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List of guitar tunings

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Title: List of guitar tunings  
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List of guitar tunings

This list of guitar tunings supplements the article guitar tunings. In particular, this list contains more examples of open and regular tunings, which are discussed in the article on guitar tunings. In addition, this list also notes dropped tunings.


  • Open 1
    • Major 1.1
      • Open A 1.1.1
      • Open B 1.1.2
      • Open C 1.1.3
      • Open D 1.1.4
      • Open E 1.1.5
      • Open F 1.1.6
      • Open G 1.1.7
    • Minor: Cross-note 1.2
    • Modal 1.3
    • Extended chord 1.4
  • Regular tunings 2
    • Major seconds 2.1
    • Minor thirds 2.2
    • Major thirds 2.3
    • All fourths 2.4
    • Augmented fourths 2.5
    • All fifths: "Mandoguitar" 2.6
      • New standard tuning 2.6.1
    • Ostrich tuning 2.7
  • Dropped 3
    • Discussion 3.1
    • Examples 3.2
  • Shifted 4
    • Lowered 4.1
    • Raised 4.2
    • Double-dropped 4.3
  • Miscellaneous 5
    • Dad-Gad 5.1
    • Dad-Dad 5.2
    • Cello/Standard guitar 5.3
    • "Karnivool" tuning 5.4
    • Mi-composé 5.5
    • "Iris" Tuning 5.6
    • Microtonal tuning 5.7
  • Instrumental: Not based on six-string guitars 6
    • Guitars 6.1
      • Five-string 6.1.1
      • Seven-string 6.1.2
        • Lower
        • Higher
        • Dropped
      • Eight-string 6.1.3
        • Dropped
      • Nine-string 6.1.4
      • Ten-String 6.1.5
    • Steel Guitar 6.2
    • Renaissance lute 6.3
  • References 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10



Initial eight harmonics on C, namely (C,C,G,C,E,G,B,C) Play simultaneously  

Major open-tunings give a major chord with the open strings.

Open A

  • Alternatively: E-A-C-E-A-C
  • Alternatively: A-E-A-E-A-C (one step down from "Open B")
  • "Slide" Open A: E-A-E-A-C-E (identical to Open G tuning but with every string raised one step or two frets).

Used by Jimmy Page on "In My Time of Dying"" and Jack White on "Seven Nation Army"

Open B

  • Alternatively: F-B-D-F-B-D

Used by Nickelback on "Should've Listened", Devin Townsend in recent years, and Big Wreck on "Albatross".

Open C


This open C tuning was used by William Ackerman for his "Townsend Shuffle" and by John Fahey for his tribute to Mississippi John Hurt. This tuning is also commonly used by John Butler on his 12 string guitar. [1]


The English guitar used a repetitive open-C tuning that approximated a major-thirds tuning.[2]


This open-C tuning gives the initial harmonic series when a C-string is struck.[4] The C-C-G-C-E-G tuning uses the harmonic sequence (overtones) of the note C. When an open-note C-string is struck, its harmonic sequence begins with the notes (C,C,G,C,E,G,B,C).[3][4] This overtone-series tuning was modified by Mick Ralphs, who used a high C rather than the high G for "Can't get enough" on Bad Company. Ralphs said, "It needs the open C to have that ring," and "it never really sounds right in standard tuning".[5]

Open D

Open D tuning.

Open-D tuning was used by Joni Mitchell for her "Big Yellow Taxi" and by The Allman Brothers for their "Little Martha".[6] Open-D tuning has been called Vestapol tuning.[7]

  • Alternatively: D-A-D'-A'-D-D

This alternative Open D tuning (and its downtuned variations) is frequently used by Mark Tremonti guitarist for the bands Creed, Alterbridge and The Tremonti Project. It was also used by Keith Richards on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the Stone Roses in "Love Spreads".

Open E

E-B-E-G-B-E (use light gauge strings because three strings must be raised) (used by: Brian Jones on No Expectations; Keith Richards on Salt of the Earth, Prodigal Son, Gimme Shelter, Jigsaw Puzzle, Jumpin' Jack Flash, You Can't Always Get What You Want and by Bob Dylan on his 1975 album Blood on the Tracks)

Open F

F-A-C-F-C-F (requires light gauge strings)
  • Alternatively (without light gauge strings): C-F-C-F-A-C

C-F-C-F-A-C is the more common of the two. Used by

Elizabeth Cotten on her song "When I Get Home"
Led Zeppelin on "When the Levee Breaks"
  • F-Sharp Tuning: F-A-C-F-C-F
  • Alternative: C-F-C-F-A-C

F-F-C-F-A-C is also used by Dave Mason on "Only You Know and I Know"

Open G

A seven-string guitar with the open-strings annotated with the notes.
The Russian guitar's tuning approximates a major-thirds tuning.

