Category Archives: Theory

Theory

Alternate

 

 

Guitar Tunings / Alternate
Names Nomenclature Pitch Tunings
Standard Renterant E m11th E / A / D / G / B / E
Semitone Renterant Eb Eb / Ab / Db / Gb / Bb / Eb
Tone Down Renterant D D / G / C / F / A / D
Renterant D# D# / G# / C# / F# / A# / D#
Renterant C# C# / F# / B / E / G# / C#
* * * *
Lute Renterant E / A / D / F# / B / E
Lute No. 2 Renterant E / A / D / F# / A / E
Renterant A Sus 4/7 E / A / D / G / A / E
Lazy D Renterant D E / A / D / G / B / D
E / A / D / E / A / E
All Fourths Renterant F F / A / D / G / C / F
New Standard Renterant C / G / D / A / E / G
Augmented 4ths Renterant F C / F# / C / F# / C / F#
* * * *
 Dropped  A A / G / C / F / A / D
Semitone Down Dropped A# / Bb A# / F / A# / D# / G / C
Dropped B B / F# / B / E / G# / C#
Dropped B B / Gb / Bb / Eb / Ab / Db
Major S6th C / A / D / G / B / E
* * * *
Modal C C / F / C / G / C / D
Double Drop C C / G / C / F / A / C
Dropped C C / G / C / F / A / D
Dropped C# C# / G# / C# / F# / A# / D#
Open C# C# / G# / C# / F / G# / C#
Alternate Dropped C Sus 4/9 C / G / C / E / G / D
Vestapol Open C C / G / C / E / G / C
Dropped C Sus 4 C / G / C / F / G / C
Dropped C Sus 4/9 C / G / C / F / C / D
C C / G / C / G / C / D
Open C6 C / G / C / G / A / E
Modal C / G / C / G / B / D
Open C Maj 7 C / G / C / G / B / E
Orkney Modal G Sus 4/4 C / G / C / G / C / D
C / G / C / G / C / E
* * * *
Dropped C C / G / D / G / A / D
Open G / C Add4 C / G / D / G / B / D
Dropped C C / G / D / G / B / E
C Sus 2 C / G / D / G / C / D
Open C C / G / D / G / C / E
* * * *
C6th Lap Steel C6 C / E / G / A / C / E
Major Thirds Major C C / E / G / C / E / G
* * * *
Dropped D Min 7 D / A / D / F / A / C
Dropped D Maj 7 D / A / D / F# / A / C#
Dropped D Minor D / A / D / F / A / D
Dropped D 6/9 D / A / D / F# / B / E
Open D Major D / A / D / F# / A / D
Open B Min 7 D / A / D / F# / B / D
D# D# / A# / D# / F / A# / E
* * * *
D A D G A D Modal D Sus 4 D / A / D / G / A / D
Open A Sus 4 D / A / D / G / A / E
Double Dropped D D / A / D / G / B / D
Double Dropped D Dropped Db Db / Ab / Db / Gb / Bb / Db
Dropped D Dropped  D D / A / D / G / B / E
D# / A# / D# / G# / C / F
* * *  *
Open E Sus 2 E / B / E / F# / B / E
Open E Minor E / B / E / G / B / E
Open E Major E / B / E / G# / B / E
* * *  *
Open F C / F / C / F / A / C
F 5th C / F / C / F / C / F
F Sus 2 C / G / C / F / G / C
Open F F / A / C / F / C / F
Open F F / A / C / F / C / F
Open F F / Ab / C / F / C / F
Alternate Cross-Note F F / C / F / Ab / C / F
Curtis Mayfield F# F# / A# / C# / F# / A# / F#
* * *  *
D / G / D / F# / B / D
D / G / D / F# / B / E
D / G / D / G / A / D
D / G / D / G / A / E
G6 D / G / D / G / B / E
Dropped G D / G / D / G / B / D
Dobro Open G G / B / D / G / B / D
* * * *
Alternate Open A Major E / A / C# / E / A / C#
Open A Major E / A / C# / E / A / E
Alternate Open A Major E / A / C# / A / C# / E
Slide Open A Major E / A / E / A / C# / E
* * * *

Papua New Guinea

 

