Talk:Guitar tunings

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No history[edit]

Perhaps not enough is known, but I went to this article hoping to find out a bit about the history of guitar tuning, and how standard tuning came to be, well, standard.David Fell (talk) 13:51, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

New Standard Tuning[edit]

NAS - New American Standard? Why the omission?[edit]

Just wondering why Robert Fripp's / League of Crafty Guitarists New American Standard (C-G-D-A-E-G) isn't mentioned in the irregular tunings? It has been in use for many years and is a very musical tuning. Catch a California Guitar Trio or King Crimson concert and try telling us otherwise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:13, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

New Standard Tuning is discussed in the subsection on all-fifths tuning in the section on regular tunings.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz  12:16, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

The image showing the guitar standard tuning is an OCTAVE TOO HIGH[edit]

The description above says it all. The 1st string (high E in standard) is is a minor third above middle C. The rest of the chord goes DOWN in pitch from there.

If you're going to display the tuning as a chord using standard notation it should be in the bass clef. Either that, or move the chord diagram down to the location where it says "the guitar is a transposing instrument" and adjust the caption.

Tuning description is wrong[edit]

The description of how to tune using 7th and 5th fret harmonics is sure to lead to a guitar that sounds bad and slightly out of tune. The guitar is an equal tempered instrument and thus the only pure intervals are unison and the octave. This method of fifth and seventh fret harmonics produces a just perfect 4th interval, which is not correct for an equal tempered instrument. The other typical method of fretting the 5th fret and playing the next higher string open produces a better result because it is tuning to an octave, which is a pure interval on an equal tempered instrument. However, this technique is sensitive the setup and intonation of the guitar, and to the player's left hand technique. Anyway, I don't really have the time or energy to write up something sufficient for the main page, but any beginning player using the technique is likely to be left wondering why their guitar sounds like crap. Someone should really write an article on how to properly tune a guitar. There are a million articles on the web describing this flawed method of tuning, but it's simply wrong and doesn't sound as good as doing it properly.

Just to add a bit here:

Using the harmonic method we're tuning four of the string pairs to just perfect fourths (4:3) and one to a just major third (5:4), which gives (4/3)^5 *5/4 = 3.9 which is not the same as the factor of 4 that the high E string should be above the low E string. This all fundamentally relates back to why there is an equal tempered scale in the first place, in that it's impossible to have an instrument perfectly in tune in all keys with fixed intervals between notes as on guitars, pianos, etc.

this depends on what chords you are going to play
equal temperament is a compromise
open tunings are usually played with some barre (placing a finger on the same fret across a bunch of strings) and they sound great

How to read tunings[edit]

I am new to guitar, but I do know a little. I know that guitar tuning is E A D G B E, going from sixth to first, and that the 1st string is above middle C.i think an a chord does not make sence. yeah so if the a is playe don all strings and stuff I am confused by reading the way the list of tunings are written. I don't undestand the use of capital letters as aposed to lower case, and I also don't understand the various notations next to some notes (what is with the ['], ["], [#] and the various numbers?). I know that there are sharps and flats, sharps being 1/2 step above, flats being a 1/2 step below. What I am getting at is there should be a standard way of simply writing the various tunings, and that simple notation should be at the top of the article telling laymen (or those with a basic understanding of music) how to read the tunings. It would also be helpful to link to other articles about the basics of music (like articles detailing exactly what a major, minor, step, 1/2 step, legato, arpegios, flats, sharps, etc. mean). The mathematics behind guitar music should also be noted, in essence the science behind what makes a guitar work, if only a short summary. If you can't help with doing these things, but do know someone who can, get the word out, or let me know what I should do to get this request for help out there so someone can help clarify this article.Will 19:59, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

You're right. There should have been more links to explain some of the terms used, as not everyone will understand them. The questions you ask are all answered in the article note, and I've mentioned that on the page, as well as linking some other terms to their own articles. (Mark, 23 April 06)

Artists noted for their use of alternate tunings[edit]

This should be ordered alphabetically by artists' surnames, not given names (e.g. Steven Malkmus under M rather than S etc.). FrFintonStack 17:27, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Two years later, done. JSC ltd (talk) 16:45, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

List of guitarists that use alternate tuning extremely incomplete[edit]

Many popular guitarists are missing from this list and to complete and maintain a list would be a whole project in itself. I think it should be removed. --Me2NiK 02:10, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed - Mark 18/07/06
Yes, including such a section is ludicrous. RichardJ Christie 08:45, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Only guitarists known for pioneering, developing, or popularizing an alternate tuning should be recognized.
Agreed, the list is too long and too difficult to moderate. It should be removed. Strobilus 12:10, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, I've made the list easier to view and use by alphabetizing it and putting it into columns. I added a couple names, and deleted a couple names. Including such a list is problematic, I agree, and as difficult to moderate as any list of "Notable fill-in-the-blank-brand-of-guitar players," yet I see a certain legitimacy in it. If nothing else, it provides users with a starting point to hear how various tunings sound. I could imagine a more effective system, however, where the tunings are given example songs or musicians, rather than simply listing a bunch of artists devoid of further information about what tuning in particular they are associated with. Some individual musicians' pages detail the tuning(s) they use, and that is useful. JSC ltd (talk) 17:04, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Obvious Error[edit]

