What is open G tuning for G major?

Open G tuning for G major is a captivating alternate guitar tuning that transforms your instrument into a resonant G major chord with a simple strum of open strings. This tuning is beloved by guitarists across genres, from blues to rock and beyond. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of open G tuning for G major, how to achieve it, and why it’s a fantastic choice for expanding your musical horizons.

Open G Tuning for G Major: D G D G B D

Achieving open G tuning for G major involves adjusting the standard tuning of your guitar strings to form a G major chord when strummed open. Here’s a step-by-step guide to tuning your guitar to open G:

  1. Low D (6th string): Begin by lowering the low E string down a whole step to D.
  2. G (5th string): Keep the A string as it is, tuned to G.
  3. D (4th string): Maintain the standard tuning for the D string.
  4. G (3rd string): Leave the G string unchanged.
  5. B (2nd string): Keep the B string as it is.
  6. High D (1st string): Tune the high E string down a whole step to D.

Advantages of Open G Tuning for G Major:

  1. Intuitive Chord Voicings: Open G tuning offers intuitive and harmonious chord voicings in the key of G major, making it accessible for beginners and a source of inspiration for advanced players.
  2. Ideal for Slide Guitar: The layout of open G tuning is perfect for slide guitar playing. The slide naturally aligns with the frets, allowing for expressive and soulful slide melodies.
  3. Blues and Rock Powerhouse: This tuning is closely associated with blues and rock music, enabling players to create the driving rhythms and powerful riffs heard in countless classics.
  4. Simple One-Finger Chords: Open G tuning permits easy one-finger chords, making it user-friendly for beginners while offering experienced players ample opportunities for creativity.

Notable Guitarists Who Embrace Open G Tuning:

  1. Robert Johnson: The iconic Delta bluesman Robert Johnson famously used open G tuning in many of his legendary recordings, including “Cross Road Blues” and “Love in Vain.”
  2. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones): Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones is celebrated for his use of open G tuning in hits like “Start Me Up” and “Brown Sugar.”
  3. Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band): Duane Allman, a revered slide guitarist, frequently employed open G tuning for his electrifying slide solos in songs like “Statesboro Blues” and “Whipping Post.”
  4. Derek Trucks (The Allman Brothers Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band): Inspired by Duane Allman, Derek Trucks continues the tradition of using open G tuning for his expressive slide guitar work.


Open G tuning for G major is a captivating and musically rewarding alternate tuning for guitarists of all levels. Its unique sound, accessibility for slide playing, and rich chord voicings make it an attractive choice for those exploring genres like blues, rock, or just looking for fresh creative avenues. By embracing open G tuning, you can unlock a world of musical possibilities and embark on a captivating journey of guitar exploration and expression.

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