Open A tuning

guitar with open A tuningOpen A tuning is less common than Open G and it also put more pressure on the strings and the neck. You can emulate the Open A by putting a capo on the second fret when your guitar is tuned to Open G.

Otherwise, the tuning for Open A is this: EAEAC#E.

To get the open G tuning on your guitar you tune it like this: DGDGBD. The strings that differ from the standard should be turned so the string tension is decreased and not the opposite.

More info

Including an octave perspective, the tuning is written E2-A2-E3-A3-C#4-E4, meaning that the lowest string is a E note on the second octave, the second lowest string is a A note on the second octave and so on. Standard tuning reference: E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4. Open G tuning reference: D2-G2-D3-G3-B3-D4.

Major chords (movable shapes)

A

  • A chord diagram

D

  • D chord diagram

E

  • E chord diagram

Comment

The shapes are movable and you have only to lay your fingers across the fretboard. As can be seen in the diagrams, the lowest string is not included but there is an option to do this as well. By playing 000000 instead for X00000 the chord spelling will be A/E.

List of major chords in open A:

A: X00000
B: X22222
C#: X44444
D: X55555
E: X77777
F#: X99999
G: X 10 10 10 10 10

Minor chords (movable shapes)

Bm/F#

  • Bm/F# chord diagram

F#m/C#

  • F#m/C# chord diagram

Comment

Major chords can be extremely easy in this tuning, but the minor chords are trickier. You probably recognize the Am-shape here, but besides the fingers in the Am-shape you add two notes on the bass strings by placing the thumb over both the strings. You can leave out the 6th string to avoid playing the chords inverted.

You could instead use open position chords, which in most cases are more natural for the fingers:

Minor chords (open positions)

Em/G

  • Em/G chord diagram

F#m

  • F#m chord diagram

Am

  • Am chord diagram

C#m

  • C#m chord diagram

7th chords (movable shapes)

A7

  • A7 chord diagram

B7

  • B7 chord diagram

D7

  • D7 chord diagram

E7

  • E7 chord diagram

Blues shuffle

One way to play a blues shuffle is using these movable shapes (examples for D):

D5: X555XX
D6: X575XX
D7: X585XX

This was an introduction about chords in open A tuning. If you want to go more into depth of this particular guitar tuning, see Essential Chords in Open A Tuning with over 300 chord diagrams (ebook with pdf chord charts).

See also open E tuning and drop C tuning

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