Major chord tunings

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Stringbreaker
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When confronted with what looks like an infinite number of alternate tunings, one approach is to divide them up by chord type. That is, select the ones that have certain combinations of pitches and group them together.

I also have imposed arbitrary limits: nothing lower that 7 half steps and nothing higher than 4 half steps starting from standard tuning. Finally, if any tuning can made identical to another by raising or lowering ALL of the strings by the same amount, I only leave one of them in. No clones permitted.

With this in mind, I have a number of possible sets of tunings to offer. Within my constraints, there are 134 Major scale tunings. Here are the first 22, all with a unison on the bottom strings. Enjoy!

The breaking of strings is the beginning of wisdom...

1 ... F# F# A# F# A# C# ... 2 -3 -4 -1 -1 -3 ... 0 4 8 4 3
2 ... F# F# A# F# C# C# ... 2 -3 -4 -1 2 -3 ... 0 4 8 7 0
3 ... F# F# A# F# C# F# ... 2 -3 -4 -1 2 2 ... 0 4 8 7 5
4 ... F# F# B D# B D# ... 2 -3 -3 -4 0 -1 ... 0 5 4 8 4
5 ... F# F# B D# B F# ... 2 -3 -3 -4 0 2 ... 0 5 4 8 7
6 ... F F A# F A# D ... 1 -4 -4 -2 -1 -2 ... 0 5 7 5 4
7 ... F F C F A C ... 1 -4 -2 -2 -2 -4 ... 0 7 5 4 3
8 ... F F C F A F ... 1 -4 -2 -2 -2 1 ... 0 7 5 4 8
9 ... F F C A A C ... 1 -4 -2 2 -2 -4 ... 0 7 9 0 3
10 ... F F C A A F ... 1 -4 -2 2 -2 1 ... 0 7 9 0 8
11 ... F F C A C C ... 1 -4 -2 2 1 -4 ... 0 7 9 3 0
12 ... F F C A C F ... 1 -4 -2 2 1 1 ... 0 7 9 3 5
13 ... F F C# F G# C# ... 1 -4 -1 -2 -3 -3 ... 0 8 4 3 5
14 ... F F C# F G# F ... 1 -4 -1 -2 -3 1 ... 0 8 4 3 9
15 ... F F C# G# G# C# ... 1 -4 -1 1 -3 -3 ... 0 8 7 0 5
16 ... F F C# G# G# F ... 1 -4 -1 1 -3 1 ... 0 8 7 0 9
17 ... F F C# G# C# C# ... 1 -4 -1 1 2 -3 ... 0 8 7 5 0
18 ... F F C# G# C# F ... 1 -4 -1 1 2 1 ... 0 8 7 5 4
19 ... F# F# D# D# B D# ... 2 -3 1 -4 0 -1 ... 0 9 0 8 4
20 ... F# F# D# D# B F# ... 2 -3 1 -4 0 2 ... 0 9 0 8 7
21 ... F F D F A# D ... 1 -4 0 -2 -1 -2 ... 0 9 3 5 4
22 ... F F D F A# F ... 1 -4 0 -2 -1 1 ... 0 9 3 5 7
Roger
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What's wrong with lowering more than 7 half steps?
Stringbreaker
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Nothing, except that you will almost certainly have to change your strings to prevent string rattle. You might anyway, but the range I specified is the largest I could manage on a normal set of strings. Not coincidentally, the range allows for every possible pitch on every string, giving 2,985,984 possible tunings, Anything beyond this range will replicate a tuning in terms of pitch even if there is an octave jump. Now, players such as Hedges and Wilcox have gone beyond this range on acoustic guitars, by drilling a larger hole and feeding a bass string through the hole. I refuse to suggest any technique which demands mutilation of a guitar. I have no problem if other players try this: I personally can't afford to mutilate my guitars. So practicality is my basis for the cutoff. I said the distinction is arbitrary, and these are my reasons.

The breaking of strings is the beginning of wisdom...
spanishphrygian
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Wow that is cool! I like the way you think there too-looking at all possibillities. I am lazy and go to www.looknohands.com and the program shows all the scales in all alternate tunnings. Well not all, but your system can help make the overwhelming more possible there. Good job.