"When the guitar is strummed with all strings open (as sometimes happens momentarily during difficult chord changes in frenetic passages of modern songs) it plays a tolerable E minor seven add eleven chord (Em7add11)"

No. An A11 is played. Check any book on guitar chords, such as "De Ongeloof'lijke Akkoorden Vinder voor de gitarist" from Rogers Music Holland b.v. = It is okay!

Thus, I changed it 22:10, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Why do you feel that it's more correct to call it A11? As A11 it has no third (C#) - and also it would be in second inversion. With no third how can you know if it's A11 or Am11? As Em7 add 11, all required notes are present and also it's in root position, based on the low 6th string E.
It really depends on which string we choose to be the root. If we chose G as the root, it would be G6/9 (GBDAE) - but it makes more sense to have string 6 as the root. I don't have that book so I did a check on some sites but I couldn't find any showing the open strings as A11. Do you know any? I found some calling it Em7add11, such as: Mark 18/07/06

I base myself upon a professional work on guitar chords, and I trust their judgement. Then, to double-check the claim, the book "Complete Guitar Facts" also names this chord A11/ 18:53, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Can you explain why they are calling it A11 rather than Em7 add11? It's not enough just to change it because of what that book says. You need to give reasons too. At least put in the chord members of the A11 chord. The previous chord had the chord members included (1,4,b7,3,5,1) showing clearly why it was a root position Emin7 add 11. You've removed them but you haven't replaced them yet with the new notes. So your reference shows nothing of the chord's structure. Please give reasons or include those chord members so people can decide whether your choice is justified or not and change it accordingly.
Here's another page that shows it as Em7 add 11. - Mark 20/July/06

One Octave Lower Tuning[edit]

Has anyone experience with this in a conventional electric guitar? I discovered it can allows you a such sensitive touch, but it seems impossible to make chords sounds good. - Anonymous Post


I was wondering if anyone knew of this particular tunings name? D-A-F-C-G-D I'm going to just go for calling it one step lower and adding it in under the rock tunings, with Killing Joke as one band in particular (in my experience) and some mention of it being used in several Beatles songs, though that is unverified by me currently.Fraterm 01:17, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

For the record, most deviations from standard tuning on Beatles records stem from alterations in recording speed or the use of a capo rather than from tuning the guitars differently. The only exception is Lennon's fingerpicked Gretsch 6120 on "Rain," which is in open G. See The Beatles As Musicians by Walter Everett. It's a great read for any music theory nerds out there! JSC ltd (talk) 17:14, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
The two exceptions are "Rain," and "Dear Prudence," where both Lennon's Casino and Harrison's borrowed Les Paul are both in Dropped D. And an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. The three exceptions are…. JSC ltd (talk) 14:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Nashville tuning[edit]

Pedal steel guitarists seem to use the phrase Nashville tuning to mean the E9 tuning which is fairly standard for the far neck of a twin-neck instrument. However, this article uses the phrase Nashville tuning to mean a guitar strung with only the high strings of a 12-string guitar set. This is known as "Nashville tuning" when the strings are in standard tuning. Is this documented anywhere?

Yes, I recall an issue of Guitar Player mentioning it regarding one of the guitar parts of a Pink Floyd song (maybe "Wish You Were Here"). Both tunings are referred to as "Nashville tuning;" the context of the discussion should tell you whether a standard guitar or a pedal steel guitar is the object. JSC ltd (talk) 16:53, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

One slight problem with this phrasing (I'm a twelve-string player both acoustic and electric): There are at least three 12-string tunings that might be classified as standard. The traditional tuning is down two frets, with octave secondary strings E-G (well, tuned D-F actually) and unison B (tuned A) and top E (tuned D). The more modern acoustic tuning is concert pitch, with octave secondary strings E-G and unison B and top E; I use this for both acoustic and electric. However many electric 12-string players tune to concert with unison G. This isn't as easy on an acoustic guitar, as you normally have a fixed bridge compensator, but most electric twelves have individually adjustable bridge compensation and can cope (and also can cope with swapping between solid and wound primary G and even D strings). For my money the brightness of the octave G is the very soul of the twelve, but you do break it occasionally tuning it 3 frets higher than the normal top E, and the octave G tunings put the tone break right in the middle of most lead boxes. Andrewa 22:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

The 'artists that use alternative tunings' list was pish[edit]

...So, I've replaced it with a new list in which notable songs are listed by the tuning. I think doing it this way is much better, because the list of artists there was before told people absolutely nothing, wheras this should give people a decent idea of what a tuning can do.

