Alternate Tuning Exercise: Open D Tuning

Have you ever tried to learn chords in a different tuning? It can be seriously difficult. That’s why Uberchord supports over 18 different tunings – So you can find easy ways to play complex chords! Here’s one easy exercise in Open D Tuning to get you started.  Download the Uberchord App to check it out for yourself.

What is an ‘open tuned’ guitar?

An open tuning is usually given when a complete chord can be heard by just using the open strings. Open tunings are very popular among folk and blues players, especially slide guitarists, but there are no stylistic limits for them. We usually tune to either an open minor or major triad.

For example an open D tuning should only consist of the notes D- F#- A, the open G tuning  includes only the notes G, B and D. In most cases we raise or or lower some of the strings by 1 or 2 semitones to maintain a reasonable string tension. For greater intervalic changes we should optimize the string gauge of our instrument. Even advanced players struggle with new tunings since every chord has to be rearranged on the fretboard.

In this example we create a chord progression in the key of D by using the open D tuning. We also use some 7th chords (chords with four notes, another third added on top of the triad). Like in every major key we have major chords on the I, IV and V degree and minor chords on II, III, VI degree and one diminished chord on the VII degree. So we have to deal with just three chord types.

The diminished chord isn’t very common in todays music. Since the open strings are part of the tonal family (key of D) we encourage you to “experiment” and include them in any proposed chord. Especially the high A and D string should sound great.