Open G Tuning Guitar Lesson

Video thumbnail for youtube video Open G Tuning Slide Guitar LessonIn this guitar lesson, I’m going to show you some tips about starting slide guitar in open g tuning. Now the first thing you’re going to want to do is put some larger strings on your guitar. I use a set of .011’s. This will make it significantly easier when playing slide if you do this.

The next thing you want to do is to raise the action on your guitar. This will allow you to cleanly play notes with the slide without it hitting the fretboard.

Now that you’ve done these 2 things, you will need to tune your guitar to Open G Tuning. The notes will be from low to high – D G D G B D. Notice that the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings ( the D, G, and B strings) are not changed from standard tuning. This is one key thing to realize when learning Open G Tuning. Many different triad chords can be formed just like playing in standard tuning. If you are playing any rhythm guitar, this will become extremely helpful.

Now you should have your guitar all tuned up now and ready to play some slide. I’ll tell you right now that the Key of G works great in Open G Tuning, but you can actually play in any key with this tuning as well.

Watch the Video for Open G Tuning

Here’s an example of something really bluesy you can play in Open G Tuning with a slide.

This course is now available. You can check out this course on Open G Tuning here.

22 thoughts on “Open G Tuning Guitar Lesson

  1. Even though it’s not slide and more rhythm, Keith Richards style lessons would be cool. And John, what model is that? I can see it’s a Squier, but do you have anything more specific? I want a Telecaster, and that one sounds really nice.

  2. Oh man John that’s awesome. I love the new guitar. Tone completely reminds me of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITJJY1-M6fA “Feelin Bad Blues” for those of you who aren’t familiar. If you are on this site though chances are you’ve heard of it. That tune was originally played in open D I believe…

    Anyhow great work John!

  3. I wrote once before about slide lessons in open G tuning and I’m really glad you’re working on something. For me, the ultimate master of open G slide is Ry Cooder. A big plus is that he has such a huge and varied body of work. For my money, I’d love to see a lesson on Ry’s rendition of Blue Suede Shoes from his album “The Slide Area” – but anything from Ry Cooder would be great. Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi! I´d like to see some licks in the style of Fred McDowell, RL Burnside, Son House, Eric Sardinas, John Mooney, Muddy Waters. Some useful licks that are not too hard to play. Thanks!

  5. Great John
    I lean my National to open G but lack the boogie type of things. Ry Cooder would be cool.

  6. Johnson and Cooder for sure. Any of the delta or Chicago guys would be great. Death Letter by Son House, anything by Muddy, Poor Black Mattie by RL Burnside would be very cool. Also maybe a look at some guys that normally aren’t mentioned in videos or books — Parnell is a good example although he does have a video out, but maybe one of the earlier country blues versions of Rollin and Tumblin. Also, I know Mick Taylor plays slide primarily in standard tuning but I think he did the live versions of Love In Vain when he was with the Stones in open G, I’d love to get an idea of the way he went about playing that song as I think he’s one of the best ever on slide but gets very little recognition these days. Earl Hooker , Hound Dog Taylor, Robert Nighthawk, JB Hutto are good Chicago players that nobody ever shows their style or technique and I personally love that raw early Chicago club kind of sound. Other songs I’d like to learn from a teacher who knows what they’re doing are Mean Town Blues, Mercury Blues, Don’t Keep Me Wondering, Ventilator Blues, Sweet Black Angel, Give Me Back My Wig —
    Well, I realize you asked for suggestions not a full out wish list so I better quit here but I’d really like to learn some of the songs and guy’s styles who are usually overlooked when it comes to teaching slide. Thanks for reading this. I’m looking forward to your lessons as I’ve re-fallen in love with open G after many years of neglect.

  7. Eric and Duane did a cool version of “Mean Old World, and Duanes playing on “Please be” with me would be something to learn.
    Thanks your stuff is great

  8. Fantastic new clip – love the playing style ( and the overeall sound is great too).
    Could we have a lesson in the style of Johnny Winter’s Dallas …PLEASE.
    Any of the Robert Johnson songs on Eric Clapton’s tribute album would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work- best online slide guitar lessons anywhere!!!

