Nashville Tuning

Nashville tuning, also sometimes referred to as “high strung” tuning, is a unique method of tuning a guitar to achieve a bright, jangly sound that complements standard-tuned guitars in recordings and ensemble settings. Unlike traditional alternate tunings that involve changing the pitch of the strings to different notes, Nashville tuning involves replacing the lower four strings (E, A, D, G) with the higher octave strings from a 12-string guitar set, while the top two strings (B and E) typically remain the same as in standard tuning.

The result is a tuning that goes as follows, from the lowest string to the highest:

  • E (an octave higher than the standard E in standard tuning)
  • A (an octave higher than the standard A)
  • D (an octave higher than the standard D)
  • G (an octave higher than the standard G)
  • B (same as standard tuning)
  • E (same as standard tuning)

This setup essentially gives you the higher octave strings of a 12-string guitar without the lower octave counterparts on the E, A, D, and G strings. The effect is a shimmering, bright tone that can cut through a mix with clarity and a distinctive chime. Nashville tuning is often used in studio recordings to layer with standard-tuned guitars, creating a fuller, more complex sound. It’s particularly popular in country music, hence the name “Nashville” tuning, but it’s also used in rock, pop, and other genres for its unique sonic qualities.

Wild Horses, by The Rolling Stones, has three guitars: one in Nashville tuning, one in Spanish (open G), and one in standard tuning.




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