Tune a Guitar to
Drop D and/or Open G

Inspiring Creative Project Ideas

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Welcome to Tune a Guitar to Drop D or Open G, an Adventure Learning Initiative in mentoring and instructing apprentice artists. We hope you enjoy strumming to a different tune in the simple life of guitar and music.

Dance to a different tune and tune a guitar with these 2 variations from standard tuning. For me, each and every alternate guitar tuning is an adventure into uncharted and exciting guitar territory. I have hours of fun and allow myself to get lost in a sea of expression with these two alternate tunings. As a mentor I encourage my students to experiment as much as they can. I’m extremely appreciative of this opportunity to share these creative adventures with you and offer you the opportunity to dance to a different tune…


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Dancing to a Different Tune

Drop D and Open G Tuning

Drop D tuning is used extensively these days in Rock, Metal, and Alternative music styles. Needless to say, it sounds awesome on an electric guitar with some ground shaking distortion. It's definitely my favorite guitar tuning!

Open G tuning sounds fantastic and is SOOO easy to play. You can play whole guitar chords using only one finger on your left hand! which why this alternative to your standard tuning is used widely for slide guitar techniques.



Drop D Tuning

To tune a guitar to Drop D, the 6th E string (that’s the thickest one) is dropped down one whole tone to a D note. This versatile tuning produces a deep sound which is why it is so great for Rock music. A huge benefit with this tuning is that you can play a power chord by simply barring the last 3 strings (D, A, and D).

This is what the note names of your open strings will look like when you adjust your guitar to Drop D tuning. The order of the strings in relation to this diagram, is with the thickest string (6th) on the left and thinnest string (1st) on the right:


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Notice the difference?

How to do it, without a tuner:

  • Tune the thick E string down a whole step, or tone to a D note. You can check to see if the 6th string (the thick one) is in tune by playing it open and then playing the 4th string (two strings down) open. If the strings are in tune these two notes will harmonize although they are an octave apart.

If you’ve got an electric guitar, amp, distortion setting, give it a bash and blow the neighbors away, you’ll love it!



Open G Tuning

it’s called as such because when you strum all the strings open (i.e. you are not fingering or fretting any notes with your left hand) it produces a G chord. The order of the strings in relation to this diagram, is with the thickest string (6th) on the left and thinnest string (1st) on the right:


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How to do it, without a tuner:

  • Tune the thick E string down a whole step, or tone to a D (check it with the 4th D string). When I refer to checking the strings, when you play the two strings mentioned they should be in harmony with one another even if there is a difference in octave between the two.
  • Tune the 5th A string down a whole step or tone to a G (check it with the 3rd G string, and not the one in your underwear drawer!)
  • Tune the thin e string down to a D (check it with both the 4th D strings and 6th D string – once it’s been tuned down of course)

And that’s all there is to it, you can now tune a guitar to an Open G! Give it a strum and hear how it sounds. Magical isn’t it!


Musically Yours,
Andrew Pittendrigh in association with
The Adventure Learning Muso Mentors


If you feel you would like to mentor or instruct in a creative short course or program, simply complete the Creative Project Ideas Mentor Application form.



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