15 Best Songs To Play In Open D Tuning

Do you play guitar in open d tuning? If so, then this blog post is for you! In the next few minutes, I’ll be discussing with you 15 of the best songs that are available to those who play in open d tuning.

These songs will range from folk music to metal and everything in between. Hopefully, whether you’re a beginner or a professional guitarist, there’s something here for everyone.

Before we start with our list. I need to let you know that there is no particular order in the songs. All of these are equally amazing and they all deserve their spots on this list! Also, keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, so there are definitely more songs out there. Feel free to tell me about some of your favorites! Now, without further ado, let’s jump right into the list!

songs in open d

15 Of Our Favourite Songs In Open D

Powderfinger

Genre: Rock, Release: 1979

“Powderfinger” by Neil Young is the first song on our list. Released in 1979. this folk-rock track has been covered countless times over the years and can easily be attributed as one of Neil Young’s best songs, even though it was only his second single.

The chord progression for this song switches between Dmaj/A and Gsus/Csus throughout its duration, making it an excellent choice if you’re trying to learn how to play open d tuning with a capo! This song inspires people all over the world to pick up a guitar and play.


Tupelo Honey

Genre: Soul, Release: 1971

Second up on our list is Joan Osborne’s cover version of Van Morrison’s classic soul tune called “Tupelo Honey”. It stays true to most covers that tend to come from 1960s blues music but also features some beautiful guitar work in the form of harmonica and acoustic guitars.

It’s a difficult song to master, but if you look up some tutorials for it on YouTube. then I’m sure that you’ll be able to learn how to play open d tuning no problem!


“Time” by Pink Floyd

Genre: Rock Release: 1973

“Time” by Pink Floyd is actually one of their more underrated tracks due to its length (original version over twenty minutes long!) This progressive rock epic was written during sessions for Dark Side of The Moon but wasn’t completed until after Wish You Were Here had been released.

The band always intended for this piece to be a self-contained song but only played the opening section during their live shows. It wasn’t until 1994. when David Gilmour and Nick Mason released it on an album called ’P*U*L*S*E” that people could enjoy the whole track in all of its glory!

There are many different variations when it comes down to what chord progression they use here, so don’t feel limited in your choice! A great example would be this cover version by Porcupine Tree which has an excellent guitar solo in the middle of it!


Tears In Heaven

Genre: Soft Rock Release: 1992

“Tears In Heaven” is a song by Eric Clapton that’s dedicated to his son. Conor. It was released as an official single back in 1992 and has been covered countless times over the years.

Expert Tip: Since this track is played with standard tuning, if you want to play open d tuning instead, then all you have to do is a capo on either the third or fourth fret!

This makes it perfect for those who are just starting out learning how to play guitar using open d tuning since beginners often struggle when they first attempt at playing songs from artists such as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix without being able to use a capo!


Come As You Are

Genre: Rock, Release: 1991

“Come As You Are” is the third track on our list, and it’s by none other than Nirvana! The song was released in 1991 as part of their second studio album called Nevermind, which has gone down in history for being one of the most famous rock albums ever made.

Nirvana played their last concert in Munich, Germany, in 1991, which is where the track was recorded.

Expert Tip: If you want to play this song using open d tuning, then I recommend playing it with a capo on fret number three! This will give you an extra half step of movement when compared to standard tuning for guitarists who are just getting used to significant scale modes that go beyond pentatonic!

It also features some excellent guitar work from Kurt Cobain towards the end when he starts playing E notes instead of Fs due to him changing how his guitars are tuned slightly during recording.


Blackbird

Release: 1968, Genre: Country

“Blackbird” was originally written by Paul McCartney when he wanted to capture the spirit of a black American slave who escaped from his master in order to be free. Paul McCartney later recalled when he was writing this song that “I had in mind a black woman, rather than a bird.

Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about.” It’s easy to see just how much emotion is infused into his guitar playing here. It’s often considered one of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s favorite songs since it reminds them so much about civil rights issues that they were passionate about during their time together with The Beatles.

If you want to play this song but don’t want to use a capo, then take your first finger off the D string altogether as it isn’t needed! Not only is playing open d tuning without using a capo fun, but sometimes other forms such as drop d or regular open tunings work better, too, depending on what sound you’re going for!


Song To The Siren

Genre: Rock, Release: 1970

The next song on our list is “Song to the Siren” by Tim Buckley. It’s a folk-rock ballad that has been covered lots of times over the years… it was released as the first single from his fourth studio album in 1970. Originally, it was dedicated to the actress Denny Doherty (who was in The Mamas & Papas), but Tim Buckley later changed it to be about his girlfriend Mary Guibert.

