I learned some Guitar songs in default tuning. Now i discovered that there are many other tuning available in which people play awesome guitar, as it's easy to do tapping ,play percussive style guitar on these.

So my question if i play the same song (learned in default tuning) on other tuning will it work ?

  • You will have to learn a new fingering for the same song, but once you do then it should work.
    – user50691
    Oct 16, 2019 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


Sure - but in general, you have to learn a whole bunch of new chord shapes.

If you use Dropped D (where the E string is down a tone to D and everything else stays the same) than you can of course play everything the same on the top 5 strings.

If you get more adventurous and try say DADGAD (check out Pierre Bensusan!) then you really need to learn new chords shapes. Everything has changed.

I highly encourage it though. Alternate tunings are fun.

  • Plus, some songs get easier when played in the alternate tunings. "Cinnamon Girl" (Neil Young), "That's the Way" (Led Zeppelin) and "Fearless" (Pink Floyd) come to mind.
    – Duston
    Oct 16, 2019 at 14:35
  • There are plenty of open and altered tunings that actually require fewer fingers to play. Blues and country especially. "Midnight Special" springs to mind. Even lifting the bass strings up an octave for rhythm, skiffle. Any decent reference will cover examples.
    – mckenzm
    Oct 17, 2019 at 0:35
  • yes it depends a lot on the song. In many open tunings things get more modal, more chords where lots of roots and fifths ring out a lot. I love that sound, but that's also why I suggest Bensusan because he shows that you can still play more colourful chords in those modal sounding open tunings. But of course, as always it depends what you want to do.
    – danmcb
    Oct 17, 2019 at 21:23

Sometimes songs are written with the help of different tunings. Put them into standard, and they may well be impossible to play. And they wouldn't sound so authentic. The use of open strings in some tunings is their benchmark. That and particular voicings which would be tricky in standard tuning.

So, basically, yes, a lot of stuff would work either way, but new fingerings would make the job onerous, and some open string sounds would disappear. Experiment with different tunings - maybe invent your own!


Two options for you

  1. Proceed with what you’re thinking... even though it’s not the typical use case for alternate tuning

  2. Learn a song that’s written to be played on alternate tuning. Typical use cases for alternate tuning are:

    • it’s easier to play that way
    • sounds better played that way

Example songs that uses alternate tuning:

Outshined by Soundgarden - Drop D - DADGBE

Even Flow by Pearl Jam - Open D tuning - DADF#AD

Iris by Googoo dolls - BDDDDD

She Talks to Angels by The Black Crows - EBEG#BE

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