exercise is to retune your guitar to an alternate tuning and try to transcribe one of your existing standard-tuning guitar parts to the new tuning—it really challenges your brain (and fingers!). The name of the game is to stay fresh, experiment, and maximize creativity. Let’s hit it.

 

Drop D

Drop D is arguably the gateway drug for alternate tunings. For drop D, you simply drop the low E down one whole step to D: DADGBE. This allows you to hit a D5 chord by simply strumming the lowest three strings openly and allows you to use one finger up and down the neck to change chords. The list of bands/guitarists who use this tuning from time to time (or even exclusively) is prohibitively long—contrary to popular belief/assertion, it is not just a tuning for metal/hard rock! Jeff Buckley used drop D on the song “Grace;” Radiohead used it for “2+2=5;” the Beatles used it for “Dear Prudence;” and Neil Young often takes drop D into “double drop D” territory (DADGBD), as used on “Cinnamon Girl.” Of course, to be fair-- your favorite hard rock/metal band probably uses it all over the place—but drop D can be used in any style of music.

 

 

 

DADGAD

DADGAD is a Celtic/folk tuning that has been employed in some legendary songs—I’m talking about you, “Kashmir.” Jimmy Page is known for employing several alternate tunings to add an eastern drony tone to several of Zeppelin’s classic tunes. Rory Gallagher was also known to play a couple tunes in DADGAD, notably his cover of Leadbelly’s “Out on the Western Plain.”

 

 

 

Nashville Tuning

While not an “alternate” tuning, per se, Nashville tuning is a great way to reinvent your songs/parts. Nashville tuning is essentially stringing a 6-string guitar with the high set of strings from a 12-string set—replacing the wound strings (E,A,D, and sometimes G) with lighter gauge strings but keeping standard tuning. Though it is often heard in country tunes, Nashville tuning has made its way into many modern rock tunes, including Alice In Chains’ “I Stay Away” and Stone Temple Pilots’ “Sour Girl,” not to mention it being an essential part of the Stones’ “Wild Horses.” It’s a great way to add texture to a recording or give you a fresh perspective on an existing tune.

 

 

OPEN G TUNING: DGDGBD

Open G tuning is one of the eminent blues tunings, used by everyone from Robert Johnson to Keith Richards to the Black Crowes. If you listen to any sort of blues based music, this tuning has been in your face (and ears) your whole entire life—it’s almost too ubiquitous to even point out key examples—but it doesn’t just have to be used for blues. Many songs written in standard tuning easily translate over to open G—it’s another great tuning to use as a sounding board for transposing standard tuning parts into to explore them and open them up.

Here’s one of my favorite acoustic tunes by Clapton which is in a variation of open G tuning:

 

 

 

 

THE TOTALLY CRAZY AND RANDOM

I couldn’t NOT mention Sonic Youth.

Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo are two of the highest profile guitarists who use what I can only call CRAZY A** tunings—proof that you don’t need to come from a blues, folk, or traditional background to put alternate tunings to work for your music. A cursory sampling of their tunings from the album Dirty (the first album of theirs that I ever bought) reveals at least ten different tunings being used by Moore and Ranaldo—and often their tunings are totally different from one anothers. For “Theresa’s Sound World,” Moore is playing ACCGG#C and Ranaldo is playing AAEEAA – tunings which seem completely random, but allow the two guitarists to create a wash of droning notes as the song builds before exploding into classic Sonic Youth mayhem.

 

 

 

The lesson here? There are no rules. Try a traditional tuning and make it non-traditional; create a freakishly weird tuning and use it to craft a catchy song. Just because you’ve grown up “speaking the language” of standard tuning doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some conversational phrases in other tunings.

 

Anyone have any favorite tunings that you use on a regular basis or any favorite players for us to check out who use alternate tunings?! Let us know!

