Well, it only took 20 years, but I decided to clean up the "txt" version of the Tuning List, which hopefully makes things a little easier to absorb. This is basically an alphabetical octavical list of all tunings used by Sonic Youth, on various solo albums, or written in liners of SY releases.

Each tuning has a guide on how to tune from standard EADGBE. "Eu2" means to tune the E string up 2 frets, or one whole step, to F#. "Ad3" means to tune the A string down 3 frets, or one and 1/2 steps, to F#. "s" means the note stays the same. Strings that don't change are not bolded.

If you still want a handy txt version to refer to, this is literally a copy/paste of this page into a txt file. Enjoy!

Contact me if you have any suggestions/corrections!


A A A A B D

How to tune: Eu5 As Du7 Gu2 Bs Ed2

Notes: This tuning is crossed out for Lee's name under "Justice Is Might" in the Bad Moon Rising CD liners. In Total Guitar magazine #46, Lee calls this tuning the "Wall of Sound" chord.


A A E E F# A

How to tune: Eu5 As Du2 Gd3 Bd5 Ed7

Used by Lee on:

  • Justice Is Might

    Notes: n/a


    A A E E A A

    How to tune: Eu5 As Du2 Gd3 Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Silver Rocket
  • Candle
  • Theresa's Sound-World (capo 3)
  • On The Strip
  • Youth Against Fascism

    Notes: Lee uses a modified version (BBEEAA) on "Cinderella's Big Score".


    A C C G G# C

    How to tune: Eu5 Au3 Dd2 Gs Bd3 Ed4

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Silver Rocket
  • Candle
  • Kissability
  • Cinderella's Big Score
  • Theresa's Sound-World
  • On The Strip
  • Youth Against Fascism

    Notes: n/a


    A F# E F# E B

    How to tune: Eu5 Ad3 Du2 Gd1 Bd7 Ed5

    Used by Lee on:

  • Shoot
  • Becuz
  • Saucer-Like*
  • Washing Machine (first part)
  • Panty Lies
  • Skip Tracer
  • My Arena

    Notes: This is a modified version of the classic F#F#F#F#EB tuning. Lee may have used F#F#F#F#EB for "Saucer-Like" on the album but always used AF#EF#EB live. He also used this for "100%" on the Washing Machine tour.


    B E G D B B

    How to tune: Ed5 Ad5 Ds Gd5 Bd12 Ed17

    Used by Kim on:

  • Bone
  • Becuz
  • Junkie's Promise
  • Saucer-Like
  • Washing Machine
  • Unwind
  • No Queen Blues

  • Quest For The Cup?
  • Little Trouble Girl?
  • My Arena?

    Notes: This is a modified version of Kim's Dirty tuning DEDGBB. I believe she also used this for a lot of Free Kitten material.


    B F# B B B F#

    How to tune: Ed5 Ad3 Dd3 Gd8 Bs Ed10

    Used by Lee on:

  • Purloined (Electric Trim)

    Notes: This is a modified version of CGCCCG, one of Lee's solo tunings. For most live versions, Lee has been playing "Purloined" in CGCCCG.


    B B E E A A

    How to tune: Eu7 Au2 Du2 Gd3 Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Cinderella's Big Score

    Notes: This is a modification of the AAEEAA tuning.


    B B x x F# F#

    How to tune: Eu7 Au2 x x Bd5 Ed10

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Eric's Trip

    Notes: Thurston uses a guitar strung with 4 bass strings on this song, with the two Bs in unison (equal to the 2nd fret of a regular tuned A string), and the two F#s in unison above. He uses a drumstick as a slide device.


