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Major Chord Tunings

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Previous page: Guitar Tunings Next page: Why open tuning?

Major Chord Tunings

One traditional alternate way to tune a guitar is to tune it to an open major chord. When you tune to a major chord, the obvious advantage is that you get the major chord on open strings. If you play with slide, you get the chord without worrying about fingering of damping out strings.

You also get a richer overtone spectrum compared to standard tuning, because all the strings and their overtones will ring in harmony. This is the reason why an open tuning often will give a richer sound.

To get the primary chords, all you have to do is to fret all the strings at 5th fret for the IV chord, and at 7th fret for the V chord. Again, it you play slide, this makes it easy to play the three basic chords and do the "Three Chord Trick. By tuning to a chord, you can cheat and pretend that you can play and have the guitar sound OK – as long as you are able to tune the guitar.

More chord-notes on open strings also mean that you can free your left hand fingers from holding down the chord, and concentrate on the melody instead.

The downside is that you will be more limited. It is not without reason that the standard tuning is the standard tuning. As long as you stay in the key of the tuning, or in a closely related key, they work well. But if you try to play in a key which is harmonically far from the chord you are tuned to, then you are up for a challenge. Do not choose Open-D if you will play in C# or Eb. It is also harder to play minor chords and in minor keys when you haved tuned to a major chord.

Previous page: Previous page: Guitar TuningsNext page: Why open tuning? Next page:

Previous page: Next page:
Previous page: Guitar Tunings Next page: Why open tuning?