Magazine article Guitar Player

Expanding Open Tunings

Magazine article Guitar Player

Expanding Open Tunings

Article excerpt

DURING A RECENT BAND OF ANgels recording session, we were working on "Raglan Road," which Jessica, my wife and musical partner, wanted to sing in the key of B[flat]. It's important that an accompanist accommodate the vocalist, so I explored various arranging possibilities and ended up using a low B[flat]sus2 tuning that really exploits the acoustic guitar's low-end potential.

The transformation from a familiar tuning to a radically altered one occurs as a series of steps. Let's retrace the ones I took to arrive at B[flat]sus2. This will illustrate how I approach the whole area of open tunings and give you some jumping-off points for further explorations of your own.

We'll start with standard tuning and move immediately to the most common open tuning used by beginners, D major (Ex. 1). This can be simply dropped down another whole-step to get a parallel low C tuning (Ex. 2). But we can also take a different approach to the top three strings and get the more common, higher-voiced open C (Ex. …

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