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Guitar Tunings- Nashville high tuning strings info

Updated on October 19, 2011

Guitar Tunings

One of the best things about the guitar is its flexibility - you can completely change the sound of any guitar by using a different tuning. Let's look at some of the options:

Standard tuning: E A D G B E (low to high)

Drop D Tuning: D A D G B E

Double drop D: D A D G B D

Open D: D A D F sharp A D

Open G: D G D G B D


All of these are really useful - I have covered Open G in two hubs, and DADGAD in another 2, with all the chord diagrams you need to get started, and some video of the tunings in use.

Nashville tuning

Now let's look at Nashville or High-string tuning - a fantastic but little-known tuning. This replicates the sound of a 12-string guitar without all the hassle of wide fretboards and difficult tuning. You are basically using the high pitched strings of a 12-string, which gives you a sparkling harp-like sound. Check out the video below - this guy has done a great job.

The great Rolling Stones track Wild Horses uses this tuning on one of the guitar parts. If you are into recording and multitracking, using a guitar in Nashville tuning is one of the most effective ways of improving your sound. I think Joe Satriani uses it on some tracks.

Nashville tuning demo


Although I've used this tuning quite a bit, I didn't know you could buy a ready-made set of strings now. They are made by D'Addario, and I ordered mine from in the UK. Be careful with the 3rd string ( an octave higher G) as there is really a lot of tension - you could try an .008 string instead of the .009 if you have string breakage problems.

General point - use a less expensive old guitar for this tuning, as it may create neck problems. Having said that, I haven't had any problems at all.

As the tuning is the same notes as standard (some strings are one octave higher) you can play all the chords you know already, without any alteration.

One disadvantage of this tuning: you can't really play lead guitar solos - it sounds strange when an octave jump appears with no warning!

Guitar philosophy

As guitar players, in general. we are always spending money on new gadgets that swoosh and make clanging noises. Chorus pedals for instance: probably my favourite effect, but arguably the 12-string impression of a chorus pedal is never going to sound as good as a Nashville high-string guitar - and the tuning hasn't really cost anything. The Taylor Baby Taylor is an ideal guitar for this tuning, as the small body size really suits the high frequencies of the strings.


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    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Kyle - don't be afraid. You can use all the usual chords in Nashville tuning.

    • profile image

      honestkyle 8 years ago

      I'll be honest, alternate tunings aside from drop D really scare me. haha

      And I just don't know what to play on them either! Great hubbing like always :]

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks Keira - remember to use an old or cheap guitar for this. Thanks for all your support.

    • keira7 profile image

      keira7 8 years ago

      Great hub my friend. Thanks. We are big fans. God Bless.