Alternate Tuning Guide: Interactive

by William A. Sethares

New tunings inspire new musical thoughts. Alternate tunings let you play voicings and slide between chord forms that would normally be impossible. They give access to nonstandard open strings. Playing familiar fingerings on an unfamiliar fretboard is exciting - you never know exactly what to expect. And working out familiar riffs on an unfamiliar fretboard often suggests new sound patterns and variations. This guide helps you explore alternative ways of making music. The Alternate Tuning Guide shows you how to slip your guitar into all the popular alternate tunings, shows you how to finger open and bar chords, how to play representative scales, and graphically displays the notes as they appear on the fretboard. The strengths and limitations of each tuning are discussed, helping you to get the most from your musical explorations. This interactive version requires the Wolfram CDF player, which you can download for free.

If the cdf interface does not show up (this can happen depending on your browser and its preferences) you can download it here: Alternate Tuning Interactive.

You can download a printable .pdf version of the full Alternate Tuning Guide.

Looking for truly wild tunings? What about a guitar which is fretted for 19-tone equal temperament?

...or come to my home page for more information.

This page has been translated into Russian by Stanislav at Coloring Pages Blog, into Estonian by Martin Aus, by Ashna Bhatt into Thai, by Babur Muradov into Uzbek, and by Leonid Popov into Portuguese.