Lazy Ass Guitar Tunings: Fourths

Fourths tuning, or P4 tuning as it’s known by those in the trade, is in fact a lazy-ass guitar tuning thinly disguised as some kind of advanced way of tuning a guitar to play the holy grail of guitar music: jazz fusion. To tune to fourths, simply tune your B and E strings up a half-step to C and F. Despite the unwanted tension on the top two strings, you now have a symmetrical (as far as patterns and intervals go) guitar and should be playing jazz fusion within the hour.

lazy ass guitarist

What fourths tuning really does, aside from making you infinitely more pretentious, is get rid of that major third bump between the G and B strings meaning any scale, arpeggio, or triad pattern, and indeed, chord shape, will be the same on all string sets. This means you’ve cut down pattern and shape learning by about two thirds and should already be out there looking for people to play jazz fusion with.

What else can you do with fourths tuning? Not much really… if you’re not into jazz fusion. You can’t play in a (shitty) covers band, unless you want to arrange every song for P4 tuning. You can’t play jangly shit at parties, and probably won’t get laid as a result.

Whose lazy ass uses fourths tuning anyway? Stanley Jordan, Tom Quayle, Ant Law and Alex Hutchings are a few of the major exponents of P4 tuning and its jazz fusion prowess. If you’ve also been seduced by the non-lucrative world of jazz fusion, the chaps over at have put together a no-nonsense guide to scales, arpeggios, chords and even modes in this wonderful tuning. Check out their fourths tuning bundle of 3 books here.

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