Comments

  1. kris Ayres says:

    As we get the training and we start playing the guitar, we came to know that how the song is being tuned.

    immobilier neuf PACA

    posted on August 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm
  2. Abbacus says:

    And there’s the “secret” open tuning Crosby, Stills, and Nash used for several songs; which will not sound the same without, including Judy Blue Eyes:  E-B-D-G-A-D

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 1:47 am
  3. Joseph Rogero says:

    Glad to see that you mentioned Sonic Youth. Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo are really under appreciated by many in the guitar. A friend and I recorded a cover of “Incinerate”. It is in “DEbBbEbGG”. It took some getting used to but once I got the hang of it I really had fun with it. It made the guitar feel like a new instrument.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 2:49 am
  4. Rod says:

    I believe Judy Blue Eyes is EEEEBE.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 2:58 am
  5. Chris says:

    My favorite tuning is an open G6: DGDGBE. You mute the high E string to play bluesy rhythm, but lead and solo can be done on the high 4 strings without transposing from standard tuning. It’s the most versatile tuning for the style of music I play and I encourage people to try it since I don’t think it’s very widely practiced.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:06 am
  6. Rico says:

    Could’ve mentioned Robert Fripp’s tuning, New Standard. CGDAEG. Hre’s a clip of one of guitar craft’s themes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNmvsTzd5fE

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:10 am
  7. SeanG says:

    Two of my favorites on acoustic: CGCGCC (unison on the top) and AADFAD (yep, low low A). On electric I like CGDGBE. One finger power chord on two sets of strings, plus standard on top for somewhat normal soloing as well as interesting widely spaced voicing on chords.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:14 am
  8. SeanG says:

    And when you want to get really crazy, a list of Michael Hedges tunings: http://www.stropes.com/index.php?fa=7&glbm=19

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:16 am
  9. chrisb says:

    Don’t forget Elmore James, open D.  DADF#AD.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:28 am
  10. brandon says:

    Soundgarden used CGCgge on a few songs. creates a C major with a ton of 5ths in it. Then just barre across all strings anywhere to play a major chord. May not be the most useful, but it gives a really cool sound.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:29 am
  11. Mitchell says:

    There’s an alternate standard tuning which is used by the progressive metal band The Safety Fire which is AADGBE (a low A and a normal A) it allows them to transition between low, heavy riffs and high, melodic parts really quickly.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:30 am
  12. Derek says:

    Pat Metheny has used Nashville tuning to great effect many times. It is all over his last solo acoustic guitar record, “What’s It All About.”

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:31 am
  13. Andy says:

    What about Derek Trucks style tuning?

    Open E:
    E, B, E, G#, B, E

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:51 am
  14. Carl Keefe says:

    Hi, I realize this is a guitar website & not a computer help desk, but for about 2 months now I am unable to watch your videos. Youtube works fine but it’s embedded videos I can’t watch. I have spent HOURS trying to fix this with no luck. Any ideas….or can you give me some info about how you send your videos so I can Google that info for a possible fix?

    Thanks

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:53 am
  15. Alayna says:

    I’ve been a fan of Low C (CGDGAD) for years which I know Kaki King also uses from time to time. I also use a variation of that CGCGAD (or alternatively DADABE) and have been known to tune a guitar to DADGAE.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 3:53 am
  16. Adam says:

    My most used alternate tuning is EAEGBE

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:07 am
  17. Justin says:

    My band plays in lots of tunings.  We play blues/roots based music, and we use Standard tuning, Drop D, Open E, Open G,  and Double Drop D.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:07 am
  18. Mikie Daugherty says:

    Open G is also favoured by Alan Sparhawk of Low, in very un-blues ways.

    My alternate tuning of choice is EEEGBB or a variant of it, EEEF#BB.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:07 am
  19. Bikinis says:

    I’ve been using CGDGCC a lot. You get fat rhythm + drony unison.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:12 am
  20. anon says:

    How about Lou reed tuning all strings to the same pitch

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:18 am
  21. David says:

    my favourite is EADBbBE, which I found learning ‘sometimes’ by my bloody valentine. it’s still very similar to standard, but it’s weird enough to encourage some slightly different lead playing (which I struggle with), and it can give you some gorgeous non-major/minor chords. I’ve written two or three songs since trying it.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:20 am
  22. Renato C. says:

    I like Open A too for slide guitar

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:28 am
  23. Vlad says:

    I use DGDGDG for playing old norway, swedish and irish drone based folk tunes. Also I like to play in Open D, Open G as DGDGBDor GBDGBD for some bluegrass/slide tunes.
    Different tuning can really bring your imagination to some unexplored places but you should not be afraid of going into there.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:38 am
  24. SlopeRocker says:

    Don’t forget about Instant Keef!

