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Alternate Tunings Reference

Minor Third Tuning (C.D#.F#.A.C.D#)

The strings of the minor third tuning form a C diminished chord. It is a highly compressed tuning since all six strings are tuned within a tenth. This is about the distance most adults can stretch their fingers on a keyboard, and chords tend to be closely voiced, almost keyboard-like. Unlike the piano, however, chords in the minor third tuning often contain multiple copies of a single note. Consider the three barred C major chords: the first and third contain doubled E's while the second contains doubled G's. Similarly, the open position C minor and F minor both contain copies of a C note. This is not necessarily bad. The sound of the two notes invariably differs somewhat due to differences in string widths, tensions and tunings, and the doubled notes reinforce each other, like the doubled strings of a twelve string guitar add chorusing and depth. When picking or arpeggiating chords, the doubled strings can add a unique percussive effect, and it is easy to play extremely fast mandolin-style picking on adjacent doubled notes.
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Alternate Tunings Information