D-G-D-G-B-D (also known as Spanish Tuning or Chicago Tuning)

Open G was used in rock by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin in the songs "Dancing Days", "That's The Way" and "Black Country Woman", Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones as well as in Mississippi blues by Son House, Charley Patton, and Robert Johnson, and in "Fearless" by Pink Floyd.[8]


Listing the initial six harmonics of the G note, this open-G tuning was used by Joni Mitchell for "Electricity", "For the Roses", and "Hunter (The Good Samaritan)".[9] It was used by Mick Ralphs for "Hey Hey" on Bad Company's debut album.[5] and on the Meowtain song "Alleyway"

  • Alternatively: G-B-D-G-B-D (slack-key guitar[10])
  • Alternatively: C-G-D-G-B-D (used by Big Wreck on multiple songs, most notably "Inhale" and "Mistake").
  • Dobro Open G: G-B-D-G-B-D (occasionally adopted for ordinary guitar, but requires lighter fifth and sixth strings).
  • Russian-guitar Open G: The tuning of the Russian guitar
is an open G tuning, approximately in major thirds.[11][12]

Minor: Cross-note

The following open-tunings use a minor third, and give a minor chord with open strings. To avoid the relatively cumbersome designation "open D minor", "open C minor", such tunings are sometimes called "cross-note tunings". The term also expresses the fact that, compared to Major chord open tunings, by fretting the lowered string at the first fret, it is possible to produce a major chord very easily.[13]

Cross-note or open E-minor was used by Bukka White and Skip James.[14]

Cross-note tunings include (low to high):

  • Cross-note A: E-A-E-A-C-E
    • Alternative: E-A-C-E-A-E[15][16]
  • Cross-note D: D-A-D-F-A-D (used by John Fahey on the song "Red Pony")
  • Cross-note E: E-B-E-G-B-E (used by ZZ Top on the song "Just Got Paid Today" and by Joey Eppard on the 3 song "Bramfatura")
  • Cross-note F: F-A-C-F-C-F (extremely rare)
    • Alternative: F-C-F-A-C-F (used by Albert Collins;[17] requires light gauges)
  • Cross-note G: D-G-D-G-B-D
  • Alternative Cross A: E-A-E-A-E-A. «Sitar A» - an alternative low guitar system. Recalls the sound of Indian sitar.


D modal tuning.

In modal tunings, the strings are tuned to form a chord which is not definitively minor or major. These tunings may facilitate very easy chords and unique sounds when the open strings are used as drones. Often these tunings form a suspended chord on the open strings. A well known user of modal tunings is Sonic Youth.

  • Asus2: E-A-B-E-A-E
  • Asus4: E-A-D-E-A-E
  • B modal: B-F-B-E-G-B (used by Neil Young on his 1962 Martin D-28)
  • Bsus4: B-F-B-E-F-B (DADGAD but 3 steps (1 1/2 note) lower, used by Sevendust on the song "Live Again" and on much of their Cold Day Memory album.)
  • B9: B-F-C-F-B-D
  • Csus2: C-G-C-G-C-D (first five strings equivalent to Double-C tuning for the banjo)
  • Csus4+9: C-G-C-F-C-D (used by Martin Simpson in "We Are All Heroes")
  • Csus4: C-G-C-G-C-F (used by John Renbourn on "Bouree I & II")[18]
  • C15: C-G-D-G-C-D
  • Low C: C-G-D-G-A-D
  • Dsus2: D-A-D-E-A-D
  • Dsus4: D-A-D-G-A-D (used by Jimmy Page of Led Zepellin for a number of songs including "Kashmir" and "Black Mountain Side")
  • Esus2: E-B-E-F-B-E (used by My Bloody Valentine in "Only Shallow" and by John Mayer in "Something's Missing," "Wherever You Go," "Heart So Heavy," and "In Your Atmosphere").
  • Esus4: E-B-E-A-B-E
  • Gsus2: D-G-D-G-A-D
  • Gsus4: D-G-D-G-C-D (first five strings equivalent to Sawmill tuning for the banjo)
    • Gsus4/4 / Orkney Tuning: C-G-D-G-C-D
  • E modal: E-B-E-E-B-E (used in CSN's "Suite Judy Blue Eyes")

Extended chord

In extended chord tunings, the open strings form a seventh, ninth, or eleventh chord.

  • C6: C-A-C-G-C-E (used by Jimmy Page in Bron-Yr-Aur, Friends and Poor Tom)
  • Open Page: D-G-C-G-C-D (used by Jimmy Page in The Rain Song)
  • Dmin7: D-A-D-F-A-C (used by Richie Havens in "From the Prison")[19]
  • D7: D-A-D-F-A-C
  • G6: D-G-D-G-B-E
  • G7: D-G-D-G-B-F[20]
  • Gmaj7: D-G-D-F-B-D

Regular tunings

An equilateral triangle's corners represent the equally spaced notes of a major-thirds tuning, here E-C-G♯. The triangle is circumscribed by the chromatic circle, which lists the 12 notes of the octave.
For every major-thirds tuning, the consecutive open-notes are separated by four semitones, and so three strings cover the twelve notes of the octave.

An equilateral triangle's corners represent the equally spaced notes of a major-thirds tuning, here E-C-G. The triangle is circumscribed by the chromatic circle, which lists the 12 notes of the octave.