Papua New Guinea Guitar Tunings
Names Nomenclature Region Tunings
Standard Em11th * E / A / D / G / B / E
Faiv Ki E / A / B / F# / B / D#
Faiv Ki E / A / B / E / G# / B
Faiv Ki F / Bb / C / G / C / E
Faiv Ki F / Bb / C / F / A / C
Samoan Ki G / A / D / A / D / F#
C Ki East New Britain G / C / D / G / B / D
Samoan Ki Open D Maj 7 Hood Lagoon D / E / A / E / A / C#

Citations: Bibliography: Guitar Style, Open Tunings, and Stringband Music in Papua New Guinea by ~ Denis Crowdy ; Apwithirer: Studies in Papua New Guinea Musics, 9 ; Three: Analysis – Samoan Ki and the Hood Lagoon Area Page 46, Page 60 ; ISBN 9980-68-048-2 [book] Websites ; George Winston [georgewinston.com – Slack Key Information Booklet ; Section III ] ;

Africa

 

Guitar Tunings / West Africa
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Taara No. 1 C Maj 6th C / A / D / G / B / E
Sinquente Cix Open G Major D / G / D / G / B / D
F / A / D / G / C / E
Taara No. 2 F / C / D / G / B / E
Jarabi F / C / D / G / C / E
Wassalou / Songhai Raised G Major G / A / D / G / B / E
Djeli Madi Tounkara C / Bb / D / G / C / F
Djeli Madi Tounkara Rentrant C# C# / F# / B / E / G# / C#

Citations: Bibliography: Mande Music by Eric Charry pp. 288-290 Guitar Tuning ~ Traditional And Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa. The University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-101062-2 © 2000 ;

Guitar Tunings / Central & East Africa
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Standard E / A / D / G / B / E
Mi Composé E / A / [d] / G / B / E
Jean Bosco Mwenda F / A / D / G / C / E
Botswana F / X / A / C / F / X
Daniel Kachamba Full C
Daniel Kachamba Half C
Daniel Kachamba LG
Daniel Kachamba KG High Six
Daniel Kachamba CG
Daniel Kachamba Spanish E / C# / A / E / A / E
Zambia D Maj 7 D / A / D / F# / A / C#
Hauyani G / E / C / G / E / C
Hauyani G / E / C / G / C / C

Note: The “X” denotes removed strings. Mi Composé tuning as used for Rumba and Soukous in Congo DRC, differs from the standard tuning. In which only the D string has been replaced with an bottom E string to raise the D to an entire octave.

Citations: Bibliography: Theory of African Music Volume II by Gerhard Kubik – Chapter IX Genealogy of a Malawian Musician Family pp. 247 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-45694-2 ISBN-10: 0-225-45694-3 ; Garland Encyclopedia Book Africa [book & audio cd] ; Africa & The Blues by Gerhard Kubik ; Some Characteristics Of The Blues Page 83 ; University Press of Mississippi ; ISBN 978-1-57807-146-4 ;

Samoa

The alternate guitar tunings as represented on this page from the Samoan slack key tradition of Igi Le.

1.) Standard Tuning E / A / D / G / B / E called “Ki Sepaniolo” meaning “Spanish Tuning” or “Standard Tuning” and is mainly played in the key of C.

2.) Open G Major tuning D / G / D / G / B / D in Hawaiian slack key it is called the Tarro Patch tuning. In Samoa it is called “Ki Tu Fa” which probably means “Fourth Position Key”.

3.) A variation of the G Major Tuning G / F / D / G / B / D called “Sui Ki A Le Ki Tu Fa” meaning “Slack Key of the Open G” – and “sui” means “change” or “weaken”, which could also be taken to mean “slack”.

4.) D Wahine Tuning D / A / D / F# / A / C# sometimes called “Ki Salamo” and also “Reptance Tuning”.  This tuning was likely introduced originally from Hawaiian Slack Key.

5.) The Sui Ki Maualuga or High Slack Key tuning in Hawaiian Slack Key is C / G / C / G / A / E as used by Leonard Kwan. Also the Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist Sonny Chillingworth used a C Mauna Loa Tuning that he called the Samoan Mauna Loa Tuning F / G / C / G / C / E – on the Samoan song “Let Me Hear You Whisper” on his
recording Sonny Solo. Note the tunings are similar to one another.

6.) There is an undocumented tuning called “Ki Tu Lua” or the “Second Position Key”. It is speculated that this tuning could be the F Wahine tuning C / F / C / G / C / E  for reference the Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist Sonny Chillingworth occasionally played in a C major tuning that he called the “Samoan C major tuning F / G / C / G / C / E.

