What’s “High Strung” or “Nashville” tuning?
You hear it on songs like Pink Floyd’s “Hey You”, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, and the Stones’ “Wild Horses”, not to mention countless others.
Specifically, High Strung/Nashville tuning uses standard 1st and 2nd strings, and one octave higher on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th strings. Strings 3 through 6 are actually the ‘octave strings’ from a 12-string set. High quality string manufacturers like D’Addario make dedicated High Strung/Nashville string sets. You can purchase individual strings as well.
Typical gauges (high to low) are:
High Strung or Nashville tuning is most frequently heard on acoustic guitars and is commonly used to “double” a standard-tuned acoustic. Strung in this manner, a guitar takes on an entirely different character. It sounds bright and almost piano-like. Capo up at the fifth fret and the guitar begins to sound like a harpsichord.
At about $5 a set, High Strung tuning is the simplest and lowest–cost change you can do to enable your acoustic guitar to sound like a very interesting and entirely different instrument.
Give it a try.
David Robin got his start in the 1960's Chicago rock n' roll scene and has built up an impressive, lengthy musical resume in the years since. After all these years, his love of the guitar is as strong as ever.