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Alternate Tuning Guide


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Open D Tuning
dadf#ad open D tuning
Listen to MP3 of this tuning

When the open strings are strummed in this tuning, a D major chord is produced. This has made open D tuning a favorite of slide players, who can simply lay their slide straight across one fret to play chords.

Tuning Tips

  • Tune your sixth string down a tone to D. Check the tuning with the fourth (D) string.
  • Tune your third string down a semitone to F#. Check the tuning with the fourth fret of your fourth string.
  • Tune your second string down a tone to A. Check the tuning with the fifth (A) string.
  • Tune your first string down a tone to D. Check the tuning with the fourth (D) string.

Tab of Songs in This Tuning...

She Talks to Angels - This Black Crowes song uses open D tuning to create some interesting riffs that would be much harder in standard tuning. Scroll past the first part of the tab to see the song transcribed in open D. NOTE: This song actually uses "open E" tuning - the same as open D, except the entire guitar is tuned two frets higher. Playing the song with your guitar tuned to open D tuning will still sound "correct", however.

Chelsea Morning - A somewhat intricate song in open D tuning. You'll have to learn a lot of unfamiliar chord shapes to play this one. NOTE: This song also actually uses open E tuning -- but will still sound fine in open D.

Other Resources

Open D Guitar Lesson - A nice tutorial on using open D tuning, that includes basic theory, and some songs to try and play.

Richie Havens Lesson - The guitarist who was introduced to millions through Woodstock shares his guitar technique, one which finds the guitarist using open D tuning constantly.

YouTube: Open D Chord Video Lesson - Fred Sokolow walks viewers through his version of Statesboro Blues in open D tuning.

Open D Chord Charts - Alan Horvath provides a not fully complete, but still informative listing of chords available for use in open D tuning.

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