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Today is alt tuning #4 since starting on January 1, 2016. My open string notes are:
By only making slight changes to a tuning, it’s easier to get comfortable with new finger positions and note locations.
Today’s alternate tuning is a slight variation of yesterday’s tuning DACFCF. The only difference between these tunings is that the note F on string 1 changes to D.
In the video below, I play a live improv version of my song “Jangle Gnat” using this alt tuning. After the video, I’ll teach you the first 6 chords of my progression, with detailed instructions and screenshots:
As I’m sure you heard, there’s a lot more to “Jangle Gnat” than the 6 chords we’ll cover in this blog post. But I hope you’re able to use the instructions and screenshots below and video as inspiration to create your own song in this awesome alternate tuning.
We’re going to focus on the first 6 chords of my progression, starting with D m7.
I play D m7 by playing the open string notes D, A, C, F, C, D. As you see in the screenshot above, there are a lot of other places on the fretboard to play D m7, with great sounding chord voicings and relatively easy finger positions.
The second chord I play is A# M2(add9):
The “Major 2 (add9)” really complements the “Minor 7” and is easy on the fingers.
Here’s how I play A# M2(add9) in my progression:
- String 6 – Open (D)
- String 5 – Fret 1 (A#)
- String 4 – Fret 2 (D)
- String 3 – Open (F)
- String 2 – Open (C)
- String 1 – Open (D)
The third chord I play is C M2(add9):
I play C M2(add9) by barring my index finger across fret 2 and playing string 5/fret 3 (C) with my middle finger. I love the low E on string 6/fret 2 under the C note on string 5 not only because it sounds good, but it also sets up…
The fourth chord of my progression, F Maj:
In the video, I forgot to play the A note on string 3/fret 4, which leaves out the “Major” in F Maj! What I actually play in the video are 3 F’s and 3 C’s.
Here is the position I was supposed to play:
- String 6 – Fret 3 (F) – Index finger
- String 5 – Fret 3 (C) – Middle finger
- String 4 – Open (C)
- String 3 – Fret 4 (A) – Pinky
- String 2 – Open (C)
- String 1 – Fret 3 (F) – Ring finger
This can be a tricky fingering to play but if you use the same fingers I use to play the previous chord C M2(add9), playing this F Maj is easier.
The fifth chord in my progression is G m7:
After a bit of finger twisting playing the previous chord F Maj, this one is a lot easier. I bar my index finger across all the strings on fret 5. What a great sounding, complex 4-note chord…and with just one finger!
The sixth and final chord we’ll cover today is C 7:
In my progression, I bar my index finger across fret 10 and play the E note on string 3/fret 11. It’s a nice complement to the previous G m7 chord which also included barring my index finger across all the strings.
May these daily alt tunings continue to inspire you as you explore songwriting beyond the limitations of standard tuning. If you’d like to learn more about making alt tuning a part of your songwriting, give me a call at 888-7-GUITAR or reach out to me here.
Until next time…
Did you know? Scott started playing guitar when he was 14 years old back in 1982. A Pittsburgh native, Scott resides in Rhode Island where he teaches guitar, bass, music and songwriting. He also records and mixes songs for local bands and artists as well as his own music. He writes and records nearly every day and has a real passion to help others hear their “inner voice” and express that in songs.
You can listen to more of Scott’s music at https://soundcloud.com/scottquillin.