Other symmetrically tuned instruments?

I didn’t think much about the “specialness” of bass usually being tuned all in 4ths until Josh mentioned it in a lesson. So now I’m curious about other symmetrically tuned instruments.

4-string tenor guitars?
upright bass (of course)

Chime in if you’re aware of others - this forum is such a wealth of knowledge.



violin, viola, cello are tuned in perfect 5ths.

New Standard Tuning for guitar is also all 5ths like a bass, though it’s not super popular but has a loyal following.

As an aside, I recently tuned my SRC6 in perfect 4ths: EADGCF. It’s normally got that same minor 3rd the standard guitar has of EADGBE but I decided screw all that and I’m much happier with it.


I’d heard of this but didn’t know what it was - thanks!

1 Like

I meant to say all 5ths. It was early…


Most non-chord instruments are tuned symmetrically (I know, basses can play chords too). Things like banjo and slide guitar are usually tuned to open chords… there are alternate tunings for many instruments too.

Seems like the New Standard tuning still uses a third between the first and second string:

So still not symmetrical.

Oops, right, I forgot the whole thing where there is no angel hair guitar string thin/strong enough for going beyond G reliably.

“New standard tuning (NST) is an alternative tuning”

Which is it people?
Standard or alternative?
I really hate when people use words wrong.


IMO, all words used are used correct. It is just that someone decided to name their alternative tuning “new standard tuning”.
Maybe thinking that this will totally lift of and become the new standard tuning.

I see what you did here.

It happens to me quite often to say that I prefer “old [artist’s name], who paradoxically was the young [artist’s name]”

The new standard is an alternative to the old standard :laughing:

Mandatory xkcd reference: