I have been experimenting with the all fourth guitar tuning for a few days and I really like it. I am no advanced player but really like the fact that the same fingering always produces the same intervals.

The only problem for me is that there are very few resources based on this tuning (or any other alternative tuning for that matter), so one has to make changes to the tabs most of the time. Obviously you need to move a fret lower on the highest two strings, but that's not always physically feasible.

So, could anyone give some insight into this? I am not interested in being 100% faithful to the original arrangement, roughly conveying the same musical idea is fine with me.

  • 1
    It'll obviously work fine for single note and solo playing, but be counter-productive for chords. And guitar is one of the few chordal instruments. It works well on bass - people don't tune a six string bass as a guitar - because mostly bass is single note stuff.
    – Tim
    Aug 1, 2016 at 18:31
  • What are you actually wanting to do? Compose, improvise to a chord progression, play in a gigging band? I like 4ths tuning too but playing from standard tuning tabs is probably one of the things it's not so good for. Aug 1, 2016 at 20:36
  • @topomorto Eventually I would like to do all the things you have mentioned above, right now I am just trying to grab things to play with.
    – qed
    Aug 1, 2016 at 20:58
  • @qed, I wish nothing but luck in this endeavor but you are missing out of the beauty of the current tuning. The guitar was meant to play chords and full multi voice pieces. All 4th tuning makes this task much more difficult. In the standard tuning you have whole streams of chords in a progression that have the same shape.
    – user50691
    May 27, 2020 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


As you probably discovered by now the solution is to tune guitar in perfect fourths a half step down from E-A-d-g-c-f. Then, as you read TABs you raise half step positions on the lower four strings.

On Linux operating system there is a TuxGuitar program in which you can specify tuning, and TABs are modified automatically for your tuning.


As we were saying, tabs probably aren't the top resource for playing in altered tunings - pieces probably won't usually be tabbed for all fourths unless the original arrangement was in that tuning.

A few ideas:

  • Finding some chord sheets for rock and pop songs and just strumming along. You may find it hard to find chord voicings that work across all 6 strings, but that's OK - 4- or even 3- string voicings can work fine for most chords. You can easily work out the chord shapes by yourself, but if you need to check, you can look at what the shapes are on the bottom 4 strings of chord charts for standard tuning, or perhaps look at a bass chord book, as well as looking for chord charts for fourths tuning.

  • Playing some melodies from standard notation, rather than tab, if you're interested in learning SN.

  • Just listening to some favourite songs (or thinking of some favourite nursery rhymes) and playing along with the vocal part or main melody as if you were singing - the aim is to not think too much, just let your fingers find the shapes according to what the ear hears. If this is tough to do at first, learning a few scales will allow your fingers to 'map' where the intervals are. Try to get to the point where you can move across and up and down the strings with equal ease.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.