Open Tuning Basics

For Drop D, most of the open chord shapes are unaffected. Those chords that are only 4 or 5 strings are (can be) unaffected.
I say can be as you may wish to incorporate the open 6th string where it was omitted / muted in standard tuning. The most obvious example is D major. You can play open 6th and open 5th strings for a really fat (phat) sounding D chord.
A few chords need the fingering / shape to be adjusted but not by much.
Here are just four chord shapes affected by / changed for Drop D.

Thanks @DarkWillowTM for taking the time to reply. Nice to meet you too!


Thanks @Richard_close2u that’s very useful. So if I understand correctly you do need to adjust your fingering to use alternate tuning on some chords. Time to get the pen and paper and my music theory book out to work out the fingering on the various options.

As I progress through Grade 3 I get the impression that it’s a selection of standalone videos that Justin had previously made on a series of topics before grade 3 was introduced and hence doesn’t flow and build in the way the earlier grades did, which would explain the lack of context. Thank goodness you are here to add that context!

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More food for thought in the playground section


There are some open tunings where most of the standard chord shapes are a non-starter. Part of the beauty of open tunings is being able to play chords and progressions with lots of open strings ringing out and lots of octave repeats of root notes or thirds of chords etc. This concept might not be clear from Justin’s introduction video lesson here - and remember it is just an introduction - because he shows in his small selection of example chords a lot of chords that use full barre or 5-string barre. Using a barre on open tunings (where all open strings actually sounds out a chord) do lend themselves to use of barres for chords too. But that is just a tiny nibble of a very small portion of the bigger picture.

Drop D and Double Drop D - small adjustments to your known chord shapes.
Open G (and A by extension) - a whole new world of chord shapes but the Keith Richards trick is a great starting point.
Open D (and E by extension) - a whole new world of chord shapes and many will use just one or two fingers.
For open D and open E try these:

For song examples …
Justin name checks several Rolling Stones songs in open G.
Listen to Blood On The Tracks for open E - almost the whole album is in that tuning.
For open D listen to this:

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Thanks @Richard_close2u I have just listened to the Roy Harper track, I didn’t know him so thanks for the introduction. I have Blood on the Tracks on vinyl buried in the cupboard under the stairs, I will listen to the album with new ears.

So much to learn, I sometimes feel I have started 50 years too late!

Thanks @Socio this is the information that would be useful in the grade 3 course video, saves a lot of head scratching about ‘how do I use this’.

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