Open G Guitar Tuning

Learn how to play in open g guitar tuning in this easy and helpful lesson. Learn all the basic chords, scales, notes, and even some cool sounding riffs!

Learning how to play in an open tuning is really fun and sometimes it can refresh your creativity!

Standard tuning is fun and all, but why stop there? Why not open up the door to unlimited possibilities?

That is where these alternate tuning lessons come in. You will learn the basic chord shapes for both major and minor chords in this open g guitar tuning.

Along with a major scale pattern and cool sounding riffs to practice and learn from.

Many guitar players use open tunings. Sometimes you may not even know it. If you listen to artists like Andy McKee, Tommy Emmanuel, or Justin King you will hear and see what different sounds you can get with alternate tunings.

Learning how to play in a new tuning isn't difficult, it's actually more fun than you might expect.

When you first play in an open tuning or any other alternate tuning I suggest playing around a bit before learning the foundation of chords and scales.

This way to have to way of reverting back to familiar chords and chord progressions.

It's like you are learning to play the guitar all over again, but with the skills you already have.

You will find that your creativity will change when you are given a new set of string tunings.

When I play open guitar tunings I like to use my acoustic guitar. Some people like it on their electrics, but this is totally up to you.

An open tuning is so beautiful sounding so I like to enhance that sound my giving it the acoustic edge.

Many slide players play in open tunings like this open g guitar tuning.

This makes it easier for the slide player simply because a slide is a straight bottle or tube so making chord shapes out of standard tuning is a little tricky, but not impossible.

In this tuning you can lay one finger across all six strings on any fret and produce a major chord!

That is the simplicity of this tuning.

Ok! Let's talk about a very important and frequently asked question.

What Is An Open Guitar Tuning

This is really simple. I mentioned this before. An open tuning is when you strum all the open strings (this means without fretting any notes on the fretboard) the strings will produce the sound of a chord.

If you strum all the open strings of this open G guitar tuning then you will be hearing a G major chord.

That is because each strings is tuned to one of the three notes that make up the G major chord.

The notes of this tuning are, from your lowest string (the biggest string) to your highest sounding string (the small string).

  • D
  • G
  • D
  • G
  • B
  • D

G, B, D are the three notes that make up the G major chord. This is why it is called an open G guitar tuning.

Where is the best place to start when learning a new tuning? How about finding all the notes on the fretboard?

Notes On The Fretboard

Now this section will take out all the guess work when you are searching for a note. I will show you where each notes is on each string.

If you already know where the notes are on a standard tuned guitar then a couple of these strings will be no problem at all.

Let's start off with your low E string which is tuned to a D. That means you will have to tune your E string down a whole step.

Here are all the notes of your lowest sounding string "D".

As long as you know the notes of the E string on a standard tuned guitar then this shouldn't be too difficult.

All you have to do is apply some theory and you will be good to go.

So, since D is a whole step lower than E, or two half steps lower, then all you have to do is apply this to each note.

If you know that the 3rd fret of your low E string is a G note then lower that note down two half steps then you will get what note it actually is on a string tuned to D.

The 3rd fret of the E string is a G note. The third fret of E string tuned down to D is and F!

F is two half steps lower than G. It's that simple.

This may seem a little tricky at first, but with practice you will be doing this without even knowing it.

Ok, here we have the G string. This is tuned to an A in standard tuning so all you have to do is apply the same principle as before. Since G is a whole step, or two half steps, lower than A all you have to do is lower any note on the A string two half steps and that's what the note is on a G string.

This tuning has a lot of multiple tuned notes. For instance, the open g guitar tuning has 3 D's and 2 G's. So, you only have to learn three strings to know them all.

Your first string you learned was a D string so you shouldn't have any trouble with this since all the notes are the same.

Also, this string isn't tuned differently from standard tuning so you don't have to relearn anything.

Here is another string that doesn't change from the standard tuning. The G string. Also, we covered the notes of the G string a moment ago.

Now, here is a string we haven't covered yet. The B string.

This string is also tuned this way in standard tuning so if you know the notes of the B string then you got this string covered.

This last string is also tuned to a D. Like two of the other strings. I have a good feeling you probably already know this one.

