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Guitar Tuning Series: Modal Tuning

Guitar Tuning Series: Modal Tuning

Modal tuning is a type of guitar tuning that uses different intervals between the strings to create a unique sound. Modal tunings are often used in folk, blues, and jazz music, but they can also be used in other genres.

There are many different modal tunings, but some of the most popular ones include:

  • DADGAD: This tuning is created by tuning the low E string down to a D and the high E string down to a D. This gives the guitar a darker, more resonant sound.
  • Open G: This tuning is created by tuning the low E string down to a D and the high E string down to a G. This gives the guitar a brighter, more open sound.
  • Dropped D: This tuning is created by tuning the low E string down to a D. This gives the guitar a darker, more powerful sound.
  • CGCGCD: This tuning is created by tuning the low E string down to a C and the high E string down to a C. This gives the guitar a very dark, rich sound.


Benefits of Using Modal Tuning

There are many benefits to using modal tuning on the guitar. Here are a few:

  • It can create a unique sound. Modal tunings can create a wide range of sounds, from dark and resonant to bright and open. This makes them a great choice for guitarists who are looking for a different sound.
  • It can make it easier to play certain chords and arpeggios. Modal tunings can make it easier to play certain chords and arpeggios, such as minor chords and suspended chords. This is because the intervals between the strings are already in the correct position to play the chord.
  • It can help you to learn new scales and patterns. Modal tunings can help you to learn new scales and patterns that you may not have been able to play before. This is because the intervals between the strings are different from standard tuning.


How to Tune Your Guitar to Modal Tuning

To tune your guitar to modal tuning, you can use a tuner or tune by ear. If you are using a tuner, simply select the modal tuning that you want to use.


Tips for Playing in Modal Tuning

Here are a few tips for playing in modal tuning:

  • Use different voicings. A voicing is the arrangement of the notes of a chord. There are many different voicings for each chord, so experiment to find voicings that sound good in modal tuning.
  • Use effects pedals. Effects pedals can be used to create a variety of different sounds, including a darker, more resonant sound or a brighter, more open sound. Experiment with different effects pedals to find ones that you like.
  • Listen to other guitarists who use modal tuning. There are many great guitarists who use modal tuning, such as Keith Richards, Ry Cooder, and Davey Graham. Listen to their music to get ideas on how to use modal tuning in your own playing.

Conclusion

Modal tuning is a great way to expand your guitar playing horizons. It can help you to create new sounds, learn new scales and patterns, and find new sources of inspiration. If you have never tried modal tuning before, I encourage you to give it a try. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

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Guitar Tuning Series

Minor Tuning | Extended Chord Tuning

author avatar
Drew M. Hodis
Drew is Hodis Learning & Music's Founder and President. He has been tutoring and teaching music for more than 10 years. Drew earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.