The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-30-2020, 10:13 AM
G chord G chord is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 48
Default Open G tuning for slide guitar

I have been playing slide for about a year now, and primarily stayed in Open D tuning. It just seemed like the "traditional" tuning for this sort of thing. I learned a few songs, but it just never really felt "right" to me.

For starters, I had trouble finding the perfect slide. Tried loads of them...brass, glass, ceramic, thick-walled, thin, etc. I have small fingers so I finally settled on a relatively short, thick-walled glass slide (dunlop 212). Still, I found it difficult to cover all the strings at once. Could usually only manage 5 at a time. Also, playing "dead thumb" style bass notes on the lower D string, while trying to simultaneously finger pick notes on the high strings felt like a big uncomfortable stretch for my hand.

Decided to try Open G tuning on a whim. Man I wish I did this sooner. By essentially taking the lowest string out of the equation, the fact that I can only cover 5 strings at once is no longer an issue. Something about the overall tension of open G tuning just feels way better to me. The slide just zips around the fretboard, whereas it used to feel sort of "bogged down" when I tried to include the low D string in open D.

I played the main riff from Led Zeppelin's version of "Traveling Riverside Blues" about a hundred times last night and had a blast doing it.

Can anyone else recommend some good songs to learn in open G?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-30-2020, 01:03 PM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 378
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by G chord View Post
...Can anyone else recommend some good songs to learn in open G?
I have zero experience with this, but I thought I'd mention Robert Johnson because I know some of his stuff is in open G and maybe someone who actually knows will recommend some of his recordings.

In relation to the other thread about popular guitar keys, I've always thought open G is the guitar's mother tongue.
__________________
Resources for flamenco guitarists. Transcriptions now available in PDF and MP3: www.canteytoque.es
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-30-2020, 01:25 PM
raysachs's Avatar
raysachs raysachs is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Philly Area
Posts: 2,638
Default

Iíve had my SG in Open G for a while and this morning I committed to it by yanking the low E string off - round core, so pretty much no going back until I change all the strings. Iíve been getting reacquainted with a lot of Keef riffs I knew well in my youth. And trying to get a handle on Honky Tonk Woman, which I never got around to. Been messing around a little bit with slide too, but I have absolutely no idea what Iím doing with a slide. Still fun.

-Ray
__________________
One nice acoustic, two cheap but great electrics.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-30-2020, 03:19 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 2,602
Default

I'm under the impression that open G is perhaps the most common blues slide tuning, but even if that detail is off, there's a lot of material out there that uses or can be adapted to open G.

I've played some other slide tunings, but mostly I'm in open G.

There's a lot of slide technique that isn't based on covering all the strings. In fact about a year or so ago after watching some Fred MacDowell videos linked here on the AGF, I bought a stubby slide so I could mess-around a bit with concentrating on only the two highest pitched strings.

As Ray points up upthread, some Keith Richards uses open G for a great deal of his playing (not just slide) and just leaves off the lowest (6th) string.
__________________
Parlando - Where Music and Words Meet
-----------------------------------
20th Century Seagull S6-12, S6 Folk, Seagull M6
'00 Guild JF30-12, '01 Martin 00-15, '07 Parkwood PW510
Epiphone Biscuit resonator, Merlin Dulcimer, and various electric guitars, basses....
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-30-2020, 05:24 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,441
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
I have zero experience with this, but I thought I'd mention Robert Johnson because I know some of his stuff is in open G and maybe someone who actually knows will recommend some of his recordings.
This guy too (who supposedly taught Robert Johnson):
__________________
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-30-2020, 06:55 PM
slide496 slide496 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: New York
Posts: 527
Default

"Can't Be Satisfied", "Roll and Tumble", "Come on in My Kitchen"
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-30-2020, 07:53 PM
PHJim PHJim is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 660
Default

These are my two favourite open tunings, Vastopol (open D) and Spanish (open G)
I have a bunch of octave licks in open G using the 3rd and 5th and the 4th and 6th, so I would really miss the 6th string.
Dobro open G tuning (GBDGBD) is also handy at times.
__________________
Jim
_____________________
-1962 Martin D-21
-1950 Gibson LG1
-1958 Goya M-26
-Various banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, ukuleles, Autoharps, mouth harps. . .
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-30-2020, 09:37 PM
raysachs's Avatar
raysachs raysachs is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Philly Area
Posts: 2,638
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
As Ray points up upthread, some Keith Richards uses open G for a great deal of his playing (not just slide) and just leaves off the lowest (6th) string.
Mostly not for slide. Most of the classic riffs he came up with, at least by the late 60ís, were in open G. The low E is basically irrelevant, generally tuned town to D just in case you accidentally hit it.

