D Minor 6th background

D Minor 6th Guitar Tuning


Guitar is my main instrument but when doing some composing on the keyboard I realized there are some voicings that can easily be played on the piano that are impossible to play on the guitar in standard tuning. This is because the intervals between strings is too large to permit chords with denser note clusters. Even a common seventh chord can't be played with the seventh note directly below the root and also directly above the fifth in standard tuning.

After my realization of the limitations of standard guitar tuning, I was meditating one evening and the idea for the minor 6th tuning came to me. I feel it was a gift from our universal Source and something I'd like to share.

The original idea came to me to tune the strings to the notes that form a C minor 6th chord. I tuned the low E string up to a G, the A string up to a C, the D string up to an Eb, the G string stayed the same, the B string down to an A and the high E string down to a C. You may want to try this first as I did using the strings you already have on the guitar. This will give you some idea of the possibilities. You'll notice the tension of the lower strings is too high and the tension of the top strings is too low.

C Minor 6th Tuning Low to High: G - C - Eb - G - A - C

I played with this tuning a while and was making several new discoveries every day. I soon wanted to even out the tension of the strings by changing the gagues. I then realized that if I tuned the guitar to a D minor 6th, three of the strings would be tuned the same as in standard tuning.

D Minor 6th Tuning Low to High: A - D - F - A - B - D

I took the low E (6th) string off. Then I took the A (5th) string off and put it back on where the E string had been, tuning it to A again. Next I took the D (4th) string off and put it back on where the A string had been, tuning it to D again. I had an extra G string and I put that where the D string had been, and tuned it to F. Then, I tuned the G string to A and the B string was still tuned to B. Lastly, I tuned the high E string down to D. I then eventually experimented with different gauges of strings until I found what felt best to me.

I now use a custom set of string gauges on the guitar to tune to D minor 6th. The string gauges for electric guitar I'm currently using are: .012 (D) .014 (B) .016 (A) .018 (F) .032w (D) .042w (A). For acoustic guitar I'm using: .013 (D) .016 (B) .021w (A) .025w (F) .035w (D) .045w (A).

I prefer the D minor 6th tuning as opposed to C minor 6th or E minor 6th or any other root note for the minor 6th chord. The main reason is that three of the six strings (A, D and B) are tuned to the notes of strings in the standard tuning. I think this helps to orient me to where the notes are when playing higher on the neck. Another reason is that none of the open strings are sharps or flats.

D minor 6th Guitar Tuningdminor6th.com ©2015 bill@dminor6th.com