This page is basically an over-glorified reference chart for scordatura and other alternate tunings used through out South America for the six stringed guitar. With much of the chart focused on my collected tunings from Peru through my continuing studies with my teacher Rene Hugo Sanchez. The rest is collected through literature be it printed, or multimedia and other resources.

South American Guitar Tunings
Name
Country
Region
Type
Pitch
Tuning
Galopos Paraguay
Re-entrant
E A D G# B E
Setime Dulce Peru
Re-entrant
E A D G B D
Juaylia
Peru
Re-entrant
E A Db G B E

Peru Sacsamarca, Huancalavica

E A C# F# B Bb

Peru Ayacucho
F# Minor
E A C# G B E

Peru Cuzco
F# Minor
F# A C# G B E

Peru Oropeza, Apurimac

A Major
E A C# A C# E

Peru Cajamarca
A Major E A D A C# E

Peru Arequipa
C Major E G C G B E



Dropped  C Maj 7  C G C G B E

Peru Paco / Huanuco


F Bb D G C E
Baulin
Peru

Re-entrant
F A D G B E

Peru
Dropped  D 6/9 D A D G B E

Peru Amazonas Open D Major D A D F# A D



Dropped
 G 6 D G D G B E




G Minor F# B D G B E

Peru

G Minor G Bb D G B E

Peru Ayacucho

G# C# F G B E

 

Sources:
Rene Hugo Sanchez (My Teacher) for most of the Peruvian alternate guitar tunings > Bibliography: Grove Music Online, Scordatura, David D. Boyden/Robin Stowel. Grove Music Online, Scordatura, ‘3. Lute and guitar’, James Tyler. Grove Music Online, Guitar, ‘3. The four-course guitar’ and ‘4. The five-course guitar’, James Tyler. > Discography (Smithsonian Folkways; Traditional Music of Peru Series CD1 to CD8). Guitar Tuning Database (GTDB).

Cross-note Tuning: Not unlike open tunings cross notes also contain a minor third. So when the tuning is applied a minor chord will be herd. Fretting the minor third string at the first fret produces a major chord. One of the more well known cross tunings is Open E Minor E B E G B E. 

Dropped Tuning:
is any scordatura or alternate tuning that is “dropped” from the standard tuning as applied to guitar. In other words from the lowest to the top string the tuning E A D G B E becomes D A D G B E. This produces a complete D chord, when this tuning is played in D major. The drop D tuning is used in numerous different genres ranging from folk to classical and regional traditional music (Huayno in Peru for example).

Open Tuning: Such tunings contain a triad in major and minor keys. Examples D G D G B D contains the major triad of G B D. Or in its minor key equivalent D G D G Bb D contains the minor triad G Bb D. Open tunings are very popular around the world and are played in numerous different musical genres.

Re-entrant Tuning:
Such tunings are a break in an otherwise ascending or descending order string pitches usually in the third or fourth strings. This break in the tuning its self is known as a re-entry. Such a tuning is where the strings or more properly the courses are not all in order from lowest to highest pitch or vise versa. Most of the commonly played stringed instruments from charango, ronroco, violin, mandolin, ukulele, guitar, upright and electric basses are tuned re-entrant tunings.

Scoradtura: Tuning the instrument to something other then the standard tuning prescribed for violins, guitars etc. In Italian the word "Scoradtura" means "miss tuned". Commonly found used in European classical music especially for the violin family (violin to upright bass) of musical instruments. Scoradtura as it applies guitar is very much a regional phenomenon. For example one would find In the Pacific Ocean one finds extensive use of scordatura in Slack Key Guitar, Indonesian guitar (regional), neighbouring Papua New Guinea. In Africa alternate tunings are encountered depending on musical style played on guitar, this usage differs among musicians and the countries they originate from. In South America scordatura is featured quite extensively in the regions of Peru as displayed in my chart and in also in neighbouring countries. 







 








Geography

Instruments

Percussion

My Articles