plugged in? Try tuning your guitar to Open "E"

By | June 30, 2022

We all know Dolly Parton. Singer, songwriter, performer, actress and brilliant businesswoman.

Always well dressed, not a hair out of place, perfect make-up and lipstick – and painted fingernails….long painted fingernails!

Have you ever watched Dolly play the guitar? If so, have you wondered how she can sit down and play with a guitar without those long, claw-like fingernails getting in the way?

Sure, you can play guitar with long fingernails, classical guitarists do it all the time. But at Dolly we are talking about daggers, nails that can really do some damage!

It’s easy for them. She plays with one finger.

Sounds impossible to those of us who have trouble contorting our fingers into every imaginable shape to form complex guitar chords, but it’s easy for them.

She does it by tuning her guitar to an open chord. Very often hers is tuned to an open E chord.

By tuning the guitar to an open chord, she can strum it fingerlessly and play a full chord—in this case, an E.

Then, by placing a finger across any fret and locking those notes, she plays another full chord.

First, let’s look at how to tune your guitar to an open E tuning.

6th string (E) – leave it as it normally is

5th String (A) – Tune this string to a B flat. Do this by playing the note on the 7th fret of the 6th string and tuning the 5th string to match

4th String (D) – Tune this string to an E. Do this by playing either the 6th string or the 1st string and tuning the 4th string accordingly. In this case, the 4th string now becomes an “octave” of the 1st or 6th string.

3. String (G) – Tune this string to a G#. Do this by playing the note on the 4th fret of the 4th string (after it’s already tuned up) and matching the 3rd string to it

2nd string (B) – leave it as it normally is

1st string (E) – leave it as it normally is

Now strum all 6 strings of the guitar. You are now playing an open E chord!

Would you like to play an A chord in this tuning? Simply place your 1st finger across all the 5th fret strings and strum.

Want to play a G chord? Just stretch the strings over the 3rd fret.

If you know the notes on the 6th string, then the note on the 6th string at the fret where your finger makes the barre is the root of the chord you are playing.

A word of caution. When you tune strings to a higher pitch, you add more tension to them and they can sometimes break if you go too high. Always turn your head away from the guitar when tuning higher than normal to avoid a snapping string hitting your face or eyes.

If you’re in that mood, have a little fun and play around to build chords and discover new ones.

Here’s a hint. In this open E tuning, form and play an open E chord as in the standard tuning. Then lift your fingers off and strum the open strings. Repeat this back and forth a few times, starting with the open string chord and then moving on to the “E” chord.

Can you spot the opening chords for the intro to the Black Crowes’ “She Talks To Angels”?

Open E tuning is also commonly used for slide guitars and dobro.

I’ve already said that there are times for all of us when our game gets a little boring. We feel like we’re not playing anything new, like we’re stuck in a rut.

It’s times like these when it can be good for the psyche to shake things up a bit, to do something different and on the fly.

Switch to an open E tuning next time and let your creativity run wild!

Thanks to Keith Dean | #plugged #tuning #guitar #Open #quotEquot

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