Strangest Guitar Tunings
In the captivating article “Top 10 Strangest Guitar Tunings Used by Professionals,” you will explore a fascinating realm of music where guitarists push the boundaries of traditional tunings. Discover the unconventional techniques employed by professionals as they venture into uncharted territory, creating unique sounds that captivate listeners around the world. From the hauntingly beautiful to the downright bizarre, this article unveils the top ten strangest guitar tunings that have become signature elements of renowned musicians’ repertoires. Prepare to be amazed and inspired as you delve into the intriguing world of unconventional guitar tunings.
1. Drop C#
Drop C# tuning is a variation of drop D tuning, where all strings are lowered by a half-step. This tuning is popular among rock and metal guitarists who want a heavier and darker sound. By dropping the lowest string to C#, it allows for powerful low-end riffs and chords while still maintaining the ability to play open chords and scales without excessive finger stretching. Drop C# tuning is known for its versatility and is a favorite choice for bands in the alternative and metal genres.
1.2 Popular songs in Drop C# tuning
- “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down
- “Sic” by Slipknot
- “The Stage” by Avenged Sevenfold
- “The Devil in I” by Slipknot
2. Open D
Open D tuning is a popular choice among folk, blues, and slide guitar players. In open D tuning, the guitar is tuned to a D major chord (D-A-D-F#-A-D). This tuning allows for easy access to major chord shapes, making it ideal for playing in the key of D. Open D tuning also facilitates slide playing, as the open strings create a rich and resonant sound when slid across. It is favored by many acoustic guitarists to achieve a warm and vibrant tone.
2.2 Popular songs in Open D tuning
- “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin
- “Big Love” by Fleetwood Mac
- “Poor Boy Blues” by Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins
- “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
3. Double Drop D
In Double Drop D tuning, you tune both the low E and high E strings down to D. This creates a unique, rich sound that offers a wide range of chord voicings and boosted bass notes. Folk, rock, and metal musicians commonly use this tuning. It lets guitarists craft powerful, heavy riffs without losing melodic options.
3.2 Popular songs in Double Drop D tuning
- “Bron-Yr-Aur” by Led Zeppelin
- “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons
- “Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam
- “Gallows Pole” by Led Zeppelin
DADGAD tuning is an alternative tuning often associated with Celtic and folk music. In DADGAD tuning, the guitar is tuned to a Dsus4 chord (D-A-D-G-A-D). This unique tuning offers a rich and droning sound, with the open strings creating a drone-like effect. DADGAD is known for its versatility, allowing for both chord-based accompaniment and intricate fingerstyle playing.
4.2 Popular songs in DADGAD tuning
- “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin
- “Blackbird” by The Beatles
- “The Bonny Swans” by Loreena McKennitt
- “Horse with No Name” by America
5. Open G
Slide guitar players often prefer Open G tuning, commonly found in blues and rock music. You tune the guitar to a G major chord in Open G (D-G-D-G-B-D). This tuning simplifies playing basic major chords and open-string slide melodies. Guitarists favor it for achieving a rich, full-bodied sound, especially when using slide techniques.
5.2 Popular songs in Open G tuning
- “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones
- “Dust My Broom” by Robert Johnson
- “The Weight” by The Band
- “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” by The Rolling Stones
6. Half-Step Down
Half-step down tuning, as the name suggests, involves tuning all of the guitar’s strings down by a half-step. This tuning, also known as Eb tuning, is commonly used by bands and musicians who want to achieve a slightly lower and darker sound. It allows for easier transposition of songs originally written in standard tuning to the key of E-flat, without requiring excessive use of barre chords.
6.2 Popular songs in Half-Step Down tuning
- “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses
- “Alive” by Pearl Jam
- “Everlong” by Foo Fighters
- “Last Resort” by Papa Roach
In All-fourths tuning, you tune each string a perfect fourth apart from its neighbor. This creates a symmetrical, uniform fretboard pattern, simplifying the play of complex chords and scales. Jazz and fusion guitarists often use this tuning to explore new harmonies and broaden their melodic options.
7.2 Popular songs in All-Fourths tuning
- “Radioactive” by Kings of Leon
- “Surfing with the Alien” by Joe Satriani
- “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- “More Than a Feeling” by Boston
Nashville tuning, also known as high-strung tuning, involves replacing the lower four strings of a standard guitar with lighter gauge strings typically used for a 12-string guitar. This creates a bright and chiming sound, similar to a 12-string guitar, without the added complexity of playing a full 12-string instrument. Nashville tuning is often used in recording studios to add depth and shimmer to tracks.
8.2 Popular songs in Nashville tuning
- “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
- “Hey You” by Pink Floyd
- “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash
- “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell
9. Dropped A
Heavy metal and alternative genres often use Dropped A tuning for a lower, more aggressive sound. In Dropped A, you tune all the strings down to A, creating a deep and powerful tone. Guitarists favor this tuning when they want to play heavy riffs with low-end weight, while still keeping the guitar playable.
9.2 Popular songs in Dropped A tuning
- “Psychosocial” by Slipknot
- “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed
- “Unholy Confessions” by Avenged Sevenfold
- “Before I Forget” by Slipknot
10. Open E
Open E tuning is similar to open D tuning, but with all strings tuned a whole step higher. In open E tuning, the guitar is tuned to an E major chord (E-B-E-G#-B-E). This tuning offers a brighter and more upbeat sound compared to open D tuning, making it suitable for songs in the key of E. Open E tuning is popular among blues, rock, and slide guitar players.
10.2 Popular songs in Open E tuning
- “Statesboro Blues” by The Allman Brothers Band
- “One Way Out” by The Allman Brothers Band
- “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones
- “Walkin’ Blues” by Robert Johnson