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  • Purpose of open tunings

    Posted by Mark-J on November 23, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    What is the purpose of retuning to an open tuning such as open D or open G? Playing chords in an open tuning requires learning different fingering for every chord, correct?

    That_Guy replied 1 year, 4 months ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • That_Guy

    November 24, 2022 at 4:55 am

    I dont use them much but alternate tuning seems to use alot of drone strings in the playing. The drone strings will match whatever key you are tuned to so i guess if you are in open G you should play in the key of g.

    Also tuning the low E to D (drop d tuning) gives you bass that is a tone deeper than what you can normally get out of the guitar.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  That_Guy.

  • GerryB56

    November 24, 2022 at 6:52 am

    I have just recently started exploring open tunings, and have found there are several exciting possibilities for these. First, if you have any interest in learning blues and/or slide guitar styles, they often use open tunings. Although retuning your guitar seems like a hassle, I’ve found it does help in training my ear (which needs plenty of training 😄).

    Another bonus is being able to play the I IV V chords by barring a single fret. The minor chords are a bit more of a challenge, but I’m learning ways to simplify those. I love the idea of exploring different sounds, but for sure it does mean learning a whole new set of chord shapes for each tuning. There are a ton of great instructional videos on YouTube, though.

    Best of all, of course, it gives me another excuse to own several guitars so I can leave one or more tuned to an alternate tuning (even if just for a few days like this week for the daily challenges).

  • N-lightMike

    November 24, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Hello @Mark-J ;

    So, the direct answer to your questions:

    I’ll answer the second one first as the answer is simple: No. You don’t need to learn all new chord shapes.

    Now, the explanation is the answer to the first question: “what is the purpose”. The purpose is to have the strings tuned to a chord. You get a chord when you simply strum or pick without fretting. This opens up a lot of techniques that can’t be done with standard tuning. It also makes “normal” playing easier because you can make such extensive use of open strings.

    The power and uniqueness of open tunings will become obvious once you get into them and start learning.

    I hope this helps.

    MG 😀

  • N-lightMike

    November 24, 2022 at 9:49 am

    Hey @Mark-J ;

    Here is Tony’s open tunings course so you can understand the basics. It’s found in the skills courses, but here is direct link.


    MG 😀

    Decoding Alternate Tunings

  • Mark-J

    November 24, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks you guys. I will work on getting into the open tunings. I have probably been stuck in the “standard” mode too long. I’m pretty good with bar chords and I never used a capo, so there’s a whole new world for me to explore. Liked the idea of buying more guitars to accommodate alternate tunings but my wife might nix that approach.

  • That_Guy

    November 24, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    The reason i dont use them is because its a pain to tune and retune them. If i had another guitar dedicated to alternate tunings it would probably be a finger picking guitar

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