If you’ve never played in Open G tuning before, this article has everything you need to get started! We’ve also put together an awesome list of songs in open G tuning with video lessons and tabs included.
We’ll start by getting our guitars into tune using the visual guide above. Start with your guitar tuned to standard tuning, EADGBE, and then drop your low E string, A string, and your high E string each down one whole step resulting in DGDGBD tuning, aka “Open G.” If you’d like to watch a video on how to do this, check out this video lesson.
Now that we are in tune, let’s jump into some fantastic songs to learn, but if you need additional help understanding Open G, step-by-step instructions on getting in tune, or tips and tricks to keep in mind when playing, be sure to check out my comprehensive guide to open G tuning below the songs list at the bottom of the page.
List of Open G Songs
1. That’s The Way by Led Zeppelin
|Tabs||See That’s The Way Tabs Here|
When you hear the name “Led Zeppelin,” you might think about something that is highly energetic, maybe even fast-paced sometimes, but this particular song takes a different path, and the already-mentioned band’s using a completely different approach – it has more of a folky sound, which again makes the record stand out from many of their songs.
Instrumentally, the track consists of a very interesting acoustic song created by implementing different techniques, such as sliding. The song isn’t so hard to learn, but you really have to feel the tempo of the song, which is 92 BPM, because usually, it is the key to turning any melody into a very good-sounding piece of music. Also, the song is written in the key of F# Major, which is the one I often see in such songs.
2. Sting Me by The Black Crowes
|Tabs||See Sting Me Tabs Here|
This is a song by the rock band called “The Black Crowes,” which is featured on their second studio album, released in 1992. The feeling given by the blues and rock atmosphere is a characteristic feature of the band’s general sound, making it worth listening to.
I think that the influence of bands such as The Rolling Stones can clearly be heard in the track’s energetic instrumentation, which features the guitar sound in this very particular and interesting tuning this list is about. That’s why many chords have their own specific way of playing, and most of them are just simple barre-shapes, which are really movable and suitable for playing around with. You don’t even have to use a capo in order to get the exact sound featured on the recording; therefore, it’s really easy to play this song when you don’t have access to such tools.
3. Tumbling Dice by The Rolling Stones
|Tabs||See Tumbling Dice Tabs Here|
Time to get to the immortal classics again. The song is a composition written by the members of The Rolling Stones. I guess that most people on Earth are familiar with the works created by these musicians, which definitely deserve our respect and attention.
“Tumbling Dice” is known for its bluesy vibe, which is a characteristic feature of the pieces of art created by the band itself. The guitar riff is in a very interesting key for such a song, which is B Major, around which the chord progression, featuring some interesting movements and techniques you should definitely learn, revolves around and is built in. You don’t need to use a capo for this particular song.
4. Running on Faith by Eric Clapton
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One of the most influential blues artists is on our list again. Eric Clapton’s “Running on Faith” has become a legend in the field of music that dwells in the genre of the standard blues.
The song itself is a ballad, so it speaks on the topics of love, relationships, etc. Respectively, I can say, relying on my personal experience, that such things as meaning usually deeply influence the instrumental sound, so this composition is not an exception. The song will require you to explore itself for a little bit longer since not only does it feature many chords and a very interesting chord progression, but it also includes some interesting hand movements that you’ll certainly have to practice.
5. Come On in My Kitchen by Robert Johnson
|Tabs||See Come On in My Kitchen Tabs Here|
Time for really early steps within the framework of blues music. The song was produced in 1936, which is absolutely impressive because you most likely don’t see that sort of music frequently these days, especially considering that vinyl has become way less popular, streaming services recommend totally different pieces of music, etc.
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a classic soulful blues track; therefore, it features a very classic and standard raw bluesy sound, which is perfect for people who truly appreciate that, and especially for guitar players who can analyze it better due to that fact. Also, the song might seem really hard for beginners, in my opinion, but it’ll be suitable for intermediate players who already have some experience under their belt. This is one of my personal favorite songs in Open G because I’m a big Robert Johnson fan.
6. Wonderful Life by Alter Bridge
|Tabs||See Wonderful Life Tabs Here|
The next song was a pretty rare one, but that doesn’t mean it’s worse or better. I discovered it not long ago, and I found the song contains a lot of energy inside and is unique because of the distinct sound that the band itself produces in most of their songs. Just give it a shot, and if you like it, you can always learn it.
As you can see in the actual tab, the verses there consist of two parts, each of which is pretty unique and interesting to learn and play around with. Try to feel the song, and especially enjoy the fact that you’ll have the possibility to enjoy the sound of open strings because you don’t have to use a capo here.
7. Elephants by Them Crooked Vultures
|Tabs||See Elephants Tabs Here|
The next one is a song by the band Them Crooked Vultures, formed by rock legends Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age on vocals and guitar, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters and Nirvana on drums and backing vocals, and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin on bass guitar and keyboards. Therefore, you can already predict that it is going to be an amazing pick if you ever want to explore new pieces of music because these people really know what they’re doing.
“Elephants” is a very dynamically rich track, especially when played at its original tempo of 176 BPM, which is really fast and lively. This one isn’t based only on a single chord progression: it has a riff that you can even spend some time practicing with since it’s more like one for intermediate players.
8. High Speed by Coldplay
|Tabs||See High Speed Tabs Here|
Coldplay has proven to be a very great band whose music has survived for years and years, and the next track can only expand this statement and bring it to a further extent.
“High Speed” is not a regular song of theirs; it features a perfect combination of things that together can make a perfect alternative song: a vibey instrumental track, cool vocals, and a very interesting key, which is, in the given situation, G minor, creating a fascinating tandem with the Open G tuning we’re focusing on. Don’t be surprised by the number of various chords and their extensions; the song isn’t for beginners but, in my opinion, is perfect for intermediate players that want to expand their arsenal of songs they can play.
9. Hand of Fate by The Rolling Stones
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The next one is by the iconic British rock band, The Rolling Stones. The song was meticulously shaped by the members of the band, so the teamwork usually brings out a great type of synergy that yields to a good-quality sound of a piece of music or a piece of lyric.
The composition itself, from the perspective of the melody, has a very bluesy feeling, which is a really good feat for this particular tuning we’re talking about since it is the one that perfectly conveys the appropriate mood. If the key of C Major might bring you some thoughts related to the simplicity of the song, check out the actual tab and figure out that it has many interesting fills and movements that truly make it sound gorgeous. The Rolling Stones has a number of Open G songs, but this is probably my favorite to play on guitar.
10. South City Midnight Lady by The Doobie Brothers
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The next song was created by the rock band called “The Doobie Brothers” in 1973. Patrick Simmons is not only the one who wrote it but also who is also the band’s guitarist; therefore, it’s more likely that he was especially focused on the guitar sound itself.
It is a very interesting and groovy track that makes you feel a little bit relaxed, but if you are actually the one who is playing the song on the guitar at the moment, you should better be focused on the sound you get out of your instrument, especially considering the fact that the guitar part features pull-offs and hammer-ons, so concentrate on making these movements sound as clear as possible in order to get the best out of your performance.
11. Evergreen by The Black Crowes
|Tabs||See Evergreen Tabs Here|
This particular song by The Black Crowes, an American rock band, conveys the rock vibe of the 80s, as many really good songs of that time do; therefore, it may be a good choice to get your hands on when next time picking a song to listen to.
The band is known for its bluesy sound, which this song perfectly fits into and doesn’t feel out of place at all. You might have never heard about this exact one by the band because usually it’s passed by; however, the composition is really good, and you should definitely listen to it. The song incorporates a cool chord progression in the key of D major, combined with great simple fills that make the melody sound diverse and interesting.
12. Black Door by The Black Keys
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This is a very interesting one because it was created by the band “The Black Keys,” which is a rock duo. That particular fact makes it really cool because of the vibe such bands usually convey, especially when the relationship between two people doesn’t disturb their creations.
The greatest part of the whole song is its riff, which is really unusual for such a tuning as Open G; therefore, it’d be a great one to expand the variety of melodies and songs you can play. Don’t forget to use slide movements to yield more to the particular vibe of the composition. You’ll also need to use such techniques as vibrato, hammer-ons, pull-offs, etc., so don’t forget to practice more and more in order not to encounter trouble while playing the song.
13. Bad To The Bone by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
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This one is a classic rock song by George Thorogood & The Destroyers, released in 1982 as part of their eponymous album. The song contains a very recognizable edgy and energetic guitar riff, which is not a very often thing for songs written not in the Standard Tuning.
The song became well-known due to its catchy chorus and instrumentation used there. This one features slide movements, an upbeat sound created by the tempo of 147 BPM used there, and the cherry on top is the key of G Major, creating a very powerful sound which the main chord progression revolves around.
14. Bobcaygeon by The Tragically Hip
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Time for some Canadian rock songs! This one is by the band called “The Tragically Hip,” released in 1998 as part of their sixth studio album. The song was also written with not only one person but the whole band, so the synergy there should certainly yield a great sound and meaning to the composition.
“Bobcaygeon” is widely regarded as one of The Tragically Hip’s most beloved and iconic songs, and no wonder why: the song features an amazing combination of the genres of folk-rock and alternative rock, so loved by many people around the world. The guitar sound is very jangly here, and it uses chords such as Bm, C, G, Em, Am, and D, perfectly adding up to the main feeling conveyed by the key of the composition.
15. Misunderstood by Wilco
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Of course, I couldn’t pass the alternative genre by; the next song is one by the American alternative rock band Wilco, which is featured on their critically acclaimed album “Being There.” The band is a great example of how to really be creative, mix certain genres, and use different tunings.
This certain composition represents a standout track itself, also showcasing the band’s tendency for exploration and poetic songwriting. Since the track features a combination of such genres as folk-rock, country, alternative rock, etc., it really changes the way the guitar is exposed to the listener. The thing I personally like about it is the mixture of open strings’ sound and the use of pull-offs and hammer-ons, which yields a very distinct sound.
16. Down Down by Status Quo
|Tabs||See Down Down Tabs Here|
The next song is called “Down Down,” and it is a rock composition by the band Status Quo, which was released in 1974. The song was again written by more than one person, which sometimes makes a song more elaborated and thoughtful.
The combination has become one of the most known tracks in their discography; therefore, you might have already heard about it.
Speaking of the instrumental part, you can find it very interesting because not only does it feature the tuning of Open G, but you will also need to put your capo on the 4th fret in order to replicate the original sound of the recording. This can really make you think of the guitar part in a different way now, especially while listening to the song consciously and analyzing each part of it.
