Open G Tuning
- Created on 17 October 2011
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As a 5-string Banjo player the open G tuning is a familar tuning as the standard 5-string banjo tuning is an Open G. Open G Tuning is not as widely used as the open D tuning and is mostly used for blues, folk songs and slide guitar.
One of the best known songs of recent times that uses open G was Dire Straits, Romeo and Juliet. As with open D tuning playing the open strings sounds a G chord.
Tuning to Open G
The standard Open G tuning is from 6th string down D G D G B D.
If you have one of those guitar tuners that clip on to the tuning head this is very easy to do but if you don't then you can do it like this. This is a little easier to do manually than open D tuning.
- Drop the 6th string down a tone to D (tuned to the 4th (D) string)
- Drop the 5th string down a tone to G (tuned to the 3rd (G) string)
- Drop the first string down a tone to D (tuned to the 4th (D) string)
A barre chord in Open G tuning follows the chromatic scale. Starting with open G, with a barre at the second fret for A-Major and so on.
Bars 2 -5 on the video tab shows that any barre or G position chord can be made into a seventh by dropping the little finger on the first string three frets below the barred fret.
If you barre at the 2nd fret and put your little finger on the 1st string-5th fret you get an A7 chord.
If you barre at the 4th fret with your little finger on the 1st string-7th fret and you get a B7 chord.
The barre chord is not the only chord form that follows this pattern. Every chord is going to follow the chromatic scale up and down the fretboard. This means you only have to learn a few chord forms to learn all of the chords.
Playing with a slide
Open G tuning is a very popular tuning for slide guitar players. I've included a couple of sections [Bars 12-16 and Bars 18-21 in the video] are extracts from a great song in Open G tuning called "Wellington The Skellington".
You can play the bars at the 5th fret and 8th fret with a slide or a barre. Then slide up to the 9th fret and the down to the 7th and 5th frets.