Major seconds

c-d-e-f-g-a or c-d-f-g-a-b

A compact tuning that fits within one octave and covers the chromatic scale between open strings and the first fret.

Minor thirds


In the minor-thirds tuning, every interval between successive strings is a minor third. In the minor-thirds tuning beginning with C, the open strings contain the notes (c, d, f) of the diminished C chord.[21]

Major thirds

Major-thirds tuning is a regular tuning in which the musical intervals between successive strings are each major thirds.[22][23][24] Unlike all-fourths and all-fifths tuning, major-thirds tuning repeats its octave after three strings, which again simplifies the learning of chords and improvisation.[25]

Neighboring the standard tuning is the major-thirds tuning that has the open strings


A lower major-thirds tuning has the open strings


which "contains two octaves of a C augmented chord".[23]

All fourths

Stanley Jordan plays guitar using all-fourths tuning.

This tuning is like that of the lowest four strings in standard tuning.[27][28] Jazz musician Stanley Jordan plays guitar in all-fourths tuning; he has stated that all-fourths tuning "simplifies the fingerboard, making it logical".[29]

Augmented fourths

C-F-c-f-c'-f' or B-F-b-f-b'-f'

Between the all-fifths and all-fourths tunings are augmented-fourth tunings, which are also called "diminished-fifths" or "tritone" tunings.[30]

All fifths: "Mandoguitar"

New standard tuning.
New Standard Tuning's open strings.
C-G-d-a-e'-b' or G'-D-A-e-b-f'

All-fifths tuning is a tuning in intervals of perfect fifths like that of a mandolin, cello or violin; other names include "perfect fifths" and "fifths".[31] It has a wide range, thus it requires an appropriate range of string gauges. A high b' sting is particularly thin and taut, which can be avoided by shifting the scale down by several steps or by a fifth.

New standard tuning


All-fifths tuning has been approximated by the New Standard Tuning (NST) of King Crimson's Robert Fripp. It has a wider range than standard tuning, and its perfect-fifth intervals facilitate quartal and quintal harmony.

Ostrich tuning

E-E-e-e-e'-e' or C-C-c-c-c'-c'

Ostrich tuning is a tuning where all strings are tuned to the same note over two or three octaves,[32] creating an intense, chorused drone and interesting fingering potential.


Drop D tuning.

Drop tunings lower the sixth string, dropping the lowest E string of the standard tuning. Some drop tunings also lower the fifth string (A note in standard tuning). A drop one tuning lowers the pitch by one full step.

Some of these may require a baritone guitar due to the string tension required for extremely low notes. Others can be achieved using a capo and/or a partial capo.


What matters for the purposes of fingering is the relative relationship among the strings. For example, a dropped B tuning has all strings tuned to different notes than a standard tuning, but the strings have the same relationship to each other as a drop D tuning (where only the 6th string differs from standard tuning), and as a result the fingerings are nearly the same as for standard tuning.

Many of the terms below are ambiguous in whether only the 6th string is tuned down (a "drop N" tuning in the standard key of E), or all strings are tuned down, with the 6th tuned down more than the others (usually a "drop 1" tuning in some other key). For example, a "drop C tuning" usually refers to a "drop 1" tuning in the key of D, i.e. the 6th string is tuned down two whole steps and all others down one whole step. This is equivalent to a standard drop D tuning with all strings turned down a whole step. However, another "drop C tuning" is a "drop 2" tuning in the key of E, i.e. the 6th string is tuned down two whole steps and the others left alone. The former uses standard drop D fingerings, like all "drop 1" tunings, while the latter requires its own fingerings because of the different relative relationship of the 6th string to the others.

Other variant drop tunings tune two different strings differently. Tuning both the 1st and 6th strings down the same amount is common enough to warrant its own name (see "double-dropped tunings" below). However, there are other possibilities. For example, the Foo Fighters song "Stacked Actors" uses a tuning AADGBE with the 6th string retuned to form an octave on A. This involves dropping the 6th string down a perfect fifth. This is sometimes called a "dropped A" tuning because the lowest string is tuned down to A; but it is different from either the "dropped A" variant of drop D (drop 1 in the key of B) or the less common "dropped A" used by Black Label Society, Mastodon and Periphery (drop a 4th in the key of D).



These tunings are derived by systematic increases or decreases to standard tuning.


D tuning.

Derived from standard EADGBE, all the strings are tuned lower by the same interval, thus providing the same chord positions transposed to a lower key. Lower Tunings are popular among rock and heavy metal bands. The reason for tuning down below standard pitch is usually either to accommodate a singer's vocal range or to get a deeper/heavier sound.[33]


From standard EADGBE, all the strings are tuned up by the same interval. String tension will be higher. Typically requires thinner gauge strings, particularly the first string which could be as thin as six thousandths of an inch (about the thickness of a single human hair). A capo is typically preferred over these tunings, as they do not increase neck strain, etc. The advantage of these tunings is that they allow an extended upper note range versus a capo used with standard tuning which limits the number of notes that can be played; in some cases, instruo B or E (such as saxophones, which were frequently encountered in early rock and roll music) are more easily played when the accompanying guitar plays chords in the higher tuning. If standard gauge strings are used, the result is often a "brighter" or "tighter" sound; this was a common practice for some bluegrass bands in the 1950s, notably Flatt & Scruggs.

