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'Ethereal tuning' is officially A Thing, and it sounds amazing

Best of 2019: Proving yet again that there’s always something new for the internet to teach us, YouTube electric guitar star Ichika, who we recently called one of 10 forward-thinking players proving the guitar still has plenty to offer, has written a new instrumental piece in what he calls  'ethereal tuning'.

And what, exactly, is ethereal tuning?

Good question. According to Ichika, it is, low to high, D A Db Gb Db D (resulting in an open Dmaj7 chord, theory fans). And it sounds quite, well, ethereal.

At least it does when Ichika applies his stunning two-handed fretboard technique (and a bit of reverb) to the proceedings.

If you’re looking to try the tuning for yourself, we’d recommend switching out your second string (what would be B in standard tuning) for a lighter gauge, just in case of snappage. But by the sounds of it, the effects are well worth it.

You can check out the tune above, and for more Ichika, head over to his official YouTube channel.

Intrigued to try other esoteric tunings? Check out acoustic virtuoso Mike Dawes' guide to unusual techniques and tunings.

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.