Essentials: Open Tunings

This course is an in-depth introduction to 11 open tunings that have been specially chosen for the guitarist who is hungry for new sounds, new sonic and rhythmic possibilities, and is downright curious about all this ‘open tuning’ stuff! While open tunings have been used by guitarists of all musical genres, acoustic and electric players alike, they are just now becoming of greater interest to the mainstream guitar world. Artists such as Nick Drake, Jimmy Page, Richie Havens, David Crosby, Keith Richards, and Joni Mitchell have been using open tunings in popular folk and rock music of the 60’s and forward, while many know Michael Hedges for his extended techniques and pioneering contributions to the world of solo fingerstyle guitar in the 70’s and 80’s. In the singer songwriter world, Jonatha Brooke and Shawn Colvin are just 2 artists whose open tuning guitar playing often goes under-appreciated in favor of their great lyrical content and amazing vocals. Other artists you may have heard such as Pierre Bensusan, Preston Reed, Don Ross, Al Petteway, Don Alder and in the younger generation, Justin King, Kaki King (no relation), Petteri Sariola and Andy McKee are all using open tunings to go beyond the traditional techniques of guitar playing. The music being composed and arranged by these and countless other artists is simply fantastic and deserves our attention and great appreciation. I hope to demystify open tunings for you and open the door into this exciting playground!

I’ve written 11 new teaching compositions, or etudes, which serve as introductions to each of the tunings. Each one has something special to offer. Close your eyes, and open your heart and ears when you listen to me play them. Some will move you more than others. There’s no need to go in order – start where you are most excited and work your way through them all. You’ll soon realize that it’s not that difficult to re-tune your guitar, and Wow – what a small price to pay for the payoff of creative juice that will flow as a result!

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