  • F tuning - F-A-D-G-C-F / F-B-E-A-C-F
    Half a step up from standard tuning. (used in most of Johnny Cash's music, for Love Buzz on Nirvana's Bleach album - apparently by mistake (according to Come As You Are - Michael Azerrad), 3 Doors Down on Here Without You (a capo was probably used), Vektor, Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun, and by Nickelback on their song "When We Stand Together")
  • F/G tuning - F-B-E-A-C-F / G-B-E-A-D-G
    One full step up from standard. Primary tuning for the band The Chameleons. Johnny Marr also used this tuning extensively with The Smiths; bassist Andy Rourke remained in standard, however, even when Marr was playing in F#.
  • G tuning also known as Terz tuning (sometimes spelled "Tierce", "Third", or "Tertz", all of which are acceptable) - G-C-F-A-D-G / G-C-F-B-D-G
    One and one half steps up from standard.
  • G/A tuning - G-C-F-B-D-G / A-D-G-B-E-A
    Two full steps up from standard.
  • A tuning - A-D-G-C-E-A
    Two and one half steps up from standard. This is the standard tuning for the Lapstick travel guitar.
  • A/B - A-D-G-C-E-A / B-E-A-D-F-B
    Three full steps up from standard.


Double drop D tuning.

Similar to the dropped tunings, except that both the 1st and 6th strings are dropped one full step.

  • Double Drop D - D-A-D-G-B-D
    Standard tuning but with the 1st and 6th strings dropped one full step. Favored by Neil Young. Has also been used by Lamb of God on some of their earlier songs.
  • Double Drop C/Drop D - C-G-C-F-A-C / D-A-D-G-B-D/
    Same as [Double] Drop D, but every string is dropped one half step. Used by the acoustic rock band Days of the New. Also used by Our Lady Peace on the song "Starseed".
  • Double Drop C - C-G-C-F-A-C
    One full step down from Drop D. Used by Sevendust on the song "Seasons".
  • Double Drop B - B-F-B-E-G-B / B-G-B-E-A-B/
    One and one half steps down from Drop D.
  • Double Drop A/Drop B - A-F-A-D-G-A / B-F-B-E-G-B
    Two full steps down from Drop D.
  • Double Drop A - A-E-A-D-F-A / A-E-A-D-G-A
    Two and one half steps down from Drop D.
  • Double Drop G/Drop A - G-D-G-C-F-G / A-E-A-D-F-A
    Three full steps down from Drop D.
  • Double Drop G - G-D-G-C-E-G
    Three and one half steps down from Drop D.
  • Double Drop F/Drop G - F-C-F-B-D-F / G-D-G-B-E-G
    Four full steps down from Drop D, or two full steps up from Drop D1.
  • Double Drop F - F-C-F-A-D-F / F-C-F-B-D-F
    Four and one half steps down from Drop D, or one and a half steps up from Drop D1.
  • Double Drop E - E-B-E-A-C-E / E-B-E-A-D-E
    Five full steps down from Drop D, or one full step up from Drop D1.
  • Double Drop D/Double Drop E - D-A-D-G-C-D / E-B-E-A-C-E
    Five and one half steps down from Drop D, or one half step up from Drop D1.
  • Double Drop D1 Tuning - D-A-D-G-B-D
    Six full steps (one octave) down from Double Drop D.




Often vocalized as "Dad-Gad", DADGAD is common in Celtic music. In rock music, has been used in Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir".[8] Pierre Bensusan is another noted exponent of this tuning. The post-metal group Russian Circles also employ this tuning, and also plays it in the form of all the notes becoming a half-step down: D-A-d-g-a-d'.

Three down-tuned variations are used by the band Sevendust: A drop C variation, or C-G-c-f-g-c'. (used on the song "Unraveling"), a drop B variation, or B'-F-B-e-f-b, and a drop A# variation, or A'-F-A-d-f-a. Neighboring tunings D-A-d-e-a-e' and C-G-c-d-g-a have been used by Martin Carthy. Also D-A-d-a-a-d', was used by Dave Wakeling on the English Beat's 1983 "Save It For Later".



Nicknamed - "Papa-Papa". DADDAD is common in folk music (Irish, Scottish), and for the execution of a rhythm guitar in "heavy" (alternative music) on 6 th on the third string at the same time. To reach the tuning from DADGAD, Open D or Open D Minor, the G string is dropped to D so that the 3rd and 4th strings are tuned to the same pitch. DADDAD tuning is sometimes used on Dobro guitars for rock and blues. Notable users of this tuning include Billy McLaughlin, John Butler, and João Silva, guitarist of the well-acclaimed Portuguese punk band, LEAF.

