Welcome to the Sonic Youth Tuning Tutorial. On this page, you'll find all of SY's major releases and the tunings used by each member, where known. Next to the tuning will be a white or blue dot. You can click these dots to show information in the bottom frame. If a dot is white, the only information given is where the tuning was confirmed. If a dot is blue, that means there's an additional note that relates to the song, indicating whether a slide, capo, drumstick, or something else is used. Albums where Kim plays guitar will have a Kim column, otherwise she's playing bass in standard. If it says "n/a", they don't play an instrument on the song.

Tunings not confirmed are in a light blue font, or a ? if I have no viable guess.

Alternately, you can view an alphabetical list of all tunings known to be used by the band or on solo compositions. Here the songs are grouped by their tuning, rather than album. It also shows you how to tune to each tuning from standard EADGBE.

Please contact me if you have any corrections/suggestions!

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
THE BURNING SPEAR   E A D G B E     E A D G B E   bass 
I DREAMED I DREAM E A D G B E E A D G B E bass 
SHE IS NOT ALONE E A D G B E E A D G B E bass 
I DON'T WANT TO PUSH IT E A D G B E E A D G B E bass 
THE GOOD AND THE BAD bass   E A D G B E E A D G B E

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
SHE'S IN A BAD MOOD        ?        ?  bass  
PROTECT ME YOU ?      bass         n/a 
I WANNA BE YR DOG bass   E A D G B E n/a 
SHAKING HELL bass   E A D G B E ?
INHUMAN bass   zither ?
THE WORLD LOOKS RED ? E A D E C D bass  
CONFUSION IS NEXT n/a  E A D E C D bass 
MAKING THE NATURE SCENE bass   E A D G B E n/a 

SONG Thurston   Lee  
KILL YR IDOLS  G G D D D# D#   G G D D D# D# 
BROTHER JAMES G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#
EARLY AMERICAN G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#

SONG Thurston   Lee  
INTRO F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
BRAVE MEN RUN F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
SOCIETY IS A HOLE F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
I LOVE HER ALL THE TIME G G C C A# A# D# D# C# C# G G
GHOST BITCH G G C C A# A# F# F# F# F# E B
I'M INSANE n/a D D D D E A
JUSTICE IS MIGHT n/a A A E E F# A
DEATH VALLEY '69 F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
FLOWER G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#
HALLOWEEN F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B

SONG Thurston   Lee  
TOM VIOLENCE F# F# G G A A F# F# G G A A
SHADOW OF A DOUBT F# F# F# F# E B F# F# A A E E
STARPOWER F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
IN THE KINGDOM #19 ? ?
GREEN LIGHT G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#
DEATH TO OUR FRIENDS F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
SECRET GIRL anything anything
MARILYN MOORE C C x x D# D# C C D# G G D
EXPRESSWAY TO YR SKULL E G# E G# E G# E G# E G# E G#

SONG Thurston   Lee  
SCHIZOPHRENIA F# F# G G A A D D D D A A
CATHOLIC BLOCK F# F# F# F# E B D D D D A A
BEAUTY LIES IN THE EYE bass F# F# C# C# C# C#
STEREO SANCTITY G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#
PIPELINE/KILL TIME F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B
TUFF GNARL F# F# F# F# E B D D D D A A
PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY E G# E G# E G# E G# E G# E G#
HOTWIRE MY HEART E A D G B E E A D G B E
COTTON CROWN G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D#
WHITE KROSS F# F# G G A A F# F# G G A A

SONG Thurston   Lee  
TEENAGE RIOT G A B D E G G G D D G G
SILVER ROCKET A C C G G# C A A E E A A
THE SPRAWL C C E B G D G G D D G G
'CROSS THE BREEZE C C E B G D E E E E F# F#
ERIC'S TRIP B B x x F# F# E B E E A B
TOTAL TRASH  G G D D D# D#   G G D D G G 
HEY JONI G A B D E G E B E E A B
CANDLE A C C G G# C A A E E A A
RAIN KING D# D# A A E E E B E E A A
KISSABILITY A C C G G# C E B E E A B
THE WONDER G G D D D# D# G G C# D G G
HYPERSTATION G G D D D# D# G G C# D G G
ELIMINATOR JR G G D D D# D# G G D D G G

