Tuning a Guitar using Alternative Guitar Tunings

Tuning a guitar to standard tuning is the way most guitarists will set up their instrument, and that's why it's called 'standard' tuning, which as you now know is EADGBE. However, some guitarists expand the voice of the guitar by using a different tuning from the norm. The range of alternative tunings is really quite awe inspiring, each with it's own individual voice.

Experimenting with alternative tuning and in particular open tuning is probably more common with acoustic players, but electric guitarists also like to dabble (that'll be me then ;-)), and a lot of rock guitarists are getting mileage out of using a Dropped D Tuning. That is a BIG generalization of course, and in reality where there are boundaries, they will be broken down. Quite often that is how new music develops, and bands or artists get their unique style, helping develop their own distinctive sound, maybe through the tunings that the guitarist is using. The rest of the members in the band really do owe us guitarists big time, don't they?

Tuning a guitar using a different tuning can be so inspirational for composing, and can lead to some fascinating chord progressions and melodies. One one hand you could easily find hours disappearing while you experiment with different chord voicings, and on the other find that you have written the major part of a song in less than a minute.

Below are some examples of Alternative tuning showing the notes used to make up the tuning and how to tune them to that pitch. Best to start all tunings from the Standard tuning and then re-tune the guitar as required.

Dropped D Tunings

Dropped D Tuning is exactly the same as Standard Tuning but drop that Low E to a Low D, by detuning the peg head a full tone. Check the tuning with the 4th string, D.


Double Dropped D Tuning


Alternative Dropped D Tuning




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