20 Minutes To… Learn altered tunings
Get to grips with four creative ways to re-tune your guitar with TG’S whistle-stop tour of altered tunings
As the first tuning you learn when you start playing the guitar, ‘standard’ EADGBE tuning should be familiar to most guitarists. Any change to these notes is known as an altered or alternate tuning. There are simply dozens of different tunings to try out, all used primarily as a way to reimagine the fretboard and introduce new sounds and a new way of playing guitar. In many tunings the notes on the fretboard will seem unfamiliar but what’s really fantastic about different tunings is that you can often find new and exciting shapes and sounds purely by accident. Guitarists such as Keith Richards, Kim Thayil and Derek Trucks, amongst many others, use altered tunings to create their unique voice and identity on the guitar.
Your only real concern when using a different tuning is ensuring that your guitar is set up to manage the altered string tension easily. Vibrato systems will make re-tuning really difficult, so a guitar with a fixed bridge is the best option while you experiment.
whatyouwilllearn How to use four of the most important alternate tunings Loads of new chord shapes How to use open E tuning for slide guitar