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Open-D lesson from Strumeronline

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 First Edition


Name: Open E Family: Major Root: E Voicing: 1-5-1-3-5-1

Open D / Open E-tuning (and Open-Eb)

The Open-D and Open-E tuning are two of the traditional tunings in the family of Open Major Chord tunings. I cover both tuning in the same lesson, as there are basically the same tuning. The only difference is that Open-E is one whole step higher than Open-D. The fingerings etc are the same. You can think of Open-E as Open-D with capo on 2nd fret, if it helps you understand the relation between the two.

If you have heavier strings, you may prefer to tune down to Open-D, and up to Open-E if you have ligther strings. You can even from time to time hear Open-Eb, which is just between the two. Sometimes guitarists simply are not tuned to concert pitch, and end up with a tuning somewhere in between.

I will stick to Open-D for all the examples, and put the corresponding chord names etc for Open-E in parenthesis where appropriate. If you read tab and/or chord boxes, you should have no problem. If you read standard notation only, then you will have to transpose up one note to get the right notes in Open-E.

If you are re-tuning from standard tuning, you should get these notes:

Standard E A D G B E
Open D D A D F# A D

You tune your 6th string (Low E) down one whole step to D. I prefer to tune it to the 4th string, which should be one octave above. The 2nd string goes down one whole step from B to A. I tune this to the 5th string, one octave below. Then the 1st string is tuned down one whole step from E to D, and again I tune to 4th string. Finally, you tune the 3rd string down a half step to F#. This is the difficult one to tune. Open 3rd string should be the same note as 4th string, 4th fret.

If you prefer to tune to adjacent strings, tune as on the figure to the right:

  • 6st string 7th fret = 5th string open
  • 5th string 5th fret = 4th string open
  • 4th string 4th fret = 3rd string open
  • 3rd string 3rd fret = 2nd string open
  • 2nd string 5th fret = 1st string open.

If you tune to Open-E, you tune 5th string up one whole tone to B, 4th string up one whole tone to E and 3rd string up one half step to G#. The relationship between the strings are the same as for Open D.

Open E E B E G# B E
  - -
Standard E A D G B E

Ls:GT 99, 2004-06

Recordings with the E-B-E-G#-B-E tuning

The Allman Brothers Band Little Martha -
The Allman Brothers Band Statesboro Blues -
The Black Crows She Talks To Angels -
Blind Blake Down In The Country -
Rory Block Devil Got My Man -
Brooks & Dunn Boot Scootin' Boogie -
Eric Clapton Good Morning Little Schoolgirl -
Eric Clapton Mean Old Frisco -
Eric Clapton Tell The Truth -
Ry Cooder Speedo -
Pete Huttlinger Little Martha -
Robert Johnson Hell Hound On My Trail -
Robert Johnson Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped The Devil) -
Robert Johnson Ramblin' On My Mind -
Sonny Landreth Native Stepson -
Dale Miller Tampa Red -
Joni Mitchell California -
Sam Mitchell Paddlin' Madeline -
Sam Mitchell Pile Driver -
Paul Rishell Blues For Tampa Red -
The Rolling Stones Jumpin' Jack Flash -
The Rolling Stones Prodigal Son -
The Rolling Stones Shattered -
The Rolling Stones You Can't Always Get What You Want -
Joe Satriani You Saved My Life -
Joe Walsh Rocky Mountain Way -
Bukka White Sic Em Dog on Blues -

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101 Razor-Sharp Slide Guitar Blues Licks in Open E Tuning
This superb Red Dog Music Book and CD allows you to learn/play slide guitar fill-ins while sitting in with a crisply recorded blues band and singer. The licks are clearly written in standard notation and tablature, and the companion CD contains all 101 licks, which are applicable to countless blues songs. A guide to symbols and several helpful fretboard diagrams are included.
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