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more... IntermediateLessonsSound SamplesFolk-RockChordsRhythmApril 2010

Open G Tuning: New Ideas for the Blues and Beyond

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Open G Tuning: New Ideas for the Blues and Beyond

from Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Fingerstyle Guitar (00697378)
From the bluesmen of the Delta to the Rolling Stones, open G tuning (low to high, D–G–D–G–B–D) has seen plenty of action over the years. It not only allows you to play a chord (G major) with absolutely no fretting but also facilitates the easy, one-finger moveable barre chord.

Here’s how to access open G tuning, from standard tuning:
• Tune your sixth string down one whole step to match the pitch of your open D string.
• Tune your fifth string down one whole step to match the pitch of your open G string.
• Now tune your first string down one whole step to match the pitch of your open D string.

That’s it—you’re in open G.

Let’s take a look at some fresh-sounding chord shapes in this tuning’s home key of G. Notice how the standard I, IV, and V chords sound fresh and alive again in this tuning.

Open G tuning: (low to high) D–G–D–G–B–D

Listen

In this next example, we’re just moving a single chord shape up and down the neck while allowing the open first and second strings to drone. Listen to the full-sounding chords that result.

Open G tuning: (low to high) D–G–D–G–B–D

Listen

While discovering all-new chord shapes is half the fun of using alternate tunings, here are several voicings each for I, IV, and V chords in the key of G. Try them in different combinations with several fingerpicking patterns and see what you come up with.

Click here for a larger version of this chart.
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