Your limit makes sense though for regular gauged strings really.
Stringbreaker
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The next block of tunings, this time with a minor third at the bottom. If you look, it is possible to quickly see what key the tuning is in. Usually I have tried to choose whatever key that has the least displacement from standard tuning. Try a capo with these to see how it feels: several of these work really well with a capo at the 4th or 5th fret where they don't sound good with the strings all open. Also remember, the more you displace the strings from where they want to be, the more "off" the sound is. There is a real compromise in alternate tunings. You can, of course, set up your guitar so that the string length works for the pitch you are going to use, but that is too much trouble for me. Also nearly impossible to implement for acoustic guitars.

The breaking of strings is the beginning of wisdom...

23 ... E G C E G C ... 0 -2 -2 -3 -4 -4 ... 3 5 4 3 5
24 ... E G C E G E ... 0 -2 -2 -3 -4 0 ... 3 5 4 3 9
25 ... E G C E C C ... 0 -2 -2 -3 1 -4 ... 3 5 4 8 0
26 ... D# F# B D# B D# ... -1 -3 -3 -4 0 -1 ... 3 5 4 8 4
27 ... D# F# B D# B F# ... -1 -3 -3 -4 0 2 ... 3 5 4 8 7
28 ... E G C G G C ... 0 -2 -2 0 -4 -4 ... 3 5 7 0 5
29 ... E G C G G E ... 0 -2 -2 0 -4 0 ... 3 5 7 0 9
30 ... E G C G C C ... 0 -2 -2 0 1 -4 ... 3 5 7 5 0
31 ... D# F# B F# B D# ... -1 -3 -3 -1 0 -1 ... 3 5 7 5 4
32 ... D F A# F A# F ... -2 -4 -4 -2 -1 1 ... 3 5 7 5 7
33 ... E G E E G C ... 0 -2 2 -3 -4 -4 ... 3 9 0 3 5
34 ... E G E E C C ... 0 -2 2 -3 1 -4 ... 3 9 0 8 0
35 ... D# F# D# D# B D# ... -1 -3 1 -4 0 -1 ... 3 9 0 8 4
36 ... D# F# D# D# B F# ... -1 -3 1 -4 0 2 ... 3 9 0 8 7
37 ... E G E G G C ... 0 -2 2 0 -4 -4 ... 3 9 3 0 5
38 ... E G E G C C ... 0 -2 2 0 1 -4 ... 3 9 3 5 0
39 ... D F D F A# D ... -2 -4 0 -2 -1 -2 ... 3 9 3 5 4
40 ... D F D F A# F ... -2 -4 0 -2 -1 1 ... 3 9 3 5 7
Stephen Brown
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& Who says that coming up with new songs is hard. :D
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sunai
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FRETPICK wrote:& Who says that coming up with new songs is hard. :D
uhhh the fresh feeling of sarcasm in the morning!!
smj
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Tony Karol, the luthier that has built my last 3 guitars makes some great acoustics designed to accomodate players that like to play in alternate tunings.

The fretboard is multi-scaled. It's fanned so that the bottom strings have a longer scale length to accomodate heavier gauge strings... which you would want once you get down low enough.

He also makes baritone guitars which are mouthwatering.

Here's a link:

http://www.karol-guitars.com/gallery.html

Sean Meredith-Jones
http://www.seanmeredithjones.com
Stringbreaker
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SMJ, those guitars look lovely. If they sound half as pretty as they look, they are well worth the expense.

When I "have my druthers" I play guitars by John Mello. He is a luthier trained to make classical guitars who happens to feel that metal strings bring out the beauty in a guitar. They're not for everyone. For a long time I played on a Cedar top instrument with his built with classical proportions and fan bracing. The action was excellent, the string tension was low (built for GHS Silk and Bronze strings) and I could go down 5 semitones and up three without stressing the instrument. Mr. Mello did not agree with my ideas about tunings, but the sound of the instrument was clear and balanced. Here is a link:

http://www.johnfmello.com/

The breaking of strings is the beginning of wisdom...

