Common Guitar Tunings

keith richards rolling stones

Standard guitar tuning exists, so that we can transition easily between simple of chords. On top of that, be able to play scales with ease and minimising the hand movement. 

A standard guitar has six strings named E, A, D, G, B, E from top to bottom.

The main ways to tune a guitar  

Some people are able to tune their guitar by ear. This does take some ear training and practise to be able to do this.  So don't worry if you are just starting out and can't do this. 

You can use an electric guitar tuner, or download a guitar tuning application for your phone if you are a beginner.

It's useful to use an electric guitar tuner that clips onto your guitar. Because  the tuner uses the vibration of the guitar to detect the tuning. Meaning that you will get a more accurate reading. Even if you are surrounded in a busy environment. 

Getting more creative with your guitar tunings

If you want to get extra creative, it is useful to know options of alternative guitar tuning.

Black Key Tuning

Some of the popular alternative tunings out there include the black key tuning. This was made popular by Curtis Mayfield a famous guitar player in the 1960s.

Mayfield was so good that he inspired famous musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Funkadelics.

The black key is the black keys on a piano translated to a guitar. It starts with F#, A#, C#, F#, A# and finally F#. This tuning fits with R&B songs.

Open G Tuning

The next tuning is open G. And was made popular by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

keith richards rolling stones

The open G is a five-string guitar tuning. However, it will be tricky to tune your low E string to a G. So what makes sense is that we tune the top and bottom E string to a D. Tune the rest like a banjo: D, G, D, G, B, and D. 

Open D Tuning

Another tuning is the open D and its spelled D, A, D, F#, A, and D. And is used a lot by fingerpicking guitar players on the acoustic guitar. 

This tuning has been used by famous artists players like Joni Mitchell and Eric Johnson.

Violin style tuning

The next tuning is the new tuning created by Robert Fripp of King Crimson. The tuning spells C, D, G, A, E, and G.

This tuning has the potential to break your guitar strings. But when done correctly can produce music like another instrument like a violin.

The tuning has a wide range of harmonic possibilities.

Nick Drake Tuning

The Nick Drake tuning is more complementary to acoustic guitar. It is a very good tuning for a chord progression type of strumming.

And the tuning is: C, G, C, F, C and E.

Nick Drake guitar tunings

Try out different tunings and see how you get on. We've got another article about this. Written by a friend of ours with more about opening guitar tunings and DADGAD if you are interested: 

If you would like to get more creative with your guitar playing then get in contact with us about guitar lessons in London

We can help you understand the guitar and the fretboard, so that you can create your own music and songs. 


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