Nick Drake tuning? Drop D tuning? Open D tuning? Unlock new sounds on your guitar by exploring the 5 alternate tunings that changed acoustic guitar history today!
★ What kind of guitar player are you? How should you practice? Take the quiz today: https://tonypolecastro.com/
★ Get the show: https://tonypolecastro.com/get-acoustic-tuesday
★ FOLLOW on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tac.guitar/
Alternate tunings on acoustic guitar can truly expand your sonic vocabulary. If you’re feeling fatigued or tired of playing the same things, spend some time exploring one of the 5 alternate tunings I offer in this episode of Acoustic Tuesday.
You get a chance to hear very popular tunings like DADGAD and Open D Maj while also learning how to play on the fretboard with them. With each alternate tuning, I’ll provide some basic chords or picking patterns that can be used with each alternate tuning.
Each one of these alternate tunings can take your guitar playing to places it has never been before. And that’s a good thing! Hearing your instrument make new sounds you didn’t think were possible is truly inspirational!
In addition to exploring alternate tunings on acoustic guitar, I also want to share with you the inspirational story of a veteran who overcame PTSD by learning to play guitar — oh, and he went on to teach other veterans how to play guitar, too!
Last but not least, you’ll get my roundup of the latest headlines in the acoustic guitar world. This week, we’ll take a look at three different YouTube series that are designed for guitar geeks of all interests!
As always, you can catch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
This is good. It is on my WOGI this quarter.
Intro to alternate tunings? Dobro!
My favorite alt tuning performer is DADGAD maestro Pierre Bensusan. Is a really great live performer when we get the chance again.
I like Pierre. I also like Laurence Juber who plays a LOT of DADGAD. Try his website laurencejuber.com
My first alternate tuning was for Joni Mitchel’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, tuned in open G. It uses lots of straight bar cords and adds an Am7 form.
Thanks for expounding on the alternate tunings as I’ve been adding a number to my song lists, starting with Drop D, Double Drop D and now DADGAD for “4th of July” by Molly Tuttle and Steve Poltz.
I think you’re getting Davey Graham and Bert Jansch mixed up here: Jansch is the player who popularized the folk classic “Black Waterside” which Jimmy Page pilfered and re-named as “Black Mountainside.” Graham popularized DADGAD but he didn’t have anything to do with “Blackwaterside.”
Thanks tony I love these alternate tunings, I first heard one many years ago Neil Young cinnamon Girl is a drop D, I listen to a lot of blues as well, since starting TAC my playing has improved a lot,
Etta Baker and her version of “John Henry” introduced me to open tunings. Then I stumbled upon John Fahey and I was off and running. I play more in open D than in any other tuning and always introduce it right away to beginning finger pickers.
Odd that you did not mention the Dobro when you talked about open G tuning, you had one to your right side the whole time in this segment. Greatly enjoyed this Acoustic Life segment.
This is a fun subject, and possibly a great excurse to have several acoustics; one for each form of desired tuning…boy am I lazy! I guess I need more guitars!
My first experience with alternate tunings was also the Black Crows. It was during a previous ‘catch’ phase of frequent playing and practice, when my lovely bride asked if I could play “She Talks to Angels.” My ego said sure, and the song totally fell into place as soon as I discovered the proper tuning. My second and equally fun experience was the song “Question” by the Moody Blues in Open C tuning. Tuning is easy, the strumming rhythm and accuracy are exhilarating and difficult. I am not certain but believe a bunch of their music utilizes that tuning….I need to explore more!
I learned open tuning from Joni Mitchell, who apparently made it up because she didn’t know how to play a guitar. PS It sure would help us, Tony, if you would play frets up the neck with a guitar that has the fret dots on it. It’s hard to see what fret you’re on otherwise. I know you say which fret iit is, but it would help to see it. Thanks.
Etta Baker is the first musician to introduce me to open D tuning in her rendition of “John Henry”. Then I stumbled on John Fahey and I was off and running. I likely play in open D more than any other tuning and always introduce it to beginning finger pickers. Open tunings are like having multiple instruments and opens up a whole new world for the guitar.
I am surprised that when you discussed open G that you did not mention that tuning is very commonly played on the Dobro, which you had sitting to your right in this segment. This was a great segment on Acoustic Life. Love it!
