Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 June 2014


1. DADGBE - Dropped D

OK, it’s so simple that it barely registers as an alternative tuning, but taking the bottom E string down a tone to D can really work - especially if you’re playing in D. Work out how to play a G (hint: try the fifth fret for the lowest two strings) and songs like Gugnor’s ‘Beautiful Things’ get a whole lot better.


2. DGDGBD - Open G
A perfect option for rhythm guitar, and one that will instantly transform you into a Stones guru. Bar the 5th fret and hammer on to the 6th fret and 7th fret on the second and fourth strings and I dare you not to stick your tongue out and pout. But there’s more to it than theme nights and comedy covers - try playing a hymn like Amazing Grace or When I Survey with plenty of rhythm and feel


3. CACGCE - C6
There’s a touch of Folk in this one, as well as some Rock. The low C sounds beautiful, especially when you let it drone as you experiment with shapes using the fifth and the second strings. To get started leave all strings open apart from third fret on fifth string and experiment from there.


4. CGCFCE - Nick Drake’s Genius Tuning #1
First up, if you’ve not heard of Nick Drake, you need to get some into your life right now. Secondly, if you’ve ever tried and failed to learn his songs WITHOUT changing your tuning, take heart. The man was brilliant when it came to experimenting with guitar tunings, and this is the one he uses on songs like Pink Moon and Place to Be. Learn how to play both of those songs and your own songwriting can’t fail to benefit.


If you had to remember one tuning, this would be the easiest. Your Dad’s the daddy when it comes to simple strumming patterns with top strings that ring out. Like all of these tunings you’ve got to fiddle about to see what works best for the songs and style that you like, but keep at it and you’ll discover a whole new voice lurking within your guitar.

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