Using an alternate guitar tuning is a good way of adding different sounds to the guitar. The guitar doesn’t have to be tuned in the standard E A D G B E tuning.
There are quite a few players that don’t use the standard tuning at all or very little. George Thurogood is one example. His reason is he plays slide guitar in most songs.
Slide guitar is easier to play when the guitar is tuned to an open chord like E, D, G or A.
Some finger pickers like these and other tunings because it brings the notes closer together for fretting. This is something Classical guitarist’s won’t lower themselves(Joke) to do.
Try an Open Tuning
Even if you don’t want to play slide or finger pick try tuning your guitar to one of these tunings.
It doesn’t sound the same as a fretted chord and really sounds good on an acoustic guitar.
Caution! You might get hooked on that open chord sound. I think that’s what happened to Keith Richards. He likes to play in the G tuning alot. Brown Sugar was recorded using this tuning although it could be played in a standard tuning but it wouldn’t have the same sound.
Tune up and try one.
If you like this sound you will want to pick up a slide for playing.
What makes this style appealing is you don’t have to know a lot about music to sound professional. You just need to perfect the slide technique.
Open E Tuning
Alternate Guitar Tuning
This open tuning tunes the guitar so when you strum all the strings you hear an E chord. I’ve had people that don’t play strum a guitar tuned this way and they think that playing the guitar is easy because they played that open chord that sounded good.
The guitar gets tuned as follows.
- E string(heavy) = E
- A string = B
- D string = E
- G string = G sharp
- B string = B
- E string = E
This tuning is equal to this chord diagram.
This one is popular for slide guitar. You will find a lot of songs with slide are written in the key of E.
Listen to George Thorogood, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Winters or The Allman Brothers.
Here is another page with some more on the E tuning.
Open E Tuning
Open D Tuning
This tuning is easier on the guitar neck because it is tuned lower. Most guitars are made for the stress of standard tuning or close to it.
Here is how it gets tuned
- 6th string(heavy) = D
- 5th string = A
- 4th string = D
- 3rd string = F sharp
- 2nd string = A
- 1st string = D
You leave the 4th and 5th string as is and retune the rest.
Here is a diagram
This tuning is the same as E. In other words from the 6th string to the 5th is a 5th interval and so on. They only difference is it’s a whole tone lower.
So anything you read about the E tuning can be applied on two frets lower.
Your main blues keys are D, G and A without using a capo.
The D chord is open or 12th fret
The G chord is on the 5th fret
The A chord is on the 7th fret
Here is a page with some more info and open chords for D tuning.
Open D Tuning
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