-Ray
__________________
One nice acoustic, two cheap but great electrics.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-31-2020, 03:59 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,441
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PHJim View Post
These are my two favourite open tunings, Vastopol (open D) and Spanish (open G)
I discovered just last year where those terms come from. (History lesson follows, for those that don't know...)

In the late 1850s a guitar teacher named Henry Worrall published two pieces, titled respectively "Sebastopol" and "Spanish Fandango". The former was inspired by the samous siege of the town during the Crimean War.

Naturally, in being passed down aurally, the names got contracted into "Vestapol" or "Vastopol", and "Spanish Flangdang" or just "Spanish".

It won't surprise you to learn that Sebastopol was in open D tuning, and Spanish Fandango was in open G. Because both pieces were relatively accessible to beginners (or near-beginners), they became extremely popular in the following decades, giving their name to those tunings, at least among folk and blues players.

The pieces are not blues tunes at all, of course - this was well before blues existed as a genre - but in the popular "parlour" style of the time, a kind of "classical lite".

Here's a nice young lady in appropriate costume (and a parlour guitar) playing Sebastopol:


The siege wasn't mentioned in the original title, btw - it was called "Sebastopol - a Descriptive Fantasy" - but many elements of the tune were supposed to evoke sounds of battle, such as "drum" or "distant bugle" (indications on the notation itself).
__________________
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-31-2020, 08:26 AM
Bikewer Bikewer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,341
Default

I keep my cigar-box guitar in open G, and donít worry about the low strings as I only have four to worry about....
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-31-2020, 10:40 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Huntington Station, New York
Posts: 6,752
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by G chord View Post
I have been playing slide for about a year now, and primarily stayed in Open D tuning. It just seemed like the "traditional" tuning for this sort of thing. I learned a few songs, but it just never really felt "right" to me.

For starters, I had trouble finding the perfect slide. Tried loads of them...brass, glass, ceramic, thick-walled, thin, etc. I have small fingers so I finally settled on a relatively short, thick-walled glass slide (dunlop 212). Still, I found it difficult to cover all the strings at once. Could usually only manage 5 at a time. Also, playing "dead thumb" style bass notes on the lower D string, while trying to simultaneously finger pick notes on the high strings felt like a big uncomfortable stretch for my hand.

Decided to try Open G tuning on a whim. Man I wish I did this sooner. By essentially taking the lowest string out of the equation, the fact that I can only cover 5 strings at once is no longer an issue. Something about the overall tension of open G tuning just feels way better to me. The slide just zips around the fretboard, whereas it used to feel sort of "bogged down" when I tried to include the low D string in open D.

I played the main riff from Led Zeppelin's version of "Traveling Riverside Blues" about a hundred times last night and had a blast doing it.

Can anyone else recommend some good songs to learn in open G?
I can't really suggest anything in open G, although I play a LOT of compositions in that tuning, but as far as playing slide goes, I've been doing it since 1969, over 50 years, so I do have a some experience with it.

I went through chrome plated steel slides, brass, test-tube glass slides, PVC over brass slides, you name it.

As some point simple observation suggested that I find a slide that was concave to better conform to the radius of a typical guitar fingerboard. My main bottleneck acoustic is a 1930 Gibson L-5 which does have a 12" radius board.

I cut my most recent bottleneck from a magnum champagne bottle, so it's got all the mass required to firmly hold a set of .012-.053 bronze strings so as to get a lot of fundamental tone.

Here's an older video clip that shows it in action, in open D tuning, my usual. Please fast forward to 22:03. I tried to mark that time on the share, but it keeps negating that preference........unless a moderator can help me out?



Don't be afraid to experiment and challenge yourself when it comes to slide!

Happier New Year,
Howard Emerson
__________________
My New Website!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-03-2021, 09:58 PM
GBS GBS is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 417
Default

Of course, there is always:

Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-05-2021, 04:37 PM
Woolbury Woolbury is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Evergreen,CO
Posts: 460
Default

I don't play a lot of slide, but the most accessible tine I know is in open G, Walkin Blues via Clapton Unplugged. I think ts a great open G vehicle, easy to learn, and for me relatively easy to sing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNaexHNq0Lc

The other tune I've enjoyed is a Mike Dowling exercise, Blues in G. Its not a slide tune, but pens up some shapes for a basic blues in G. Really worth checking out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1X7egd8Us0
__________________
'19 Waterloo WL-14X
'46 Gibson LG2
'59 Gibson ES125T
'95 Collings 0002H
'80s Martin M36
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=