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
DIRTY BOOTS E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass 
TUNIC E G D G E D G G D D G G bass 
MARY-CHRIST F# F# F# F# E B F F C C A A bass 
KOOL THING F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B bass 
MOTE G G D D D# D# G G D D F F bass 
MY FRIEND GOO bass G G D F F G E G D G E D
DISAPPEARER C C E B G D ? bass 
MILDRED PIERCE E A D G B E E A D G B E bass 
CINDERELLA'S BIG SCORE A C C G G# C B B E E A A bass 
TITANIUM EXPOSE E G D G E D G G D D G G bass 
LEE #2 bass F F C C A A E G D G E D

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
100% F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B bass 
SWIMSUIT ISSUE E G D G E D E E B B E F# D E G D B B
THERESA'S SOUND-WORLD A C C G G# C A A E E A A bass 
DRUNKEN BUTTERFLY F# F# G G A A F# F# G G A A F#F#GA
SHOOT F# F# F# F# E B A F# E F# E B bass 
WISH FULFILLMENT E G D G E D E E B B E F# D E G D B B
SUGAR KANE G A B D E G G G B D G A bass 
ORANGE ROLLS, ANGEL'S SPIT G G D D D# D# G G D D D# D# bass 
YOUTH AGAINST FASCISM A C C G G# C A A E E A A bass 
NIC FIT G G D D D# D# D# D# C# C# G# G# bass 
ON THE STRIP A C C G G# C A A E E A A D E G D B B
CHAPEL HILL E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass 
JC E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass
STALKER ? ? bass 
PURR E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass 
CREME BRULEE ... ... D E G D B B

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
WINNER'S BLUES E E B E G# B n/a  n/a 
BULL IN THE HEATHER G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass 
STARFIELD ROAD G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass 
SKINK E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass
SCREAMING SKULL E G D G E D G G C G C D bass 
SELF-OBSESSED AND SEXXEE G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass  
BONE E G D G E D F# F# F# F# E B B E G D B B
ANDROGYNOUS MIND G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass 
QUEST FOR THE CUP G G D D D# D# G G C G C D B E G D B B
WAIST F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B bass  
DOCTOR'S ORDERS G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass  
TOKYO EYE E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass
IN THE MIND OF THE
BOURGEOIS READER
G G D D D# D# G G C G C D bass  
SWEET SHINE F# F# F# F# E B E E B B E F# bass  

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
BECUZ F# F# F# F# E B A F# E F# E B B E G D B B
JUNKIE'S PROMISE D A D A B B D A A D D A B E G D B B
SAUCER-LIKE F# F# F# F# E B F# F# F# F# E B B E G D B B
WASHING MACHINE G G D D D# D# A F# E F# E B /
G G C G C D
B E G D B B
UNWIND G G D D D# D# G G C G C D B E G D B B
LITTLE TROUBLE GIRL E G D G E D ? B E G D B B
NO QUEEN BLUES G G D D D# D# G G C G C D B E G D B B
PANTY LIES F# F# F# F# E B A F# E F# E B bass  
SKIP TRACER F# F# G G A A A F# E F# E B bass  
THE DIAMOND SEA E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass  

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
CONTRE LE SEXISME ? ? C G G D D D
SUNDAY   C G D G B B     G G D A G A   bass  
FEMALE MECHANIC NOW ON DUTY E G D G E D G G D G G A D A D G G B
WILDFLOWER SOUL C G D G B B G G D A G A C G G D D D
HOARFROST C G D G B B G G D E G B C G G D D D
FRENCH TICKLER C G D G B B C C G D G D C G G D D D
HITS OF SUNSHINE E G D G E D E E B B E F# bass  
KAREN KOLTRANE C G D G B B G G D A G A# D A D G G B
THE INEFFABLE ME C G D G B B G G D A G A C G G D D D
SNARE, GIRL C G D G B B G G D A G A C G G D D D
HEATHER ANGEL C G D G B B G G D A G A C G G D D D

