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Home > Tuning > Alternate Tuning

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Alternate Guitar Tuning

We're going to look at alternate guitar tuning, so called because these tunings are not like the regular E A D G B e standard tuning we're all familiar with.

Alternate tunings are interesting to mess around with because you'll find chord shapes used in standard tuning will produce an entirely different chord. You may find that you can create chords with alternate tuning you never could with standard tuning.

The best thing is, those vibrant sounding open chords down at the first few frets will provide different, fresh sounding voicings and will be sure to turn heads when you pick or strum them.

Below are a few alternate guitar tuning aids for you to try out. Click on each of the strings to hear the tuned string...


E A D G A D alternate tuning

My personal favourite! It's also common to drop the E string down to a D, as with drop D tuning. Remember the word - eadgad or dadgad.

If you don't have a tuner nearby, simply tune down the high E string until it matches the D string, and the B string until it matches the A string. They'll be an octave higher, but you should still be able to hear when they've reached their destination tunings.









C G C G A E alternate tuning

This is an alternate drop C tuning also known as "C6 tuning"...









E A D G C F alternate tuning

Also known as "tuning in perfect fourths" because of the fourth intervals between the strings.









Try your own alternate tunings

Experiment with your own alternate guitar tuning. The best way to do this is to start in standard tuning and move strings around from there in strict half or whole steps. Don't, however, tune your strings higher than one whole step (2 tones, see below) or they will probably break.

Here's the order of notes, known as the "musical alphabet", starting with A...

A | A# / Bb | B | C | C# / Db | D | D# / Eb | E | F | F# / Gb | G | G# / Ab

So tuning B down a whole step would in fact be two tones down to A. Tuning D down a whole step would make it C.

Tuning D up a half step (also known as a semitone or 1 letter in the musical alphabet) would make it D# (D sharp). We choose D# over Eb because we've tuned the D string up, sharpening it.




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