All fifths tuning

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Among guitar tunings, all-fifths tuning refers to the set of tunings in which each interval between consecutive open strings is a perfect fifth. All-fifths tuning is also called fifths, perfect fifths, or mandoguitar.[1] The conventional "standard tuning" consists of perfect fourths and a single major third between the g and b strings:

All fifths
All fifths tuning in the chromatic circle.png
The consecutive open-notes of all-fifths tuning are each spaced seven semitones apart on the chromatic circle.
Basic information
AliasesPerfect-fifths tuning
IntervalPerfect fifth
Example(s)C-G-d-a-e'-b' or G'-D-A-e-b-f'
Advanced information
Other instrumentsviolin, cello, mandolin, tenor banjo
AdvantagesWide range; natural for concert stringed-instrument music
DisadvantagesDifficult to play standard-guitar music
Left-handed tuningAll-fourths tuning
Associated musician
GuitaristCarl Kress
Carl Kress played jazz with all-fifths tuning.
Regular tunings (semitones)
Trivial (0)
Minor thirds (3)
Major thirds (4)
All fourths (5)
Augmented fourths (6)
New standard (7, 3)
All fifths (7)
Minor sixths (8)
Guitar tunings
A fretboard with line-segments connecting the successive open-string notes of the standard tuning
In the standard guitar-tuning, one major-third interval is interjected amid four perfect-fourth intervals. In each regular tuning, all string successions have the same interval; all-fifths tuning has perfect fifths between all string successions.
All-fifths tuning.

All-fifths tuning has the set of open strings

C-G-d-a-e'-b' or G'-D-A-e-b-f',

which have intervals of 3 octaves minus a half-step between the lowest and highest string. The conventional tuning has an interval of 2 octaves between lowest and highest string.

All-fifths tuning is a tuning in intervals of perfect fifths like that of a mandolin or a violin. It has a wide range. It was used by jazz guitarist Carl Kress in the form


An approximation: New standard tuningEdit

All-fifths tuning has been approximated with tunings that avoid the high b' replacing it with a g' in the New Standard Tuning of King Crimson's Robert Fripp, which has been taught in Guitar Craft courses.[3][4] Guitar Craft, which has been succeeded by Guitar Circle, has taught Fripp's tuning to 3,000 students.[5]

Relation with all-fourths tuningEdit

The consecutive open notes of all-fourths tuning are spaced apart by five semitones, reversing the ordering of all-fifths tuning (with seven semitones).

All-fifths tuning is closely related to all-fourths tuning. All-fifths tuning is based on the perfect fifth (the interval with seven semitones), and all-fourths tuning is based on the perfect fourth (five semitones). The perfect-fifth and perfect-fourth intervals are inversions of one another, and the chords of all-fourth and all-fifths are paired as inverted chords. Consequently, chord charts for all-fourths tunings may be used for left-handed all-fifths tuning.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sethares (2001, "The mandoguitar tuning" 62–63): Sethares, Bill (2001). "Regular tunings". Alternate tuning guide (pdf). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin; Department of Electrical Engineering. pp. 52–67. 2010 Alternate tuning guide, including a revised chapter on regular tunings. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  2. ^ Page 92. Richard Lieberson, "Swing guitar: The acoustic chordal style", pages 89-112. The Guitar in Jazz: An Anthology, Edited by James Sallis. 1996. 978-0-8032-4250-0
  3. ^ Tamm, Eric (2003) [1990], Robert Fripp: From crimson king to crafty master (Progressive Ears ed.), Faber and Faber (1990), ISBN 0-571-16289-4, Zipped Microsoft Word Document, archived from the original on 26 October 2011, retrieved 25 March 2012
  4. ^ Zwerdling, Daniel (5 September 1998). "California Guitar Trio". All Things Considered (NPR Weekend ed.). Washington DC: National Public Radio. Retrieved 25 March 2012..
  5. ^ Fripp (2011, p. 3): Fripp, Robert (2011). Pozzo, Horacio (ed.). Seven Guitar Craft themes: Definitive scores for guitar ensemble. "Original transcriptions by Curt Golden", "Layout scores and tablatures: Ariel Rzezak and Theo Morresi" (First limited ed.). Partitas Music. ISMN 979-0-9016791-7-7. DGM Sku partitas001.
  6. ^ Sethares (2001, p. 53)


Further readingEdit

  • Denyer, Ralph (1992). "Playing the guitar: Alternative tunings". The guitar handbook. Special contributors Isaac Guillory and Alastair M. Crawford (Fully revised and updated ed.). London and Sydney: Pan Books. pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-330-32750-X.

External linksEdit