If anyone can add to it, please do.Unreadablecharacters 11:48, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what happened to this list, but it's a good idea and I'm considering re-incorporating it and replacing the current list. JSC ltd (talk) 17:16, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but Michael Hedges doesn't even get a mention in this article. That immediately discredits the entire page. Sort it out....When I get some time I'll add some stuff-- (talk) 13:41, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Doesn't really show how to tune[edit]

I arrived at this page in the hope of showing a child how to tune a guitar, but it doesn't have simple instructions, and we really don't understand much of what is written. If this isn't the guitar tuning instructions page, a link to it, or link to simple instructions would be good. Thanks

Someone added the text:
See how to tune a guitar if you've just started to play a guitar.
to the article -- 11:42, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Death has been added[edit]

on the subject of One Step Lower. thought it was important to add since heavy metal was only briefly mentioned. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hollow181 (talkcontribs) 17:02, 27 March 2007 (UTC).


I think the Image:Guitarchords.jpg image should be changed into regular wiki markup, it really stands out currently and is a bit ugly. -- 11:40, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I added the badjpeg tag to the commons page; a PNG or SVG with transparency would be much better if wikifying is not feasible. -- 11:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed WikiProject Guitar Tunings[edit]

I propose a new WikiProject. Basically, it would focus on creating and improving articles related to guitar tuning. I shall Mezmerize you! My edits shall Mezmerize you!! My articles shall Mezmerize you!!! 01:38, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

pitch notation and tuning categories[edit]

1 The current article is a dog's breakfast of conficting notational systems. Some attempt has been made to adhere to Helmholtz pitch notation (EAdgbe') which I think is better in this context than scientific pitch notation (E2 A2 etc). Plain EADGBE etc is inadequate.

2 Since when did a style of music (eg Rock or classical) "own" a guitar tuning? To categorize in such a manner is nonsense. Many, if not most, various scordatura are found across stylistic boundaries. The tunings should simply listed and if required add a "commonly heard in" column. RichardJ Christie 01:15, 19 August 2007 (UTC)


The following are culled from the current article and have been grouped into two groups below. The guitar tuning is essentially the same system within each group, only the pitch is altered. I think the current section on rock tunings has become a bit of a joke and is making much too much of very little indeed. It has almost become an excuse, or a free forum, for metal-heads to list their favourite bands. Subject to feedback I propose to come back in a week or two and substantially prune the section so as to simply note that the use of some the systems can be extended by tuning the whole system up, or more usually down by up to a minor third.

  1. 4.1.1 Dropped D: D-A-d-g-b-e'
  2. 4.1.3 Dropped C♯ or Dropped Db: C♯-G♯-c♯-f♯-a♯-e♯'
  3. 4.1.4 Dropped C: C-G-c-f-a-d'
  4. 4.1.7 Dropped B: Bˌ-F♯-B-e-g♯-c♯' or Bˌ-G♭-B-e-a♭-d♭'
  5. 4.1.12 Dropped A: Aˌ-E-A-d-f♯-b or Aˌ-A-d-g-b-e'
  6. 4.1.9 Drop B♭ Tuning: B♭ˌ-F-B♭-E♭-G-C or B♭ˌ-E♭-A♭-D♭-F-B♭


  1. 4.1.5 C Tuning: C-F-B♭-e♭-g-c'
  2. 4.1.6 C♯ Tuning: C♯-F♯-B-e-g♯-c♯'
  3. 4.1.14 E♭ Tuning: E♭-A♭-d♭-g♭-b♭-e♭'
  4. 4.1.15 One Step Lower: D-G-c-f-a-d'

RichardJ Christie 04:23, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I agree with you. I'll rewrite it.I shall Mezmerize you! My edits shall Mezmerize you!! My articles shall Mezmerize you!!! 02:49, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

What about alto tuning and so on[edit]

What about including tuning for Soprano Guitar, Alto Guitar, Treble Guitar, Terz Guitar, Prime Guitar, Bass Guitar, Baritone Guitar, and Contra Guitar? See —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, only two of those have articles, and one already has an article on how to tune it. But with the Baritone Guitar, feel free to write an article on how to tune it. Prepare to be Mezmerized! 20:59, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Question: What ARE some of those anyway? Isn't the prime guitar the same thing as the standard guitar (as it's written in the article)? Why are there so many guitars for which Wiki has no articles? Tubularbells1993 (talk) 00:01, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

drop a#/bb....[edit]

Is not on the list. Breaking Benjamin uses it, in two of there biggest hits. If we find more significant bands/songs played, it should definitely be included. I use that tuning all the time, with 10 gauges too. 03:42, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, its just not notable enough. Anyway, there used to be a huge list of tunings, and when I cleaned it up, I took out the Drop A#/Bb part.Prepare to be Mezmerized! :D 21:24, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Ostrich Guitar[edit]

