Home > Music > The EADGAD alternate tuning

The EADGAD alternate tuning

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:

Categories: Music
  1. Alan
    December 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I found the EADGAD tuning purely by accident after retuning my guitar from DADGAD. I was returning to standard tuning and got as far as 6th and 5th strings. To test it, I strummed across 6543 with an Em and then just out curioisty strummed all 6 strings. That’s when it struck me that as well as being a valid open tuning in its own right, with EADGAD I can use 6543 in standard tuning (EADG) and 4321 in DADGAD (DGAD), thus creating a ‘crossover’ tuning on one guitar. That is opening up all sorts of possibilities. Modifying standard tuning chords is also often quite easy and unlike when you shift to a radical new tuning, it is simple to work out how to play a full standard chord in EADGAD just by modifying the fingering on the 2nd and 1st strings (or to decide when to leave them out or mute one or the other).

    • Art
      February 13, 2011 at 12:07 am

      I totally agree, Alan. It is definitely an interesting ‘crossover’ tuning.

  2. Justin
    April 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Wow that songs sounds great! Mind posting some tabs!!!

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