Open G tuning

guitar with open G tuningThe open G tuning is popular among guitar players who favor blues styles. It gives a slightly different sound than normal. The many straightforward movable shapes make the chords very easy to memorize and it also gives chromatic possibilities.

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

Major chords (movable shapes)


  • G chord diagram


  • C chord diagram


  • D chord diagram


All you have to do is to lay your fingers over the strings and avoid playing on the lowest string (for the D major in open G tuning you could also include the lowest bass string). As the pictures illustrate, the G chord can be played with all open strings.

The shapes are movable, so if you move the finger two steps up the fretboard from D major you will get an E major.

All common major chords in open G:
G: X00000
A: X22222
B: X44444
C: X55555
D: X77777
E: X99999
F: X 10 10 10 10 10

Blues in G

One of the most common things to play with this tuning is blues in the key of G. Put the slide on your ring or little finger and shift between G on the 12th fret and C and D.

7th chords (movable shapes)


  • G7 chord diagram


  • A7 chord diagram


  • C7 chord diagram


  • D7 chord diagram


The seventh chords are also movable and you just add another tone in front of the barre finger three frets up. To get a maj7 chord, just add the finger on the highest string one fret up.

Minor chords (movable shapes)


  • Am chord diagram


  • Em chord diagram


While major chords are extremely easy in this tuning, the minor chords are trickier. You probably recognize the Am-shape here. Besides the fingers in the Am-shape you add two notes on the bass strings and you do this by placing the thumb over both the strings. This is probably the most efficient way to play minor chord in this tuning, but if you prefer you could also do it by using another movable shape without the thumb involved: X22212. In this case you use your long finger for pressing down three strings.

Sus and add chords (movable shapes)


  • Gsus chord diagram


  • Asus chord diagram


  • Gadd chord diagram


  • Aadd chord diagram


The same method is used once again for sus and add chords. To get a Bsus4 just move the whole shape one fret up the fretboard. The same thing with Badd2. Another movable chord related to these are sus4sus2. For example Asus4sus2 is played as X22432.

Open chord shapes

Here are some additional open chords in open G tuning:

Bb: X32010
C: X02012
Cadd9/G: X02010
D: XX0230
E: XX2102
F: XX3213
Dm: XX3233
Em: XX2002
Em7: 202000
Gm: X00330
Am/G: X02210
Dm/G: X04430

This was an introduction about chords in open G tuning. This video could be recommended if you want to learn more chords and ideas on how to apply them.

See also open D tuning and drop C tuning