What about Lou Reed's ostrich guitar? Without that where would Sonic Youth be? 10:35, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Who knows? But Sonic Youth has used well over 100 alternate tunings. :|

Anyway, feel free to write an article on it, but if youre wondering why it isnt listed, its because only misc. tunings with articles are listed. Prepare to be Mezmerized! :D 02:54, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

More of the same again[edit]

Irrelevance is creeping back into the article with addition of E flat and F tunings. These are not tunings distinct from standard. To accept them as so is to accept absolute pitch designation and the logical end point of that is to have A=440Hz tunings, A=444Hz tuning etc. Remember that "standard" pitch has risen considerably over the past 200 years. Any tuning's pitch can be varied within reason a semitone or two, this doesn't alter the tuning system or interval arrangement, the tuning syatem remains the same. I believe there is comment somewhere in article to cover this so I propose to remove the two entries outlined above. RichardJ Christie (talk) 04:53, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

You can get rid of the F tuning. But the E flat tuning should stay because its notable (look how many bands have used it!). Also, its impossible to play an E♭ on the low E string if its tuned to E. Prepare to be Mezmerized! :D 01:14, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

That performers use sharper or lower pitches can and should be noted in a section on pitch variance of standard (and other) tunings. It doesn't matter how many have used certain pitches, it's best not to get into judgments over which is popular enough to qualify for inclusion, RichardJ Christie (talk) 12:50, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
"It doesn't matter how many have used certain pitches, it's best not to get into judgments over which is popular enough to qualify for inclusion" Good point.

But as said earlier, its impossible to play a low E flat on a string tuned to E, isnt it? It seems to me that you believe that E flat=E natural when they are different (sorry if I come across as uncivil here; I dont intend to be uncivil). Prepare to be Mezmerized! :D 20:30, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I obviously haven't made the point clearly enough. The tuning system is the same:
Six strings from 6th to 1st tuned thus: Fourth, fourth, fourth, maj3rd, fourth.
The "pitch" given to each frequency is subjective. For example, what is a'??? It can range from approx 430Hz to 460Hz. One persons flat c is another's sharp b. Modern orchestral instruments are pitched considerably higher than those of a century ago. Being absolute "E flat doesn't equal E" is a nonsense. RichardJ Christie (talk) 11:55, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Who's meshuggah here??!?[edit]

"F Tuning F-A#-D#-G#-C#-F#-A#-D# 8 String Tuning
Meshuggah tuning on Rational Gaze,"

Huh? -- megA (talk) 15:52, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Its gone now. Prepare to be Mezmerized! :D 01:13, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Well, you never know... -- megA (talk) 10:36, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

A Left Out Tuning[edit]

While reading this article I noticed a brief mention of Black Sabbath while talking about a tuning that is a half step flat from standard. While this is true for the Dio albums and some on the reunion album, the tuning that realy definded their sound, and thus the sound of metal, is one and one half steps flat from standard. This tuning is on all of the Ozzy albums except the first two yet there is no mention of this tuning anywhere in this article. Why is that, it is an important part of musical history. Is Mr. Iommy the only one on the planet who ever used this tuning? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Dropped Tunings[edit]

I think each dropped tuning should be added to their standard tuning counterpart (e.g. Drop C with D Standard, Drop B with C# standard, etc.). Emmure 89 (talk) 02:48, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

'Karnivool tuning' is listed in the 'Lower' section, when it is in fact a 'Dropped' tuning. (talk) 13:30, 2 February 2011 (UTC)


Does anyone else think the octave number (using Scientific pitch notation) should be added? For many of the tunings, it seems somewhat ambiguous which octave to tune to. Mauvila (talk) 20:41, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

More Tuning[edit]

Is there a reason nobody has made mention of EABEBE tuning yet? It is heavily employed by Jars of Clay, especially in their earlier work. I saw EABEAE, but not EABEBE. It is an open E sort of chord, some suspended stuff in there. Anyway, thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AUBeastmaster (talkcontribs) 16:57, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

What about a separate page with a list of musicians who employ open tuning?[edit]

Yes, What about a separate page with a list of musicians who employ open tuning?!! I mean, it would be much neater and would only take a small redirect. This way, people could look up and down say, three rows that are alphabetized. Just a thought. --leahtwosaints (talk) 11:06, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Need references for bands using tunings[edit]

A lot of tunings here, especially in the Rock Tunings section, claim that they are used by certain bands or guitarists or on certain songs, but there is no indication of where this info comes from. — Gwalla | Talk 17:49, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

microtonal tunings[edit]

this article should have stuff about microtonal tunings. -- (talk) 23:32, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Are there any microtonal tunings of guitar strings in common use? Tuning strings microtonally with standard fretting seems awkward. Alternate fretting patterns would seem to be outside of the scope of this article. — Gwalla | Talk 16:12, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

light strings?[edit]