    C C G D G D

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad9 Dd7 Gd5 Bd4 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • French Tickler

    Notes: n/a


    C D G A D G

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad7 Dd7 Gu2 Bu3 Eu3

    Used by Kim on:

  • Malibu Gas Station

    Notes: n/a


    C G G D D D

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Dd7 Gd5 Bd9 Ed14

    Used by Kim on:

  • Anagrama
  • Stil
  • Contre Le Sexisme
  • Wildflower Soul
  • Hoarfrost
  • French Tickler
  • The Ineffable Me
  • Snare, Girl
  • Heather Angel

    Notes: n/a


    C G C/C C/C G/G A#/C (12-STRING GUITAR W/ 10 STRINGS)

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Dd2/Dd2 Gd7/Gd7 Bd4/Bd4 Ed6/Ed4

    Used by Lee on:

  • Free City Rhymes
  • Renegade Princess
  • Side2Side*

    Notes: 12-string guitar with single strings on the "lowest" notes (E and A in standard tuning). I think Lee used this for the album version of "side2side" (or at least early live versions) but he began using another tuning for the tour. I'm also not sure if the Cs are in unison or an octave apart...


    C G C C C G

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Dd2 Gd7 Bu1 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • Hammer Blows (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • The Rising Tide (Last Night On Earth)
  • Moroccan Mountains (Electric Trim)
  • Thrown Over The Wall (Electric Trim)

    Notes: A new tuning used by Lee on all 3 of his solo albums. A modified version (half step down - BF#F#F#BF# is used on "Purloined" from Electric Trim).


    C G D C G D

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Ds Gd7 Bd4 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Rain On Tin
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Dude Ranch Nurse
  • I Love You Golden Blue
  • Reena
  • What A Waste
  • Lights Out
  • The Neutral
  • Anti-Orgasm
  • What We Know
  • Malibu Gas Station
  • Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn

    Notes: n/a


    C G D G B B

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Ds Gs Bs Ed5

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Queen Bee And Her Pals (Psychic Hearts)
  • Ono Soul (Psychic Hearts)
  • Psychic Hearts (Psychic Hearts)
  • Pretty Bad (Psychic Hearts)
  • Patti Smith Math Scratch (Psychic Hearts)
  • Blues From Beyond The Grave (Psychic Hearts)
  • See-Through Playmate (Psychic Hearts)
  • Hang Out (Psychic Hearts)
  • Feathers (Psychic Hearts)
  • Tranquilizer (Psychic Hearts)
  • Staring Statues (Psychic Hearts)
  • Cindy (Rotten Tanx) (Psychic Hearts)
  • Cherry's Blues (Psychic Hearts)
  • Female Cop (Psychic Hearts)
  • Elegy For All The Dead Rock Stars (Psychic Hearts)
  • Teenage Buddhist Daydream (Cindy 7")
  • Just Tell Her That I Really Like Her (Psychic Hearts era 7")
  • The Church Should Be For The Outcast, Not A Church That Casts People Out (Psychic Hearts era 7")
  • Superchrist (Psychic Hearts outtake)
  • Anagrama
  • Stil
  • Sunday
  • Wildflower Soul
  • Hoarfrost
  • French Tickler
  • Karen Koltrane
  • The Ineffable Me
  • Snare, Girl
  • Heather Angel
  • Free City Rhymes
  • Renegade Princess
  • Sympathy For The Strawberry
  • Lip (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Sleeping Where I Fall (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Alighted (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Empires of Time (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Groovy + Linda (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Burroughs (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Mohawk (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Frank O'Hara Hit (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • No Go (Chelsea Light Moving live only)
  • Sunday Stage (Chelsea Light Moving live only)
  • The Ecstasy (Chelsea Light Moving live only)

    Notes: Thurston famously borrowed this tuning from Pavement, modified it a bit with the unison Bs, and wrote about a thousand songs. Later he modified it to CGDGCD and is still cranking 'em out by the barrel.