    Open G:  D

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:41 am
  25. Jeff says:

    Glad to see Sonic Youth included; disappointed, however, to see Richard Thompson absent. I believe he has rarely, if ever, used standard tuning, favoring DADGAD and Drop D. “Roll Over Vaughn Williams” from his first solo LP (Henry The Human Fly, 1972) is what got me interested in guitar.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:42 am
  26. SlopeRocker says:

    Don’t forget Instant Keef!    OPEN G: D-G-D-G-B-D   If you’re hard core remove the thick D and go with 5 strings like The Man does himself.

    And for slide? Tune to an E Chord and let it rip!

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 4:46 am
  27. micaiah says:

    also don’t forget Ricky Wilson from the B-52’s used them to GREAT effect~!

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 5:16 am
  28. Sudsy100 says:

    I know there’s a couple of different versions people use for the Rain Song tuning, but D G C G C D is the one I like the best. A lot of fun to fool around with, but playing the Rain Song alone is worth the re-tune. It also seems to go by 2 or 3 different names, but Gsusp4 Modal is the one I found to be the closest to what the actual name of the tuning is. There’s also the open G tuning for When The Levee Breaks, but because Page slowed the tape down, you actually have to tune to Open F to play along (which sounds very, very cool . . . haven’t tried it on my electric 12-String yet, but that would be hair-raising).

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 5:25 am
  29. David Ackerman says:

    mostly open tunings like CGCGCE or GCGCGCE for 7 string.  But my favorite tuning is the old Eb grunge tuning mostly

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:11 am
  30. Jack Gould says:

    Getting into Alternative tunings really has really improved my guitar playing in general and my songwriting in particular. It’s also given me a great excuse for owning multiple guitars because I keep them in separate tunings and intonate them for their respective tunings. I keep one tuned to DADGAD, another in Double D Drop, one in Open G, and a couple in Standard. I’ve written at least 2 or 3 songs in each tuning. Though I’ve tried, I can’t seem to come up with anything original sounding in Open D, so I am thinking about tuning up to Open E and see if I can pull anything out of that. If you’ve never tried alternative tunings,you really should.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:14 am
  31. Kevin Spelts says:

    this guy has published a guide to alternate tunings complete with some chord charts: http://sethares.engr.wisc.edu/alternatetunings/alltunings.pdf
    not sure about some of the theory therein but learning nonetheless
    imreoir giotar

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:20 am
  32. Frank Metalman George says:

    i use drop D, Drop C#, E standard, D standard, open E & open D ... my fave has to be drop C#

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:28 am
  33. Alex Huston says:

    The Safety Fire = AADGBE

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 7:19 am
  34. David says:

    @micaiah, I’m glad you mentioned Ricky Wilson from the B-52s. While the blues heads here are probably not into it, he had some CRAZY tunings, which often involved removing at least the D string. I figured one of them out back in the 80s, but forget it. And for the retro rock/blues snobs that think his parts are easy, try playing Private Idaho. That’s one guitar!

    @Rod, yes, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes is EEEEBE.

    I’m surprised there is no mention of Joni Mitchell, who invented a plethora of tunings.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 7:31 am
  35. Will says:

    I dig the nick drake tuning ,  BEBEBE or   141414 cause he’s using a capo most of the time.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 7:58 am
  36. Luke says:

    No Ostrich tuning? DDDDDD
    Less known, but popularized by the guy behind dwarfcraft devices pedals is Aen standard: DADAAE

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am
  37. Ken says:

    Does anybody know what Hawiian tuning is? I’ve been told its something completely different from anything else.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 9:27 am
  38. Luc says:

    How about Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris?? I always loved that tuning B-D-D-D-D-D

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 9:33 am
  39. Vincent says:

    My favorite tuning is a weird one, FACGCE. Used by bands like American Football

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 11:53 am
  40. Gavin Lloyd Wilson says:

    How about EADGAD - which is a combination of standard and DADGAD - at it’s simplest level you can play chords from standard tuning but without fretting the top two (i.e. the highest) strings and letting these create a drone. It’s nice for creating an Eastern-style feel.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm
  41. Tijapo says:

    Secret Ninja tuning: D-A-D-A-B-D.

