The Ultimate Alternate
Tunings Library

"If I didn't have all these tunings, my songwriting
would have dried up years ago." - Mark Tremonti

What Are Alternate Tunings?

Alternate tunings refer to pitch sets other than standard tuning, also referred to as non-standard or alternative. While musicians start off learning guitar in standard tuning, experimenting with alternate tunings is a progressive means of developing creatively as a musician. Many famous musicians even created their own alternate tunings (Nick Drake Tuning,"Iommi Tuning") and these are now a signature of their unique sounds.

The concept of alternate tunings is deep and wide with limitless possibilities. Whether you’re stuck in a rut with your guitar playing and songwriting or want to broaden your horizons as a guitarist, alternate tunings are an ingenious way to harness creativity.

Alternate Tuning Types

red-icon Step Down Tunings

They’re the easiest kind of tunings to get your head around. Quite simply, step down and step up tunings mean tuning all the strings on the guitar a given number of steps higher or lower than standard.

red-icon Dropped Tunings

They typically start with standard tuning and then lower (drop) the pitch of a single string – almost always the low E string. By far the most famous dropped tuning, and the one you’re most likely to come across, is Drop D.

red-icon Open Tunings

Open tunings make playing chords easy: by simply barring all the strings across a single fret, all similar chords in the chromatic scale can be played. They allow better intonation of chords, dialling out dissonance and creating a big chord sound.

red-icon Regular Tunings

'Standard' guitar tunings feature five perfect fourths and a major third because it’s convenient and comfortable for the guitarist and creates consonance between the outer strings.

red-icon Custom Tunings

One of the really great things about alternate tunings is that they’re not prescriptive. If you can’t find the sound you’re looking for with any of the tunings in our library, you can go out and make your own!

red-icon Special Tunings

These are the most famous custom tunings, popularized by various contemporary artists. This guide did a great job at compiling a list of the best ones out there!

Custom Tunings

When it comes to inventing your own tuning, the Roadie 3 really hacks it. You can save your own custom tuning and then tune your instrument to it quickly and easily whenever you need it. And hey, if you come up with something really good, maybe you’ll have a tuning named after your own song one day!

Most Popular Tunings

New to alternate tunings?

Check out these great articles to get you started:

Did You Know

With the Roadie Tuner, your set-list is sure to flow naturally. It comes with an extensive index of 150+ built-in tunings so you don't need to worry about switching between different alternate tunings and keeping track of your custom ones. All you need to do is select your tuning of choice, place Roadie on the peg and watch it automatically tune your instrument for you in just seconds.