Incredible String Band – First Girl I Loved
Brown Sugar Open G
Hello Tony, first I would like to say thank you for your show. It has helped me so much in my guitar adventures.You asked a question on your latest show about who inspired you to get into alternate tunings. Steven Stills was my inspiration. I wanted to find out how he made his guitar sound the way that it did. I followed Steven Stills, invested time in his music. I am really glad I did, it has inspired me to continue on the path of music and alternate tuning. When I found your show it has again inspired me and refreshed my guitar journey. Thank you…Sherman Knowles
I’ve been blown away by the vast number of songs which use the simple drop D only (ie low E to D) . I’ve just about nailed “Goodby Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd. Such a great song. I think the record has two guitars but with very little improvising you can make it sound wonderful.
Drop down D tuning with John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High
I like the song Rocky Mountain High By John Denver done in Drop D tuning.
Drakes Passage by Mark Hanson in DADGAD
Dan Fogelberg’s The Reach is done in open G capo on the third fret. That was my first visit to an open tuning (other than drop D ).
The acoustic guitarist who turned me on to alternate tunings is the incredible Bert Jansch. Although much of his work is in standard tuning he does use a lot of dropped D and DADGAD tunings in his songs. Jimmy Page was a huge fan of Bert’s and he ‘borrowed’ Bert’s arrangement of a traditional folk song called Blackwater Side It appears on Led Zeppelin 1 as Black Mountain Side. Page’s tune is in DADGAD (after a misunderstanding passed on by Al Stewart) while Bert’s is in dropped D tuning. I encourage fellow guitar geeks to compare Led Zeppelin’s version with Bert Jansch’s version to see how similar they are.
Jerry Reed – Guitar Man
How did I learn about alternate tunings? Ha Ha – I learned by going CRAZY trying to figure out Joni Mitchell songs.
Before then, I had no idea there was more than one way to tune a guitar.
Joni Joni Joni! First for me was Both Sides Now in open E…
I think that the first song that clearly introduced me to alt tuning was “The Eye of the Hurricane” by David Wilcox
I used to think that open tuning and capos where both sort of cheating
In the song Case of you, by Joni Mitchell, she originally played it on her Dulcimer. I was able to learn it from Jerrys Guitar Bar in this alternate tuning. C# G# C# G# G# C#. Just a beautiful drone sound.
Thanks for these other alternate tunings.
The song that turned me on to open tunings was Tom Rush’s Rockport Sunday. It sounds to me like a misty, cold, New England seacoast morning.
Thanks for all you do for helping us get the best we can out of our music.
The first open tuning I ran into that grabbed me was DGCGCD in Jimmy Page’s Rain song.
I still can’t believe what I’m playing each time I play it. Awesome.
My first alternate tuning was for, Slack Key Guitar…Open Dm, Kalani’s “Taro Patch,Tuning”.
Alright Tony, Molly Tuttle plays a song in this YouTube clip. Any clue what tuning this is? It sounds quite unique. https://youtu.be/AGyFkKVeQDw
I had tried DADGAD on Steven Still’s song 4 and 20 a long time ago without much success. Gave up and got introduced to the Rain Song by Led Zepellin last week. I have to echo “Deadoweyn’s” post, I love that song and am amazed that I can do some of it. Then I remembered this post of yours of the five alternate tunings and remembers kashmir. Love that song too. I didn’t know how his guitar was tuned, my books were pretty vague. I can hardly wait to try kashmir. Thank you Tony for all you do. Keep us updated on Emerson. and Guitar Geeks unite! Oh, maybe one day in the future you could teach us all a complete song? That would be cool.
Big country fan, intro to alternate tunings came from Radney Foster .. One of the prettiest country ballads I’ve ever heard comes from Steve Wariner, he revealed that the song, “I Should Be With You” is an alternate tuning of (low to high) … C-G-D-G-B-D … Enjoy … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq4yqa-uYQE
For me Stephen Stills 4+20 (Double Drop D) sparked my love for alternate tunings
What got me into alternate tuning was The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin, from Houses of the Holy.
Page did so many interesting things on acoustic, this and Kashmir are my favorites. When asked how he felt to be in a Metal Band, Page quipped: 1/3 of our material is acoustic!
Alternate tuning songs,
Suite Judy Blue Eyes, Four and Twenty
I saw Jimmy Buffett play A Pirate Looks art Forty in open G. He said Joni Mitchell taught it to him.