Samoan Guitar Tunings
Name Nomenclature Region Tunings
Ki Sepaniolo Standard * E / A / D / G / B / E
Ki Ta Lua   C / F / C / G / C / E
Sui Ki Maualuga High Slack Key C6 C / G / C / G / A / C 
Sui Ki Maualuga High Slack Key C / G / C / G / A / E
Ki Ta Lua Second Position Key C / G / C / G / C / E
Ki Tu Lua Second Position Key F / G / C / G / C / E 
Sui Ki A Le Ki Tu Fa Slack Key Open G G / F / D / G / B / D
Ki Salamo Repentance Tuning D Maj 7 D / A / D / F# / A / C#
Ki Tu Fa Open G Major G  D / G / D / G / B / D

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: georgewinston.com [Slack Key Guitar, Book 1 pdf file] ;

Indonesia

 

Indonesian Guitar Tunings
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Stem Las Bas F / C / D / G / B / E
Kemayoran F / C / D / G / C / E
Stem Pal F / Bb / D / G / C / E
Stem Krembang Kacang F# / A / C# / F# / B / E
Los Quinn Tallu-Tallu G / C / D / G / B / D
Karambagan G / A / D / G / B / E
E Minor E / B / D / G / B / E
Andu Andu Rudang A Sus 4/7 E / A / D / G / A / E
Rabana E Minor E / A / E / G / A / E

Citations: Discography: Liner Notes from the Music of Indonesia Series Vol. 20 Indonesian Guitars SFW40447 pp. 10-11 [adobe PDF file] ;

South America

These are alternate guitar tunings that are used in Peruvian and other South American Guitar traditions. The open and dropped tunings are the more commonly used alternate tunings.

The same tunings under numerous different names can be found in Peru, Argentina, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. For example D / A / D / F# / B / E the D 6/9 tuning, it is known as Rondeñas in Flamenco and used in the Amazonian region of Peru. It is also known as D Ni`ihau / Old Mauna Loa tuning in Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar.

Note: Should you attempt a tuning whose notes maybe a semitone or tone above the Baulin F / A / D / G / B / E. I would recommend the lightest string gauge set available for nylon string guitars. These tunings can be used on acoustic steel string and electric guitars with appropriate gauges.

Scordatura / Guitar Tunings / South America
Names Nomenclature Region Tuning
Standard * E / A / D / G / B / E
Setime Dulce Peru E / A / D / G / B / D
Wailija E / A / Db / G / B / E
Argentina E / A / D / G / C# / E
Cajamarca E / A / D / A / C# / E
Victim E / A / D / F / G# / C
Diablo No. 1 F# / A / C# / F# / B / F#
F# / A / C# / G / B / E
Diablo No. 2 Cusco E / A / C# / F# / B / Eb
E / A / D# / F# / B / E
Diablo E / A / D# / F# / B / D#
Victim F Minor E / A / D# / F# / B / E
E / A / D / G / B / G
BaulÍn F / A / D / G / B / E
F / A / D / G / Bb / E
Huayno Peru F / B / D / G / B / E
F / Bb / D / G / B / E
F / Bb / D / G / C / E
E / C / D / G / B / E
Peru E / G / D / G / B / E
Drop C Argentina C / A / D / G / B / E
Drop D D / A / D / G / B / E
Dropped F# D / A / D / F# / B / E
 Open D Minor D / A / D / F / A / D
Open D Major D / A / D / F# / A / D
D 6/9 D / A / D / F# / B / E
Yaravi Peru D / B / D / G / B / E
Baulin / Harp Peru D / B / D / F# / B / E
Open E Minor E / B / E / G / B / E
Open E Major E / B / E / G# / B / E
E / Bb / E / G# / B / E
Open G Major * D / G / D / G / B / D
G6 D / G / D / G / B / E
D / G / D / G / D / F#
D / G / D / G# / B / D#
Raised G Argentina G / A / D / G / B / E
Comuncha Open G Peru G  / B / D / G / B / D
Comuncha Peru G / B / D / G / B / E
Comuncha G Minor * G / Bb / D / G / B / E
Diablo Peru G / Bb / D / G / C / E
G / C / D / G / C / E

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Pacoweb.net [archived on the wayback machine] ;