I’ve been playing around with a new alternate guitar tuning, and it has quickly become one of my favorites! It is EADGAD. Optimized for the key of D, this tuning has a very airy and open sound (similar to open E chords), while still allowing easy access to bass notes E, A, D (and F#,G, C#). Thus, it is excellent for both strumming and picking. Another benefit is that it is very close to the standard tuning of EADGBE, so one can quickly downtune the last two strings to get to this alternate tuning.
There are several variations of this tuning. DADGAD has a nice low D bass note, but it is harder to access to the E, F#, and G bass notes. EADGAE is interesting as well, but not as open as EADGAD. Plus, it is easier in this tuning to hit dissonant note pairs (like C#-D and F#-G) which adds to the richness of the sound.
There are a few drawbacks to this tuning as well. It is more difficult to play certain voicings of F#m (the iii chord), and the A#dim chord is more complicated as well. On the other hand, there are interesting voicings for Am and Dmaj7 (e.g. hear the Am – Dmaj7 – G sequence below)
Here is a little guitar solo in EADGAD that I recorded in Audacity: