Selected Guitar Tunings
From Mary McCaslin

 3 FINGER PICKING CHART
OPEN 'C' TUNING and MUSIC STRINGS
'G' MINOR TUNING | 'A'TUNING | OPEN 'D' TUNING | OPEN 'G' TUNING

Open 'G' Tuning

(You might review the "About the chord charts" section and the introductions for 'Open G minor' and 'Open D' tunings).

This is the first open tuning I learned to use - way back in 1968, when it became obvious to me that Joni Mitchell was not playing "Nathan La Franeer" in standard tuning. There was no way to duplicate the incredible chords she was playing in standard tuning.

I had briefly experimented with "Open G" before, but didn't come up with much - just the first 'C' and 'D' chord positions shown here. This quickly became repetitive and not worth the bother of retuning.

Having figured out that "Nathan La Franeer" was in the key of 'G', it was only logical to try 'Open G' tuning. This time, it was as if all those beautiful chords stepped out of hiding and the door to a whole new world opened up.

If you've never heard "Nathan La Franeer", it is on Joni's landmark first recording, Song to a Seagull. "Marcy", the song preceeding "Nathan...", is also in 'Open G'. The chord work on these two songs provided the basis of my knowledge of open tunings.

'Open G' is probably the most widely used open tuning. (DADGAD has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years.) Sometimes called "Spanish Tuning" by old timers, 'Open G' has been used by delta blues players, Hawaiian slack-key players, and contemporary folk and country artists. It would take pages to list all these artists and their recordings.

There are many more chords to be found in 'Open G' than I've shown here. Hopefully, you can see a similarity to the chord positions in 'Open D' tuning! Most of the "basic" chords in 'Open G' are formed on the middle strings; most of the chords in 'Open D' are formed on the lower (bass) strings.

You should also notice that there are some chord positions that I've only shown in 'Open G' or 'Open D'. These chord positions can be "shifted" from one tuning to the other - of course, the names will also change, though their musical relationship remains the same.

 
Standard Tuning to 'Open G' tuning
 
E D
B B
G G
Bass D D
Bass A G
Bass E D
 

-underlined strings in standard tuning are tuned down-

I use 'Open G' for these songs -

(*Also included on The Best of Mary McCaslin: Things We Said Today -Philo 1149)

 
C sus D sus

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-1-|---|---|---|---|- B ||---|---|-1-|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|-2-|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|-2-|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|x D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
 
 

Am sus Bm sus

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-1-|---|---|---|---|- B ||---|---|-1-|---|---|-
G ||---|(4)|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|(4)|---|-
D ||---|-3-|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|-3-|---|-
G ||---|-2-|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|-2-|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|x D ||---|---|---|---|---|x



Em Em sus

D ||---|-3-|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||---|---|---|---|---|- B ||-1-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|(4)|---|---|---|-
D ||---|-2-|---|---|---|- D ||---|-3-|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|x G ||---|-2-|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|x D ||---|---|---|---|---|x
8th
fret
 
 
 
Em sus C Maj 7 sus

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||---|---|---|---|---|- B ||---|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|-3-|---|---|---|- D ||---|-1-|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|-4-|-
D ||---|-2-|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|-3-|-

 
 
 
D G

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||---|---|-3-|---|---|- B ||-1-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|-2-|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|-2-|---|---|---|-
G ||---|-1-|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
8th
fret
 
 
 
G# sus A sus
 
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|- B ||---|-4-|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|-3-|---|---|---|-
G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|-2-|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-

 
 
 
B flat sus C sus

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||---|---|-4-|---|---|- B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|-3-|---|---|- D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|-2-|---|---|- G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
5th
fret
 
 
 
D sus E flat sus
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|- B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
7th 8th
fret fret
 
 
 
F sus G

D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|- B ||-4-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||---|---|---|---|---|- G ||---|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-3-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-2-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||---|---|---|---|---|- D ||---|---|---|---|---|-
10th 12th
fret fret
 
 
 
 
BAR CHORDS
 
 
B C#

D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- B ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
4TH 6TH
fret fret
 
 
 
E F#

D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
B ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- B ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- G ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|- D ||-*-|---|---|---|---|-
9th 11th
fret fret


 
 

 

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