I was just trying out the Open E tuning, and I saw that it recommends light gauge strings. In my opinion, this should be removed as well as wherever a recommendation for light gauge strings is found. First off, I'm using a set of heavier strings (11, 15, 22, 30, 42, 54) and I had no trouble tuning up to Open E. Secondly, a lot of people use heavier strings for slide because it sounds better.Hypershadow647 (talk) 03:57, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, if you tune up with strings that are too heavy of a gauge and you don't adjust your truss rod, you are risking permanently warping and damaging your guitar's neck, so saying it's no prob, really isn't the truth....if you know how to have heavier strings on the guitar and adjust the truss rod, which I'm sure there is enough information on Wikipedia or the internet to allow anyone to find this information out, then great, but I don't think it's a good idea to remove the safety warning about wanting to use lighter gauge strings. (talk) 21:25, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Anyway, 11 through 54 is considered light gauge (light top E being 10 or 11).funkendub (talk) 00:06, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

tuning low requires the neck to be adjusted[edit]

IN the section about drop B tuning, it states that thicker strings must be used. This is correct, but it also says that the neck may require adjustment. However, this is rarely the case, as even though thicker strings are used, they are tuned LOWER, meaning that any increase of tension on the neck is minimal. If you were to put thick gauge strings on a guitar setup for standard tuning, and tune them to standard, then most definitely you would need to adjust the neck. Also, it fails to mention that intonation is what will need to be adjusted when using thicker strings. Also, saying it is harder to tune below c on a "non baritone" guitar is "hard". It is not hard, what's hard about getting a thicker set of strings. Also, baritone guitar refers to how the guitar is tuned, and is not in itself a reference to scale length, although in practice if a baritone guitar is mentioned, it generally does mean longer scale length than 25 1/2" or whatever. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes but if the guitar was initially set for standard tuning, then anything below that tension would not be strong enough to bring the neck into a straight position. There might not be enough relief and you would get back bow. The neck would then need adjustment so that it would sit straight with the lower tension.

Lexical problem. Tunings (plural) is not listed in any dictionary.[edit]

The problem would appear to be with the dictionaries themselves. They describe tuning only as an act wherby an instrument is tuned but do not describe the result as an individual tuning of an instrument for which a plural is possible.--Hairyscotsman2 (talk) 16:13, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Really? Not even the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians? — Gwalla | Talk 17:21, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
The word is in common usage and in this case, "Tuning" is a gerund and is therefore treated as a noun and can be pluralised. Think of it as an extension of the verb rather than a distinct noun. SoLowRockerMan (talk) 03:51, 3 October 2009 (UTC)


this really should be in singular though

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks!
While that is normally correct despite the fact that this article is about guitar tunings plural rather than a single guitar tuning, the singular title "Guitar tuning" would imply the action of tuning a guitar. Hyacinth (talk) 03:30, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Please help![edit]

I am not familiarised with guitar tuning and I didn't find any resemblance in this article to what it means here: "Early in the band's history Iommi experimented with different tuning, including 3 semi-tuning, or C tuning, before settling on semi-tune down, or half-step tuning." Could somebody explain it to me? It is written in an abreviated way and I can'd understand comparing it to this article. Thanks in advance. OboeCrack (talk) 23:50, 2 July 2009 (UTC) PS: please reply in my Spanish talk page and/or here.

WP:NOTTEXTBOOK. However, this article mentions dropped tunings including D# tuning and C tuning. Hyacinth (talk) 06:23, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
It appears that your source for the above is the Wikipedia article "Black Sabbath", indicating it may need some work. I rephrased it: "Early in the band's history Iommi experimented with different dropped tunings, including C tuning, or 3 semitones down, before settling on D# tuning, or a half-step down from standard tuning." Hyacinth (talk) 06:36, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention it. Thanks for the advice and rephrasing it! OboeCrack (talk) 23:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

hi guys,

i hope clicking the "edit" button was a way to post something here...

B Tuning - B-E-A-D-F-B Two and a half steps down from standard tuning. Also known as a Baritone tuning.

I'm not sure about the baritone tuning but 2.5 steps down would lead to this:

B Tuning - B-E-A-D-F#-B

It's supposed to be an f sharp. guitar pro 5 agress on that.

Greetings from Germany

Yeah, much of it IS incorect[edit]

I'm with the guy who says it's incorrect. It's not /all/ incorrect, but as it stands article is confusing, and incomplete is some areas while containing much superfluous information in others.

A lot of tunings are listed that are either merely theoretical, or in use only by a single artist, or even only for a single composition. Listing such tunings in a *general article about tunings* is absurd. Obviously there are a myriad of /possible/ tunings: if we just stay in the 12-tone chromatic scale, and within one octave of variation, there are nearly 3 million possible tunings available. Do they all need to be listed? If we take into account microtones, the number of tunings becomes infinite, for all practical purposes.

