The Free Guitar Toolbox »

Alternate Guitar Tunings

Alternate Tunings, Guitar Maintenance, & Jams

View Category

In this section of lessons we will be taking a look at some alternate tunings and how to use them. An alternate tuning is when you tune any of the open strings to any other notes besides the standard EADGB and E notes. There are some popular open tunings that you will see quite often. We will be taking a look a three of the more popular alternate tunings including: drop D, DADGAD (pronounced dad gad) and open G tuning.

Alternate tunings can give you interesting sounds that would either be a lot harder to get in standard tuning or is just plain impossible. If you start using alternate tunings you might find yourself playing things you would have never thought of if you had kept your guitar in standard tuning. For example, drop D tuning is great for playing heavy music while DADGAD tuning has a really Celtic sound to it.

There are a couple of things that you will want to be aware of when using alternate tunings. First of all you will be tuning your some of your strings down below their standard pitch so they might feel pretty loose and floppy. Some people like to use heavier gauge strings to make up for the floppiness of the strings. Sometimes alternate tunings might require you to tune your strings above the standard pitch. If this is the case just be careful not to tune up to far and break a string.

Give each of the videos in this series a listen and see if you like the sound of the alternate tuning that is used. If you do, start experimenting with that alternate tuning for yourself. There is no right or wrong right now, just have fun! Check out some players like Phil Keaggy or Beppe Gambetta for some really cool sounding acoustic alternate tunings. If you are in to rock you might want to check out some of Ty Tabors drop tunings.