Open G Tuning: 5 Reasons Guitarists Should Try It

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Have you considered trying the open G tuning?

Ready to forget what you know and revolutionize your guitar playing?

Open tunings are a great way to expand your guitar skills as well as your mind. One of the best alternate tunings of the bunch is the open G tuning. With this tuning, you’ll tune your guitar to a G chord, so that you will immediately have a beautiful G chord at your disposal without pressing down a single fret. For many reasons, the open G tuning has become one of the most popular among guitarists.

Ready to learn more? Below are the 5 best reasons every guitar player should try the open G tuning.

How to Tune Your Guitar to Open G Tuning

using open G tuning

Standard is EADGBE. You need to change it to open G (D G D G B D). It only takes a few changes to get from the standard guitar tuning to the open G tuning.

Here’s how to make the switch:

  • Change the low E string down a whole step to D
  • Change the A string down a whole step to G
  • Keep D, G, and B strings the same
  • Finally, change the high E string down a whole step to D

There you have it, you’re now in open G tuning for guitar. Next, we’ll look at the best reasons you need to try it out. So read on to get the full scoop.

Top 5 Reasons to Try Open G Tuning for Guitar

1. Learn to Play Slide Guitar

how to play slide guitar

If you’ve ever wanted to try playing slide guitar, now is the time to do it. Open G is one of the most popular tuning choices for slide guitarists and it’s easy to see why.

Since the tuning is open, that means that fretting any location on the fretboard straight across will create a major chord. This is perfect for sliding, as you will simply need to hold the slide across the fretboard at several different spots to create some amazing sounds and chords.

Although it is possible to play slide guitar in other tunings, it doesn’t get much better than open tunings such as the open G tuning.

If you’re just starting out, a couple of great slides you may want to consider are the Fender Steel Slide or the Planet Waves Glass Slide.

2. Rock the Blues and Folk Genres

open G tuning for blues

Being one of the best tunings for slide guitar, it should be no surprise to you that the open G tuning is ideal if you want to start learning how to play blues guitar.

Blues greats along with blues-rock stars such as Johnny Winter have used the tuning for years. If you want to learn how to emulate the sounds of the blues, this open tuning is a great place to start.

It’s easy to play the open G chord, and then slide up to the 4th (C) and 5th (D) fret major chords as well. This means that you will have everything you need at your disposal to¬†master the 12-bar blues progression.

This tuning is also popular for folk guitarists as well. The acoustic blues and folk genres often intersect and sound similar at times, so whichever genre you’re interested in you can’t go wrong with this alternate tuning.

3. Keith Richards Uses It

Keith Richards open G tuning

It would be difficult to mention the open G tuning of the guitar without mentioning one of its most dedicated users, Keith Richards.

This rock icon and founding member of The Rolling Stones has used the tuning in some of the most popular songs of all time. Keith Richards has used the tuning in Rolling Stones favorites such as Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, Beast of Burden.

Using the open G tuning, Richards created a personal and unique sound that is distinctly his. If you’re interested in learning some of the Rolling Stones songs on the guitar, you absolutely need to get comfortable with this tuning.

4. Simplify Your Playing

best open tunings for guitar

Part of the beauty of this particular alternate tuning is its simplicity. Because barring straight across the fretboard allows you access to every major chord you would need, your playing will be streamlined.

However, at the same time, you will be able to vary the sound of your playing beyond the typical standard tuning chord voicings. The tuning is one of the simplest for guitarists to learn, so if you’re new to open tunings this is a great place to start.

Additionally, if you’re still trying to get the hang of barre chords and build the strength in your hands, drop the slide and try barring the chords with your fingers. You’ll be sure to get a solid workout.

5. Unleash Your Creativity

best alternate tunings for guitar

Although the open G tuning is very simple, it can also help in unleashing your creativity on the guitar. Learning any open tuning or alternate tuning will expand your mind in various ways. When you try a new tuning on the guitar it can almost be like playing a different instrument altogether.

Additionally, although the basic major chords are easy to play using the guitar tuning, there is still a lot of room for experimentation. Try to create your own chords and see what kind of amazing sounds you can create.

If you want to become a more versatile and well-rounded guitar player, the open G guitar tuning is one of the best places to start.

Final Thoughts

Trying a new open tuning on the guitar can be an exciting experience but it can be tricky at first. While most guitarists are very used to the standard EADGBE tuning, there are plenty of more ways to go.

You may just be surprised at how much the open G tuning can change your view of the guitar and what it is capable of. Who knows, the open G tuning may just be your gateway into many more open tunings to come.

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