4 Alternate Guitar Tunings for Beginners

4 Alternate Guitar Tunings for Beginners

If you’ve been playing guitar for a while and you’re looking for a way to mix it up, it might be time to try alternate tunings! Standard tuning (EADGBE) can get you pretty far, but tuning your guitar to different notes can actually make certain chords and songs easier.

Here are 4 alternate tunings to try for beginners:


Open tunings are when each string on the guitar is tuned to form a simple chord. This makes it easy to play bar chords using only one finger and allows for interesting chordal combinations. Open G tuning was popular amongst early blues musicians, but the most notable guitarist who used it to date is probably Keith Richards. Open G was the backbone of a ton of famous Rolling Stones songs.

Drop D Tuning (DADGBE)

Drop D or “drop double D” tuning is when the low E string is tuned down to a D. This tuning is perfect for creating heavy chords and the low, cool sound is great for drones and many styles of rock music.

This tuning is pretty simple (since you only have to adjust one string), and is usually the first alternate guitar tuning that beginners try. “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana is a popular example of a song played in this tuning.

D Modal  (DADGAD)

D Modal is a tuning that is most popularly used to create Celtic and folk music. I is also used in rock, metal, and a ton of other genres as well. In D Modal, the strings are tuned from low to high instead of the standard EADGBE.

This creates an open D suspended fourth chord. Since the fourth chord is suspended, this essentially makes the chord neither major nor minor. Led Zeppelin used this tuning in their song Kashmir.

Open D (DADF#AD)

Like the Open G chord, Open D when each string of the guitar is tuned to form a D chord. As with Open G, this tuning was often used amongst early blues performers and classic rockers such as Bob Dylan and John Fogerty. This tuning can be described as gritty, moody, jazzy, and dark.

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