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
FREE CITY RHYMES C G D G B B C G C C G A#/C D G D D B B
RENEGADE PRINCESS C G D G B B C G C C G A#/C D G D D B B
NEVERMIND (WHAT WAS IT ANYWAY) F G C F A F# D F C D F F D A D A B B
SMALL FLOWERS CRACK CONCRETE  F G C F A F#   D F C D F F D A D A B B
SIDE2SIDE F G C F A F# C G C C G A#/C bass  
STREAMXSONIK SUBWAY F G C F A F# D F C D F F bass  
NYC GHOSTS & FLOWERS F G C F A F# D F C D F F bass  
LIGHTNIN' F G C F A F#      synth      D A D G G B
trumpet

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim   Jim  
THE EMPTY PAGE C G D G C D E E B E B B D A D A B B bass  
DISCONNECTION NOTICE C G D G C D G G D G G A D A D A B B bass  
RAIN ON TIN C G D G C D C G D C G D bass   G G D E G B
KAREN REVISITED C G D G C D G G D G G A D A D A B B bass/gtr
RADICAL ADULTS LICK GODHEAD STYLE C G D G C D G G D G G A bass   G G D D D# D#
PLASTIC SUN C G D G C D G G D G G A E B E G G B bass  
SYMPATHY FOR THE STRAWBERRY C G D G B B E E B E B B
organ
E E B B F# F# bass  

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim   Jim  
PATTERN RECOGNITION G G D D D# D# C G D C G D G G D D D# D# bass
UNMADE BED C G D G C D G G D G G A bass G G D E G B
DRIPPING DREAM C G D G C D G G D G G A bass G G D D D# D#
KIM GORDON & THE ARTHUR DOYLE HAND CREAM C G D G C D G G D G G A E B E G G B bass
STONES C G D G C D G G D G G A bass G G D D D# D#
DUDE RANCH NURSE G G D D D# D# C G D C G D G G D D D# D# bass
NEW HAMPSHIRE C G D G C D G G D G G A D A D A B B bass
PAPER CUP EXIT E G# E G# E G# E G# E G # E G# bass G G D E G B
I LOVE YOU GOLDEN BLUE F# F# F# F# E B C G D C G D
organ
bass G G D E G B
PEACE ATTACK C G D G C D E E B E B B bass G G D E G B

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
REENA C G D G C D C G D C G D bass 
INCINERATE D D# A# D# G G D# D# A# D# G G bass 
DO YOU BELIEVE IN RAPTURE? D D# A# D# G G D# D# A# D# G G bass 
SLEEPIN' AROUND D D# A# D# G G D D# A# D# G C bass 
WHAT A WASTE C G D G C D C G D C G D bass 
JAMS RUN FREE D D# A# D# G G D# A# D# B C# F# bass 
RATS bass D# A# D# B C# F# D A D A B B
TURQUOISE BOY C G D G C D G G D G G A bass 
LIGHTS OUT C G D G C D C G D C G D bass 
THE NEUTRAL C G D G C D C G D C G D bass 
PINK STEAM D D# A# D# G G D# D# A# D# G G bass 
OR D D# A# D# G G D# D# A# D# G G bass  
HELEN LUNDEBERG D D# A# D# G G D D# A# D# G G bass 
EYELINER D D# A# D# G G D D# A# D# G G bass 

 

SONG Thurston   Lee   Kim  
SACRED TRICKSTER D D A F# A D D D D D A A n/a 
ANTI-ORGASM D D A F# A D C G D C G D D D A F# A D  
LEAKY LIFEBOAT (FOR GREGORY CORSO) D D A F# A D D D D D A A D A D A B D  
ANTENNA D D A F# A D D D D D A A D A D A B D  
WHAT WE KNOW C G D G C D C G D C G D C G D A C D  
CALMING THE SNAKE D D A F# A D D D D D A A D D A F# A D
POISON ARROW D D A F# A D D D D D A A D D A F# A D  
MALIBU GAS STATION C G D G C D G G D G G A C D G A D G 
THUNDERCLAP FOR BOBBY PYN C G D G C D C G D C G D C G D A C D  
NO WAY D D A F# A D D D D D A A D D A F# A D  
WALKIN BLUE D D A F# A D D D D D A A D D A F# A D  
MASSAGE THE HISTORY D D A F# A D D D D D A A D A D A B D  

 

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