Cello/Standard guitar


Essentially a cello tuning with the deeper four strings in fifths and the two highest strings in standard guitar tuning. Used by Foo Fighters on the song "Weenie Beenie"

"Karnivool" tuning


Hybrid tuning between drop B-tuning and E-standard. Used by the band Karnivool for many of their songs.



Mi-composé is a tuning commonly used for rhythm guitar in African popular music forms such as soukous and makossa.[34] It is similar to the standard guitar tuning, except that the d string is raised an entire octave. This is accomplished by replacing the d string with an e' string and tuning it to d'.

"Iris" Tuning


Tuning used by Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls on the song "Iris".

Microtonal tuning

The open strings of a guitar can be tuned to microtonal intervals, however microtonal scales cannot be played on a conventional guitar because the frets only allow for a chromatic scale of twelve equally spaced pitches, each a semitone apart. It is possible to play microtonal scales on a fretless guitar, to convert a fretted guitar into a fretless, or to make a custom neck with a specific microtonal fret spacing.

Guitars can also be refretted to a microtonal scale.[35] On many refretted microtonal guitars, the frets are split, so that the tuning of each string is independent from the others. To enable an adjustable microtonal tuning, there exist guitars with frets that can be moved across the fingerboard.[36][37]

Extended techniques such as the 3rd bridge technique, slide guitar and prepared guitar techniques can be used to produce microtonality without severe modification to the instrument.

Instrumental: Not based on six-string guitars

In his on-line guide to alternative tunings for six-string guitars, William Sethares mentions several that are inspired by instruments other than guitars, for example, balalaika (E-A-D-E-E-A), cittern C-G-C-G-C-G, and Dobro G-B-D-G-B-D.

Other tunings are inspired by guitars that do not have six strings.



Five string guitars are common in Brazil, where they are known as guitarra baiana and are typically tuned in 5ths. Schecter Guitar Research produced a production model 5 string guitar called the Celloblaster in 1998.[38] A five-string tuning may be necessary in a pinch when a string breaks on a standard six-string (usually the high E) and no replacement is immediately available.

Some basic five-string tunings include:

  • Standard - E-A-d-g-b
    The standard tuning, without the top E string attached. Alternative variants are easy from this tuning, but because several chords inherently omit the lowest string, it may leave some chords relatively thin or incomplete with the top string missing (the D chord, for instance, must be fretted 5-4-3-2-3 to include F#, the tone a major third above D).
  • High C - E-A-d-g-c'
    Standard tuning with the B tuned a half step higher to C to emulate a 6 string bass guitar, minus the low B. This is an all fourths tuning.
  • Celloblaster or Guitello - C-G-d-a-e'
    An all fifths tuning as used on cello or mandolin, extended to five strings. Used by the noise-rock band Lightning Bolt, and by Jeffrey McFarland-Johnson on his Bach Cello Suites album.[39]
  • Baritone - E-A-d-f-b
    In this tuning, the fourth (G) string is lowered a half-step, thus recreating the intervals between the top five strings, lowered a perfect fourth. Though chords can easily and more fully be played from this tuning, it sometimes results in awkward inversions, a relatively minor problem if the five-string is played in an ensemble with a bass guitar.
  • E-A-c-f-b
    Simulates the top four strings, followed by the second-from-bottom string on top, raised a whole step (the F representing both the top and bottom E). It makes playing in the key of A major easier, though chord fingerings have to be altered unless the strings are rearranged to F-B-E-A-C.
  • Open G tuning - G-d-g-b-d'
    Some slide/bottleneck guitarists omit the bottom E string when playing in open G to have the root note as the tonic. This tuning is used by Keith Richards.
  • Open E5 tuning - E-B-e-b-e'
    This is achieved by removing the fourth (G) string, tuning both Es and the B down a half step, and the A and D strings up a half-step. This creates a five-string power chord.


Similar to five-string bass guitar tuning, seven-string tuning allows for the extra string a fourth lower than the original sixth string. This allows for the note range of B standard tuning without transposing E standard guitar chords down two and a half steps down. Baritone 7-string guitars are available which features a longer scale-length allowing it to be tuned to a lower range.