  9. Love the new guitar – a great price for the tone you’re getting. Also comparable in that price range would be a mexican-made standard tele. And a good pointer on the 11’s. I tuned my strat like this and with 10’s and low action, my slide is nailing the fretboard on a regular basis.

    Another thought, get rid of that low D/E string and get the Keef tone. I messed around with Happy, Tumblin’ Dice, Before They Make Me Run, Street Fighting Man, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, etc for years and they never sounded right until I went to open G tuning and dropped to 5 strings. As soon as I did, they sounded spot-on. Now I just need a tele to complete (this setup doesn’t work as well without a fixed bridge, especially with a capo).

    Thanks for the great site! I’m constantly learning from you.

  10. Open G is such a great choice!!! Please include a large variety of rhythm guitar chops. The droning nature of the tuning is so hypnotic—- and great rhythm licks create great grooves—making average lead lines sparkle!!!!

  11. This is great! amazing slide guitar lesson and you illustrated it pretty well. You have the tool to give the best guitar lessons and as a guitar mentor, I am glad I did come and chanced upon your blog. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. John I have never tried slide guitar but I do have many of your other videos. Thanks for sharing. I have an old sazuki tele I can set up and try it, sounds like fun

    Mike

  13. John, I am currently looking at my first Tele and have been considering a Squier Classic Vibe Tele I butterscotch blonde, I am pretty close to getting one – just gotta find the right one!

    Please do some Georgia Satelittes & George Thorogood, I’m not sure which specific songs are in open G but I’m sure you wont have to look hard!

    But if you dont find the time to do this, basic open G Rhythm and Riffs would be AWESOME 😀

    Thanks & All the Best,

    Dan

  14. doyle bramhall(drums) and a guy named robin sylar (aka as badass slide player)and i think doyles son jr(rythmn). do a cover of the hound dog taylor tune (shes gone) this version is on the ( birdsnest on the ground cd) sylar has it all just total reckless abandon and at the same time hes right there. he throws these slide licks around with bullseye precision. his timing is second to no one. And the song to me is just down and dirty in your face ,here we are now what, rough and tumble BLUES!!!!!!!! Very cool song!!!!!!!!!! I would like to have more of this type of BLUES to pick from. If you never heard it check it out!!!!!!!!!!! Take care Mark

  15. Dear John I was very impressed with your authentic blues style of playing and found it very instructive a swell, being i have played blues slidE guitar for some years now. All the best for the future Kevin.

  16. John,

    What are the major differences between playing slide in open E and in open G. Initially I thought that it has to be something to do with the intervals of the tuning in relation to neighboring strings.

    Open E is EBEG#BE or 151351 with the 135 on the 4th 3rd and 2nd string being a “sweet spot”
    Open G is DGDGBD or 515135 as you mention the 6th string isn’t used much (I imagine why Keith Richards plays without it) We see that the 15135 intervalic relationship is maintained, only shifted up a string without the root note on the top. The “135 sweet spot” is now on the 3rd 2nd and 1st.

    I’m thinking now that if there is any difference that it might be the 2nd and 1st string. In open E the relationship between the top two strings (5th to Root) is a perfect 4th while in open G the relationship (3rd to 5th) is a minor 3rd. In your Open E course you mention that Duane Allman and Derek Trucks like to use the 4th to set up their licks, so it would make sense to be in Open E to have that 4th easily available. Where as the minor 3rd would lend more to a traditional blues sound. (BTW Open D is 151351 just like Open E)

    Am I over thinking this? Totally off base? There has to be a reason to prefer Open E over Open G and vice verse, After all in an open tuning all chords are available for playing.

    • Hi Micheal,

      Yes the two tunings are very similar when you diagnose it like that. The fact is that the one string difference makes a really big deal. I don’t know why Duane Allman chose Open E, all I know is that Open E sounds meaner and lends itself better to sounding like more mean blues. Open G to me is more country. I think it’s just a personal preference and this is FACT that you have to go by. The FACT is that I play differently depending on which tuning I use.

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