If you’re trying to learn open d tuning and don’t want to use a capo, then this song is perfect for you. The finger positioning here isn’t too complicated either, so beginners will be able to play it with ease!


Landslide

Genre: Folk Rock, Release: 1975

We continue with our list with “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac! It was written and sung by Stevie Nicks back in 1975. The song is a slow ballad about her failing relationship with Lindsey Buckingham and how she’s starting to lose hope that it can be repaired (explicitly referring to the landslide as something like an avalanche that won’t stop heading towards earth!)

If you’re interested in playing open d tuning using drop D, then this might just be the perfect place for you since there are no barre chords here at all, so check out some tutorials online if you need them!


Piece Of My Hard

Genre: Rock, Release: 1968

The next song on our list is “Piece of my Heart” by Janis Joplin. It’s a slow ballad that has been covered countless times over the years and was originally written back in 1968 for Big Brother and The Holding Company, but then later recorded it herself after she left them!

If you’re interested in playing open d tuning without using a capo, then this might just be your perfect match since only Es are used here so there aren’t any barre chords or tricky finger positioning to worry about at all, really!


Castles Made Of Sand

We continue with our list with another iconic track…this time from Jimi Hendrix himself called “Castles Made Of Sand.’ It had its live premiere during one of his concerts back in 1967 before it was released on his second studio album Axis: Bold As Love which marked the end of his time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

It’s another folk-rock ballad that has three chords in total (D, G, and A), so if you’re looking for an easy song to play open d tuning without using a capo, then this one is definitely worth checking out!


Let it be

The next track on our list was written by George Harrison back in 1970 during his time with The Beatles and released as the b-side to their single “Let it Be” (recorded more than a year after they officially broke up).

If you want to learn how to play open d tuning without using a capo, then this is definitely one of the best songs out there meant for beginners since almost everything here is played with Es, so there aren’t any pesky barre chords at all… it won’t be easy though if it were too simple!


If You Have To Know

We continue now with “If you Have To Know” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was released as the first single from his debut album back in 1983 and has been played on numerous radio stations since then!

If you’re looking to learn how to play open d tuning without using a capo, then this might be one of the easiest ones out there, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you want more difficult songs too! The finger positioning here isn’t complicated at all… in fact, most are Es, so only two different chords are used throughout (E minor & E major).


Don’t Look Back

The next song we have is “Don’t Look Back” by Boston which originally appeared on their second studio album called Don’t Look Back, which came out in 1978. It was written about former lead singer Brad Delp who tragically died back in 2007.

If you’re looking to play some easy open d tuning songs without a capo, then this one is definitely the best place to start since there are no barre chords here at all!


I Won’t Back Down

The next song on our list comes from Tom Petty with “I Won’t Back Down,” which was released as the first single off his debut solo album Full Moon Fever, but was actually written way before that.. back when he was still part of The Traveling Wilburys (a supergroup consisting of Tom Petty and the late Roy Orbison) under their second studio album called Vol. III where it appeared as well.

It’s another folk-rock ballad-like Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” which we mentioned earlier.


Wild Horses

Finally, the last song on our list comes from The Rolling Stones and goes by the name ‘Wild Horse.” It was initially released in late 1971 but re-released back in 1990 for their compilation album called Hot Rocks 1964-1971, where it appeared as well. It’s another folk ballad that sounds like something Neil Young would’ve written (with his soft voice) with only two chords used throughout, too.

So if you’re looking for some easy songs to play in open d tuning without using a capo, then this might be your perfect match since most are Es here!


Is Open D Tuning Bad for a Guitar

A lot of guitarists have different ways of tuning guitars. Is open D tuning bad for a guitar? Well, generally, you should not have any trouble if you decide to tune your guitar in open D, even if you do it for a period of time.

Expert Tip: It doesn’t involve tuning higher for the strings than they would normally be if it’s tuned to standard, as long as you’re not causing any unnecessary stress on the guitar’s saddle or neck—if it’s an acoustic guitar.

Nonetheless, several things must be kept in mind, though, since the laws of inertia definitely apply here. If you keep your guitar in open D for some time, it’s will undergo a time of adjustment, if you decide you have got to play it in standard.

The guitar’s strings need some adjustment before getting used to being stretched to its normal tension again, as the guitar’s tuning may not hold initially.

Conclusion

We have reached the end of our list and learned how to play open d tuning without using a capo for 15 songs already! If you’re looking for more easy-to-play open d songs, then these are definitely worth checking out…some might be easier than others, though, so don’t be surprised if some chords look different from each other as well since we won’t always use them barre chords here.

So what do you think about them? Are there any songs that should’ve been included in this top 15 instead? Let us know in the comment section below!

About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!