Open E Tuning For Slide Guitar: Integrated Knowledge

If you’re eager to begin your slide guitar journey, I encourage you to explore a variety of slide guitar tunings. Open tunings, in particular, offer a distinctive tonal palette and abundant room for artistic expression. Keeping this in consideration, opting for Open E tuning for slide guitar can enhance the overall intuitiveness of the process, allowing you to delve deeper into the instrument’s possibilities and unleash your creative potential.

What is open E tuning for slide guitar

Slide guitar tuning

Instead of pressing the strings against the frets with their fingers, a guitarist who plays slide guitar utilizes a smooth, complex device known as a “slide” or “bottleneck” to glide down the instrument’s strings. 

There isn’t truly a “slide guitar tuning” in strictly technical terms. The term “open tunings” might be a better approach to characterize the frequent tunings utilized by slide guitarists.

Open E tuning for Slide guitar

The open tunings of open E, open D, G, and A are some of the most popular for slide guitar playing. However, the open E tuning is the best for slide guitar.

Open E guitar is a popular choice for slide guitar players because it creates a rich and resonant sound that works well with slide techniques. In Open E tuning, the guitar is tuned to the following pitches from the lowest (thickest) string to the highest (thinnest) string.

Basic understanding about open E guitar in slide guitar
Basic understanding about open E guitar in slide guitar

How to tune your slide guitar in Open E tuning

Playing in Open E tuning for slide guitar is a lot of fun and opens up new possibilities for fingerstyle playing. Here are the basic steps to get started playing in Open E tuning:

  • Tune the Guitar to Open E:
  • To tune your guitar to Open E, follow these steps:
  • Start with a standard-tuned guitar (EADGBE).
  • Lower the 1st (thinnest) string (high E) to match the 6th (lowest) string (low E).
  • Lower the 2nd (B) string to match the 5th (A) string (A).
  • Lower the 3rd (G) string to match the 4th (D) string (D).
  • Keep the 4th (D), 5th (A), and 6th (low E) strings in their standard tuning.

As comparing the standard tuning, only three strings are changed, the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings. Changing those three center strings also significantly alters the fretboard of the guitar. Since the low E and high E strings are the same, conventional tuning is rather recognizable.

As mentioned earlier, when comparing Open E tuning to standard tuning, we are adjusting three of the strings either up by a half or a whole tone. While many open tunings involve lowering the pitch of certain strings, Open E guitar tuning requires these three strings to be raised higher. It’s important to proceed with caution during the tuning process to avoid breaking any strings. As a result, it is advisable to check the tuning of these strings as well once you have the guitar roughly in tune to ensure proper pitch and stability.

Benefits of playing slide guitar in open E tuning

Easy to play Slide Chords: Open E tuning chords allow for easy chord shapes while using the slide. Simply laying the slide across the frets forms an E major chord, and sliding up and down the neck produces harmonious chord changes.

Open E guitar can be more accessible for beginners starting with slide guitar. The open chord configuration simplifies the learning process, making it easier to produce pleasing sounds right from the start.

Once you’re comfortable with Open E tuning for slide guitar, you can easily transpose songs or adapt chord progressions to other keys by using a capo or changing the slide position.

Some open E scale 

You can play various slide scales and positions that take advantage of the open strings and facilitate smooth slide movements. Below are some common open E scale shapes and positions for slide guitar.

Open E major scale
Open E major scale
Open E minor scale
Open E minor scale
Open E tuning: Blue scale
Open E tuning: Blue scale

Now that you have gained some insights into Open E tuning for slide guitar. You are well-prepared to incorporate it into your own musical endeavors. Whether you aspire to explore different genres, master your favorite songs, Open E tuning can be a valuable asset. Its versatility and unique sound offer a myriad of possibilities to enrich your musical journey.