Alternate Tunings for Guitar

Alternate tunings give guitarists a fresh perspective on playing. Different chord voicings become playable where they would be near impossible to play in standard or other tunings.

The list below gives tunings from the standard guitar tuning as well as many others to experiment with. The first note of each tuning represents the 6th or lowest string (low to high).

Standard Tuning

E - A - D - G - B - E (standard)

Eb - Ab - Db - Gb - Bb - Eb (standard a half step down)

How to Tune a Guitar to Standard Tuning

Dropped Tunings

Other tunings change one or a couple of strings. Dropped D is another popular tuning in rock music. This tuning allows the guitarist to create a power chord by barring one finger on the 3 bottom strings at the same fret. Other dropped tunings can be played the same way, but in a lower key.

D - A - D - G - B - E (dropped D)

C - G - C - F - A - D (dropped C)

G - D - G - C - E - A (dropped G)

A - E - A - D - F# - B (dropped A)

Open Tunings

Open tunings tune the guitar to a chord so when all the strings are played open they play a major or minor chord. Open tunings are popular for slide guitar.

C - G - C - G - C - E (open C major)

D - A - D - F# - A - D (open D major)

D - A - D - F - A - D (open D minor)

D - G - D - G - B - D (open G major) : scales, chords

D - G - D - G - A# - D (open G minor)

E - A - C# - E - A - E (open A major)

Modal and Other Tunings

Modal Tunings are similar to open tunings but don't tune to a minor or major chord - modal tunings typically tune to a suspended or other chord form.

D - A - D - G - A - D (modal D, Dsus4)

D - G - D - G - C - D (modal G, Gsus4)

D - A - D - D - A - D (D5 or powerchord)

E - B - E - E - B - E (E5 or powerchord)