Open Tunings, Alternate Tunings, & String Gauges

Sleepy the Sloth - experimenting with open tunings and alternate tunings
Sleepy the Sloth - experimenting with alternate tunings

Tunings that contain the 1, 3 & 5 of a chord are called open tunings. Deviations from those are called alternate tunings. The most common alteration to open tunings is to tune the 3rd of the chord to a major 2nd or a perfect 4th and create a suspension chord. This gives you the option of easily playing in either a major or minor key. You can do further alterations to suit the piece you are playing. Here are the tunings Les Finnigan has used so far and the titles recorded using them. Medium gauge strings are used for all these tunings. To get a more even string tension and volume, Les substitutes the plain strings, .013 and .017 for ones a gauge heavier, so the gauges are .014, .018, .026, .035, .045 and .056.

AEDGBE - Tord and Bobo
BbEbBbEbBbEb - Portrait, Tug & Boom
BbFBbFBbF - Milonga Mystery, Magnetic Properties, Dreaming Arrangements, The Sneaking Sloth, After the Drought
CADGBE - An Entire Ocean, I Caught the Key
CFCFCF - Double Crush, Race to the Shore, Eleven and a Half, Okanagan Ashes, Letting Go, The Woodcutter, The Calling
CGCGCD - Neuromotion, Another Wasted Sunday
CGCGCEb - Up All Night, Ralph's Town, Hallow Evening
CGCGCE - Two-Faced Gun Slinger, What I Meant to Say, A Wrong Turn
CGDEAD - Lullaby for a Bunny, Remembering, Little One
CGDGAD - Spring Ahead, Palo Alto
CGDGCD - The Fairlane, Swivelly Chair
DADEAD - Curious as a Raven, Waiting For News, Bowl o' Cocobolo
DADGAD - The Dominant Phrygian, Bungee Chord Substitution, A Basket of Snakes, A Change of Colour, Kathleen Marie, Will and Testament, In the Shop, Sunderland, Antique Invention, A One Week Trance
DADGAE - April's Fool, Maybe
DADGBE - Sunrise Moon, Fret Buzz, Kaleidoscope, Telephone Lullaby, Forgetting To Breathe, Good as New, Dish Mountain
DBDF#BD - Drawing Board and Fret Board, A Sense of Pillow, Kispiox, Tito Eggy, Alberico, Ann's Dream
DGDGAB - September Again, Upstairs
DGDGBD - Box of Gould
DGDGBE - Bouncing Ball
DGDGCC - March of the Millipede
DGDGCD - Dancing Around the Topic, The Island
EbGDGAB - Don't Leave Me Hanging
EADGAB - To the Last Minute
EADGAE - That's Not My Kilt
EADGBE - More or Less Happy, Bedtime for Night Owls, Tip-Toeing Shadows, A Mind of it's Own, The Swinging Screen Door, Broken, Chunks of Cheese, Listening Train, Finnigan's Jig, Dave's Workshop, What's Your Point?
FACFCF - Bald Cypress Blues, Time Alone
FADGBE - Three Perspectives, Delta & Gromit
FBbDFBbD - Coral Piece, Snowflake Variations, On the First of January, A Few Days Later

You can hear samples of all these tunings on the CDs page.