  • Standard Tuning - B'-E-A-d-g-b-e' Standard seven-string tuning.
  • Drop A 7 String Tuning - A'-E-A-d-g-b-e' Standard seven-string tuning with low B dropped to A.
  • Standard Choro Tuning - C-E-A-d-g-b-e'
    Standard seven-string tuning for Brazilian choro.
  • Drop D 7 string Tuning - B'-D-A-d-g-b-e'
    Standard seven-string tuning with the low E dropped to D, which results in a minor 3rd interval between the two lowest strings of B and D. Used by Ed Sloan of Crossfade.
  • Drop D & A 7 string Tuning - A'-D-A-d-g-b-e'
    Standard seven-string tuning with a Dropped D and A from E and B. Used by Dir En Grey
  • Thirds Tuning - E-G-c-e-g-c'-e'
    Same range as standard six-string. Allows over two full chromatic octaves without changing position, slides or bends.
  • All Fourths Tuning - B'-E-A-d-g-c'-f'
    Expands the major third between the second and third strings, extending range a half step higher.
  • A/B tuning - A'-D-G-c-f -a-d' / B'-E-A-d-g -b-e'
    Half a step down from standard, used by bands such as Emmure, TesseracT and Meshuggah in their earlier days, Jeff Loomis (now formerly of Nevermore), Cannibal Corpse mid-career, Hypocrisy on End of Disclosure, Adema, American Head Charge, Sonata Arctica in their album Unia, Mushroomhead, Korn in Neidermeyer's Mind demo album, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback on the song "This Means War" (Ryan Peake used a six-string), and Slayer (on War Zone and Here Comes the Pain from God Hates Us All).
  • A tuning - A'-D-G-c-f-a-d'
    A full step down from standard. Used by bands such as Paradise Lost, Korn, Dream Theater (on "False Awakening Suite" and "Illumination Theory" from the self-titled album) and Fear Factory
  • G/A tuning - G'-C-F-B-e-g-c' / A'-D-G-B-e-a-d'
    One and one half steps down from standard. Used by bands such as Deftones (on their self-titled album) and Korn (on the song "Alone I Break", but on 14-string guitars.)
  • G tuning - G'-C-F-A-d-g-c' / G'-C-F-B-e-g-c'
    Two full steps down from standard tuning.
  • F/G tuning - F'-B'-E-A-d-f-b / G'-B'-E-A-d-g-b
    Two and one half steps down from standard. Used by Danish band Mnemic in the albums Passenger, Sons of the System, and Mnemesis.
  • F tuning - F'-A'-D-G-c-f-a / F'-B'-E-A-d-f-b
    Three full steps down from standard. Used by Meshuggah during the recording of Nothing. The songs are played live using 8 string guitars.
  • E tuning - E'-A'-D-G-c-e-a
    Three and one half steps down from standard.
  • D/E♭ tuning - D'-G'-C-F-B-d-g / E'-A'-D-G-B-e-a
    Four full steps down from standard.
  • D tuning - D'-G'-C-F-A-d-g / D'-G'-C-F-B-d-g
    Four and one half steps down from standard.
  • C/D tuning - C'-F'-B'-E-A-c-f / D'-G'-B'-E-A-d-g/
    Five full steps down from standard.
  • C tuning - C'-F'-A'-D-G-c-f / C'-F'-B'-E-A-c-f
    Five and one half steps down from standard.
  • Octave Tuning - B"-E'-A'-D-G-B-e
    Six full steps (one octave) down from standard tuning.

The open C tuning for 7-string guitar was Devin Townsend's preferred tuning for the extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad (GCGCGCE).

  • High A - E-A-d-g-b-e'-a' - Standard tuning with a high 'A' instead of a low 'B'. Because of the high pitch of the 'A' string, it usually requires a multi-scale fingerboard (fanned frets) to provide enough tension.
  • C tuning - C-F-A-d-g-c'-f' / C-F-B-e-a-c'-f'
    Half a step up from standard, used by Eddie Rendini during his time in Cold.

These tunings have the added low 7th string tuned one full step lower allowing for chord structures similar to six-string drop tunings.

  • Drop B - B-F-B-E-A-C-F / B-F-B-E-G-C-F / B-G-B-E-A-D-G
    a tuning which combines the standard drop B tuning of a 6 string electric guitar, but with a high F for soloing. Used by bands such as All Shall Perish and Assemble the Chariots
  • Drop A - A-E-A-D-G-B-E
    A combination of standard 6 string tuning and a 7th string dropped one full step for power chords, used by deathcore bands such as Suicide Silence, Oceano, and Whitechapel, as well as other bands such as Lacuna Coil, Blotted Science, In This Moment, Dir En Grey, Chimaira (on Pass Out of Existence), and occasionally Scar Symmetry, Escape the Fate, The Devil Wears Prada, Dry Kill Logic, and A Fall To Break. Triumphant Return guitarist Matti varies this tuning by dropping both the low B to A and low E to D and raising the high B and E a half-step to C and F (A-D-A-D-G-C-F).
  • Drop A - alternatively, A-E-A-D-F#-B-E
    The same as drop A tuning for a 6-string on the low strings while retaining a high E. In effect converts a 7-string into a drop A baritone guitar, but with standard tuning's soloing capability.
  • Drop G/Drop A -G-D-G-C-F-A-D / A-E-A-D-G-B-E
    One half step down from standard Drop A. Used by bands such as Destrophy, TesseracT, Brian "Head" Welch and Periphery
  • Drop G - G-D-G-C-F-A-D
    A full step from standard Drop A, used by such bands as Molotov Solution, Impending Doom, Attack Attack! on their album This Means War, Any Given Day and Born of Osiris on their album The Discovery.
  • Drop F/Drop G - F-C-F-B-E-G-C / G-D-G-B-E-A-D
    One and one half steps down from standard Drop A. Used by Deftones (on their Saturday Night Wrist album).
  • Drop F - F-C-F-A-D-G-C / F-C-F-B-E-G-C /
    Two full steps down from standard Drop A. This tuning is used on three tracks on Attack Attack!'s album This Means War: "The Hopeless," "The Abduction," and "The Wretched." The bands Northlane and Reflections use this tuning as well. Triumphant Return uses a variation of this tuning (F-C-G-C-F-A-D).
  • Drop E - E-B-E-A-D-F-B / E-B-E-A-D-G-B
    Two and one half steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop D/Drop E - D-A-D-G-C-F-A / E-B-E-A-D-F-B
    Three full steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop D - D-A-D-G-C-E-A
    Three and one half steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop C/Drop D - D-A-D-G-B-E-A / C-G-C-F-B-D-G
    Four full steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop C - C-G-C-F-A-D-G / C-G-C-F-B-D-G
    Four and one half steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop B1 - B-F-B-E-A-C-F / B-G-B-E-A-D-G
    Five full steps down from standard Drop A. Six full steps (one octave) down from a baritone Drop B guitar
  • Drop A/Drop B - A-F-A-D-G-C-F / B-F-B-E-A-C-F
    Five and one half steps down from standard Drop A.
  • Drop A1 Tuning - A-E-A-D-G-B-E
    Six full steps (one octave) down from standard Drop A.


