Learn the 5 Most Common Guitar Tunings

Learn  the 5 Most Common Guitar Tunings

In this lesson, we are going to learn the 5 most common guitar tunings.  This will allow you to produce a wide variety of sounds with your guitar.  And enhance your guitar playing creativity.

One of the things that are very beneficial with the guitar, is the ability to play in different tunings.  From playing in an open tuning (like slide players do) to tuning down like heavy metal players commonly do.  This approach to the guitar can produce variety in your guitar playing.

New tunings

Alternate tunings are great because they can inspire different musical thoughts.  The reason for this is because when you change the tuning of the guitar, you change the location of the notes along the fretboard.

This allows you to slide between chords and play voicings that you wouldn’t normally be able to do when the guitar is tuned to concert pitch.  This gives you a whole new landscape in which to create.


Spark your inspiration

In reality, there are many, many, ways to tune the guitar, but this lesson will look at the most common.  Once you get those down, you can explore more if you choose to.  Just like chords and scales, start with the most common and build from there.

When you explore alternate tunings on your guitar, you spark your inspiration to come up with different ideas.  You open up the possibility to play the guitar in a different way.  You look at the artist’s canvas from a different perspective.  This is what this lesson is all about.


Standard tuning

The most common tuning for the guitar and all other stringed instruments is concert pitch, 440 or standard tuning.  This is where the strings are tuned to E A D G B E.  This tuning is most common because it allows the chord shapes to be easily moved up and down and sideways along the fretboard.

Standard tuning

This is why barre chords and power chords are so popular to play.  The note location in standard tuning allows you to learn a few chord forms and play hundreds of chords out of them.  Simple and easy.


E flat tuning

I would say this is the second most common tuning in playing rock guitar music.  It’s the same as standard tuning except you tune all the strings down by one fret or a half step.  So now the strings are tuned to the notes Eb/D#  Ab/G#  Db/C#  Gb/F#  Bb/A#  Eb/D#.

E flat tuning

The reason there are two notes with a slash between them is that the two notes are the same.  It just depends on what direction you’re moving along the fretboard.  If you are moving up the fretboard (toward the bridge) that would be a sharp note.  If you were moving down the fretboard, the note would be considered flat.


D tuning

This is a nice way to get a much darker heavier tone.  Very similar to standard tuning, except you tune all six strings down a whole step.  So now you would have D G C F A D.  If you like to play chunky rhythms, this might be a good thing to consider.

D tuning

D tuning is a great tuning because although the note locations change, you would play the guitar the exact same way.  It’s just that your C chord, would now be a D chord because you are tuned down a whole step.


Drop D tuning

This tuning is very popular.  All you do is tune down the low E string to D, and leave the rest of the strings the same.  This allows you to play your power chords with just one finger. These chords are normally played with two fingers.

Drop D tuning

The reason for this is because when you tune down the low E to D, it places the location of the note (the root) directly above the other note in the chord.  So if you ever see someone playing with one finger, they are probably playing in drop D tuning.


Open G tuning

Open tunings (there are many) are great because you actually tune the guitar to a chord.  In standard tuning, you have to form your chords.  But in open tunings, you could just strum the strings open and play a chord.  Like a G chord or an E chord, or an A chord.

Open G tuning

This also makes it a lot easier to play more complex chord voicings that you would not be able to do in standard tuning.  As well as execute the use of sustained strings.  This kind of tuning is very popular among slide players because you get nice full six-string chords.

If you know your notes (which I recommend you learn if you don’t) you can clearly see that this tuning has the note of the G chord in it.  G B & D.  This can be done with other chords as well.

Lesson conclusion

When it comes to tuning the guitar, there are literally hundreds of tunings that you could use.  The reason for this is because of all the chords you can play on the guitar.

And since you can tune to any chord you choose, this makes this possible.  The five that I have listed here in this lesson are the most common, and if you’re looking to spark your inspiration I recommend you try them out.

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As you do, you’ll see that some of your favorite guitar players probably use them.  I also recommend that if you do alternat tunings, you use a guitar with a set bridge.

Expand your learning

One thing you want to make sure to di when playing guitar is to keep learning.  This will keep you from getting stagnant and unmotivated to practice.  This is a very common thing with people who play the guitar.  The solution is to keep learning new things.

That is why I have authored many method books on guitar playing.  To help with such things as getting started, playing rhythm, learn rock guitar fundamentals, and how to play guitar solos.

Dwayne Jenkins Guitar Method Books

These books are written in a simple step-by-step format that will have you improving your guitar quickly and easily.  They can be found on Amazon in both Kindle and print format as well as in my eBay store where you can receive a “signed to you personally” author copy.

Explore these different tunings and see what kinds of cool artistic creations you can come up with.  They might inspire you to write your next hit.

Keep learning, and until the next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins