The Complete Book of Alternate Tunings – Review

Alternate Tunings Fretless Guitar

Mark Hanson

Review by Jahloon:

Alternate tunings are one of the great benefits to be used with the fretless guitar. They can make a big difference enabling complex chords to be played easily. Slide guitarists already use alternate tuning and most fretless players will tune their guitars in different ways.

The book is well written with a lot of background about the various tunings discussed. Each description also includes a list of artists / songs / and the album that used that particular tuning. There are also chord boxes and scale examples for the tunings. A nice touch is that the scales are provided in musical staff and TAB notation.

There is a nice section on slide guitar tuning and Hawaiian Slack Key tuning. These are followed by a “Design Your Own” section with a nice practical piece to play by Mark Hanson called “Strawberry Curl”.

Near the end of the book is a very detailed discography running to 40 pages listing 180 artists and their songs, their tunings and the album source.

Table of Contents


The Tunings

Major Scales
Minor Scales
Chord Fingerings

D-Family Tunings

D A d g b d ‘
Dsus4 – – “D A D G A D”
Open D
Open D Minor
D A d e a d ‘

G-Family Tunings

Open G
G s u s 4
Open G Minor
D G d g a d’

C-Family Tunings

C G d g b e ‘
C G d g b d ‘
Open C
Open C Minor

Other Tunings

Close-to-Standard Tunings
Other Open Chord Tunings
Slide Guitar Tunings
Hawaiian “Slack Key” Tunings
How to Design Your Own Tunings
Artists’ Tunes and Tunings

Chord Supplement
Tablature Guide


This is an excellent introduction to alternate tunings and would most likely serve most guitarists needs, however for fretless guitarists you might be looking for a bit more than the book provides, things like Oud tunings, All Fourths, Open E, New Standard Tuning etc.. We have put together an alternate tuning for fretless guitar page on Unfretted, but we do recommend this book as a great reference source.

Review – Jahloon, March 2016


Accent on Music (1995)

ISBN numbers

ISBN-10: 0936799137
ISBN-13: 978-0936799131

Cost (RRP)



Alternate tunings for Fretless Guitar (Unfretted)

More Book Reviews Fretless Guitar Alternate Tunings

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