Many of the tunings which are listed, besides being rare or theoretical, are extremely impractical. Tuning a standard guitar with standard strings down even two whole steps (C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C) is going to sound like crap on the vast majority of instruments, and make it virtually impossible to play chords in tune. Sure, you can change string guages and get better results, but then you're talking about /modifying/ the instrument, and not just retuning it. And I pretty much defy anyone to tune a standard set of strings up a whole octave without either immediately breaking at least half of them, warping the top, or ripping the bridge loose. And even if you switch to lighter strings, if you have an .007 (or .006!) tuned up an octave on a standard scale guitar neck, assuming you can get it that high intact, I'd be sruprised to see it last more than a half-dozen strums.

My suggestion would be to just chart maybe 10-20 of the most common scordaturas, and then in another section mention that virtually infinite variation is possible, with maybe a couple of oddball examples. Also would be worth mentioning that going up or down by more than about a minor third tends to have serious consequences as regards intonation, tone, string longevity, and stress on the instrument.

One other observation concerns the many extended and hybrid instruments that have cropped up over the last 10-15 years. Yeah, these days you can pretty much get a guitar with how ever many strings you want: 7- 8- 11- 37- , limited only by the size of you wallet and the time available to the luthier nearest you. But few of these instruments have yet achieved the status of /standardization/ that the 6- and 12-string instruments have. Nor have they really acquired standard tunings.

Case in point: For decades about the only reasonably well-known performing artists using 7-string guitars were George Van Eps and Bucky Pizarelli. Both of these players tuned the seventh string to a low 'A' (Van Eps tuned the whole instrument down a whole step). While I agree that tuning the 7th string to a low B makes some sense, calling this the "standard" tuning for a 7-string is absurd.

Indeed, the situation with added strings -- especially added bases -- is similar to that of the late Rennaisanse/early Baroque where lute players started adding bases willy-nilly, and scarcely any two players used the same tuning. At this point in time it makes more sense to refer to certain /common/ tunings for these extended range instruments, rather than "standard" tunings. There are no standard tunings for most of them. (talk) 01:06, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Go ahead, find some sources and add the information to the article. Hyacinth (talk) 01:55, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Why are there a huge number of standard tunings listed at different pitches? This makes no sense and makes the whole article look clumsy and ridiculous.Duster (talk) 12:50, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Defining Trivially Different Versus Significantly Different Forms of Guitar Music[edit]

Significant Versus Trivial: Changes in Guitar Music Fingering

Different chords and scales in different guitar tunings and keys can be classified as either significantly different or trivially different.

A capo is an example of a trivial change in tuning and fingering because when a capo is used without retuning strings the geometric shapes of chords and scales do not changed. The capo changes both musical key and timber, but the fingering language does not change. There are some differences introduced by the capo because the frets are closer together and there are fewer of them, but the guitarist need not relearn positions so the addition of a capo is not perceived as a change in tuning.

Tuning all of the guitar strings up or down the same distance also introduces a trivial change in fingering so long as the tuning algorithm is not changed. Standard tuning detuned a half step will not require relearning positions, but lowering just the low E string and nothing else will change everything about how chords and scales are played.

A significant change in fingering will occur when the guitar tuning algorithm changes its numeric key. When even just one string changes to a different open string tuning note almost every chord and scale changes shape and must be relearned at considerable intellectual effort.

Changing guitar tuning is very confusing. Note that when one of the inner guitar strings changes its open string tuning note, the guitar tuning algorithm changes two its parameters since the relation between two sets of strings has changed. This lesson must be learned in order to play in a new tuning: you find that you must relearn note positions on several strings.

For example, Open G (57543) and Open G Minor (57534) are the same tuning except that for Open G the 2nd string is tune the B3 and in Open G minor the second string is B-flat3. Even though Open G and Open G minor differ only in a half-step on the second string, the fingering differences between the two tunings are considerable. Fingering position changes will not limited only to the second string.

Furthermore the temperament and tonal range of Open G and Open G minor are entirely different.

Significant changes in fingering of guitar music also occur with key changes, and in this respect guitar is quite different form piano. The only difference that occurs when changing keys on piano is that the pattern of black and white keys may change but not the spacing of notes. Movable fingerings on the guitar fretboard don’t change spacing of notes either (that is movable fingerings are trivial). But fingerings with open string notes included are not movable and they cannot be transposed to different keys without difficultly (that is non-capo, non-detuning key changes are significant). The term fingering here refers to geometry of fretboard positions encoded in the fretboard coordinates (string, fret) and not directly concerned with which finger plays a particular note. If a guitar string could have a range of five notes then for the six tuning notes there are 5 to the 6th power guitar tunings possible or 15625 guitar tunings (not counting capo tunings), but using the guitar tuning algorithm key there are 5 to the 5th power or 3125 tunings possible. The larger number of guitar tunings is an over count because it counts guitar tunings that are trivially different.Dr. Terry Allen (talk) 21:00, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

This is original material written by Dr Terry Allen and not previously published.
You might want to take a look at our policies concerning original research. --jpgordon::==( o ) 22:04, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Article headings[edit]

Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Section headings, "All of the guidance in Article titles immediately above applies to section headings, as well." That section is Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Article titles.