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm
  42. Lori says:

    I LOVE this topic and have wondered about it.  Any suggestions specifically for a 12-string accoustic guitar - or will all of these work just as well?  Before I go changing the tuning, I’de like to know what I should be doing first :)

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm
  43. KRAM says:

    The same tunings will work for 12 string but you can also experiment with changing the intervals on string pairs from octaves or unisons to 5ths or whatever

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm
  44. Roel Rodriguez says:

    Let’s not forget Soundgarden’s EEEEee tuning on “Mind riot” off of badmotorfinger. Plus their EEBBBe on My Wave, The Day I tried to live, and somewhere

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 12:20 am
  45. Gavin Lloyd Wilson says:

    I think you have to credit that one (i.e. all the strings tuned to the the same note) to Lou Reed. He called it Ostrich tuning

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 3:09 am
  46. Elijah Shama says:

    What about weird variations on standard tuning like QOTSA C standard?

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 4:19 am
  47. Nenad says:

    One of my acoustic songs - Pearl Jam’s Daughter has a simple but powerfull riff played on GGDGBD

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:42 am
  48. David says:

    More cool Soundgarden tunings; “Head Down” used CGCGGC tuning and “Like Suicide” is in CBGDGD tuning. “Mailman” and “Limo Wreck” are CGDGBE.

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:50 am
  49. Johnny Sunshine says:

    @Ken - In Hawaii, they call alternate tunings ‘slack key’ guitar - although you might recognize some by a different name, there’s lots of them…mostly used in laid back, acoustic /island songs. They have a Slack Key section in retail stores as well as a category for their music awards.
    Search for ‘slack key guitar’ ~

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 9:03 am
  50. Ken says:

    @Johhny, Thanks! My Grandmother visited Hawaii in the 50’s and brought back some records. I have no idea what any of the songs were but I’ve never heard anything like their tone since, and it beat the hell out the Polka music she used to play!

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 9:07 am
  51. Jesse says:

    The Spanish were credited as the True Masters of the Guitar building and players
    of supremacy. Pre 1900s & then there after, the Black slaves and field hollers found the guitar tuned in open G (Spanish tuning) and led the procession to the blues, extremists of racial issues finding the whole hollers and blues scenario inferior thereafter came the standard tuning that we use today to build guitars that caused tolerances & crafted to fit the changes of the new world of musical differences and hence the present day’s history based on EADGBE (may not be yet 100years old), the open G or Spanish tuning also gave way to many others alot in open whatever, read on up you will find more than what I’ve known for over 30 yrs and counting, I’ve been listening to recordings going back a ways and it all makes sense to me. I use open G,D,E,A, for slide work and it puts my guitars in jeopardy because they were crafted for standard tuning not the open tunings that we all have come to enjoy!

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm
  52. Gavin Lloyd Wilson says:

    You’re not putting your guitar in jeopardly if you tune down (e.g. open D), that just decreases the tension. If you’re that worried about about damaging your guitars by using various tunings, then you should mix and match your strings and select the most appropriate gauge for whatever note you want to tune it to. Of course, it’s best to keep one guitar tuned to a particular tuning if you use such a tuning frequently or else there would be too much changing of strings too.

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm
  53. Charles Catlow says:

    Don’t forget Joni Mitchell’s tuning in ‘Coyote’ CGDFCE or “D modal” DADGBD…awesome!

