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Open G tuning Guitar chords

Updated on November 6, 2014

Open G tuning

Open G tuning is as follows: D G D G B D (strings 6 -1)

Guitar standard tuning: E A D G B E

To tune a guitar to Open G from normal tuning, just lower strings 6, 5 and 1 by a tone, or 2 frets. Now when you play the open strings, you have a G chord, and a good sounding G chord at that. You can play C and D by barre shapes at frets 5 and 7, and then you already have the I IV and V chords in the key of G - G, C and D. So many simpler songs are very easy in this tuning, actually much easier than in normal tuning.

When there is a cross ( x ) above a string, don't play it. 0 = open string.

Guitar chords in Open G tuning

Using the open G tuning

This tuning is ideal for slide guitar, and is also used extensively by Keith Richards - if you hammer on the chord shape shown onto a barre chord shape.(see diagram)

Paul McCartney's Blackbird also makes use of this tuning. It can also be played in normal tuning, but the Open G version just has the edge. To play the Blackbird style chords, just use the 10th interval chords shown - I've only notated the first part. The last chord in this section is circled, so there are two chords shown in that chord grid.

Open G users

  • Joni Mitchell uses this tuning for great songs such as Little Green, from the Blue album.
  • Sheryl Crow uses it for If It makes You Happy, another great song.
  • Ry Cooder uses it often, in common with many other slide guitar players.


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