Now that you have all the notes on the fretboard memorized we can move on to learning the basic major and minor chord shapes of this open g guitar tuning.

Open G Guitar Tuning ~ Major

In standard tuning you have certain shapes that make up your major and minor chords. With an alternate tuning you will be left in the dark for a while until you learn some chords.

Most people can't just tune their guitar to open g guitar tuning and know where all the chords are.

This includes me. So, I've made 4 major and minor chords in each key for you to learn and apply to your music.

All of these chords are movable so if you know where your root note is, refer back to the notes on the fretboard, then you can move that chord anywhere.

If you learn one chord shape then you know that chord shape in all 12 keys. If you know where the root note is of course.

Here are 4 major chords in every key.


The F major chord starts on the 10th fret.

The F# major chord starts on the 11th fret.

Now that you have the basic chord shapes for the major chord. Let's move onto the minor chords.

Open G Guitar Chords ~ Minor

These next 48 chords are just as easy as the major chords. Remember that these are all movable chords so once you learn one shape you know them in every key.

Of course you have to know where the root note is to find the chord but a quick glance up at the previous examples about the notes on the strings will help!

Here are all the minor chords.

The second C minor chord here starts on the 10th fret.

The second C# minor chord here starts on the 11th fret.

Now you have both your basic major and minor chords. These are pretty simple and worth learning.

Try to play some of your favorite songs in this open g guitar tuning. There are thousands of different chords to learn so be creative and play around.

If you are very comfortable with guitar theory and know how to build chords then try to make your own movable chords.

Once you start creating your own music you will find that you need to know what notes you can play in what key. So, here is one movable major scale shape for you.

Once you memorize this pattern then you can apply it to any key.

The scales are in order starting with A. So from the first scale to the last they are...

  • A Major
  • A# Major
  • B Major
  • C Major
  • C# Major
  • D Major
  • D# Major
  • E Major
  • F Major
  • F# Major
  • G Major
  • G# Major

Here is the movable major scale in every key.












Now knowing what notes you can play in what key is no longer a mystery.

If you use all of these things in this lesson then you will have this tuning figured out in no time. This is a great way to learn a new tuning and should be how you learn every tuning.

Again there are hundreds of different modes and scales out there so dig in and find some. Try to play your favorite licks on this open g guitar tuning.

They might actually be easier to play. Sometimes it's the other way around, but it gets you familiar with the tuning and that is what this whole lesson is about!

If you want to learn some riffs I have 5 here for you to use and practice.

There will be some techniques in here that you may not know. These are just to start you off by showing you the sounds that are possible in open g tuning.

Here are 5 new licks for you to practice!

Open G Guitar Riffs

Learning new riffs can help you with your creativity. Maybe there is a technique in that riff that you never seen or played before.

This opens your mind to new ideas and sounds.

Starting with this first lick.

This whole riff is using natural harmonics.

A natural harmonic is when you place your finger directly over the metal fret of the fret shown in the example and plucking the string then releasing your finger once the harmonic starts ringing.

Don't press down on the string just gently touch it and you will produce a harmonic sound.

So, this whole open guitar lick is using harmonics. It doesn't sound too good if you fret these notes.

With enough practice you should get this down pretty quickly.

This next open g guitar riff is a static chord shape riff.

You are basically holding two different chords in this. I like to use my fingers to play this but a pick will do just the same.

Here is a fun sounding riff. The timing of this riff is very important so be sure and follow the timing given. Learning to read timing and rhythm on sheet music will take you a long way.

Now you will be incorporating slides and hammer ons in this lick.

Start this lick slow and build up your speed on your metronome.

This lick up to high speeds sounds really cool. You will notice how easy it is to play after a while.

This is a cool chord and melody line riff.

This is pretty straight forward. The double stops at the end leave you wanting more so try to add to this lick!

Well there you go! By now you know all the notes on each string, the basic major and minor chords in each key, one movable major scale in each key, and 5 new riffs to play with.

You are that much closer to mastering this open g guitar tuning. I hope that this lesson has helped you learn more about open tunings.

If you want to learn more or have any questions please leave me a Comment!


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