A continuation of the 7-string, adding another string a perfect fourth lower than the seven strings low B. The eight string guitars additional low F string is just a whole step up from a bass guitars low E string. While luthiers have been building these instruments previously, mass-produced Eight-string electric guitars are a relatively recent innovation. Ibanez was first to offer a production eight-string guitar in March 2007.[40] Many other companies now produce mass-market eight-string models, yet these guitars remain relatively uncommon.

  • Standard - F'-B'-E-A-d-g-b-e'
    Standard eight-string tuning. Used by Scar Symmetry on the song "Mechanical Soul Cybernetics" from the album Dark Matter Dimensions, by Deftones on their album Diamond Eyes, and by Periphery on "Ji".
  • F tuning - F'-B'-E-A-d-g-b-e'
    Half a step down from standard tuning. Used by Meshuggah and After The Burial and by Deftones on "Tempest" and "Rosemary" from their latest album Koi No Yokan.
  • E tuning - E'-A'-D-G-c-f-a-d'
    One full step down from standard tuning. Used by Meshuggah and Korn on their "Untitled" album.
  • E tuning- E'-A'-D-G-B-e-a-d'
    One and a half steps down from standard tuning. Used by Meshuggah on "Nebulous" and Dissipate on their Tectonics EP.
  • A tuning - A"-D'-G'-C-F-A-d-g
    Three and one half steps down from standard tuning.
  • High A tuning - B'-E-A-d-g-b-e'-a'
    Standard seven string tuning with a 'high a' Used by Rusty Cooley.
  • All fourths tuning - F'-B'-E-A-d-g-c'-f'
    Regular tuning which extends range a half step higher.
  • Drop E/F - E-B-E-A-D-G-B-E
    A combination of standard 7 string tuning and a 8th string dropped one full step for power chords, used by Animals as Leaders and Whitechapel (on the songs "Devolver" and "Breeding Violence" from A New Era of Corruption). Also used by Deftones on Koi No Yokan.
  • Drop E, A - E-A-E-A-D-G-B-E
    A combination of 7 string drop A tuning and an 8th string dropped one full step, allowing both power chords rooted on A, and easy fingering with the E a fourth below. This is the tuning of the lowest two strings of a bass, along with all 6 strings of a standard-tuned guitar.
  • Drop E/D - E-B-E-A-D-G-B-E
    Half a step down from drop E tuning. Used by Meshuggah in the album Catch Thirty-Three, in the song Shed, and used by Emmure in the album Speaker of the Dead in the song "Word of Intulo". Also used by After the Burial in the song "To Carry You Away" off of the album In Dreams.
  • Drop D - D-A-D-G-C-F-A-D
    One full step down from drop E. Used by Meshuggah in the song Obsidian.
  • Drop C - C-G-C-F-B-E-G-C
    One and a half steps down from drop E.


A continuation of the eight string, adding a string lower or higher.

  • Standard - C-F-B-E-A-d-g-b-e'
  • High A - F-B-E-A-d-g-b-e'-a'
  • Double Drop A - A-D-A-D-C-c-g-g-e'
    Used by Glass Cloud.


A continuation of the nine string, adding another lower string to the standard or high A tuning.

  • Standard - G-C-F-B-E-A-d-g-b-e'
  • High A - C-F-B-E-A-d-g-b-e'-a'

Steel Guitar

On table steel guitar and pedal steel guitar, the most common tunings are the extended-chord C6 tuning and E9 tuning, sometimes known as the Texas and Nashville tunings respectively. On a multiple-neck instrument, the near neck will normally be some form of C6, and the next closest neck E9.

Necks with 12 or more strings can be used with universal tunings which combine the features of C6 and E9. On a 12 string pedal steel guitar, all 12 strings are tuned and played individually, not as 6 double courses as on the 12 string guitar.

