The guys over at Jam Track Central recently interviewed Alex Hutchings, a long time collaborator with JTC and a great jazz/rock/fusion guitarist from the UK, who is local to the South West and I have seen him play in Bath many times.
During the interview Alex answers a number of questions including his usage of the E A D G C F tuning for the guitar. I received a lot of interest from guitar students when I shared this video. So here is an introductory lesson to E A D G C F tuning.
Alex Hutchings Interview January 2011
What is E A D G C F tuning?
The guitar is traditionally tuned to E A D G B E, starting with the 6th string (low E). The intervalic distance between each of the strings is a perfect fourth (p4), except for the interval between the 3rd (G) and the 2nd (B) strings, which is a major third (3).
Standard tuning does have its disadvantages when looking for symmetry in chord, scale and arpeggio shapes; sometimes making it awkward to play certain shapes or patterns. The E A D G C F tuning enables more symmetrical shapes to occur.
This tuning is built using purely perfect fourths (p4) – E to A = p4, A to D = p4 and so on. To tune this on your guitar you can play the fifth fret of each of the strings and tune the string below to that note: resulting in E A D G C F.
How do I play these now more symmetrical scales?
I have written 5 major scale shapes to demonstrate the wonderful symmetry that is achieved when your guitar is tuned in E A D G C F. Notice the symmetry in these shapes.
Download this pdf sheet: major-scales-eadgcf-tuning.pdf
How do I play chords in E A D G C F tuning?
Chords are very simple to play because of the symmetrical nature of this tuning. You can move these two chord shapes (major and minor) between the 6th, 5th and 4th strings.
Download this pdf sheet: major-minor-chords-eadgcf-tuning.pdf
The E A D G C F tuning may not suit every player and not all styles but give it a go and have fun with it.