17. I Can’t Be Satisfied by Muddy Waters
|Tabs||See I Can’t Be Satisfied Tabs Here|
I bet that if you’ve ever been exploring blues music, you’ve already heard of such a great representative of creators in this particular field of music as Muddy Waters. “I Can’t Be Satisfied” is his blues song. It was one of his early recordings (released in 1948), and it marked the beginning of his successful career as a blues artist.
The guitar sound is very traditional for such a song: a cool riff that features slides and certain periods and sections where you really need to let some notes ring for a little longer, whereas for some of the notes, this lifespan may be a little shorter. As many blues songs do, the composition features some moments of longing and personal struggles that can be picked up by your ear, not only in terms of the instrumentation but also the meaning put into the track.
18. Uprising by Muse
|Tabs||See Uprising Tabs Here|
This certain band is very popular among guitarists and just people who are interested in deconstructing songs and analyzing them. “Uprising” is a song by the English rock band Muse, released in 2009.
The song was written by the band’s frontman, Matthew Bellamy, who is a very skilled guitarist; therefore, from this point on, you can easily tell that the actual sound featured on the recording is really good and worth listening to and paying attention to analytically. The most interesting part is that the song is in the key of B Minor, which is a very unusual one to reach the sound using such a tuning as Open G. In order to make the guitar part sound cleaner, you have to acquire the skill of muting certain notes when playing certain chords in the song’s chord progression.
19. Hello, I’m In Delaware by City and Colour
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The next song is by the Canadian artist who has actually created a solo project called ‘’City and Colour.”
“Hello, I’m In Delaware” is a song that was released in 2005. It is a very dreamy and introspective acoustic ballad featuring a good guitar part, written in the key of F# Major, which is, in my personal opinion, a very good choice for such a song. I love the way it sounds and conveys the message of the composition. You’ll also need to put a capo on the 4th fret of your guitar in order to play that song while at the same time using your fingers instead of a pick to get the sound out of your strings.
20. Mercy by Duffy
|Tabs||See Mercy Tabs Here|
Let’s get to some singer-songwriter songs that really convey the vibe of one person telling you a true story.
“Mercy” is a song by Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy, released as the lead single from her debut studio album, “Rockferry,” in 2008. The song dwells in the key of G Major, which I strongly associate with rock songs from time to time, and it only features 4 chords (G major, C major, D major, and F major), therefore it wouldn’t be a hard one to learn, but again, sometimes simplicity is the key and the most powerful thing that only subtracts useless movements and parts of a composition. That gives you a great chance to focus on other things, such as the chord shapes used in the song, etc. If you’re looking for 4 chord songs, you’ll love this one.
21. Sedona by Houndmouth
|Tabs||See Sedona Tabs Here|
“Sedona” is a song that also stands out from the main mass of ones with the Houndmouth’s choice of genre, which is indie/alternative. The track was put out in 2015 as the lead single from their second studio album.
To be a little bit more precise on the topic of the sound, I can say that this song is a pretty good example of how to blend the instruments featured on the record itself but also incorporate certain influences coming from, for example, folk music.
In order to play the song, you’ll need to put a capo on the first fret, raising the tonality by half a half-step. The chord progression is pretty simple since it only features 3 chords, which are D major, G major, and A7.
22. Death Letter by The White Stripes
|Tabs||See Death Letter Tabs Here|
The next band should definitely resonate with you somehow. The song is released by The White Stripes. The composition itself is a cover made by the band, such as, for example, Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, originally written by Leonard Cohen.
Jack White is an impressive guitar player, especially in terms of his ability to convey this garage rock sound while keeping his standards and skills at an insanely high level. As follows from everything that has been said, the guitar part is way harder than most of the ones on this list, so don’t rush; try to play every single section as cleanly as possible, and try to really excel in the way you play it; it will be so rewarding.
23. Little Green by Joni Mitchel
|Tabs||See Little Green Tabs Here|
You might have already heard about Joni Mitchel and her amazing ability to tell enchanting stories and convey them through her songs and lyrics.
Her song we’re going to look at today is “Little Green.’’ I found the song really interesting and pleasurable to listen to, so let’s talk about how to play it.
Obviously, you’ll need to retune your guitar to the tuning of Open G. After that, take your capo and put it on the fourth fret, which will make you sound like the actual recording and take you to the tonality the song is played in. The key of the song is G Major, which I think is a very good choice for a folk song; at least, I like how it helps to convey some sort of sincereness.
24. Troubles Will Be Gone by Tallest Man on Earth
|Tabs||See Troubles Will Be Gone Tabs Here|
The next song is written by the Swedish singer-songwriter who goes by the name of the Tallest Man on Earth. He put this one out in 2012; therefore, it’s still relatively fresh and new compared to many other songs we’ve already gotten our hands on.
It’s beautiful because of its really introspective meaning, which is expressed in the instrumental part as well. As you can see, now we’ve moved forward towards the body of the guitar with our capo, which is now on the seventh fret. This particular thing makes the sound really unique and interesting, so that’s what the alternative genre the song is played in is all about: distinctiveness, uniqueness, and constant experiments on the sound.
