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In standard tuning on the guitar, why is the major third between the 3rd and 2nd strings instead of say the 5th and 4th strings?

Written by on 11 January 2022

There is not necessarily any logic answer to this. It’s pure tradition that has crystalized, I guess. But before the guitar took up this the lute also had a major third from 4. to 3. string. I feel sure that John Dowland (1562–1623) fooled around with many tunings to make his songs easily playable – although it is said that a lute player spent half of his life on tuning. However it is reported that the Italian folk chitarra had the tuning already in the 16. century that has become our standard – even if it missed the bottom string.

Best wishes.

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