Open G Tuning Explained: What It Is & How It Works on Guitar

what is open g tuning

Discover the magic of open G tuning guitar, its history, uses, and benefits, as well as how to get started with this popular alternative tuning method.

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Have you ever been curious about alternative guitar tunings? Ever wondered what is open G tuning guitar? You’re in for a treat! Open G tuning is an exciting and versatile approach to playing the guitar that can open up a world of possibilities for your musical expression.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the realm of open G tuning, exploring its history, uses, benefits, and how to get started. So sit back, relax, and let’s embark on this musical journey together!

The Origins of Open G Tuning

what is open g tuning

In the Beginning: Early Roots of Open G Tuning

Before we delve into what is open G tuning guitar, let’s take a trip down memory lane. The origins of open G tuning can be traced back to the blues and folk music of the early 20th century.

Musicians seeking to create unique sounds and simplify chord shapes started experimenting with alternative tunings. Open G tuning soon became a favorite among blues musicians, particularly slide guitarists, due to its rich, resonant sound.

A Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution: Open G Tuning Hits the Mainstream

Fast forward to the 1960s and 1970s, open G tuning guitar experienced a surge in popularity thanks to iconic rock bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

These artists popularized open G tuning in their legendary songs, such as “Brown Sugar” and “Black Country Woman,” cementing its status as a staple in the rock music scene.

What is Open G Tuning Guitar, Exactly?

In a nutshell, open G tuning is an alternative tuning method for the guitar, where the strings are tuned to the notes of a G major chord: G, B, and D. The standard tuning for a six-string guitar (from lowest to highest) is E, A, D, G, B, and E.

In open G tuning, the strings are tuned as follows:

  1. Low E string: tuned down a whole step to D
  2. A string: tuned down a whole step to G
  3. D string: remains unchanged
  4. G string: remains unchanged
  5. B string: remains unchanged
  6. High E string: tuned down a whole step to D

Voilà! You’ve got yourself an open G tuning guitar. And here’s some pictures on how to play some of the most common guitar chords in Open G tuning.

How To Play Basic Chords In Open G Tuning

Why Open G Tuning Rocks: The Benefits and Uses

Jimmy Page’s Favourite Guitar

Make It Easy: Simplified Chords and Fingerings

One of the main advantages of open G tuning guitar is that it simplifies chord shapes and fingerings. With the guitar tuned to an open G chord, playing a G major chord requires no fingerings at all – simply strumming the open strings will produce the desired sound.

Additionally, other chords can be played with fewer fingers, making it easier for beginners and seasoned players alike.

Slide into the Groove: Perfect for Slide Guitar

Open G tuning guitar is a match made in heaven for slide guitarists. The open chord structure allows for seamless sliding between chords and creating that signature bluesy, soulful sound. It’s no wonder that open G tuning has been the go-to choice for legends like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

The unconventional tuning of open G can inspire fresh ideas and creative approaches to your playing. It encourages you to think outside the box and explore new chord progressions, riffs, and techniques that you might not have considered with standard tuning.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in a rut or simply want to experiment, open G tuning guitar might just be the key to unlocking your hidden musical potential.

Getting Started: How to Tune Your Guitar to Open G

Now that you’ve got a grasp on what is open G tuning guitar, let’s get your instrument set up!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to tune your guitar to open G:

  1. Start with your guitar in standard tuning (E, A, D, G, B, E).
  2. Use a chromatic tuner to help you accurately adjust the pitch of each string.
  3. Lower the pitch of the low E string down a whole step to D.
  4. Lower the pitch of the A string down a whole step to G.
  5. Leave the D, G, and B strings unchanged.
  6. Lower the pitch of the high E string down a whole step to D.

That’s it! Your guitar is now tuned to open G. Don’t forget to double-check the tuning of each string with your chromatic tuner to ensure accuracy.


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