25. Sophia by Laura Marling
|Tabs||See Sophia Tabs Here|
This song is in a very beautiful and, as to me, really open-sounding key of A Major, which I just couldn’t pass by unnoticed.
“Sophia” was written and produced by singer-songwriter Laura Marling in 2011.
There are so many artists in the industry, but Laura definitely stands out from the crowd due to her ability to blend indie and alternative music with folk songs that relate to storytelling more. The guitar part is very interesting; it even features sections such as the bridge, which is, by the way, really interesting due to the fact it’s being played on only two strings. Don’t forget to use your capo on the second fret of the fretboard.
26. Gracious by Ben Howard
|Tabs||See Gracious Tabs Here|
Ben Howard is literally a phenomenon because his approach to music is something that you should definitely check out yourself, especially if your favorite genre is indie or alternative. His song “Gracious” is next on our list.
You might discover many interesting things along the way of discovering the composition itself: interesting movements, instrumental sections, etc., but let’s look at this from the perspective of a guitar player. What can we see here?
This is one of the few songs that mix two bridges into such a song structure, especially considering the general beauty of the guitar riff itself, featuring hammer-ons and pull-offs, perfectly absorbed by the key of B Minor, giving a certain feeling of seriousness.
27. Spanish Fandango by Chet Atkins
|Tabs||See Spanish Fandango Tabs Here|
If you are skilled enough to play fingerstyle guitar songs, the next pick should definitely be pleasant for you to hear about. The song has become a staple in Chet’s repertoire as an American musician and music producer.
The composition is definitely not for beginners since not only does it feature hard techniques along the main riff itself, being a fingerstyle song, but it’s also played over the time signature of 3/4, which could seem and feel like something unusual at first glance. However, despite its complexity, the main melody is very beautiful, especially because of the key of G major, which really makes the song full and shares its power with it. Also, a quick tip here is to grow your nails on the picking hand since it will help you get a cleaner sound from your strings.
28. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant
|Tabs||See Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked Tabs Here|
Another alternative banger from Cage the Elephant is called “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” While first listening to the song, you might notice that there’s a really special, gritty sound that truly makes the track stand out and be picked up by your ear quickly.
In terms of the melody, you can hear that the song itself features palm mutes, which is a really great technique to learn and excel in, especially if it is new for you and you are a fan of such a music genre, which many songs of such a genre exploit in order to get the sound to a more powerful extent, fill up some gaps, or just bring up a certain vibe.
29. Dancing Days Tab by Led Zeppelin
|Tabs||See Dancing Days Tab Tabs Here|
Yes, I couldn’t skip such a great song by the legendary band almost everyone who is at least slightly related to music knows about: Led Zeppelin. “Dancing Days” is their classic rock song, which you might already be familiar with since the band had huge success throughout the years of its existence and further on.
Jimmy Page (guitarist of the band) is certainly a virtuoso in his field and truly loves using slide movements in order to make a song sound more distinct and memorable. Don’t discredit the song due to the choice of the key; just give it a shot, and you’ll understand that the C Major scale can be much more powerful than you’ve ever thought.
30. Motherless Child by Eric Clapton
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Time for some soaring blues melodies that will make your guitar “gently whip.’’ The track “Motherless Child” was written and performed by a great virtuoso, regarded as one of the best blues musicians, as Eric Clapton.
The key of G Minor really plays its role well; the song leaves a very stinging feeling, and the key itself yields seriousness and sadness in the general melodic part. Although, don’t be sad because you can learn so many cool things and techniques from this song, especially if you practice long enough so you can truly “feel” it. The song also requires you to put a capo on the fourth track, as many of the ones on the list do.
31. Crossroad Blues by Robert Johnson
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You have almost certainly heard about that song before. Probably from such artists as John Mayer and Eric Clapton, but not every person actually knows that the song “Cross Road Blues,” also known as “Crossroads,” was originally written and performed by Robert Johnson in 1936! That’s why the song features his signature fingerpicking style of playing since it is one of the things he elaborated on throughout his career and inspired many musicians, as we’ve figured out already, to learn the song and even make covers on it, which made the song well-known and so recognizable by musicians from all around the world, especially passionate guitar players, who are amazed by the engaging bluesy sound of the composition, incorporating guitar in a different tuning, making it so distinct.
32. Shallows by Daughter
|Tabs||See Shallows Tabs Here|
Let’s return to some folk masterpieces, such as the song I’m going to talk about now, which is written by the Daughter; being known for its ability to make a great sound while still leaving it pretty minimalistic and not over-indulgent.
Featuring a very dreamy sound, the song might be really interesting for you, especially if you have a capo, which can be put on the fourth fret in order to reach this certain tonality. Of course, if it fits your vocal skills and your vocal range in general, you can always play around with the position of your capo until you feel like it starts to fit your voice more and more.
33. The Sailors Grave On The Prairie by Leo Kottke
|Tabs||See The Sailors Grave On The Prairie Tabs Here|
This song is fully instrumental. However, it only makes it greater because this way, you can fully enjoy the fingerpicking style incorporated and exploited in the track. In my opinion, it is really complex, so you may need to take some time in order to start playing it without any mistakes, but just believe in yourself and dedicate enough time to practice each day, and you will get to that level someday because that’s the only way you can play such pieces of music.
