Here are 7 points to consider
if you choose to experiment with my tuning.
Please feel free to email me...
1) I recommend doing this on a guitar you don’t play too often so you can leave the guitar in the tuning. This is not your typical open tuning; hence if you put it on a guitar that can stay re-tuned, you may be more inclined to spend time experimenting. I am convinced this tuning is a concept that transcends most of its predecessors. I don’t say this because I discovered it. I say it because of the musical math that takes place by leaving the Major or minor 3rd out of the equation. And when I say I discovered it, I mean I remember the night I first re-tuned my guitar in an attempt to mimic a more exotic or Eastern sounding instrument with droning strings. This is an evolved version of that discovery.
2) The tuning is as follows:
6th =“C” 5th =“G” 4th =“C” 3rd =“G” 2nd =“G” 1st =“C”
Start by lowering the 6th or bass “E” string 2 whole steps till you reach “C”.
Then lower the 5th or “A” string 1 whole step till you reach “G”.
Then lower the 4th or “D” string 1 whole step till you reach “C”.
Keep the 3rd or “G” string as is.
Now lower the 2nd or “B” string 2 whole steps till it is a “G”.
Finally, you lower the 1st or high “E” string 2 whole steps till you reach “C”.
You may have to go back over this process a few times since this is such a dramatic change of pitch and tension. And it may take a day or so for your Guitar and strings to get used to this change and hold pitch without having to re-tune.
3) You now have 3 “C” notes on the open 6th, 4th and 1st strings with 3 more to be found by pressing on the 5th fret of the 5th, 3rd or 2nd strings. This is good to know in order to draw attention to the "key center", which is now “C”.
4) One of the most important things to keep track of with this tuning is where the "center point" occurs. This determines which mode you will be in and also keeps you true to the "tone center" of the piece you are creating. ( Once you can stay true to the "tone center", experimenting with different "center points" in one piece is encouraged. )
5) By making the "center point" frets 4 and 5, you are in the Ionian mode, which is traditionally considered the Major scale, often expressed as Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do.
Once the center has been determined, you have 2 whole steps worth of notes behind the center and 2 whole steps worth of notes in front of the center. Since we are using frets 4 and 5 as our "center point" for most of this session, that means behind the center you have the open strings and the 2nd frets, then the "center point" of the 4th and 5th frets with frets 7 and 9 out in front. These frets are then usable across all 6 strings. This covers 10 frets at a glance, of all the notes that are available for scales and chord construction.
6) The remaining two frets will always align themselves in the following fashion.
( Bear in mind, the 2 frets that aren't part of the 10 fret glance around the "center point", will be bridged by the fingering I am suggesting. ) Place your Index (I) finger on the 9th fret of the 6th string, your Middle (M) finger on the 10th fret of the 6th string, your Ring (R) finger on the 11th fret of the 6th string and your Pinky (P) on the 12th fret of the 6th string.
Now as you play across the strings, starting with the 6th string, the fingering will be IRP on the 6th, IMP on the 5th, IRP on the 4th, IMP on the 3rd, IMP on the 2nd and IRP on the 1st string. This will always be the alignment of the fingers for the remaining 2 frets ( though the fret numbers will change since the other 10 frets will have shifted ). No matter where you place the "center point", you will always get 10 frets at a glance around the "center point", with 2 frets left to be played across the neck in a similar fingering fashion.
7) Without this becoming a lesson about modes, just know that when you move the "center point" and play the new alignment of notes against the remaining open strings, you are indeed in one of 3 Major modes or 3 minor modes.
Ionian center = 4 and 5
Dorian center = 2 and 3
Phrygian center = open and 1 ( also 12 and 13 )
Lydian center = 11 and 12
Mixolydian center = 9 and 10
Aeolian center ( natural minor ) = 7 and 8
( Locrian center = 5 and 6 but includes no open strings, so I do not recommend this mode unless you use a capo so you can align the root with the open strings as part of the formula. )