Tuning on stage is not what you want to have to do!


A must-watch clip from Beware of Darkness by Tony Robbins. In October 2019, the California alt-rockers released their latest single, Bloodlines. It’s a track that features infectiously catchy singalong moments, an awesome electric guitar solo and most importantly, a simple, but powerful fuzz-driven main riff.

Bloodlines Tutorial – YouTube


Sonic Youth was an American rock band based in New York City, formed in 1981 with strong influences from the Velvet Underground and the Ramons. Founding members Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo. Sonic Youth is considered a pioneering band in the noise rock and alternative rock genres. Their music has also been labelled experimental rock, indie rock and post-punk.

The following links demonstrate how they got their sound and their interesting usage of guitar tunings. Notice for certain songs different guitars are tuned differently but still harmonise. How much time was spent working out these guitar parts and tuning to them?

FenderPlay.com dec 2019 FenderPlay feature the unique approach to the guitar Thurston Moore took.
FenderPlay – Thuhrston Moore

Reverb.com investigate some of the pedals and tunings used by Sonic Youth to get their unique sound.
Interesting guitar tunings – Soinic Youth

Tuning for sound

– What some of the great guitarists have done.

Albert King one the early great blues guitarists often used dropped open tunings and also tuned as much as a tone and a half lower than Standard E. He used light gauge strings the lighter-gauge strings were a factor in King’s string-bending technique (0.009″, 0.012″, 0.024″ wound, 0.028″, 0.038″, 0.050″). Albert King was left-handed and played right-handed guitars upside down – pulling strings down rather than bending strings up. Below are some of the tunings he is reported to have used.

Low to High
C# G# B E G# C#
C B E G B E (open E minor – with low C)
C F C F A D (open F)
C B E F# B E

Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Slash are known to have tuned to Standard E Flat to get a richer bluesy sound. This is actually a very popular tuning to use… see more examples

Low to High
Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb

Dave Gilmour, Pink Floyd, has also used some open & alternate tunings notably open G in Fearless and open E minor in One of these days.

Low to High
E B E G B E (open E minor)
G G D G B B (open G)
D G C F A D (tuned down one whole step)

Jimmy Page, Led Zeplin, used a number of alternate tunings such as DADGAD, for example, which was used in Kashmir and DGCGCD in the Rain Song.

Low to High

Kieth Richards is known to have favoured Open G (with the low string removed) for songs like Honky Tonk Woman, Brown Sugar and Start me up.

Low to high

Happily, stumbled on this on YouTube 😉

14 Awesome Songs in Alternate Tunings to play!

And then there’s this interesting take on tuning…

“We all have been tuning our guitars wrong” | Can you hear the difference?

Bonus Lesson: TUNING – Official James Taylor Guitar Lessons

A guitar, though a precision instrument, has subtle tolerances that influence the overall sound. Among these considerations can be how exactly the instrument is tuned. Different strings have different tendencies of how they harmonise back and forth. Bass strings when played hard ring sharp, to compensate this the strings can be tuned a few cents flat…

…Standard E Low to High
E: -12 cents
A: -10 cents
D: -8 cents
G: -4 cents
B: -6 cents
E: -3 cents

On the path set out by the Floyd Rose’s revolutionary take on the tremolo in the 80’s where a whole new level of stability and versatility opened up new approaches to playing styles, here comes the VegaTrem double-action VT1 UltraTrem vibrato.

Music Radar www.musicradar.com/news/vega-tremolo

VegaTrem website vegatrem.com/guitar-tremolo

Kickstasrter campaign kickstarter.com/projects/vegatrem-vt1

Have fun with guitar chords

Guitar chords in different guitar tuning’s create different tonal ambiances, here are just a few start off with. To develop the idea of building chords in any tuning the “circle of notes” could be helpful.

[column type=”1/2″]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/standard-e-chords/” title=”guitar tunings” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Standard E Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/open-e-chords/” title=”guitar chords” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Open E Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/modal-d-chords/” title=”guitar technique” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Modal D Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/open-d-chords/” title=”guitar technique” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]open D Chords[/x_button]


[column type=”1/2″ last=”true”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/open-g-chords/” title=”guitar chords” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Open G Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/open-a-chords/” title=”guitar chords” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Open A Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/open-c-chords/” title=”guitar technique” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Open C Chords[/x_button]

[x_gap size=”15px”]

[x_button shape=”square” size=”large” float=”none” href=”https://guitartuning.org/guitar-chords/g6-chords/” title=”guitar technique” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]G6 Chords[/x_button]



Explore guitar tunings

Below we have some pages that list out a wide range of guitar tunings

Guitar tunings

There is no limit to the amount of tuning variations that can be made, we’ve listed an amount of some of the more regular ones. You can even have a go at making you own.

All tunings

To see a listing of guitar tunings to make comparisons continue to – All Tunings

Circle of Notes

The circle of notes technique can help to find chords and scales in any given tuning. It helps to find the interval relationship between chords and scales by giving the order of notes on the fretboard of a guitar. This order will stay consistent with the position on the fretboard may move depending on the tuning. To find notes for a chord or scale in a particular tuning, have a look at the – Circle of Notes

The evolution of self-tuning guitar systems

One of the first self-tuning guitar systems to appear was the Transperformance (U.S.), the company, founded in 1987 by Neil Skin with the express purpose of developing self-tuning for guitars and other stringed instruments. In 1990 Tranperformance delivered the first working system to Jimmy Page of Led Zeplin a widely respected guitarist and noted for his talented use of open tunings.

The company Transperformance was later bought by AxCent Tuning Systems in 2008 and is still in existence today. axcenttuning.com

This self-tuning guitar evolution continued as patent records show that in 1998 a company named ATD filed an application for a bridge mounted self-tuning device. This device was exhibited at the Millennium Dome, London in 2000 along side a number of other innovative devices that won a NESTA Award and were selected to celebrate design and innovation in Britain at the turn of the millennium.

In 2005, a German-based company Tronical, introduced their take on a self-tuning device, unlike the Transperfomance and ATD system this device addresses tuning from the head-stock rather than the bridge.
www.reddit.com/why does everyone seem to hate the Min-E tune system/
wackerman.blogspot.se/2014 Gibson G Force and Min-E tune

In 2007 Gibson introduced the guitar “Robot” which was using the Tronical tuning system, this was met with mixed opinions but Gibson and Tronical continued their collaboration and during the next years brought out their further products “Dark Fire” and “Dusk Tiger” respectively. These guitars not only featured Tronical self-tuning but also camillian tone virtual sound modelling.

Another alternative arrived around 2010 with a bridge called Evertune, this does not tune your guitar but it compensates for when your guitar goes out of tune. evertune.com

One can only wonder at where this will all lead to!

How helpful can self-tuning guitar systems be for guitarists?

Can self-tuning be the logical step in the evolution of the guitar and part of the future similar to auto focus on cameras or electric windows in cars?