Sunday, 15 March 2015

Reference chart for chord intervals in fourths tuning

I've put together a reference chart as an aid for learning the intervals that make up commonly used chords and the interval locations on the fretboard to visualise the chord shapes.

You can download the chart in pdf format here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Don't get around much anymore in fourths tuning.

"Don't get around much anymore" is a great jazz standard written by Duke Ellington. This arrangement is written for fourths tuning in the original key of C.

You can view and download the pdf at this link


The content of this resource is intended for personal, non-commercial use only.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Exercises to get familiar with major and minor chords in fourths tuning

In previous posts I've covered how to play major chords in fourths tuning. Here I'll introduce two chord shapes for the minor chord and include some exercises to practise using the major and minor chords.


You will need to mute the unwanted notes. To mute the first (E) and second (B) strings, I mostly lay my index finger across these strings, as shown in the following diagram.

I also use my little, ring and middle fingers of the picking hand to mute the first, second and third strings, respectively. I mute the sixth and fifth strings with the heel of my picking hand.

Minor chord shapes

The exercises below use two minor chord shapes, following are the chord diagrams which include the note intervals which make up each chord.







The following exercises use a common progression, I-V-vi-IV, in the key of G. Both left-and right- orientated chords (ie chords constructed from notes to the left or right of the root note) are used to show you the various options available in fourths tuning to play this progression across the fretboard.

The tab is for the Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-B-E fourths tuning. If you use E-A-D-G-C-F then increase the tab numbers by one.

Focus on playing cleanly, see my muting techniques described above.

Ex.1. I-V-vi-IV progression in the key of G using right-orientated chords.

Ex.2 I-V-vi-IV progression in the key of G using left- and right-orientated chords.

Ex 3. I-V-vi-IV progression in the key of G played in first position. An alternative minor chord shape is introduced compared to Ex.2.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Major chords for fourths tuning

In this post I will cover three common major chord shapes used in fourths tuning. I'll introduce each in turn then provide an example of playing a I-IV-V progression using each of the chord shapes. 

To assist you with understanding the construction of each chord type, following is a fretboard chart showing the intervals in fourths tuning, the sixth string is at the bottom of the chart.

Four note chord - shape 1

This chord is orientated to the right of the tonic. For those of you who already play in standard tuning, this shape is the same as the "E-type" chord shape played on the sixth to third strings. The following diagrams show the suggested fingering for this chord and its intervals.

Four note chord - shape 2

This chord shape is orientated to the left of the tonic and is similar to the "C-type" chord in standard tuning.  The suggested fingering and intervals for this chord type are shown below.

Major barre chord

See my previous post for an explanation of the major barre chord for fourths tuning. Following is the suggested fingering and interval chart.


To get these chord shapes under your fingers, following is an exercise playing the I-IV-V progression in the key of G using each of the shapes described above.The tab is shown for the Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-B-E tuning,  if you prefer to use E-A-D-G-C-F as your tuning then increase the tab numbers by one.

Monday, 28 July 2014

 Playing major barre chords in fourths tuning

Fourths tuning offers a range of easy to play major barre chords and four note chords.

I've put together a guide to play these chords, the document is available as a download in pdf format at this link.

The next post will go through examples using major barre and four note chords

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Getting started in fourths tuning

Fourths tuning is uncommon for guitar but its use is increasing. Artists such as Stanley Jordan, Alex Hutchings, Tom Quayle, Justin Perdue and Ant Law have successfully used this tuning in a range of genres. 

The notes generally used in fourths tuning are E-A-D-G-C-F.

My initial posts will cover chords, progressions and scales. Later posts will include transcriptions to show how this tuning can be used for classical, rock, pop, folk, jazz etc.

I hope that you find this material useful.

Other Resources:

'Guitar tuning in 4ths' Facebook group. 
Tom's Music Lessons - Series on youtube
Sixty guitar chords for all fourths tuning
P4 Tuning 
Zhille's Guitar Blog
Stanley Jordan on P4 tuning
Alex Hutchings interview on his use of fourths tuning 
Tom Quayle explanation of fourths tuning
Justin Perdue notes on fourths tuning