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Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys" Tuning

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Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 42
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I did a search here, and was surprised that it turned up no mention of Curtis Mayfield's "Black Keys"-tuning. That is, tuning a guitar to F#-A#-C#-F#-A#-F# (each a "black key" on the piano, low to high, or any tuning relative to that. Cool tuning; I used to tune a flat-top acoustic guitar to F-A-C-F-A-F (the same, but down a half-step), or E-G#-B-E-G#-E (down a whole-step).

Anybody here ever try that one, or its relative tunings?

It's been years, but I used that tuning to play a piece of my own that I called "The Haunted Water-Clock", that I can only recall parts of. I did that a lot, using too many alternate tunings and not documenting the fingerings of different tunes that were dependent upon them (or the tunings, for that matter) and forgetting a lot of them over time... Anybody else ever do that?

New Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 1

I've made a guide with chords of Curtis Mayfield «Black Keys» Open F# Guitar tuning.
Available as PDF/ePub/Online.
Please take look. :roll:

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

I've just downloaded this guide as part of post Moderation; it's an interesting read and (best of all) free of charge.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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Eminent Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 24

I've done that before: I listened to a lot of Andy Mckee, Mike Dawes & Newton Faulkner. I would then tune my strings down or up a semi-tone, sometimes to create a chord from only the open strings, other times to be able to play a melody or pretty-sounding chord within a certain amount of frets, only to then record what I've spent an hour or two making, come back to it and realise I did not note the tunings.

If I did bother to figure out the tuning again, I would repeat the same mistake: I wouldn't note down my tuning.

The song sounded great to me though! Ha

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