Open "D" Tuning Explained...

Interested in a fresh new guitar sound? Look no further than the fun musical ideas that can be discovered within the world of "Open D Tuning." 

With a few twists of your tuning pegs you'll reveal amazing new chords and harmonic possibilities...

"Open D" is a common alternate tuning for guitar, and best of all it's easy to move into. As the name implies, this tuning re-organizes the guitar tuning so that when all of the open strings are strummed we achieve an open "D" chord.

As you very likely already know, the traditional or “standard” tuning of the guitar strings is:

E - A - D - G - B - E

The strings of a guitar tuned to "Open D" will be

D - A - D - F# - A - D

As with most open tunings, "Open D" guitar tuning is often played with a slide and is commonly associated with various forms of blues guitar music.

One of the main reasons for applying this tuning is that with it, a full chord can be played without needing to fret the neck of the guitar. While popular with slide guitarists, "Open D" also lends itself well to “fingerpicking.”

The fact that a guitarist can play a full chord without even fretting a string comes in very handy when creating open string finger picked ideas composed in the key of "D."

Even if you are new to open tunings it is easy to see why "Open D" can quickly become a valuable tuning. If you can play a chord with all notes strummed open, you can easily barre your finger straight across any fret and play a chord across any other fret location too.

Then, if you are feeling like really having some fun, stick a slide on your finger and play your heart out with the easy access available to all of the chord possibilities through the use of barre technique in "Open D."

Another very appealing thing about "Open D" is that the lower tuning provides a very rich, deep tone. When you couple that with interesting new chords, "Open D" becomes a great way to overcome any boredom, or inspirational blocks you’ve possibly had while playing /composing music in standard guitar tuning.

The "Open D" guitar tuning has been used on popular songs from the dawn of the blues to more contemporary music including rock and roll. For example, you may not have known that "Open D" tuning was used in Pearl Jam’s big hit from the 1990′s, “Even Flow.”

Pearl Jam - "Even Flow" (Get the TAB here)


Below are a collection of five popular "Open D" chord shapes.

Have fun with the sounds of this unique style of tuning. There are hundreds of possibilities when using "Open D." Re-tune your guitar and start experimenting with the effects generated with this new string tuning. I'm sure you'll be composing a song in no time flat.


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