Open G tuning

\clef "treble_8"
\time 3/4
<d, g, d g b d'>2.
<d, >4
<g, >4
<d >4
<g >4
<b >4
<d' >4
<d, g, d g b d'>2.

Among alternative tunings for the guitar, an open G tuning is an open tuning that features the G-major chord; its open notes are selected from the notes of a G-major chord, such as the G-major triad (G,B,D). For example, a popular open-G tuning is

D-G-D-G-B-D (low to high).

An open-G tuning allows a G-major chord to be strummed on all six strings with neither fretting of the left hand nor a capo. Like other open tunings, it allows the eleven major chords besides G major each to be strummed by barring at most one finger on exactly one fret.[1] Open tunings are common in blues and folk music,[2] and they are used in the playing of slide and bottleneck guitars.[1][3]

Repetitive variants for special instrumentsEdit

The seven-string Russian guitar uses the open-G tuning D-G-B-D-G-B-D.

Repetitive open-G tunings are used by Russian guitars, Dobro guitars, and banjos. They repeat three open-string notes.

The repetitive open-G tuning


is used by the Russian guitar, which has seven strings tuned mostly in triads, in contrast to other guitars, which are tuned mostly in fourths.[4][5][6]

Dobros use a full six-string tuning with a bottom G: G-B-D-G-B-D, low to high. The two lowest strings are, accordingly, tuned three semitones higher for the lowest string (from E up to G) and two semitones higher for the second-lowest string (from A up to B) while the highest string is tuned two semitones lower (from E down to D), relative to standard tuning.

Five-string banjo's standard tuning is also an Open G: g-D-G-B-D, where the lower case "g" denotes the highest-pitched "drone string", physically located next to (above) the lowest-pitched string, the first upper case "D".[7]

Overtones of the fundamental note GEdit

Joni Mitchell used the open-G overtones-tuning G-G-D-G-B-D for "Electricity", "For the Roses", and "Hunter (The Good Samaritan)".
Zebra's Randy Jackson played "Who's Behind The Door?" using the same open-G overtones-tuning.
The Rolling Stones's Keith Richards plays a five-string 1953 Telecaster in open-G tuning. Keith Richards and Ted Newman Jones developed the first 5 string open G electric later manufactured by Newman Guitars. String set is: 11, 15, 18 plain, 30, 42.

Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs has used another open-G tuning, which listed the initial six overtones of the G note,


for "Hey Hey" and while writing the demo of "Can't Get Enough".[8]

The overtones tuning G-G-D-G-B-D was used by Joni Mitchell for "Electricity", "For the Roses", and "Hunter (The Good Samaritan)".[9] Truncating this tuning to G-D-G-B-D for his five-string guitar, Keith Richards plays this overtones-tuning on The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up".[10] American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, uses this tuning for the majority of their songs.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Sethares (2010, p. 16)
  2. ^ Denyer (1992, p. 158)
  3. ^ Denyer (1992, p. 160)
  4. ^ Bellow (1970, p. 164): Bellow, Alexander (1970). The illustrated history of the guitar. Colombo Publications.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  5. ^ Timofeyev (1999): Timofeyev, Oleg V. (1999). The golden age of the Russian guitar: Repertoire, performance practice, and social function of the Russian seven-string guitar music, 1800-1850. Duke University, Department of Music. pp. 1–584. University Microfilms (UMI), Ann Arbor, Michigan, number 9928880.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  6. ^ Ophee, Matanya (ed.). 19th Century etudes for the Russian 7-string guitar in G Op. The Russian Collection. 9. Editions Orphee. PR.494028230.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

    Ophee, Matanya (ed.). Selected Concert Works for the Russian 7-String Guitar in G open tuning. The Russian Collection. 10 ("X"). Editions Orphee. PR.494028240.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

  7. ^
  8. ^ Sharken, Lisa (15 May 2001). "Mick Ralphs: The rock 'N' roll fantasy continues". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 21 February 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  9. ^ "List of all Guitar and Piano Transcriptions". GGDGBD. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Ellis, Andy (2005). "How to play like ... Keith Richards". Guitar Player. Retrieved 24 March 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  11. ^ "Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes: Special Forces Ringmaster". Premier Guitar. Retrieved March 9, 2020.