Guitar Tunings for Taming The Tiger - Joni Mitchell

by Howard Wright
Email: hakwright (at) gmail (dot) com


Joni Mitchell used four completely new tunings for this album, as well as others that she has used on previous songs/albums. I've worked out tunings for eight of the Taming The Tiger songs (Joni already said that Harlem In Havana uses standard tuning). It's hard to tell just what is guitar and what is keyboards on the two remaining songs (Man From Mars and Here's To You) so figuring out possible tunings is tricky! Anybody have any ideas?

With some of the more extreme tunings (e.g No Apologies) it's difficult to get all the chords to sound perfectly in tune, just because some of the strings are so far from their usual tensions and pitches that the guitar's intonation is seriously affected. Joni doesn't have any problems like this with her Roland VG8 guitar synth! You could try experimenting with different gauge strings - that might help a bit. Otherwise you just have to compromise and do the best you can. Usually it's easy to get either chords at the bottom of the neck or chords higher up the neck to sound just right, but not both. The less extreme tunings for the other songs work much better, and chords for these songs should sound fine both high up and low down on the neck.

Here's the list of the tunings I have worked out. A couple of the songs actually have different guitar parts that use more than one tuning - I've just listed the tunings (in "Joni notation" and using note names) for the main guitar in each song. If you don't know what Joni notation is all about, have a look at the explanation of Joni's tuning notation.

If you have any questions, suggestions etc, please let me know!

Song Title

(Joni notation)

(note names)

Harlem In Havana

E 55545


Man From Mars



Love Puts On A New Face

C 79352


Lead Balloon

D 73525


No Apologies

A 12 4 3 5 7


Taming The Tiger

C 79352


Crazy Cries Of Love

C 77235


Stay In Touch

C 12 4 3 5 4



C 77284


Here's To You (My Best To You)



Tiger Bones

C 79352


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Last updated May 2011