On lap steel guitar there is often only one six-string neck. C6 tuning is popular for these instruments, as are open G, E6, and E7 tuning.

Renaissance lute

  • Renaissance lute tuning: E-A-d-f-b-e'

This tuning may also be used with a capo at the third fret to match the common lute pitch: G-c-f-a-d'-g'. This tuning also matches standard vihuela tuning and is often employed in classical guitar transcriptions of music written for those instruments, such as, for instance, "La Canción Del Emperador" and "Diferencias Sobre Guardame Las Vacas" by Renaissance composer Luis de Narváez.


  1. ^ Sethares (2009, pp. 18–19)
  2. ^ Hannu Annala, Heiki Mätlik (2007). "Composers for other plucked instruments: Rudolf Straube (1717-1785)". Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers (Translated by Katarina Backman ed.). Mel Bay. p. 30.  
  3. ^ a b Guitar Tunings Database (2013). "CCGCEG Guitar Tuner". CCGCEG: Open C via harmonic overtones. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Persichetti (1961, pp. 23–24):  
  5. ^ a b Sharken, Lisa (15 May 2001). "Mick Ralphs: The rock 'N' roll fantasy continues". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Sethares (2009, pp. 20–21)
  7. ^ Grossman (1972, p. 29)
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Gordie (1 May 2008). "Hey Kid, What Tuning is That?".  
  9. ^ "List of all Guitar and Piano Transcriptions". GGDGBD. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Bellow (1970, p. 164): Bellow, Alexander (1970). The illustrated history of the guitar. Colombo Publications. 
  12. ^ Timofeyev (1999):  
  13. ^ Sethares (2001, p. 16)
  14. ^ Cohen, Andy (22 March 2005). "Stefan Grossman- Country Blues Guitar in Open Tunings".  
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ John Sheehan
  17. ^ Erlewine, Dan (August 1992). "Talking With The Iceman: Albert Collins".  
  18. ^ Hanson (1995, pp. 111)
  19. ^ Hanson (1995, pp. 98)
  20. ^ Hanson (1995, pp. 75)
  21. ^ Sethares (2001, pp. 54)
  22. ^ a b Peterson (2002, pp. 36–37):Peterson, Jonathon (2002). "Tuning in thirds: A new approach to playing leads to a new kind of guitar". American Lutherie: The Quarterly Journal of the Guild of American Luthiers (8222 South Park Avenue, Tacoma WA 98408: USA: The Guild of American Luthiers). Number 72 (Winter): 36–43.  
  23. ^ a b Sethares (2001, pp. 56)
  24. ^  
  25. ^ Kirkeby, Ole (1 March 2012). "Major thirds tuning". cited by Sethares (2011). Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  26. ^  
  27. ^ Sethares (2001, pp. 58–59)
  28. ^ Bianco, Bob (1987). Guitar in Fourths. New York City: Calliope Music.  
  29. ^ Ferguson (1986, p. 76): Ferguson, Jim (1986). "Stanley Jordan". In Casabona, Helen;  
  30. ^ Sethares (2001, "The augmented fourths tuning" 60–61)
  31. ^ Sethares (2001, "The mandoguitar tuning" 62–63)
  32. ^ Lou Reed biography at IMDB
  33. ^
  34. ^ Steward, Gary (2004). Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos. Verso. p. 34.  
  35. ^ Bart Hopkin; Mark Rankin (April 1988). "Alternative tunings on Fretted Instruments–Refretting and Other Approaches". Experimental Musical Instruments journal 3 (6): 3–6. 
  36. ^ US Patent for individually adjustable frets
  37. ^ The Adjustable Microtonal Guitar by Tolgahan Çoğulu
  38. ^ Schecter Guitar Research (1999) Diamond Series. Schecter Guitar Research Catalogs. Los Angeles, CA
  39. ^ McFarland-Johnson, Jeffrey (2013). "GUITELLO". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  40. ^ Official Ibanez Forums announcement:


  • Denyer, Ralph (1992). "Playing the guitar ('How the guitar is tuned', pp. 68–69, and 'Alternative tunings', pp. 158–159)". The guitar handbook.  

Further reading

  • Anonymous (2000). Alternate tunings guitar essentials. Acoustic Guitar Magazine's private lessons. String Letter Publishing. Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation.  
  • Hanson, Mark (1995). The complete book of alternate tunings. Accent on Music.  
  • Hanson, Mark (1997). Alternate tunings picture chords. Accent on Music.  
  • Heines, Danny (2007). Mastering alternate tunings: A revolutionary system of fretboard navigation for fingerstyle guitarists. Hal Leonard.  
  • Johnson, Chad (2002). Alternate tuning chord dictionary. Hal Leonard.  
  • Maloof, Richard (2007). Alternate tunings for guitar. Cherry Lane Music Company.  
  • Shark, Mark (2008). The tao of tunings: A map to the world of alternate tunings. Hal Leonard Corporation.  

External links

  • Allen, Warren (22 September 2011) [30 December 1997]. "WA's encyclopedia of guitar tunings". (Recommended by  
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