Learning Slide Guitar: Slide Guitar Scale Lesson in Open E Tuning

So you want to start learning slide guitar, and you’ve got your guitar tuned to Open E. You probably asking, “Now what?” Well that is a good question.

One of the first things you can do is learn the Minor Pentatonic scale in this tuning. It looks like this in the key of Am.

Open E Tuning from Low to High E B E G# B E

Open E Minor 1
See how it differs from the pentatonic scale in standard tuning? Now for slide, this pattern may be hard to play so consider this option.

Open E Minor 2
This pattern is better for slide because the pattern contains easier notes to access any starts to move the notes down the neck instead of always across it. . Try some licks using both patterns and see which is easier. When learning slide guitar after coming from standard tuning, it’s often a matter of re-thinking familiar patterns to come up with better ways of playing these slide guitar licks.

If you’re interested in learning how to play all the classic Duane Allman slide guitar licks, then open e tuning is what he used. You’ll definitely have to learn open e tuning slide to get his licks down. You can come close in standard tuning, but they don’t quite sound the same.

I have created a complete course on how to play slide guitar in open e tuning. Check it out here.

What has your experience been with open e tuning slide. Let me know right below.

John W Tuggle
John W Tuggle

I love teaching the blues and have created numerous training courses and lessons to learn how to play like BB King, Clapton, Duane Allman, and more. Get Started Now


  1. Can I use your slide guitar istruction and apply it to lap steel with
    six strings? I tune my lap steel to E7th ( BDEG#BE ) I want to play
    lead on the lap steel. I know something about the pentatonic scale.

  2. I am trying to learn slide in open E tuning. I may be misreading the Am Pent scales and or the corresponding tab that you have shared on this page. Both three measure systems appears to represent ‘standard tuning’ , not ‘E open’, and I don’t recognize some of the notes that you have included in those measures as being Am Pent scale tones; i.e. F, B, A# and C#. Please correct my misinterpretation of your notation examples so that I can move forward in my attempt to learn slide playing (which has been very challenging to me) in open E tuning . Thank you for sharing this very helpful page.

      • Open tuning E would be:
        Ms one third beat, 3rd fret 5th string should be D not C.
        Ms one forth beat, 5th fret 5th string should be E not D.
        Ms two first beat, 3rd fret 4th string should be G not F.
        Ms two third beat, 4th fret 3rd string should be C not B.

        IMHO I believe I am correct assuming there is not special rule for notation or TAB in Open E.
        As per my initial request – I would appreciate a reply as to what I am doing wrong; not just that it ‘is correct’ as written, that doesn’t help me with my possible misinterpretation. (But, thanks John.)

  3. I am looking to sign on to a good course for open E slide; please bear with my seemingly naive, but, sincere questioning of the above, I know scales, tunings and notation fairly well, but, I don’t know many (practical applications of) riffs in open E, especially minor ones.

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