Any Tuning You Desire
All current models of our Touchboard® line of Stick® fretboard tapping instruments are fully adjustable at the bridge and nut to accommodate any desired tuning, with the only limitation being the snapping point of the highest pitched string. The first group of links in the right column includes the original 10-string Classic™ Stick tuning of five melody strings in descending 4ths and five bass strings in ascending 5ths, along with several other popular variations in the Stick family of melody 4ths/reversed bass 5ths tunings. Other options include 12 strings in mirrored 4ths, 8 strings in uniform 4ths, and modified guitar tunings as well.
Tunings are identified at the "octave position," marked by the inlay
at fret #12.
The "X Fret"
Our 34"-scale and the newer 36" extended-scale
instruments share the same pitch-to-inlay-marker
relationships. Because of this, players can
easily make transition between the two, and all
of our instructional materials apply equally well
to either scale length. They are identical,
except that the extended scale has one extra low
playable "X fret" where the nut would be on a
34"-scale instrument. This means that frets #1-24
have the same pitches on either scale length. We
number the playable frets from X to 1 to 24 on
the 36" scale, and from 1 to 24 on the 34" scale.
Our guitar-scale instruments are 5 frets shorter
than our 36" scale models, with a scale length of
26 1/2" from bridge to nut, or 25" from the first
tappable "X-fret" to the bridge (identical to
guitar). Two high frets have been added for extra range (a total of 22 frets).
Why Bass 5ths?
In a conventional 4ths tuning, bass chords often
sound muddy. The Stick's inverted 5ths bass
allows the player to anchor chords with very low
roots, spreading the rest of the voicing out over
the 2 1/2 octave range accessible within one hand
position. This tuning also lends itself to some
creative and innovative bass lines, and is
another of Emmett's innovations, carried over
from his 9-string guitar, on which he made his
first tapping discoveries.
As an option especially suited to 12-string models, the highest bass
string can be tuned down a whole step, creating a 4th interval between
the two highest strings. This makes trpiple-stop power chords and
more complex jazz chord voicings easy while still retaining the expanded range
offered by the inverted 5ths (see Emmett's article on the
high bass 4th interval to find out
Other custom tunings can be strung and set up on all models with no
extra work or custom charges, as all Stick hardware accommodates any
gauge string at any string position, for proper intonation and string height adjustment.
We now have a new interactive form to help you identify and submit your custom tuning.
This will help us properly set up your instrument for your chosen tuning and will
serve as a reference for future string orders. Please follow this link to our
custom tuning page: Custom Tuning Forms
Greg Howard explains how chords and bass lines can be combined in one hand the Inverted 5ths tuning: