Tag Archives: References


Guitar Tunings / 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.

South America
South America

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.

Map Of Peru

Peruvian guitar tunings are named classified according to genre. This also manifests in a regional manner. For example the tunings used in Cajamarca are in open major chords, for example in E or A major. Where as a raised tuning such as the D Minor tuning is favoured in the Huayno repertoire.

Note: Should you attempt a tuning whose notes maybe a semitone or tone above the Huayno tuning 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
Standard Em11th Peru E A D G B E
Setime Dulce Peru E A D G B D
Wailija E A Dd G B E
Wailija E A D G# B E
A Major Cajamarca, Peru E A D A C# E
Baulin   E A C# F# B E
Diablo No. 1   F# A C# F# B F#
Diablo No. 2 Cusco, Peru E A C# F# B Eb
  E A D# F# B E
Diablo   E A D# F# B D#
Victima   E A D# F# B E
  E A D G B G
Baulin D Minor Ayacucho, Peru F A D G B E
  F A D G Bb E
Argentina F A D# G B E
Huayno Peru F B D G B E
E Minor Cajamarca, Peru E B E G B E
E Major Cajamarca, Peru E B E G# B E
  F Bb D G B E
  F Bb D G C E
Peru E C D G B E
Drop C Argentina C A D G B E
Amazonas Drop D * D A D G B E
Drop D 6 / 9 * D A D F# B E
Open D Minor Peru  D A D F A D
Open D Major Cajamarca, Peru D A D F# A D
Open G Minor   D G D G Bb D
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 Major   G A D G B E
Carnival G Major Peru G Bb D G B E
Diablo Peru G Bb D G C E
Comuncha Open G Major Peru G B D G B D
C Maj 7 Peru G C D G B E
Yaravi Peru  D B D G B E
Baulin / Harp Peru D B D F# B E 
Diablo? Peru E Bb E G# B E
  Ancashina, Peru E G D G B E
Carnival Peru E B D G B E

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

Guitar Tunings / Africa


Guitar Tunings / West Africa
Names Nomenclature Regions Tunings
Standard * E A D G B E
Taara No. 1 C Maj 6th Mali C A D G B E
Sinquente Cix Open G Major Mali D G D G B D
Mali F A D G B E
Taara No. 2 Mali  F A D G C E
Jarabi Mali F C D G B E
Wassalou / Songhai Raised A Major Mali G A D G B E
Djeli Madi Tounkara Mali C Bb D G C F
Djeli Madi Tounkara Rentrant C# Mali 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 / East Africa
Names Nomenclature Region Tunings
Standard E Min 11 * E A D G B E
Mi Composé E Min 11 Congo E A [d] G B E
Jean Bosco Mwenda Katanga, Congo F A D G C E
Botswana F X A C F X
Full C Uganda
Half C Uganda
LG Uganda
KG High Six Uganda
CG Uganda
Spanish Uganda E C# A E A E
D Maj 7 Tanzania D A D F# A C#
Hauyani Uganda G E C G E C
Hauyani Uganda 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 the bottom E string to raise the D to an entire octave.

The “Lazy D Tuning” E A D G B D as we know it in North America; is used in the genre of Maskandi music.

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 ;

Guitar Tunings / Indonesia



Guitar Tunings / Indonesia
Name Nomenclature Region  Genre Tunings
Andu Andu Rudang A Sus 4/7 E A D G A E
Rabana E Minor E A E G A E
E Minor Mandar E B D G B E
Stem Las Bas F Maj 13#11 F C D G B E
Kemayoran F C D G C E
Stem Pal F Bd D G C E
F# A C# F# B E
Los Quinn Tallu-Tallu G Major Sulawesi Karambagan G C D G B D
Karambagan Sulawesi Karambagan G A D G B D
Sulawesi Karambagan G B D G B D
Stem Sanak Mewang in Ejan G6th Sulawesi Karambagan G B D G B E

Citations: Discography: Liner Notes from the Music of Indonesia Series Vol. 20 Indonesian Guitars SFW40447 pp. 10-11 [adobe PDF file] ; Websites: Erizal Barnawi / Blogspot / Guitar Klasik Lampung Tulang Bawang ;

Bayin / Eight Fold System

The bayin or eight sound or fold system is organized by the materials the instruments are made of rather than how they are played.

Silk [in Mandarin Chinese: 絲 Pinyin sī]: is a category assigned to the stringed instruments be they plucked [as in the pipa, lute or zheng, zither, bowed [as in the erhu], or struck [as in Yangqin].

Bamboo [in Chinese: 竹 zhú] Musical instruments who are predominantly aerophones of the flute and reed categories. Notably the membranous transverse flute [the dizi], the bawu, etc.

Wood: [in Chinese: 木 mù]:

Stone: [in Chinese: 石 shí]:

Metal: [in Chinese: 金 jīn]:

Clay: [in Chinese: 土 tǔ]:

Skin:  [in Chinese: 革 gé]:

Gourd: [In Chinese: 匏 páo]: this category predominately includes aerophones, mainly the Sheng, Sho, Hulusi – may also include the Khean, Mbuat, Keluri, Sumpoton.

Bayin System
Materials Names [M. Ch.] Names [Pin.]
Bamboo zhú
Stone shí
Metal jīn
Gourd páo

Hornbostel Sachs System

It is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914. An English translation was published in the Galpin Society Journal in 1961.

It is the most widely used system for classifying musical instruments by ethnomusicologists and organologists; people who study musical instruments. The system was updated in 2011 as part of the work of the Musical Instrument Museums Online [MIMO] Project.

Authors note: My website utilizes a simplified version of the “Hornbostel Sachs System” omitting technical and vague sounding terms and keeping it close to plain language for search and ease of navigation throughout this site.


** Percussion
*** Clacks
*** Clappers
*** Lithophones
*** Metallophones
**** Cymbals
**** Gongs
*** Pitched
**** Xylophones
*** Scrappers
*** Shaken
**** Rattles


** Drums
*** Barrel
*** Cylindrical
*** Frame
*** Kettle
*** Pot
*** Friction


** Lutes
*** Guitar
*** Spike
*** Viols

** Zithers
*** Bar
*** Box
*** Stick
*** Tube
*** Trough
*** Dulcimers


** Flutes
*** Duct
*** Transverse
*** Panflutes
*** Vessels

** Reeds
*** Bagpipes
*** Shawms
*** Free
**** Pipes
**** Gourds
**** Sets

** Trumpet