Open Tunings

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Difficulty: intermediate
Notes: Learn all about open tunings

Here you learn how to tune your guitar in some so called "Open tunings". They were very hand escpecialy if you play slide guitar. Open tunings are very often used by guitar players like Keith Richard from the Rolling Stones. Also a "must" is the E-Flat tuning (that means all strings were tuned down a half-step). E-Flat is used by Jimi Hendrix, SRV, KWS etc. very often!
So enjoy the new sound of your guitar!

Open E-tuning

Tune up the 3:rd string a half step to G#
Tune up the 4:th string a whole step to E
Tune up the 5:th string a whole step to B

The Open E-tuning is the same as open D-tuning only that it is a whole step higher.

On an electric guitar with very thin strings and low action it makes it easier to play slide if you tune up. I will not recommend this on an acoustic unless you have ultra thin strings on it. The risk is that the neck and top can´t take the much higher string tension. See D-tuning for more info.

Song examples

Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Aberdeen
Blues Classic - Dust my broom
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Every time it rains
Rolling Stones - Gimme shelter
Johnny Winter - Hitch hiking woman
Elmore James - Shake your moneymaker
Rory Gallagher - Too much alcohol
Blues Classic - Dust my broom
Rolling Stones - Jumpin´ Jack Flash

Open G-tuning

Tune down the 1:st and 6:th string a whole step to D
Tune down the 5:th string a whole step to G

The Open-G tuning has been frequently used by many slide and bottleneck players. And it is also Keith Richard´s of the Rolling Stones favorite tuning in which he plays about 50% of his stuff. He uses a capo on different frets to play in other keys. Check also open A-tuning and playing in open G and A and slide guitar.

Song examples

Robert Johnson - Crossroad Blues
Rory Gallagher - Nothing but the devil
John Lee Hooker - One Bourbon, one Scotch, one Beer
Robert Johnson - Walking Blues
Rolling Stones - Honkey Tonk Woman
Rolling Stones - Rocks off
Rolling Stones - Rollin´ and Tumblin´
Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice

Open D-tuning

Tune down the 1:st and 6:th string a whole step to D

Tune down the 2:nd string a whole step to A
Then tune down the 3:rd string only a half step

The Open-D tuning is very popular by many slide-players and it is used in many Rolling Stones songs. See also E-tuning

Song examples

Tony Joe White - As the crow flies
Johnny Winter - Broke down engine
Blind Willie Johnson - Dark was the night
Blues Classic - Dust my broom
Rory Gallagher - Out on the western plain

Open A-tuning

Tune up the 2:nd string a whole step to C#
Tune up the 3:rd string a whole step to A
Tune up the 4:th string a whole step to E

The Open A-tuning is the same as G-tuning only that it is tuned a whole step higher. On an electric guitar with very thin strings and low action it makes it easier to play with a slide or bottleneck if you tune up. I will not recommend this on an acoustic unless you have ultra thin strings on it.
The risk is that the neck and top can´t take the much higher string tension.Check also and playing in open G and A.

Song examples

Rory Gallagher - Bullfrog Blues
Blues Classic - Come into my kittchen
Blues Classic- Little Red Rooster (Howling Wolf version)
Muddy Waters - I can´t be satisfied

E Flat

All strings are tuned down a half-step

E String Eb 
A String Ab 
D String Db 
G String Gb 
B String Bb 
E String Eb

Song examples

Practically every Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. A lot of Tabs and Chords of these artists can be found here: BluesTabs.net

D A D G A D-tuning

Tune down the 1:st and 6:th string a whole step to D, compare with the 4:th D.
Tune down the 2:nd string a whole step to A, compare with the 5:th.

The DADGAD-tuning is frequently used in folk-music.

Here is another overview about these tunings and how they are used

rings

1

2

3

4

5

6

E Standart E A D G B E
E Flat Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Open A (Blues Slide) E A E A C# E
Open E (Blues Slide) E B E G# B E
D (DADDAD) D A D D A D
Open D (Blues Slide) D A D F# A D
Drop D D A D G B D
Open G (Blues Slide) D G D G B D
Dobro (Standart) G B D G B D

 


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