    C G D G C D

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Ds Gs Bu1 Ed2

    Used by Thurston on:

  • The Empty Page
  • Disconnection Notice
  • Rain On Tin
  • Karen Revisited
  • Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
  • Plastic Sun
  • Unmade Bed
  • Dripping Dream
  • Mariah Carey & The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
  • Stones
  • New Hampshire
  • Peace Attack
  • Reena
  • What A Waste
  • Turquoise Boy
  • Lights Out
  • The Neutral
  • Frozen GTR (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • The Shape Is In A Trance (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Silver > Blue (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Off Work (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Trees Outside The Academy (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Marika (Trees Outside The Academy bonus track)
  • What We Know
  • Malibu Gas Station
  • Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
  • January (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Space (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Orchard Street (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Heavenmetal (Chelsea Light Moving)
  • Speak To The Wild (The Best Day)
  • Forevermore (The Best Day)
  • Tape (The Best Day)
  • Detonation (The Best Day)
  • Vocabularies (The Best Day)
  • Grace Lake (The Best Day)
  • Germs Burn (The Best Day)
  • Cease Fire (Rock N Roll Consciousness era single)
  • Exalted (Rock N Roll Consciousness)
  • Cusp (Rock N Roll Consciousness)
  • Turn On (Rock N Roll Consciousness)
  • Smoke Of Dreams (Rock N Roll Consciousness)
  • Aphrodite (Rock N Roll Consciousness)

    Notes: Modified version of CGDGBB tuning.


    C G D A C D

    How to tune: Ed4 Ad2 Ds Gu2 Bu1 Ed2

    Used by Kim on:

  • What We Know
  • Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn

    Notes: n/a


    C C x x D# D#

    How to tune: Eu8 Au3 x x Bd8 Ed25

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Marilyn Moore

    Notes: Thurston uses a guitar strung with 4 bass strings on this song, with the two Cs in unison (equal to the 3rd fret of a regular tuned A string), the first D# one and a half step up from that C, and the second D# one octave below that.


    C C D# G G D

    How to tune: Eu8 Au3 Du1 Gs Bd4 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Marilyn Moore

    Notes: n/a


    C C E B G D

    How to tune: Eu8 Au3 Du2 Gu4 Bd4 Ed2

    Used by Thurston on:

  • The Sprawl
  • 'Cross The Breeze
  • Disappearer

    Notes: n/a


    D D A E A D

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad7 Dd5 Gd3 Bd2 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Angles (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Shouts (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Stranded (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Last Night On Earth (Last Night On Earth)
  • Late Descent #2 (Last Night On Earth)

    Notes: n/a


    D D A F# A D

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad7 Dd5 Gd1 Bd2 Ed2

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Honest James (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Fri/End (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Wonderful Witches + Language Meanies (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Never Day (Trees Outside The Academy)
  • Sacred Trickster
  • Anti-Orgasm
  • Leaky Lifeboat
  • Antenna
  • Calming The Snake
  • Poison Arrow
  • No Way
  • Walkin Blue
  • Massage The History
  • In Silver Rain With Paper Key (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Mina Loy (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Blood Never Lies (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Circulation (Demolished Thoughts)
  • The Best Day (Rock N Roll Consciousness)

    Used by Kim on:

  • Anti-Orgasm
  • Calming The Snake
  • Poison Arrow
  • No Way
  • Walkin Blue

    Notes: n/a


    D D D D E A

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad7 Ds Gd5 Bd7 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • I'm Insane

    Notes: This is listed in the liners of the CD, which are taken from the original lyric sheets, but I've noticed that some of the tunings may not be entirely accurate...For live versions, it seems like Lee usually used the blue Jazzmaster in F#F#F#F#EB.


    D D D D A A

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad7 Ds Gd5 Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Catholic Block
  • Tuff Gnarl
  • Sacred Trickster
  • Leaky Lifeboat
  • Antenna
  • Calming The Snake
  • Poison Arrow
  • No Way
  • Walkin Blue
  • Massage The History

    Notes: Also used for a lot of SYR9.


    D D# A# D# G G

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad6 Dd4 Gd4 Bd4 Ed9

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Incinerate
  • Do You Believe In Rapture?
  • Sleepin' Around
  • Jams Run Free
  • Pink Steam
  • Or
  • Helen Lundeberg
  • Eyeliner

    Notes: During initial songwriting for Rather Ripped, Lee began using this tuning as well, but tweaked it to D# D# A# D# G G as sessions progressed. His parts on the Helen Lundeberg/Eyeliner 7" may be in this tuning, though.