The key of the song also stands out, considering the fact that the song is in the genre of folk, but again, that only makes it more interesting and unique, so you should definitely at least try to play it. Start small, and then gradually progress through the sections. This is one of a handful of songs in Open G that I’m constantly recommending to my students.
34. Twice As Hard by The Black Crowes
Anytime someone plays or even mentions The Black Crowes, it is hard to not hear the driving straight 8th-note rhythm section with the crunched-up guitars of this song in your head, and you find yourself head bobbing to the chorus. Kings of blues-rock, The Black Crowes, a southern rock band from Georgia, are often compared to the rolling stones for their use of open G tuning. Having sold over 30 million records and being voted the best new American band in the year 1990, the comparison is not unfair, but all for good, really!
This one focuses on the 5th string tuned to a low G and the 4th string mostly. It sounds heavier than you’d expect due to the dropped tuning and lots of Open string usage. Another song where you could just clip off the Low 6th string if you wanted to. The chord changes involve the rocking chord part, which in standard tuning it would look like a Dmin7 chord shape on the 5th fret, but here it would be a Csus4 sound with which you can rock out in proper Black Crowes/Keith Richard fashion!
35. Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood
Based on the classic blues riff that is also featured on the Bo Diddley Blues songs such as “I’m A Man, this song has a driving shuffle rhythm with tons of attitude to it. The song is a classic early 80s blues-rock sound stage with great use of the slide. The tune mostly stays on just one chord, the G chord, and pedals the same riff throughout, making it perfect for beginners looking to rock out with the slide.
The riff moves between the open, 3rd, and 5th fret, so it is fairly easy to get going with. There are a few nuances to it which you can bring in string 3rd and the 5th string to make it heavier and dirtier. You can slide between the 3rd and the 5th fret or bend the power chords a bit if you are not using the slide. Before you dive in and start riffing on this tune, keep in mind that it is the 2nd note of the riff that lands on the downbeat, so you really need to start playing the “pick up” first note before beat 1 to get the rhythm right! Eventually, once you get the riff down with a flow, try adding in some melodic bluesy licks with the open G tuning higher up on the fretboard making for a great call and response between the riff and the licks for the interludes! So are you really b-b-b-b-bad to the bone?
Bad to the bone features in several movies, including Terminator 2, Problem Child, and The Color of Money. If you have seen plenty of bar fight scenes from the movies of the 80s until the 2000s, you have heard this tune before!
36. Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones
Peaking at the #2 spot on the Billboards Charts, this single from the Stones’ album “Tattoo You” was originally intended to be arranged as a reggae tune by Keith Richards. Legend says that the Stones recorded about 38 takes of the reggae version of “start me up,” but it was shelved for five years before it was turned into the rocker that you hear today.
The song uses the classic Keith Richard’s open G tuning with the low 6th string clipped off with the bridge saddle removed and everything! The guitar tablature contains notation for just the top five strings. The rights to the tune were bought for 3 million$ by Microsoft in 1995, and the song was used for the launch of the Windows 95 advertisement. The Stones opened with this tune for their 1989 Steel Wheels tour, and the song is often used at the start of sports events to this date, making it a staple at sporting events.
The infectious “thump” to the song was achieved using mixer Bob Clearmountain’s famed “bathroom reverb,” a process involving the recording of some of the song’s vocal and drum tracks with a miked speaker in the bathroom of the Power Station recording studio in New York City. It was at the studio that Mick changed the opening lyrics from “start it up to” to “start me up” and the rest as they say is history.
37. Daughter by Pearl Jam
Using an alternate version of the classic open G tuning, this song needs you to tune your low E 6th string up by 3 semitones to a G instead of dropping it down to the usual D. Tune up slowly and carefully when you are trying this! The 5th, i.e., the A string, drops down a semitone to G as well, putting the 6th and the 5th string into unison.
The song starts with an ever-so-pretty C add9 arpeggio (played in a power chord shape on the 5th fret of the 5th string). This intro add9 melody-like arp is played just one time through the song in the intro before the drums kick in and the tune takes off. The chord changes mostly move between the 5fret and 7th fret power chord shapes for the intro using the other open strings to bring a lush open song, so feel free to strum all the strings to make a big sound as you go about the rhythmic strumming of the guitar part.
38. Fearless by Pink Floyd
Written by Roger Waters and David Gilmour together, Fearless featured as the third song of what would be one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums, “Meddle.” Coming from one of Floyd’s most experimental albums, this song is often overlooked but holds incredible depth and meaning to it.
Using an interesting variation on the regular open G tuning, this song uses the GGDGBB tuning which needs you to the high E down to a B note putting it in unison with the 2nd open B string, and you’d need to tune low 6th string up 3 semitones to a G as well, putting that in into a unison tuning with the low 5th string. This alternate tuning gives the first open upwards strum its unique vibey character that you hear in the intro of the song.
Once you get the tuning right, the song is fairly easy to play. Just keep in mind that Roger Waters and David Gilmour used about four guitars layered up while recording this song, so if you are trying to play this song alone on a single guitar, then you’d probably need to come up with a hybrid version that works as a stand-alone part, which is actually quite workable for this tune. This is one of my favorite open G tuning songs to play.
39. Rain Song Led Zeppelin
A song that clearly defies classification, according to rock producer Rick Rubin this song is strong and moody, and sad all at the same time. It’s one of those songs that’s bound to give you goosebumps throughout and every time you hear it. Jimmy Page uses his dan electro-electric guitar, and John Paul Jones plays a mellotron which sounds almost like an epic violin section morphed into a steel orchestra.
