Harmony Like You've Never Heard Before (Open "E" Tuning)

Every guitarist loves a harmony that applies the sound of rich, full chords. When this effect is combined with the use of thick, lush intervals the results are just fantastic. The harmonic results that open "E" tuning provides for guitarists has a wonderful impact when they come together musically. Open "E" creates a gorgeous harmony that sustains in a way that's simply stunning... 

In this episode we have another alternate tuning video. This time we're working through the stunning sounds of “Open E Tuning.” 

When establishing open “E” we have to raise three of our six guitar strings, (the 5th, 4th and 3rd all tuned up higher in pitch).

I know that tightening guitar strings can be a little dangerous. This is due to the fact that  when we tune strings higher in pitch there’s always a chance that they could break.

However, if your guitar has a newer set of strings on it, those new strings should be perfectly fine for raising into the whole and ½-steps required for "Open E" tuning.

NOTE: If you're concerned about stress on your guitar's neck and bridge, then correct the tuning out of "Open E" (back into standard tuning), once you're finished playing /practicing within this Open Tuning.

In the lesson, I cover the guitar’s tuning set-up as needed to establish open “E.” I'll also introduce some of the chord patterns that you can start using to make music as quickly as possible within this tuning.

In order to help you learn how to integrate this sound, I will include a couple of chord progressions. They should help you with getting a chance to hear the wonderful soundscape of “Open E Tuning.”




Tuning the guitar to “Open E” is fairly easy to do. All you need - to establish this tuning - is to raise up three strings. 

To begin, raise the tuning of the 5th guitar string from its standard “A” tone and take it up a whole-step higher to a “B.”

Then, raise up the pitch of your 4th guitar string a whole step by taking it from the standard “D” tone up to an “E.”

Finally, take your 3rd guitar string up a 1/2 step higher in pitch from the standard “G” natural tone, up to a “G#.”

That’s it, you’ve now tuned your guitar to an “Open E major” chord across all 6 guitar strings.

Next, let’s run through a collection of chord patterns for “Open E” tuning that you can learn to help you begin your journey into a collection of really nice sounds within the Open “E” tuning…

NOTE: By strumming all of the guitar strings 'open,' you automatically achieve the sound of an "E Major" chord type when within the established set-up of "Open E," style tuning.

The "Open E" Tuning "A" Major Chord:

The "Open E" Tuning "B" Major Chord:

The "Open E" Tuning "C#" Minor Chord:

The "Open E" Tuning "G#" Minor Chord:

Now that you understand the tuning and you’ve developed a group of chord patterns that work well for the sounds of “Open E”, let’s learn a couple of chord progressions that start to highlight the elegant sounds available to us in this style of open tuning.

The 1st chord progression establishes the color of the “E” Major key center…

Progression 1). “E Major”

Just like we had discussed in other “Open Tuning's” (that we have studied in the past), the sound of the relative tonality is also another great option.

“Open E” tuning relative Minor is “C#” Minor. Below is an example of a key of “C# Minor” progression, using the “Open E” tuning.

Progression 2). “C# Minor”

So, there you have it, “Open E” tuning brings a fantastic sound to the guitar that is rich with a number of really cool interval options.

With a few turns of your guitar's tuner knobs you can bring "Open E" tuning to life for composing your next "Open E" tuned guitar piece.

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