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm
  54. Jesse says:

    That’s very well put…but I’ve noticed variable changes in the outcome of doing just that"Tuning Down’’ you know the process retuning the pitch of the neck by way of the truss rod changing the gauge making by & making sure it doesn’t buzz in critical points. My points was not for my sake you would not believe the outcome of other’s guitars, you did see that I do use open tunings but I can repair the aftermath of a badly crafted not built for extreme changes…PRS personnel told me that their guitars are crafted with the thought that their guitars be used with .009-.046…also that changing gauges more than that would in their crafting cause the damage which in the warranty is not part of it…call them if you have doubts…they are beautiful but they are prone to harsh outcome if you don’t follow their advice, I called because I was asked by several customers to change the action and tune the guitar to a dropped B they also
    in reasoning got LTDs, SGs,LPs because those guits were built around certain tolerances that would facilitate the dropped tunings, so in my point I was making a point that should be
    questioned such as in an expensive instrument. Just plain old common sense(s) and I use several bolt on Fenders Teles & Strats for slidework, blues and folk rock…but you in question
    show a good sense by making your point, now you’ll learn what did,do and playing open tunings is awesome at times Duane,Johnny Winters comes out enjoy my friend I really enjoy Slide Players.

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm
  55. Jesse says:

    Yea Joni… love her I enjoyed her with CSN&Y…Pat Matheny & Jaco Pasturius
    that’s a point where her vocals kinda robbed the thunder of her beautiful tunings, man she went way above open tunings.

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm
  56. Charles Catlow says:

    Check out Zachary Optimized Guitar balanced strings for different tunings. The guy’s a bit of a weirdo, but he knows what he’s talking about.

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm
  57. Jason Swanson says:

    This is a great little tuning for slide:

    Basically I use it for a good G5 drone it goes DGDGGD and the doubled up G strings can just howl and scream if you are doing electric slide, and no need worrying about minor/major thirds.

    (Give it a go, I learned the trick from one of my former buddies, a great teacher, long long ago (see you in the stars Marco :)).

    posted on August 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm
  58. Darrell Sandmoen says:

    I use a variety of tunings too. An easy slide tuning is to just drop the high E to D. This makes all the E shaped barre chords into 7th’s and all the A shaped barred chords into natural majors. It’s quick and easy. I call it my Bonnie Raitt tuning. Very little change in the neck tension also.

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 11:40 am
  59. Brian Fitzpatrick says:

    I use one for some trad songs I dunno if its open D or anything but Paul Brady uses it on a song called the Lakes of Ponchatrain and its D A D F# A D. Then open C? C G C G C E , is a pretty cool tuning for messing about and making some heavy sounds

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm
  60. Gavin Lloyd Wilson says:

    Brian, isn’t D A D F# A D the tuning that lets you play minor chords with a one finger barre, and bringing in another finger onto the third string at the next fret after the barre gives the major chords?

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm
  61. Vladimir says:

    why not to mention Nick Drake?

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm
  62. Tom Seiple says:

    John Mayer’s Something Missing Tuning is super fun at EBEF#E

    I can’t believe this article missed Third Eye Blind though….

    DADEAD to play god of wine. DADF#AD to play background, 1000 julys, good for you, burning man, graduate and london.  Losing a whole year is nuts with F#AC#F#G#E, Narcolepsy is also fun with F#ADF#AE, and the tuning for wounded is incredibly fun at DADEAC#.

    While I agree, that Sonic Youth really does rule the skys when it comes to alt tunings, Third Eye Blind really brought some crazy tunings into pop music in a way no other band ever really has before.

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm
  63. Adam says:

    DADF#AD is Open D.  There is no minor third in it… if you barre it, you are playing an open chord.  DADFAD would have the minor third that you are referring to.