Per that section: "Titles should be short—preferably fewer than ten words." and "Avoid special characters...". As such headings such as "All fourths: E-A-d-g-c'-f'" and "All thirds: E-G#-C-E-G#-c OR F#-A#-D-F#-A#-d" should be changed to "All fourths" and "All thirds". This also takes care of the necessity to use rather than #. Hyacinth (talk) 01:21, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Image removed[edit]

The image "Tuning guitars." was removed because one of the guitarists has a capo on the guitar while tuning. Hyacinth (talk) 11:56, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Open A[edit]

Something needs to be changed about Open A. The article says two things, one that it is E A C# E A e and it says this was used in Seven Nation Army. I have played Seven Nation Army for years and I know that it is tuned E A E A C# e. I always believed this to be Open A, so either the open a on this article is incorrect or Seven Nation Army does not use open a tuning.-- (talk) 15:58, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Paul Gilbert tuning[edit]

Paul Gilbert[edit]

Paul Gilbert used EEe tuning (each an octave apart) on the songs Three E's for Edward, Get Out Of My Yard and (if im not mistaken, and possibly in a different key) Let The Computer Decide. During the 2009 Mr Big reunion tour there is a duet with Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan (using the drummer and singer as human capos, a gimmick also used in the GOOMY intro), both of whom are tuned to DDd (iirc). That seems notable to me. Perhaps it should be mentioned in the misc tunings section or in the ostrich tuning description.

Oxbow as an example of open tunings[edit]

I think using Oxbow as an example of guitar tunings is a bad idea. For one thing, some of their songs I can't find on youtube, and also, the song '...The Stick' is heavy metal--not exactly easy to hear the guitar tuning in it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:05, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

The only Oxbow song I could find was '...The Stick'. I couldn't find the Elizabeth Cotten song either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:10, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Description of "Dropped A" tuning incorrect[edit]

The current text reads:

"For example, the Foo Fighters song "Stacked Actors" uses a tuning AADGBE with the 5th and 6th strings retuned to form an octave on A. This involves dropping the 6th string down a perfect fifth while raising the 5th string a whole step."

This is incorrect as standard tuning EADGBE would only require dropping the 6th string down to A. The fifth string is already A and would not be raised. I have deleted the reference to retuning the fifth string as follows:

"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."

I wholeheartedly concur with moving the references to bands elsewhere. The page is a jumble. Though it was amusing to see how the quality of bands generally deteriorate with lower tunings :) (talk) 10:16, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Drop C is missing from the "Dropped Tunings" section[edit]

Not sure if any one notices, but in the "Drop Tuning" section there is no Drop C listed. It goes from C sharp then skips to B. Not sure if I over looked it or if it really isn't there. -- (talk) 01:33, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Unnecessary tunings[edit]

Does anyone else feel that some tunings listed are unnecessary? I mean, we could keep listing more and more by going higher and lower and whatnot, but if a tuning is not actually used by any notable bands/musicians, then why list it? Take for example the very low seven-string tunings such as D, C, octave, etc. Is there any evidence that anyone actually uses these? If not, then adding them to the page just because they exist is pretty pointless in my opinion. Thoughts?

-hsxeric 29, February 2012


I removed the following material from the article, because it is not discussed in Denyer or Setharest, and the discussion had no references (despite months of tags).  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 21:31, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

"Extended chord" tunings[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

These tunings allow a guitarist to play an open seventh, ninth, eleventh or thirteenth chord, or when the extended tone occurs in the lowest string to exploit the sound of that note as an 'open' string. One or more of the strings is retuned to the appropriate note of the required scale. Such tunings may be either minor or major.

Examples are (low to high):

  • Open Dmaj7: D-A-D-F-A-C
  • Open Dmin7: D-A-D-F-A-C
    • When used for rhythm guitar purposes, this tuning is highly accessible to musicians who play the guitar as a second instrument but who have preexisting knowledge of music theory: One can play any major, minor, major seventh, or minor seventh chord by barring at the fret of the tonic with the first finger, changing minor to major by using the second (middle) finger to raise the F-string note one half-step from barred, and/or changing seventh to triad-only by using the third (ring) finger to raise the C-string note one whole step from barred. As long as one is familiar with the chord progression of the song one is playing, this tuning enables even an inexperienced player to play a wide variety of chords (albeit at the cost of frequent jumps up and down the fretboard).
  • Open Dmin(add9): D-A-D-F-A-E
    • Alternative: E-A-D-F-A-D (used by Oxbow on the song "Babydoll")
  • Open Emin7: E-B-D-G-B-E (same as standard except raised 5th string which needs lighter gauge)
  • Open G6: D-G-D-G-B-E
  • Dobro open G6: G-B-D-G-B-E (two lowest strings tuned up and require lighter gauges)
  • Open G7:
    • D-G-D-G-B-F
    • D-G-D-F-B-D (both very rare presumably because of tritone between adjacent strings)
    • F-G-D-G-B-D
  • Open Gmaj7: D-G-D-F-B-D (see slack key)
  • "Modal" G7: F-G-D-G-C-D
  • "Open G13": F-G-D-G-B-E
  • Open Cmin7: C-G-C-G-B-E
  • Open Cmaj7: C-G-C-G-B-E
  • Open C6/9: C-G-C-E-A-C
  • Open Cmaj9: C-G-D-G-B-E
  • Csus2add11: C-G-D-F-c-f
  • Golden Blue: C-C-c-c-B-F
  • Open Gsus4: D-G-C-G-c-d (used by Jimmy Page on "The Rain Song"[citation needed])

