ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Open G Tuning Guitar

Updated on April 20, 2016

Open G tuning for guitar

Guitar can be played in many non-standard tunings, and Open G tuning is one of the best - not only is it really easy to get started in this tuning, but also the reduced string tension brings out all the tone of acoustic guitars. My other hubs have info on the way it has been used by bands and songwriters, and applications such as slide guitar.

Open G tuning is used by many of my favourite guitar players, including Ry Cooder, Joni Mitchell, and Keith Richards.

Here we are just going to use two finger chords and keep it really simple.

First, tune your guitar to Open G, which is D G D G B D low to high. The strings that you need to change are 6, 5 and 1. Do this fairly slowly, and take the string down to below the target pitch - when you bring it up to pitch it will stay in tune much better. By the way, this is also applicable to standard tuning on the guitar.

Acoustic Guitar in Open G - Paul Brady

Open G tuning chord shapes

Harmonised scale in G

If you play the chords in this order you will get a harmonised scale of G, that is, all the chords in the key of G in the same order as the major scale. The chord names are approximate, and note that you are not generally going to use string 6 (low D) - this is not that useful, and it's the reason the Keith Richards removes that string entirely, as it kind of gets in the way. So, play these chords on the middle 4 strings only to begin with, even though string 1 is OK too.

Key of G: G, Am, Bm, C, D or D7, Em, F sharp m7b5, G.

This is the harmonised scale of G, the building blocks of thousands of songs.

The major chords are G, C, and D and these are referred to as the I IV and V chords (1,4,5) - the name derived from their position in the major scale, which uses the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F sharp. Virtually all songs will use these three chords together, and very often one or two of the minor chords.


Next set of chords

The next set of chords are two- note chords on string 4 and 3, the middle two strings. As we have not changed these strings from standard tuning, anything you play in standard tuning on these two string will remain the same. With the drone strings going, these harmony notes sound good - and again I have notated the Harmonised scale of G. As the scale goes so far up the neck, it is only practical on electric guitars, but on acoustic guitar you could just use a part of the scale.

You can also play C and D as barre chords at frets 5 and 7. (see diagram)

Last line- play strings 5,4,3,2 open for a G chord, then the Am7 type shape.

Finally, these other shapes can be used, and they are related to the first set of chords.

Guitar chord tips

It's a good idea to arpeggiate the chords, that is playing them one string at a time. You get a better picture of the sound of the chord this way, and it's also a useful way to check for buzzes, and that you are playing the right bass note for the chord.

I usually classify chords in three categories, as Joe Pass used to do.

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Seventh

That way, you're not getting hung up on detail, but understand the function of the chord.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      No problem! - another thing you can do is play harmonics at fret 5, 7, and 12 across all the strings - including chords. fret 5 is weak, but the others are fine.

    • DFiduccia profile image

      DFiduccia 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Jon,

      I'm sorry I used the wrong spelling for your name. It's just an old habit. John was my favorite uncle, when he was still with us.

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks a lot. It's a good idea to rake through the chords so you hear all the notes.

    • DFiduccia profile image

      DFiduccia 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great Hub John!

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Good point - I'll post some videos soon.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Once a guy tuned one of my Martin's, a D 18 to open G to play Pink Floyd's "Fearless."

      I wanted to learn the tune which was one that I'd always liked a lot anyway....but I just couldn't leave my guitar tuned like that because I was overly worried about the string tension of the open G tuning.

      I think you'd benefit on these types of hubs by including a video from youtube of someone playing something in (for this hub) and open G tuning. If someone watches a video (as sometimes viewers aren't so much into text...and just are poking around on the net) then they'll stay on your page longer, and give you an ad impression, and improve the page rank of your page.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)