Riffs and Cuts in Pure Open G

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2008 by bleufalcon

… I said I wouldn’t do this.  However, this cross over tuning is worth putting out there as a solo form of executing blues and bluegrass – and sometimes a mutation of both.  The sound is faintly Leo Kottke, Keith Richards, B.B. King, and Flatt & Scruggs – all out of the same box.

What is Open G?

There are two versions, and they are both melodic to playing a G in standard tuning.  This gives you the key of G open by measured tuning to DBGGBD, a C is barred at the 5th fret and D at the 7th.  This is similar to a banjo tuning on the 1st thru 5th strings.  The other, and what I prefer, is a true open G, which simulates tuning to a fingered G 7-5-4-3-5. Riffs move to the lower strings by 1 and are not measured. (C and D remain on 5th and 7th respectively)

Of course not suggested or harmonic to band play, a “True Open G” is essentially a solo or lead cut, which is where most players find themselves.  The benefit is that minors and range increase to include a wider array of play options.

Some of the exotics include:

“Amazing Grace,” “In the Air Tonight” (Phil Collins), “Hotel Calif,” “Can’t Tell you Why,” and “Tequila Sunrise” (Eagles),  “Honky Tonk Woman”  (Stones),  “Folsom Prison” (Cash), “The Wall,” and “Wish You Were Here” (Floyd). “Let it Be,” and Ticket to Ride” (Beatles, but in a bluegrass style), “Sweet Dreams” (E.L. Harris), “House of the Rising Sun,” “Horse With No Name,”  “My Girl,” and even the intro lead on “Still haven’t found what I’m Looking For” (U2). You can’t do these fully, if at all, in measured G. (will be adding MP3’S and tabulations shortly).  Oh, and slide moves are the same one set down, but admittedly not as crisp as in measured G.

It’s easy enough to tune from one to the other keeping the fret sets in mind, from pure G (7-5-4-3-5), to measured G (O-7-5-4-3); noticing that the 7-5-4-3 shifts and plays accordingly.

Quick shots of some of compositions in Open G (excusing some of the acoustics):



Bird Trail

Beatle Short


Dust Followed


Black Magic Short

 Of course, have to apply to my new dobro – for which moving the bar around is a bit of challenge, but working on it:

Dobro Run