The E A D G C F Tuning For Guitar | An Introductory Guide

Alex Hutchings

Alex Hutchings

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.

About Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins is the founder of Bath Guitar School and has worked for the International Guitar Foundation, Brit Awards, Rockschool, B&NES Council, Mid Somerset Festival, Bath Music Plus, and appeared on BBC and ITV television and radio programming as well as being featured in Guitar Techniques, Total Guitar, Venue, Bath Life magazines and the Bath Chronicle newspaper. Richard is a graduate of the Commercial Music degree programme at Bath Spa University and has a HND in Popular Music from Oxford College.
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3 Responses to The E A D G C F Tuning For Guitar | An Introductory Guide

  1. Dave Balmer says:

    Reblogged this on Guitar Surprise and commented:
    Recently curious about EADCGF tuning (perfect 4ths). I love 4 string barre cords anyway, and it seems to sort out some nagging issues with my soloing. Liked this post and the interview with Alex Hutchings.

  2. Antonio Millaruelo says:

    Interesting stuff! I have always been curious about P4 tunings. I have been playing guitar for 25 years and I have always despised the asymmetry standard tuning induces in chord forms and scale patterns. So yesterday I decided to try a P4 tuning starting at Eb on the sixth string… and it was a blast! I spent three hours enjoying the two-dimensional transportability of chords and the symmetry in scale patterns. So today I looked up P4 tuning and I found many posts (such as this one) by like-minded people.

  3. Guy says:

    I’ve played P4 tuning for 4 years, after 30+ years of playing in standard tuning, concerning your diagrams, I prefer knowing where the notes are on the fretboard not just playing patterns. Eventually, you will realise that just being able to play patterns is very restrictive.

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