Open E tuning

guitar with open E tuningThe open E tuning is a rather popular alternative for guitar slide players, but can work as a way to find new song ideas regardless of the style.

You should be aware of that this tuning put some extra pressure on the guitar. This is beacuse three of the strings are tuned in a way that increase the tension on the neck. A "safe-mode" is instead to tune to the Open D with a capo on 2nd fret, which will be the same as Open E.

To get the open E tuning on your guitar you tune it like this: E B E G# B E.

Movable one finger (or slide) shapes


  • D chord diagram


  • E chord diagram


  • F chord diagram


  • G chord diagram


All you have to do is to lay your fingers over the four highest strings. or play on all six strings. As the pictures illustrate, the E chord can be played with all open strings.

The shapes are movable, so if you move the fingers two steps up the fretboard from G major you will get an A major.

All common major chords in open E:

E: 000000 / 000004
F#: XX22222 / 222222
G: XX3333 / 333333
A: XX55555 / 555555
B: XX7777 / 777777
C#: XX9999 / 999999
D: X X 10 10 10 10 / 10 10 10 10 10 10

Some other movable chords:

A6sus4: 575555
A6sus4: 575655
A7: 585555
Aadd2: 555557

Blues chords


  • E7 chord diagram


  • A7 chord diagram


  • B7 chord diagram


E7 could also be played as XX0654 or XXX654, which formally will result in E7(no5). A7 is to be correct A7/E. If you prefer, A7 could also be played as XXX123, which formally will result in A7(no5). If you prefer, B7 could also be played as XXX345, which formally will result in B7(no5).

A way to decrease the chord movement between E7 and A7 is to instead play A7 as xx3555.

Open chords


  • E chord diagram


  • Em chord diagram


  • E7 chord diagram


  • E6 chord diagram


  • Eadd2 chord diagram


  • Fm#7 chord diagram


  • A/C# chord diagram


  • C#m chord diagram


  • B/D# chord diagram


These are some of the chords you could play in first-position when using the E open tuning. When playing in the key of E major, there are few good alternatives for the V chord, mainly because of the position of the D# notes.

Chord progressions

Progressions in this specific tuning:

Eadd2 - F#m7 - A/C#

C#m - A/C# - E

This was an introduction about chords in Open E tuning, see also Open G tuning and Drop C tuning.