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: DGDGBD. 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 (this will not be incorrect, but the chord will be inverted in the way the bass note will be the 5th instead of the root). 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 the Open G 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.

Some alternatives:

G7/D: XX0765
G7: XXX033
D7: XX0210
A7: XXX987
A7/G: X0X222

Blues shuffle

Two ways to play a blues shuffle is using these building blocks (examples for C):

C: X5555X / C5: XX55XX
C6: X5755X
C7: X5855X

C: XXX555
C6: XXX557
C7: XXX558

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. You can if you want leave out the 6th string to avoid playing the chord inverted.

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/Badd2 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.

Other chords including open positions

Here are some additional open chords in open G tuning:

C/G: X02012
Cadd9/G: X02010
D: XX0234
E: XX2102
F: XX3213
Dm/F: XX3233
Dm/G: X03230
Em: XX2002
Em7: 202000
Em7/D: X52000
G/D: XX0000
Gm: X00330
Gmaj9: X0020X
Gmaj13: X04032
A7sus4: X0005X
Am7: X22010
Am11/G: X02210
Bm/G: X02200

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