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Huh? I don't see any "discussion" in the above box. Just a bunch of material that looks like it was snipped from an article somewhere. To what "discussion" is the dire warning not to edit refering? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Why Helmholz Notation??[edit]

It's fussy, ambiguous, and hails back to the 19th century. American Standard Pitch Notation (Middle C = C4, every octave starts on "C") is simpler, clear, and immediately straight-forward as to octave. I recommend updating /all/ Wiki articles referencing musical pitch to ASPN, except for those referencing Helmholz and other earlier systems for historical purposes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia's policy is to follow the best reliable sources. Please provide high quality reliable sources that use ASPN rather than Helmholz, on the talk page of the music project. Your proposal is far-reaching and should be decided by the WikiProject, after discussion.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:15, 25 May 2012 (UTC) Wikipedia has no article on American standard pitch notation. Please write one with reliable sources.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz  12:23, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
The "best" sources anyone could find on musical acoustics are over 150 years old?
Pretty much any major text on musical acoustics written after 1950 would provide an example.
Wikipedia itself has an article on Scientific Pitch Notation (another name for ASPN):
That article cites the original 1939 paper proposing what became SPN/ASPN:
  • Young, R. W. (1939). "Terminology for Logarithmic Frequency Units". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 11 (1): 134–000.
Other sources include:
  • Backus, J,' "The Acoustical Foundations of Music"; W.W.Norton & Co.; New York: 1977
  • Benade, A.H.; "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics"; Dover Publications; MIneola, NY, 1990
  • Rossing, T.D, Moore, F.R., & Wheeler, P.A.; "The Science of Sound"; Addison-Wesley: Reading, Mass.: 2001
  • Hall, D.E.; "Musical Acoustics"; Brooks/Cole; Pacific Grove, Cal.: 2001
-- all standard college textbooks on musical acoustics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Separate article from list of tunings[edit]

The article needs development.

Does anybody object to separating the list of tunings in a proper Wikipedia list? Kiefer.Wolfowitz 13:39, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I just watchlisted this article a bit before you started working on it. I don't object. There is simply no need to list 100 conceivable tunings in an encyclopedic introduction to guitar tuning... it gives a newbie the impression that there is some chance they'll actually run into more than 3 or 4 guitar tunings in their amateur life, which they won't. I wouldn't object to deleting 90% of the tunings, period, but creating a list would effectively shuffle the "I want to add a tuning" edits to a dedicated page. Riggr Mortis (talk) 19:34, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi Riggr Mortis!
Thanks for the vote of confidence!
There are a number of Wikipedians who like lists, whom can be left to care for the lists.
William Sethares has written an intelligent overview of the main classes and most interesting examples of tunings, which I suppose can guide the expansion. In Sweden, I have little access to English books on tunings, although I added the ones that were not designed to fit in gig bags. Perhaps another editor can find some in a local library, and clean-up a section or two?
Cheers, Kiefer.Wolfowitz 22:05, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
On second thought, there is no point to just dumping the lists into a separate list, because the list would just get deleted. Lists also have to be referenced.
It will be necessary to delete all the unreferenced stuff, to get control of this article, and bring it up to C class. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 12:41, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


>Your edits were thoughtful. I reverted them because you did not edit the surrounding text for consistency. I prefer the original text, ...Kiefer.Wolfowitz

I don't, neither does the MOS, it says; "Headings should not normally contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked."

>but you are of course free to change the text, as long as you are consistent.Kiefer.Wolfowitz

No, you revert your revert to my version.

>I would welcome your thoughts on the talk page of the article. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 16 October 2012 (UTC)

OK. (talk) 10:45, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Here the subsubheadings in the open-tunings subsection are linked, as explicitly permitted by WP:MOS. In this case, only the whole subsubheadings (e.g. 'Open B) are linked, again as explicitly permitted by WP:MOS. Thanks for quoting the appropriate sections from WP:MOS.
Your edit introduced redundancy and inconsistency, and so it was not an improvement.
If nobody else comments, then you may wish to ask for another opinion at the WikiProjects Guitarists or Music theory. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 12:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)