Home for the Curious Musician

How to Play Alternate Tunings on the Guitar: A New Free Series

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our latest free course series, “Alternate Tunings for the Creative Guitarist”! The first installment, new this week, explores the nearly endless creative possibilities of the Open D tuning.

If you’ve ever played a guitar, you’re probably familiar with standard tuning. The six strings of the instrument are commonly tuned to E, A, D, G, B, and a higher E, and for good reason. Over the years, guitarists have found that this particular pattern is both comfortable and versatile, and for that reason, there are many players who rarely (if ever) stray from it.

But it’s so easy to fall into creative ruts from time to time — relying on the same chords and shapes, song after song. Discovering an alternate tuning can be the perfect way to bust out of the mold! Unlike the piano, which requires an expert with their very own supply of fancy tools and carefully-cultivated expertise, guitarists can mess with tunings quickly and easily. And at the end, we have a whole new palette with which to paint our tunes.

The Alternate Tunings series will help you take advantage of a variety of tunings, uncovering the possibilities each one provides and giving you some starter tips for how to use them in creative new ways. The very first micro-course focuses in on the Open D tuning, a very pretty and easy to use tuning that gives you a big sound. It’s been used by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Keb’ Mo’, Mumford & Sons, and so many more of your favorite artists.

And to sweeten the deal… every student who finishes the course gets a free set of high-quality guitar strings, generously donated by our friends at D’Addario! Just spend 20 minutes learning about the tuning through videos and activities, and participate in the final challenge, and we’ll send you your choice of acoustic or electric strings!

Ready to add a dash of creativity to your playing? Dive in now!

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Ian Temple

Ian is a pianist, entrepreneur and professional musician. He started Soundfly to help people really find what gets them most excited musically and pursue it. He's toured all over the world with his experimental trio Sontag Shogun. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrtemple.