If you are new to playing the guitar, one of the first things that you will want to learn is how to play chords. Chords are what give songs their distinctive sound and feel. One of the most popular types of chords for beginners is open E because it sounds great with just four fingers!
You can use this chord in many different ways including as a transition between other chords, or an entire song all by itself! Here are some songs you can start out with.
How do you tune your guitar to open E?
It is easy to tune your guitar from open E to standard. You only need to tune your 5th. 4th. and 3rd strings up a whole tone, and your third string up a semitone. You might find this confusing.
- First the low e string remains the same
- Next, tune your A (5th). String up a whole ton to B (4th). String up a ton to E
- Tune your G (3rd), string with a semi-tone to G#
- The B (2nd) string and the high E (1 st), strings will be unchanged
15 Best Songs In Open E Tuning
She Talks To Angels by The Black Crowes
You’ll be playing an open E chord for the entire song. To make it flow better, you can play some open chords in between to transition into other parts of the song. This is a great beginner’s song because only two chords are used throughout!
This tune has a lovely basic construction. It is in the key of E major and starts with a lovely introduction lick on the B string. As with most music, it doesn’t take much to play this song. The introduction lick begins with a mallet from the fourth to the fifth fret of the b string followed by an open note on the high e string. The song then goes into the root chord E major.
Like most songs, there are some changes in chords throughout this tune. The first change is to an A major for four beats after eight bars of playing time. This will be followed by a return to the original key with one beat of G before two beats back off on B and follow it.
Fiddler’s Green by The Tragically Hip
Fiddler’s Green is another awesome melody in open e tuning that you can consider adding to your learning list. This song is fun to play and sounds great, but it does have a few chord changes that are not typical.
The first thing you will notice about this piece of music is the alternating bass line in each bar. This provides a nice contrast with the normal root note on the E string played by your thumb after every beat while your fingers pick out some other chords.
There are fundamentally two sections to this tune. One for the playing and the other for the licks and fillers however one can play both the parts in a single guitar by consolidating the parts.
Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones. Delivered in 1969. Gimme Shelter is the initial track from their 10th studio collection Let It Bleed. It was released as their third single in the United States, backed with “You Got the Silver” (a track unique to this release), and has been covered by other artists.
This song is a great example of how you can use open string chords on an electric guitar. The opening riff consists of just four notes played using power chord shapes.
One of the most charming pieces of the tune is its introduction, which is additionally considered as perhaps the most impressive intro at any point recorded.
Say it to me now by Glen Hansard
Say it to me now is one more extraordinary melody in open e that you should look at It’s a song by the Irish musician Glen Hansard who is one of the leading figures in The Frames. He has won an Academy Award for Best Song because of his collaboration with Marketa Irglova on “Falling Slowly’ from Once (2007).
Getting to the meaningful part, this tune is an enthusiastic banger that is loaded up with heaps of cool open harmonies. The song is in the key of E major and it’s played with a capo on the second fret, which means you won’t have to change your guitar tuning.
This track can be found in his debut album titled ’The Swell Season” (2006) that he recorded together with Czech musician Marketa Irglova.
Stay With Me by The Faces
“Stay With Me” is one incredible tune in open E by English rock band The Faces. It’s just the kind of song you can jam on with your buddies in an open E tuning.
Expert Tip: The intro is very simple which makes it easy to learn and master. It has a light folk-rock feel that will effortlessly transport you back in time, so grab your guitar for this one! The intro riff consists only of two chords that you can master.
This tune will positively further develop your beat playing as it is loaded up with bunches of cool cadence designs. The chord changes are very simple and easy to follow. This song is perfect for the beginner-level guitarist but it will also delight more experienced players who can master all of its intricacies!
For this one. you’ll need a capo on the second fret in order to play along with the original recording.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
Doubtlessly. Rolling Stones is one of the most famous musical gangs ever, and ’You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is one of their show- stoppers. It is in open e tuning and has perhaps the most unmistakable opening riff. It’s easy to play and fun.
The tune is based on just two chords yet there are loads of varieties in the later parts. To play it right you need to tune your guitar to open E and clasp a capo on the eighth fret.
Little Martha by The Allman Brothers Band
This one is an incredible finger-picking instrumental in open e tuning that you can learn.
The intro is simply beautiful, and it’s probably one of the best finger-picking songs you can learn. It starts off with a simple repetitive riff that sounds great as an arpeggio on each chord change.
This song uses open e tuning which means you will be playing all your strings without using a capo.
The melody is somewhat simple to play and gives a chance to you to deal with your techniques in various segments of the tune.
Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
Big Yellow Taxi was written by Joni Mitchell to accompany her third studio album Ladies of the Canyon. This classic and simple-to-play song is in open tuning and has been covered by many artists, including Amy Grant and Bob Dylan.
Joni Mitchell claims that she wrote the song during her first trip to Hawaii. It is an open e song. However, it can be played in standard tuning with the same chords. The rhythm is the most important part of this song, so make sure you are strum it correctly to get the full feel.
A simple song that uses open e tuning. This timeless classic is great to play for beginners just starting out, but it’s also fun once you have some more experience under your belt as well!
The intro riff is not very difficult and can be played with one finger across the guitar neck throughout each chord change. The rhythm changes are simple as well, but you might want to try playing the rhythm with your picking hand fingers each time.
This is a great beginner guitar chord song because it’s easy enough for anyone just starting out on the instrument and still sounds amazing!
Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh
Rocky Mountain Way is a song by Joe Walsh that was released in the 70s. It’s played on guitar and has been covered many times since its release. This tune has some truly infectious melodies with amazing guitar riffs that will make audience members sing along for quite a long time.
Just Got Paid by ZZ Top
Just Got Paid is a popular song by ZZ Top that was released in the 70s. It’s played on guitar and has been covered many times since its release. This tune features some really great riffs, solos, and melodies throughout which all add up to an amazing listen.
The refrain has just two chords: the open E and a sluggish slide to D. The lyrics describe a man who has just received his paycheck and is ready to spend it all.
Expert Tip: The opening riff uses the open E string as well as two pull-offs on different frets, one of them being an upstroke “with” the pick, followed by another quick slide from D to C. The verse opens with a fast hammer-on from E to G on the second string.
The verses are played with a palm-muted open E chord, while the pre-choruses and choruses use an alternating bassline of D-A-E-D over three chords.
Bread and Water by Ryan Bingham
Bread and Water is a country song in open E, which means that it’s in the key of E and uses a slide to get from D. The song tells about humble beginnings and hardship but still having your priorities straight.
The intro starts with an open E chord tapped on the guitar (with no pick) played slowly before speeding up for each repetition, until you reach Ryan Bingham singing ” I was born with a hole in my belly and stars in my eyes.’
Indeed, even in this melody, you will discover the utilization of slides which makes it one more incredible tune to chip away at your techniques.
Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan
This song was released in 1975. It is the fourth track on Bob’s 15th studio album. “Blood on the tracks’. The tune is in open e. Nearly all the tracks on this album were recorded using this tuning. It is very simple with just three chords. It begins with the open e chord, then it switches to B and A.
Matt Ferrucci shared a great lesson where he tuned his guitar using open D tuning, and then clipped a capo at the second fret to make it open E tuning.
This is a beautifully simple tune with just three chords. It begins the open e harmony then, at that point, changes to B then A.
Prodigal Son by The Rolling Stones
Another astounding blues-driven tune in open e by The Great Rolling Stones that you need to look at. This melody is loaded up with perfectly organized acoustic guitar licks and fillers, making it a perfect piece of work to learn.
Blues lovers will love this song. It is full of beautifully arranged acoustic guitar fillers and licks by Keith Richards. Mick Jagger’s dazzling vocals are the highlight of this classic.
This song is not only great because of Charlie Watts’ light drumming, as well as the contributions of Brian Jones’ harmonica, which compliment Richard and Jagger’s performance.
Crawling in the Dark by Hoobastank
American rock band Hoobastank’s breakout hit ‘Crawling In The Dark.’ was released in open e tuning.
It was released in 2002 and is their first single off their debut album. ‘Hoobastank. The song landed them on numerous charts, including the US Billboard Hot 100 and Modern Rock Track Charts (Billboard). UK Rock and Metal Charts, and many others.
This song features one of the most catchy guitar intros you will ever hear. It will keep you on the right track until the end. The delay effect makes this intro sound even more interesting.
It is worth noting that the song features a significant change in the time signature during the chorus, which sets the mood for the second verse as well as the breakdown.
The melody has one of the catchiest guitar introductions that will snare you to the end of the tune.
No Expectations by The Rolling Stones
The entire melody is worth learning, but the slide works of Brian Jones should be noted. This song is in open E tuning, which is the most popular. It includes 16 bars and a total duration of 11:59.
Here are some great songs that you can learn if you are starting out playing the guitar. These songs are in the open E tuning. They are easy to learn how to play and you can pick and choose which ones you like.