    Someone did mention Nick Drake already… he used some crazy tunings.  I particularly like the EADF#BE tuning he used on a few great tunes… it’s a very simple switch, but is used with great effect with relatively standard chord shapes.

    posted on August 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm
  64. Terry Fisher says:

    I have used ; GBDGBD for years in some Led Zep (That’s the Way”) and others as well as I have 5 or more of my own songs written with this tuning.  Some of these tunings seem to open up doors for me and as the comments show, lots of folks!

    posted on August 27, 2013 at 3:30 am
  65. Brett says:

    I recently started to using my own tuning DADGCE.  It’s essentially a Drop ‘D’ w/the ‘B’ raised a semi-tone.  Then the C Chord requires only 2 fingers, and D major is just a matter of barring the top 3 strings at the 2nd fret.  To play G major either bar the bottom 3 @ the 5th fret and the top 3 @ the 7th, or you have to fret the 1st and 5th strings as usual, 2nd fret of the B (now C) and ignore the low E, or play it open (G does have D in it after all - gives a Dark feeling).  A major is fingered like A minor (perfect for a short stubby-fingered person like me). One nice thing about this tuning is that major chords can be played by barring the bottom 3 strings w/the index, and the top 3 strings w/the ring finger 2 frets higher - but you have more versatility with than your standard open tuning.  I can even get nice solos/runs easily just doing a simple straight plucking of the top 3 strings… (shhh - don’t tell anyone how easy it is…). Curious about what others think as I am the only one I know who uses this tuning and have never seen it posted anywhere.

    posted on August 27, 2013 at 6:24 am
  66. David says:

    Just as an observation, but open tunings should not be to make playing common chords easier, but to come up with new chord forms, and interesting things you can’t do in standard tuning.

    If you are using open tunings to make playing easier, then you won’t get better as a musician. Instead use it to explore new sounds.

    posted on August 27, 2013 at 10:52 am
  67. Jacob Woolery says:

    John Fahey, a great guitarist who spent much of his life right here in Oregon. And the boys in Sonic Youth really appreciated him. In fact, Lee wrote a very nice letter that was presented at John’s memorial service. Glad I got the opportunity to hang with an incredible talent.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  68. Gwugluud Barcher says:

    I got a Roland VG-8 about 15 years ago just for it’s retuning per-virtual string capabilities.  As long as you’re not allergic to digital, it’s pretty great.  You can experiment with any bizarre tuning you want just using normal-gauge strings left in standard tuning.  I have dozens of banks of tunings, some of which would make even Lee Ranaldo puke.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm
  69. Tim Negris says:

    Did anyone mention Mi Compose from West Affrica?  It is quite prominent on Paul Simon’s Graceland album.  You simply replace the D string with a high E tuned down a step to D.  It is best on a Strat and through a Roland Jazz Chorus amp, but any single-coil guitar and a chorus pedal will get you close.  Most of the music played this way contains no minor or seventh chords, so this simple change brings a surprising range of possibilities.

    posted on August 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm
  70. Erik says:

    Fooling around with alternative tunings is a great way to explore new sounds or chords you could never play in a standard tuning.

    Two great tunings I sometimes use is CGCGCE or CGCGCEflat.

    Rest of my guitars are tuned in E standard, C standard, drop D or double drop D.

    posted on September 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm
  71. mel1950 says:

    David Gilmour from Pink Floyd used an alternative tuning in ‘‘Hey You’’ on their album ‘’ The Wall’’  The only strings used are the Top E and Top B….....Bottom E string is replaced with a Top E..  The A string is replaced with a Top B and tuned down to A.. The D string is replaced with a Top E and tuned down to D.. The G string is replaced with a Top E and tuned Up to G..
    Basic tuning is E3, A3, D4, G4, B4, E5.. David Gilmour tuning is now E5, A4, D5, G5, B4, E5… Sounds wonderful on Hey You and I have used it for other songs as well. Great for playing around with on Lead.

    posted on September 12, 2013 at 4:01 am
  72. Jack says:

    Tallest Man on Earth does CFCFCF pretty often, which is cool. He creates some really textured folk sounds.

    posted on October 2, 2013 at 1:41 am
  73. Audiofanzine says:

    For other top/popular alternative tunings see here: http://en.audiofanzine.com/guitar/editorial/articles/the-best-open-tunings-for-guitar.html

    posted on October 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm
  74. neal says:

    facgce is the best open tuning hands down

    posted on January 24, 2014 at 2:21 am

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