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C tuning (guitar): Wikis


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C tuning is a type of guitar tuning. The strings of the guitar are tuned two whole steps lower than standard tuning. The resulting notes can be described as either C-F-A♯-D♯-G-C or more often C-F-B♭-E♭-G-C.

The tuning is commonly used by metal and hard rock artists due to the dark sound it produces. It also makes bending easier for the player. Heavier gauge strings can be used in order to maintain tension in the strings. It is possible to play without them, but difficulty can be experienced as it becomes quite easy to unintentionally bend notes and chords out of tune. However, the ease of bends can be desirable, depending on playing style of the musician.

Use of C tuning

Generally, the tuning is used by metal artists. Tony Iommi tuned his guitar 1 1/2 steps down to C♯ on most of the tracks featured upon the Black Sabbath album Master of Reality. While he did so primarily for physical reasons (his fretting fingers were tipped with hard plastic prosthetics due to an industrial accident in his youth, making string breakage a constant problem), this produced a new sound, which became coveted by many bands in the emerging stoner metal genre. Several, notably Kyuss and Sleep, took it a further half a step down, to end up with the resulting C tuning, which they used almost exclusively. Josh Homme from the aforementioned Kyuss and also of Queens of the Stone Age said of the tuning "We just did it in the beginning because I didn't have a tuner… we got to like it and it never came back up. It just sounded a little heavier than tuning in E." [1] Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins also had a prototype Reverend guitar built for him that was specially designed to be tuned in C, which was used in the songs "The Everlasting Gaze" and "Heavy Metal Machine".[2] The tuning is frequently used by the heavy metal bands such as DethKlok, In Flames, Arch Enemy, The Black Dahlia Murder who have used C Tuning on all of their albums and Dark Tranquillity started to use the Tuning on The Mind's I and stuck with it. Soilent Green also uses this tuning on all of their albums.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Reverend Prototype Electric, "C-Tuned"". 


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