41 ... F# A# A# F# A# C# ... 2 1 -4 -1 -1 -3 ... 4 0 8 4 3
42 ... F# A# A# F# C# C# ... 2 1 -4 -1 2 -3 ... 4 0 8 7 0
43 ... F# A# A# F# C# F# ... 2 1 -4 -1 2 2 ... 4 0 8 7 5
44 ... F A C F A C ... 1 0 -2 -2 -2 -4 ... 4 3 5 4 3
45 ... E G# B E G# E ... 0 -1 -3 -3 -3 0 ... 4 3 5 4 8
46 ... F A C F C C ... 1 0 -2 -2 1 -4 ... 4 3 5 7 0
47 ... E G# B E B E ... 0 -1 -3 -3 0 0 ... 4 4 3 5 7
48 ... F A C A A C ... 1 0 -2 2 -2 -4 ... 4 3 9 0 3
49 ... D# G A# G G D# ... -1 -2 -4 0 -4 -1 ... 4 3 9 0 8
50 ... F A C A C C ... 1 0 -2 2 1 -4 ... 4 3 9 3 0
51 ... D# G A# G A# D# ... -1 -2 -4 0 -1 -1 ... 4 3 9 3 5
52 ... D# G D# D# A# D# ... -1 -2 1 -4 -1 -1 ... 4 8 0 7 5
53 ... D F# D F# A D ... -2 -3 0 -1 -2 -2 ... 4 8 4 3 5
54 ... C# F C# F G# F ... -3 -4 -1 -2 -3 1 ... 4 8 4 3 9
55 ... C# F C# G# G# C# ... -3 -4 -1 1 -3 -3 ... 4 8 7 0 5
56 ... C# F C# G# G# F ... -3 -4 -1 1 -3 1 ... 4 8 7 0 9
57 ... C# F C# G# C# C# ... -3 -4 -1 1 2 -3 ... 4 8 7 5 0
58 ... C# F C# G# C# F ... 3 -4 -1 1 2 1 ... 4 8 7 5 4
Stringbreaker
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These have a perfect fourth at the bottom. Watch out for the unison tunings, some guitars will not tolerate even two steps up without lightening the string gauge.

The breaking of strings is the beginning of wisdom...

59 ... F# B B D# B D# ... 2 2 -3 -4 0 -1 ... 5 0 4 8 4
60 ... F# B B D# B F# ... 2 2 -3 -4 0 2 ... 5 0 4 8 7
61 ... F A# A# F A# D ... 1 1 -4 -2 -1 -2 ... 5 0 7 5 4
62 ... F# B D# D# B D# ... 2 2 1 -4 0 -1 ... 5 4 0 8 4
63 ... F# B D# D# B F# ... 2 2 1 -4 0 2 ... 5 4 0 8 7
64 ... E A C# E A C# ... 0 0 -1 -3 -2 -3 ... 5 4 3 5 4
65 ... E A C# E A E ... 0 0 -1 -3 -2 0 ... 5 4 3 5 7
66 ... D# G# C D# C C ... -1 -1 -2 -4 1 -4 ... 5 4 3 9 0
67 ... D# G# C D# C D# ... -1 -1 -2 -4 1 -1 ... 5 4 3 9 3
68 ... D# G# C G# G# C ... -1 -1 -2 1 -3 -4 ... 5 4 8 0 4
69 ... D G B G G D ... -2 -2 -3 0 -4 -2 ... 5 4 8 0 7
70 ... D# G# C G# C C ... -1 -1 -2 1 1 -4 ... 5 4 8 4 0
71 ... D G B G B D ... -2 -2 -3 0 0 -2 ... 5 4 8 4 3
72 ... C# F# A# F# A# F# ... -3 -3 -4 -1 -1 2 ... 5 4 8 4 8
73 ... C# F# A# F# C# C# ... -3 -3 -4 -1 2 -3 ... 5 4 8 7 0
74 ... C# F# A# F# C# F# ... -3 -3 -4 -1 2 2 ... 5 4 8 7 5
75 ... D# G# D# D# G# C ... -1 -1 1 -4 -3 -4 ... 5 7 0 5 4
76 ... D# G# D# D# C C ... -1 -1 1 -4 1 -4 ... 5 7 0 9 0
77 ... D# G# D# D# C D# ... -1 -1 1 -4 1 -1 ... 5 7 0 9 3
78 ... D# G# D# G# G# C ... -1 -1 1 1 -3 -4 ... 5 7 5 0 4
79 ... D# G# D# G# C C ... -1 -1 1 1 1 -4 ... 5 7 5 4 0
80 ... D G D G B D ... -2 -2 0 0 0 -2 ... 5 7 5 4 3
81 ... C F C F A F ... -4 -4 -2 -2 -2 1 ... 5 7 5 4 8
82 ... C F C A A C ... -4 -4 -2 2 -2 -4 ... 5 7 9 0 3
83 ... C F C A A F ... -4 -4 -2 2 -2 1 ... 5 7 9 0 8
84 ... C F C A C C ... -4 -4 -2 2 1 -4 ... 5 7 9 3 0
85 ... C F C A C F ... -4 -4 -2 2 1 1 ... 5 7 9 3 5
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