    D D# A# D# G C

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad6 Dd4 Gd4 Bd4 Ed4

    Used by Lee on:

  • Sleepin' Around

    Notes: Modified version of D D# A# D# G G.


    D E G D B B

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad5 Dd7 Dd5 Bd12 Ed17

    Used by Kim on:

  • Swimsuit Issue
  • Wish Fulfillment
  • On The Strip
  • Creme Brulee

    Notes: n/a


    D F C D F F

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad4 Dd2 Gd5 Bd6 Ed11

    Used by Lee on:

  • Nevermind (What Was It Anyway)
  • Small Flowers Crack Concrete
  • StreamXSonik Subway
  • NYC Ghosts & Flowers

    Notes: n/a


    D G D D B B

    How to tune: Ed2 Ad2 Ds Gd5 Bd12 Ed17

    Used by Kim on:

  • Free City Rhymes
  • Renegade Princess

    Notes: n/a


    D A A D D A

    How to tune: Ed2 As Dd5 Gd5 Bd9 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Junkie's Promise

    Notes: n/a


    D A D F# A D

    How to tune: Ed2 As Ds Gd1 Bd2 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Home Chds (Last Night On Earth)

    Notes: n/a


    D A D G G B

    How to tune: Ed2 As Ds Gs Bd4 Ed5

    Used by Kim on:

  • Female Mechanic Now On Duty
  • Karen Koltrane
  • Lightnin'

  • Herinneringen?

    Notes: n/a


    D A D G B D

    How to tune: Ed2 As Ds Gs Bs Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Last Looks (Electric Trim)

    Notes: n/a


    D A D A B B

    How to tune: Ed2 As Ds Gu2 Bs Ed5

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Junkie's Promise

    Used by Kim on:

  • Nevermind (What Was It Anyway)
  • Small Flowers Crack Concrete
  • The Empty Page
  • Disconnection Notice
  • Karen Revisited
  • New Hampshire (capo 5)
  • Rats (capo 1)

    Notes: n/a


    D A D A B D

    How to tune: Ed2 As Ds Gu2 Bs Ed2

    Used by Kim on:

  • Leaky Lifeboat
  • Antenna
  • Massage The History

    Notes: n/a


    D A# D F C A#

    How to tune: Ed2 Au1 Ds Gd2 Bu1 Ed6

    Used by Lee on:

  • Off The Wall (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Xtina As I Knew Her (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Key/Hole (Last Night On Earth)
  • New Thing (Electric Trim)

    Notes: n/a


    D# D# A A E E

    How to tune: Ed1 Ad6 Dd5 Gd10 Bd7 Ed12

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Rain King

    Notes: The tunings for "Rain King" were a total mystery when the band had to relearn the Daydream Nation material in 2007, so they reviewed old rehearsal tapes and this is what they came up with, and what Thurston used on the 2007 tour.


    D# D# A# D# G G

    How to tune: Ed1 Ad6 Dd4 Gd4 Bd4 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • Incinerate
  • Do You Believe In Rapture?
  • Pink Steam
  • Or

    Notes: When writing for Rather Ripped began, Lee was using the same DD#A#D#GG tuning as Thurston, but changed to unison D#s on the bottom. I'm not sure which was used for the early recordings of "Helen Lundeberg" and "Eyeliner".


    D# D# C# C# G G

    How to tune: Ed1 Ad6 Dd1 Gd6 Bd4 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • I Love Her All The Time (screwdriver 9th fret)
  • Nic Fit

    Notes: Might be D# C# G#...


    D# A# D F A# C

    How to tune: Ed1 Au1 Ds Gd2 Bd1 Ed4

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Benediction (Demolished Thoughts)
  • Illumine (Demolished Thoughts)

    Notes: n/a


    D# A# D# B C# F#

    How to tune: Ed1 Au1 Du1 Gd8 Bu2 Ed10

    Used by Lee on:

  • Jams Run Free
  • Rats

    Notes: Also used by Mark Ibold on the Rather Ripped tour, while Thurston played bass.


    E E B B E F#

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd8 Bd7 Ed10

    Used by Lee on:

  • Dirty Boots
  • Swimsuit Issue
  • Wish Fulfillment
  • Chapel Hill
  • JC
  • Purr
  • Skink
  • Tokyo Eye
  • Sweet Shine
  • The Diamond Sea
  • Hits Of Sunshine

    Notes: n/a


    E E B B F# F#

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd8 Bd5 Ed10

    Used by Kim on:

  • Sympathy For The Strawberry
  • Mariah Carey & The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream*

    Notes: Set lists have Kim using both EEBBF#F# and EBEGGB for "Mariah Carey", it's possible she switched.


    E E B E B B

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd3 Bs Ed5

    Used by Lee on:

  • The Empty Page
  • Sympathy For The Strawberry
  • Peace Attack

    Notes: n/a


    E E E E F# F#

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Du2 Gd3 Bd5 Ed10

    Used by Lee on:

  • 'Cross The Breeze

    Notes: n/a


    E E B E G# B

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd3 Bd3 Ed5

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Winner's Blues
  • Compilation Blues

    Used by Kim on:

  • Razor Blade

    Notes: n/a


    E E B E B E

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd3 Bs Es

    Notes: Lee tuning shown in Bad Moon Rising CD liners on lyric sheet for "Society Is A Hole", along with EEBF#BE, but I'm pretty sure Lee uses F#F#F#F#EB for the final version of the song. In Total Guitar #46, Lee says this tuning is good for "drone like power chords".


    E E B F# B E

    How to tune: Es Ad5 Dd3 Gd1 Bs Es

    Notes: Lee tuning shown in Bad Moon Rising CD liners on lyric sheet for "Society Is A Hole", along with EEBEBE, but I'm pretty sure Lee uses F#F#F#F#EB for the final version of the song.


    E F# C# F# A# C#

    How to tune: Es Ad3 Dd1 Gd1 Bd1 Ed3

    Used by Lee on:

  • Tomorrow Never Comes (Between The Times And The Tides)

    Notes: n/a


    E G D G E D

    How to tune: Es Ad2 Ds Gs Bd7 Ed2

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Dirty Boots
  • Tunic
  • Titanium Expose
  • Swimsuit Issue
  • Wish Fulfillment
  • Chapel Hill
  • Purr
  • Skink
  • Screaming Skull
  • Bone
  • Tokyo Eye
  • The Diamond Sea
  • Female Mechanic Now On Duty
  • Hits Of Sunshine

    Used by Kim on:

  • My Friend Goo

  • Lee #2?

    Notes: Kim came up with this tuning for "My Friend Goo" but Thurston ran with it for a few more albums. I think Kim used it on "Lee #2" as well as "Inhuman" when the three were played as an encore on the Goo tour.


    E G# E G# E G#

    How to tune: Es Ad1 Du2 Gu1 Bd7 Ed8

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Expressway To Yr Skull
  • PCH
  • Paper Cup Exit

    Used by Lee on:

  • Expressway To Yr Skull
  • PCH
  • Paper Cup Exit

    Notes: Lee also used this tuning for "Inhuman" on the '85 tour, as seen in the Blood On Brighton Beach footage at the beginning of Screaming Fields Of Sonic Love, as well as a cover of DNA's "Blonde Redhead" that the band was playing live in February 1999 (Thurston played bass). For this tuning, Lee generally used a 12-string strung with 10 strings (lowest strings not doubled).


    E A D E C D

    How to tune: Es As Ds Gd3 Bu1 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • The World Looks Red (screwdriver @ 9th fret)
  • Confusion Is Next (screwdriver @ 9th fret)

    Notes: Although the song was originally in standard tuning, Lee used EADECD for "Shaking Hell" when it was resurrected in 2006 for the Rather Ripped tour.


    E A D G B E

    How to tune: Es As Ds Gs Bs Es

    Used by Thurston on:

  • The Burning Spear (drumstick under strings)
  • I Dreamed I Dream
  • She Is Not Alone (drumstick under strings)
  • I Don't Want To Push It
  • Hotwire My Heart
  • Mildred Pierce

    Used by Lee on:

  • The Burning Spear
  • I Dreamed I Dream
  • She Is Not Alone
  • I Don't Want To Push It
  • The Good And The Bad
  • I Wanna Be Yr Dog
  • Shaking Hell
  • Making The Nature Scene
  • Hotwire My Heart
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Fire Island (Phases) (Between The Times And The Tides)
  • Let's Start Again (Electric Trim)

    Notes: Standard tuning. Though the claim is that the first EP is all in standard, this applies more-so to songs like "I Dreamed I Dream" and "I Don't Want To Push It" rather than the drumstick-prepared pieces like "Burning Spear" or "She Is Not Alone". Aside from "Mildred Pierce", which originated from the band's early 80s days, they did not write new material in standard tuning. They often used standard tuning for covers, some of which aren't listed here (the Ramones set, for example), but some covers are in alternate tunings. Kim used standard tuning for "Shaking Hell" on the Rather Ripped tour, while Lee switched to EADECD for the same song.


    E B E E A A

    How to tune: Es Au2 Du2 Gd3 Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Rain King

    Notes: The "Rain King" tunings were a mystery when the band had to relearn the Daydream Nation material in 2007, so they reviewed old rehearsal tapes and came up with this tuning, which Lee used on the 2007 tour.


    E B E E A B

    How to tune: Es Au2 Du2 Gd3 Bd2 Ed5

    Used by Lee on:

  • Eric's Trip
  • Hey Joni
  • Kissability

    Notes: n/a


    E B E G G B

    How to tune: Es Au2 Du2 Gs Bd4 Ed5

    Used by Kim on:

  • Plastic Sun
  • Mariah Carey & The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream*

    Notes: This is a modification of the DADGGB tuning. It originated with "Plastic Sun" and seems to have been used for "Mariah Carey" though set lists also cite EEBBF#F#. Given the nature of her part on that song, it's possible she used both during the song's lifetime.


    F G C F A F#

    How to tune: Ed11 Ad14 Dd2 Gd2 Bd2 Ed10

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Nevermind (What Was It Anyway)
  • Small Flowers Crack Concrete (metal file under strings)
  • Side2side
  • StreamXSonik Subway
  • NYC Ghosts & Flowers
  • Lightnin' (bike horn under strings)

    Notes: n/a


    F F C C A A

    How to tune: Eu1 Ad4 Dd2 Gd7 Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Mary-Christ
  • Lee #2
  • Here (Guitarrorists/Amarillo Ramp)

    Notes: n/a


    F F C F F G#

    How to tune: Eu1 Ad4 Dd2 Gd2 Bd4 Ed8

    Used by Lee on:

  • Waiting On A Dream (Between The Times And The Tides)

    Notes: n/a


    F F C G C C

    How to tune: Eu1 Ad4 Dd2 Gs Bu1 Ed4

    Used by Lee on:

  • Ambulancer (Last Night On Earth)
  • Circular (Right As Rain) (Electric Trim)
  • Electric Trim (Electric Trim)

    Notes: n/a


    F F D# F A# C

    How to tune: Eu1 Ad4 Du1 Gd2 Bd1 Ed4

    Used by Lee on:

  • Blackt Out (Last Night On Earth)

    Notes: n/a


    F# F# F# F# E B

    How to tune: Eu2 Ad3 Du4 Gd1 Bd7 Ed5

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Intro
  • Brave Men Run (In My Family)
  • Society Is A Hole
  • Death Valley '69
  • Halloween
  • Shadow Of A Doubt
  • Starpower
  • Death To Our Friends
  • Catholic Block
  • Pipeline/Kill Time
  • Tuff Gnarl
  • Mary-Christ
  • Kool Thing
  • 100%
  • Shoot
  • Waist
  • Sweet Shine
  • Becuz
  • Panty Lies
  • I Love You Golden Blue*

    Used by Lee on:

  • Intro
  • Brave Men Run (In My Family)
  • Society Is A Hole
  • Ghost Bitch
  • Death Valley '69
  • Halloween
  • Starpower
  • Death To Our Friends
  • Pipeline/Kill Time
  • Kool Thing
  • 100%
  • Bone
  • Waist
  • Saucer-Like*

    Notes: Thurston often used this tuning for older tracks that didn't require a specific tuning: "The Burning Spear" "She Is Not Alone" "The World Looks Red" (and even '85 era versions of "I Love Her All The Time" & "Ghost Bitch"). For "Saucer-Like" Lee may have used F#F#F#F#EB on the album, but he used its modified version AF#EF#EB live. For "I Love You Golden Blue", Thurston modified the tuning by lowering the 3rd string an octave so that the bottom 3 strings are all in unison: F#F#F#F#EB - in this case, you would tune Eu2 Ad3 Dd8 Gd1 Bd7 Ed5


    F# F# G G A A

    How to tune: Eu2 Ad3 Du5 Gs Bd2 Ed7

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Tom Violence
  • Schizophrenia
  • White Kross
  • Drunken Butterfly
  • Skip Tracer

    Used by Lee on:

  • Tom Violence
  • White Kross
  • Drunken Butterfly

    Notes: n/a


    F# F# A A E E

    How to tune: Eu2 Ad3 Dd5 Gd10 Bd7 Ed12

    Used by Lee on:

  • Shadow Of A Doubt

    Notes: n/a


    F# F# C# F# A# C#

    How to tune: Eu2 Ad3 Dd1 Gd1 Bd1 Ed3

    Used by Lee on:

  • By The Window (Last Night On Earth)

    Notes: Modified version of EF#C#F#A#C#.


    F# F# C# C# C# C#

    How to tune: Eu2 Ad3 Dd1 Gd6 Bu2 Ed3

    Used by Lee on:

  • Beauty Lies In The Eye

    Notes: n/a


    F# A A F# F# F#

    How to tune: Eu2 As Dd5 Gd1 Bd5 Ed10

    Notes: Listed as Lee's "Alternate Death Valley tuning - good for something" in Bad Moon Rising era writings, but not known to be used for a specific song.


    G G B D G A

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Dd3 Gd5 Bd4 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Sugar Kane
  • Genetic

    Notes: n/a


    G G C C A# A#

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Dd2 Gd7 Bd1 Ed6

    Used by Thurston on:

  • I Love Her All The Time (drumstick @ 12th fret)
  • Ghost Bitch (drumstick @ 12th fret)

    Notes: Though this tuning is listed with the lyrics, Thurston had abandoned this specific tuning (if ever used) in favor of F#F#F#F#EB (or rather, the guitar which happens to be in F#F#F#F#EB and now has a drumstick wedged under the strings) as early as January '85.


    G G C G C C

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Dd2 Gs Bu1 Ed4

    Used by Lee on:

  • Lecce, Leaving (capo 2) (Last Night On Earth)

    Notes: Modified version of FFCGCC, theoretically.


    G G C G C D

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Dd2 Gs Bu1 Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Bull In The Heather
  • Starfield Road
  • Self-Obsessed And Sexxee
  • In The Mind Of The Bourgeois Reader
  • Washing Machine (2nd part)
  • Unwind
  • No Queen Blues

    Notes: n/a


    G G C# D G G

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Dd1 Gd5 Bd4 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • The Wonder
  • Hyperstation

    Notes: Modified version of GGDDGG.


    G G D D D# D#

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gd5 Bd8 Ed13

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Kill Yr Idols
  • Brother James
  • Early American (drumstick under strings)
  • Flower
  • Kat N Hat
  • Green Light
  • Stereo Sanctity
  • Cotton Crown
  • Total Trash
  • The Wonder
  • Hyperstation
  • Eliminator Jr
  • Mote
  • Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit
  • Nic Fit
  • Bull In The Heather
  • Starfield Road
  • Self-Obsessed And Sexxee
  • Androgynous Mind
  • In The Mind Of The Bourgeois Reader
  • Washing Machine
  • Unwind
  • No Queen Blues
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Dude Ranch Nurse

    Used by Lee on:

  • Kill Yr Idols
  • Brother James
  • Early American
  • Flower (screwdriver @ 9th fret)
  • Kat N Hat
  • Green Light
  • Stereo Sanctity
  • Cotton Crown
  • Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit

    Used by Kim on:

  • Pattern Recognition
  • Dude Ranch Nurse

    Used by Jim on:

  • Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
  • The Dripping Dream
  • Stones

    Notes: n/a


    G G D D F F

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gd5 Bd6 Ed11

    Used by Lee on:

  • Mote

    Notes: Modified version of GGDDGG.


    G G D D G G

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gd5 Bd4 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • Teenage Riot
  • The Sprawl
  • Total Trash
  • Eliminator Jr
  • Tunic
  • Titanium Expose

    Notes: Modified version of GGDDD#D#, I suppose!


    G G D E G B

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gd3 Bd4 Ed5

    Used by Lee on:

  • Hoarfrost (capo 5)

    Used by Jim on:

  • Rain On Tin
  • Unmade Bed
  • Paper Cup Exit (capo 4)
  • I Love You Golden Blue (capo 11)
  • Peace Attack

    Notes: n/a


    G G D F F G

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gd2 Bd6 Ed9

    Used by Lee on:

  • My Friend Goo

    Notes: n/a


    G G D G G A

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gs Bd4 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Female Mechanic Now On Duty (capo 2 for half)
  • Disconnection Notice
  • Karen Revisited
  • Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
  • Plastic Sun
  • Unmade Bed
  • The Dripping Dream
  • Mariah Carey & The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
  • Stones
  • New Hampshire
  • Turquoise Boy
  • Lost (Between The Times And The Tides)

    Notes: Initially a modification of GGDAGA, this became Lee's preferred tuning from Murray Street onwards.


    G G D G B D

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gs Bs Ed2

    Used by Lee on:

  • Uncle Skeleton (Electric Trim)

    Notes: n/a


    G G D A G A

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gu2 Bd4 Ed7

    Used by Lee on:

  • Anagrama
  • Stil
  • Wildflower Soul
  • The Ineffable Me
  • Snare, Girl
  • Heather Angel

    Notes: n/a


    G G D A G A#

    How to tune: Eu3 Ad2 Ds Gu2 Bd4 Ed6

    Used by Lee on:

  • Karen Koltrane

    Notes: Modified version of GGDAGA.


    G A B D E G

    How to tune: Eu3 As Dd3 Gd5 Bd7 Ed9

    Used by Thurston on:

  • Teenage Riot
  • Hey Joni
  • Sugar Kane
  • Genetic

    Notes: Thurston also used this tuning for "Small Flowers Crack Concrete" on the 2000 NYC Ghosts & Flowers tour (the guitar has a metal file wedged under the strings, so tuning is fairly arbitrary). In Total Guitar #46 Lee comments that this tuning is good for "bright and thrashy riffs".


    G# A# G#/A# A#/A C#/D# E/F# (12-STRING GUITAR W/ 10 STRINGS)

    How to tune: Eu4 Au1 Du6/Dd4 Gu2/Gd10 Bu2/Bd8 Es/Ed10

    Used by Lee on:

  • Side2Side (live)

    Notes: When I saw the band perform the NYC Ghosts & Flowers material instrumentally in September '99, Lee used the same guitar for "side2side" as "Free City Rhymes" and "Renegade Princess", which suggests that it may have been recorded in the same tuning as those songs. However, for the 2000 tour, he was using this wild tuning exclusively for "side2side". I may have the octaves wrong.


    THIS DOCUMENT 1997-2017 CHRIS LAWRENCE (silvercircle@shaw.ca)

    Return to the Sonic Youth Tab Archive.