This emotional song with a grand arrangement was written as a response to George Harrison’s comment to John Bonham where he mentioned that Led Zepplin never seems to write any ballads which made Jimmy quote the Beatles “something” in the intro for the Rain song.
Using another interesting variation on the open G tuning, this one is tuned to a Gsus4 tuning making it DGCGCD, where you tune the 2nd string up a half step from a standard B to a pitched up C note, and drop the 4th open standard D down by a whole tone to a C as well. Straight off the bat, this “Gsus4” tuning helps the song get its very moody vibe that is supported very well by Robert Plant’s melancholic and haunting vocals.
40. Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits
This classic love song uses the Open G tuning with a capo on the third fret. In a famous documentary, Mark Knopfler explained that he stumbled upon the opening arpeggio lines while experimenting with the open G tuning and used his resonator O guitar on this song! It’s those opening lines and the unique tone of the National Style “O” resonator guitar that gives this song a very memorable sound right from the start.
The arrangement of the song stays quite simple, with the arpeggiated lines for the intro, chords, and strumming to support the vocals, but eventually develops into a full-blown rock arrangement as the song progresses. The tom fill brings in the band from the lines “Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start..” the lyrics of this song are written in a very clever way. In classic dire straits fashion, the song does not seem to have a classic “verse-chorus” structure to it, yet the lines are easy to remember, and you find yourself singing along to the words as naturally as it gets.
If you were anywhere around your teens or twenties between the 80s and the 90s, you might have felt like this was “your song”! Technically this song is mostly shifting between F, Bb, C, and Dmin chords, but it is using the open G tuning with the capo on the 3rd fret.
If you are trying to play this song, try the shape of the Bmin7 with the little finger on the 1st string 4th fret which actually plays a straight Fmaj chord in this shape. It is also one of those songs that is simpler to play than it sounds, so give it a shot.
41. Honky Tonk Women by The Rolling Stones
Released as a B-side single on July 4th, 1969, this tune hit the top of the charts around the globe within the first week of its launch. In classic Keith Richard’s fashion, this song uses the open G tuning ignoring the lowest string on the guitar to come up with this tasty riff. The opening riff hammers on plenty of upbeats to come up with the jumpy rhythm and uses the 3rd & the 4th string with a tele-like bridge pickup sound for the “honky” tone.
The song was originally written as “country honk” (released later on, the album let it bleed) but eventually morphed into Honky Tonk Women as we know it now. Based on an idea from a Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers tune, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote this tune while vacationing in Brazil.
Inspired by the countryside, the cowboys, and the ranch they were living out of, the tune was originally written with a country rhythm and evolved into a slinkier, funkier version in the hands of the band when recording for the single release. “It’s one of those tunes that you knew it was a no.1 the moment we finished it”.
42. Remedy by The Black Crowes
Sticking true to their blues-rock sound, “Remedy” was released as the first single and the 2nd song of the Black Crowes’ album called, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. What could almost be a fusion of the sounds of the Allman Brothers Band and the Led Zepp sound, this song presented itself as a remedy for the ears of a rock-starved, gangsta rap saturated music scene of the states back in 1992.
With the guitar tuned to a chord (G) here, you can play chords with one finger. This song mostly focuses on the middle two strings, and adding the 3rd string for the lower 5th note barred with one finger makes for a thick power chord which lends itself to the Keith Richard vibe some more. Just keep the rocky strumming pattern going as you shift through the single-finger-barred chords, and add the box shape to it on and off for the chord variations! This is one of the more popular open G tuning songs.
43. Watch Over You by AlterBridge
While working on the album “Blackbird,” the album’s producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, asked the band if they had any ballads for the album, that’s when Myles Kennedy brought up this tune he had written before his AlterBridge days using an open G tuning. The band’s guitarist Mark Tremonti had a bridge that fits perfectly into Myles’ verse-chorus, and it fit like a sonic puzzle and thus came about “Watch over you.” It was released as the second single of the album and is often considered to be one of the best songs from Blackbird.
The ballad has a much slower, lighter, softer tone than the rest of the songs in the album and speaks about dealing with addiction and being unable to help someone who refuses to help themselves. An alternate version of the tune was later re-released featuring additional vocals by Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia.
44. Walkin Blues by Eric Clapton/Robert Johnson
Eric’s tribute to his hero, the OG blues guitarist Robert Johnson, walking blues can be a great workout for slide enthusiasts. The tune uses tons of vibrato to get the mojo blues to vibe going and chromatic movements through the notes aplenty. Eric’s version from his “Unplugged” album is a single-take recording of this beloved blues standard where you can hear him sing and play and also hear his foot tapping, keeping the downbeat on the rhythm.
The original recording by Robert Johnson has a more uptempo feel and a tighter, almost a “staccato” strum for the rhythm. He speeds up on the tempo as he goes through the changes and the verses, featuring a variety of articulations while juggling between a melodic and a chordal style of playing. A great tune to pick up the resonator guitar for!
45. I Can’t be Satisfied by Muddy Waters
Another classic delta blues in open G tuning by the legend Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield), also known as the father of the Chicago blues. This song was written and recorded way back in 1948. It’s often said that the Rolling Stones got their name from the lyrics of this song. The Stones later covered this song, and their cover version was released as the ninth song on the Stones album “The Rolling Stones No. 2”
The intro of the tune uses the top 3 strings around the 12th fret sliding from the 10th into the 12th and jumping back to the 5th low string to go back to the root G. The whole essence of the guitar part lies in the call and response nature of the blues which plays between the vocals and the guitar, and also between the lead and rhythm guitar parts of the song.
46. Little Red Rooster by the Howlin’ Wolf/Rolling Stones
Howlin Wolf was born in the Mississippi Delta and was later known as one of the most formidable Chiaco bluesmen with his formidable voice forming a rivalry with fellow Chicago blues master muddy waters. Little Red Rooster was originally written by Willie Dixon and quickly became a blues standard and was later recorded by artists like Howlin Wolf and the Rolling Stones. The Howlin Wolf record of the little red rooster is listed in the Hall of Fame as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.”
A much slower blues tune in open G tuning by the wolf’ is again a great tune for beginners to get started with the blues shuffle and with the slide. If you are trying to play this song. Do remember that with the slide, it’s best to place the glass slide over the fret, unlike when you’re pressing down behind the fret, usually without a slide. So when you’re right over the fretwire, use wide vibrato go back and forth on the fret making a significant pitch shift which brings on the classic blues slide. Also, slide into every note you play, and you will have the feel down right away. With this tune, the dirtier and the sloppier the better it sounds.
Playing more than one string at a time keeps the sound bluesy and thick. Remember you are always playing straight open position bar chords mostly. This one isn’t really a standard 12 bar blues. It’s more like a “blues bridge” starting straight from the IV chord and going back to the I like the last 8 bars of a standard 12 bar blues. This is one of those classic songs in open G tuning that I’ve always enjoyed playing.
47. Death Letter by The White Stripes
Originally known as the signature song of the delta bluesman Eddie “Son” House, Death Letter has been covered and adapted by Grateful Dead, John Mellencamp, Chris Thomas King, David Johansen, Tony McPhee, the Derek Trucks Band, and more.
The White Stripes version has Jack White tuning his guitar to the open G tuning and playing on a slightly overdriven electric guitar accompanied by Meg White on drums. It was released on June 20, 2000, as the sixth song of their 2nd album, “De Stijl.” It is a standard 12 bar blues arranged with heavy use of an almost broken-sounding kick and tambourine groove by Meg, breaking into a sort of cymbal frenzy for the interludes. White’s tormented vocals and dirty slide guitar playing with Meg’s heavy groove turn this blues standard into a thunderstorm splattered with raw bluesy tune into an emotional rocker.
48. Nextdoor Neighbor Blues by Gary Clark Jr
One might easily assume that there aren’t too many good blues records being made nowadays, especially in the age of Spotify and streaming media, but soon as you check out artists like Gary Clark Jr, you’d be turned into a whole world of newly recorded but authentic sounding blues and blues-rock music.
Released as the last track (no. 13) on his 2012 debut album, Gary splatters and spews a story about being cheated on and robbed by his girl with a grungy blues voice and an old resonator acoustic guitar tuned to the open G tuning in a standard 12 bar G blues accompanied by a foot-stomping downbeat on what sounds like a hardwood floor. There exists a live version accompanied by fuzz guitar, heavy drums, and roaring bass, which makes for a biz fuzzy blues rock soundscape, a treat for the blues-starved ears in the digital age.
49. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking By Rolling Stones
Arguably one of the best Stones tunes ever, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking is well over 7 minutes in length. It is really two songs in one, a rock’n’roll tune followed by an extended jam. The tune features a killer rock’n’roll guitar riff by Keith Richards. The song has two guitar players, Keith (tuned to open G and heard on the Right Channel) and Mick Taylor (tuned Standard and panned left on the record). With Bobby Keys on sax and Billy Preston on keys, this lineup is often considered to be the best that Stones had. As you dig into this tune you can definitely hear what a great rhythm guitarist Keith really is. It’s hard to tell if it is Tele or a Les Paul, but it is a delightfully gritty guitar tone that he is going for here.
According to Mick Tayol and Keith, the jam at the end of the tune was not really planned. Apparently, everyone ended the tune together, but Mick Taylor felt like he should keep playing and jam for a bit, so everyone joined back in, and the engineers kept the tape rolling. The boys took turns soloing for a bit each and initially thought they’d fade it out but ended up keeping the entire jam as a part of the song.
50. Troubles Will Be Gone by Tallest Man on Earth
Here’s a great example of open G written by Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, or as he’s known by his stage name, “The Tallest Man on Earth”. This one is more of an advanced fingerpicking tune, but give it a shot, and I think you might be surprised how quickly you can pick up on each part.
Comprehensive Guide To Open G Tuning On Guitar
What is Open G Tuning? Simply put, the Open G tuning is an alternate tuning that lets guitarists play an Open G chord without having to press any frets or use a capo. The reason this alternate tuning is called an Open G is that it requires you to tune the 6 strings of your instrument to the notes of the G chord, which are G, D, and B notes.
So, in an Open G tuning, you can play the G chord simply by strumming all your guitar strings without having to press any fret whatsoever!
Open G tuning has an enjoyable bluesy tone that can potentially open up a whole new world of sonic and songwriting possibilities for you as a musician. This tuning makes it especially great for playing and composing tracks in the blues and folk genres. Several notes, blues, and folk musicians have made generous use of the Open G tuning, such as Joni Mitchell, Robert Johnson, as well as legendary rock bands like The Rolling Stones and The Black Crowes.
As you can see in the diagram shared below, the standard E tuning of your guitar has the 6 strings tuned to the following notes:
- 6th (fattest) string: E
- 5th string: A
- 4th string: D
- 3rd string: G
- 2nd string: B
- 1st (thinnest) string: E
However, once you tune your guitar from the standard tuning to the Open G tuning, the tuning of each string will be the following:
- 6th (fattest) string: D
- 5th string: G
- 4th string: D
- 3rd string: G
- 2nd string: B
- 1st (thinnest) string: D
How Do You Tune Your Guitar To Open G? Step-By-Step Tuning Guide
If you want to tune your guitar to an Open G tuning, here’s a quick diagram that explains how to go from a standard E to an Open G tuning:
If you’d like step-by-step tuning instructions, here’s a detailed guide to follow:
- 6th (E) string (lowest string): Pluck your 6th string, and slowly tune it from E to a full step down till you reach the D note. Keep plucking the note and tuning down slowly till you reach the D note.
- 5th (A) string: Next, pluck your 5th string and begin tuning it down from its original A to a G – that is, tuning it down by a whole step.
- 4th (D) string: The 4th, or the D string, stays exactly as it is. No retuning is needed.
- 3rd (G) string: The 3rd, or the G string, stays in its original tuning – no changes needed.
- 2nd (B) string: The 2nd string, or the B string, also stays in its original tuning – no retuning needed.
- 1st (E) string (highest string): Finally, pluck your thinnest E string, or the 1st string – and slowly tune down the string from an E to a D note. This means tuning your 1st string by a whole step down.
Tuning your guitar to an Open G tuning is easier in comparison to other alternate tunings since you only have to adjust the tuning of three out of your six guitar strings. This is because the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings of your guitar are already tuned to the notes that feature in the G chord, ie., D, G, and B!
Pro tip: We suggest keeping a tuner handy when changing the tuning of your guitar. This could either be a physical tuner or even an online tuner app, depending on your comfort. This way, you will be able to tune your guitar more quickly and accurately, especially if you are a beginner that’s starting out on the guitar.
Common Major Chord Shapes In Open G
The best thing about playing the Open G tuning is that it lets you play several common chords by barring a single fret with a single finger! Here is a list of the most common major chord shapes when played in an Open G tuning.
Note: The ‘X’ refers to the string that should either be mute or not played, while the numbers refer to the fret number.
- G Major: X 0 0 0 0 0
- A Major: X 2 2 2 2 2
- B Major: X 4 4 4 4 4
- C Major: X 5 5 5 5 5
- D Major: X 7 7 7 7 7
- E Major: X 9 9 9 9 9
- F Major: X 10 10 10 10 10
Why Should You Learn Open G?
There are several reasons for guitarists of all skill levels to learn how to tune to an Open G tuning and learn how to play it. Let us list a few of those here:
Versatile Blues Tone: The Open G tuning has an enjoyable bluesy tone that’s difficult to replicate in Standard tuning. Its resonant sound goes perfectly with the folk and blues genre.
Easy To Play Single-Finger Barre Chords: Open G tuning allows you to play several different chords very easily. Not only can you play the G chord without fretting, but you can also play many other chords with a simple single finger barring all across the fretboard!
Chord Voicings: Moreover, the typical chord shapes that you’re familiar with on a standard tuning become very interesting chord voicing when played in the Open G tuning. We suggest trying out the E minor open chord, an Open D chord shape, as well as an open C chord shape and move it across the fretboard. You’ll notice some gorgeous-sounding voicings unlocking before your very eyes!
Fingerstyle Guitar: Because of the nature of the Open G tuning, it lends itself to effortless fingerstyle playing with open notes since the open notes are already tuned to the G chord.
Iconic Songs: As you will shortly explore in the list shared below, several iconic musicians and bands have used the Open G tuning in their songs. This means that playing in Open G will unlock all those songs for you to learn and play.
Ideal For Slide Guitar: The ease of playing various chords with a single finger fretting makes the Open G a great thing for slide guitarists since they can use their slides to play various chords effortlessly. It’s also a bonus since slide guitar is often used in blues music.
As you can see, playing around with alternate tunings is a great way to not only push your creative and sonic boundaries but also learn some of the most popular tracks written by other iconic musicians from across genres. We hope this article gave you everything you needed to start experimenting with the Open G tuning and produce melodious results.
If you’re curious about learning other alternate tunings, check out our comprehensive guides and song lists in our Open E tuning resource as well as the Drop C tuning resource and song guide. Both these guides will give you detailed, step-by-step guides on how to tune your guitar to these alternate tunings, as well as 20+ songs by famous bands and musicians that have used the tunings in their tracks. Happy playing!
My name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, gear heads, and music enthusiasts so we could provide high-quality guitar and music-related content.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old and am an avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, I love it all.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my engineering experience, I’ve developed as a designer of guitar amplifiers and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby, our aim is to share our passion for Music and gear with the rest of the music community.