Slide Guitar Tuning: FREE Ultimate Guide (2020)

Slide Guitar Tuning
Slide Guitar Tuning

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Slide Guitar Tuning

Slide Guitar Tuning – Open slide guitar tunings are fantastic. They are a new and exciting way to unlock another skill in your guitar playing. Unlike other styles, slide guitar is usually in open tunings and offer a rich, diverse and unique sound.

In addition, the slide guitar is perfect for soloing or as an accompaniment. The player is able to blend semitones and tones to create a unique sonic experience. Moreover, it can be expressive and exhilarating, making it perfect for trying today!

Slide Guitar Open Tuning

Instead of having the guitar in standard tuning (from the thickest string to the thinnest) E, A, D, G, B, E, open tunings see the strings tune completely differenly.

Further, the most common open tunings for slide guitar are, Open G, Open E, Open D, and Open A. All of these open tunings come with their own unique tone and textures. There is something for all moods and situations.

Most importantly, the best way to achieve an accurate Open Tunings is to use a chromatic guitar tuner. This specific type of guitar tuner shows the notes to the nearest semitone, which is what we need when tuning to an alternative tuning. 

We recommend the Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal. It is an accurate tuner over a wide range, and the super-bright LED meter makes it perfect for any setting. 

Slide Guitar Tuning
Slide Guitar Tuning

Open G

Open G sees the guitar tuned to D, G, D, G, B, D.

From standard tuning, lower both of the E strings to a D note, lower the fifth string to a G note, and the remaining strings can remain as they were in standard tuning. 

Chords are easy to form in Open G. For example, playing all of the strings open will give you a G chord. Barring every string on fret five will provide you with a C chord and doing the same on fret seven will easily give you a D chord. 

Most importantly, make sure that you tune the strings down rather than up. It will save you from snapping your strings unnecessarily while giving you that rich low tone. 

Open E

Slide Guitar in Open E is magical. From standard tuning you need to tune your strings (again from thickest to thinnest) to E, B, E, G#, B E.

So your two E strings can stay as they are, and the A string is tuned up to a B. The standard D string goes up to an E and G moved up half a semitone to a G#. The B string can stay exactly where it is. 

Once you are in Open E, major chords can be formed simply. Barring all of the strings across the designated fret. For example, barring across the third fret will give you a G major, 5th an A major and 7th a B major. 

Open D

Slide guitar tuning in Open D sees the guitar tuned to, D, A, D, F#, A, D.

From standard tunings, both E strings are tuned down from E to D. The A and fourth D string stay the same while the standard G string goes down half a semitone to F#. Finally, the B string goes up to an A note. 

Like the Open E tuning, for example, chords can be formed by barring whole frets and strumming all of the strings. 

Open A

Open A can be found quite easily from standard tuning. Again, the E and A strings remain the same. The D goes up to an E note, and the G rises to an A. Finally, the B string goes up a tone to a C#. 

Most importantly, make sure you have a thick enough gauge of guitar strings. This ensures that your strings do not snap when tuning them up. In open E, the B string to C# is quite a significant jump. The strings need a thicker gauge of strings on the guitar to ensure nothing snaps!

8 String Guitar Tuning

A whole new beast of a slide guitar tuning option is the 8 String Guitar Tuning used on a lap steel guitar. In addition, for the full rundown of tunings for lap steels, we advise visiting Peterson Turners.

If you are looking to buy a lap steel, we recommend the 8 string Vorson Active Lap Steel Guitar.

Slide Guitar Tuning - Vorson Active Lap Steel Guitar
Slide Guitar Tuning – Vorson Active Lap Steel Guitar

Firstly, the Vorson LT-230-8 is a professional quality 8 String lap steel guitar. Custom design by Vorson’s team of player /luthiers for exceptional performance on stage or in the studio.

Many elite lap steel players prefer the expanded range of an 8 string. Secondly, they allow you to play fuller chords, and more interesting inversions because you have more notes under the bar.

With 8 strings you also have a wider range across the strings opening up new variations playing scales, runs, and arpeggios. The LT-230-8 features a 30 fret maple neck and a solid mahogany body with a deeply quilted maple top and matching headstock. The LT-230-8’s expanded range is powered by Vorson’s exclusive VSY-3+ Tone / Active Electronics and EQ coupled to a custom-designed 8 string Master 100 pickup. 

Note: The LT-230-8 is not a converted 6 string lap steel and the nut, bridge, fretboard, and pickup are specially designed for 8 string spacing so no cramped strings. If you can play a 6 you can play the Vorson 8, and you will light it up! Available in Translucent Blue, Translucent Red, and Translucent Vintage Sunburst and ships complete with a premium padded bag, tone bar, and cable. 

Get The Lowest Price on the Vorson LT-230-8

Best Slide For An Acoustic Guitar

We thoroughly recommend checking out the MagSlide Magnesium Guitar Slide. Made from AZ91 Magnesium 9% Aluminum, 1% Zinc, 90% magnesium, this slide is comfortable for any player.

MagSlide Magnesium Guitar Slide - Slide Guitar Tuning
MagSlide Magnesium Guitar Slide – Slide Guitar Tuning

MagSlide Magnesium Guitar Slide

Made from Magnesium, the lightest structural metal on earth, 5x lighter than brass, 75% lighter than steel and 33% lighter than glass, the MagSlide produces a rich, warm tone with great sustain and minimal string noise on acoustic or electric guitars.

Comfort and Tone

MagSlide’s ‘Comfort Grooves’ provides more control and allows airflow between your finger and the inside wall of the slide.

The inherent dampening characteristic of Magnesium contributes to the MagSlide’s warm tone and a remarkable amount of sustain.

Lighter Than Glass

Magnesium is the lightest structural metal on earth and is 33% lighter than glass for ultimate playability.

Because the MagSlide is so lightweight, it can feature on both acoustic and electric guitars with lighter gauge strings with lower action.

Why Magnesium?

Guitar slides are traditionally made from steel, brass, glass or ceramic, each which have their own benefits and unique characteristics.

Magnesium combines the best qualities of these traditional materials in one fully engineered tapered slide.

Get The Lowest Price on the MagSlide Magnesium Guitar Slide

Slide guitar songs

There are countless slide guitar songs to learn and enjoy. From Robert Johnson to The Rolling Stones, there is something for everyone. Popular slide guitar songs include:

The Allman Brothers Band – ‘Statesboro Blues’

Led Zeppelin – ‘In My Time of Dying’

Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Ballad of Curtis Loew’

Eric Clapton – ‘Running on Faith’

Robert Johnson – ‘Come On in My Kitchen’

ZZ Top – ‘Tush’

Elmore James – ‘Done Somebody Wrong’

Slide Guitar Standard Tuning

Slide guitar in standard tuning is not advisable. Playing in standard tuning can be useful in getting the techniques required for playing slide guitar. However, using an opening tuning such as one listed above will give you a much more pleasing sound and help you to master the new technique comfortably. 

Best Slide guitar Players

The slide guitar produces a unique sound which is unparalleled to any other instrument. We can trace the technique of slide guitar playing back to the African instrument, the didley bow. 

By the time it became prevalent in America, slide guitar playing was known as the ‘bottleneck’ in southern parts of the USA. With the explosion of Rock n Roll in the 1950s, slide players were integrated with the movement, and many a famous slide player was born. 

Famous slide players include Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Bonnie Raitt, Blind Willie Johnson, Rory Gallagher, Sonny Landreth, Ry Cooder, and Mick Taylor.

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