I am trying to master Russian 7-string guitar which has Open G tuning. Unfortunately, there is so little literature on this instrument for dummies like me. Now with the Open G I have to decide whether to play major chords D, Eb E, F using simple barre on frets 7 and more (technically it is lot easier for me), or to use different chord positions without barre on first frets (which is more difficult, I have much longer pauses changing chords). For me, both variants of chords sound Ok. What is the reccomended strategy for beginner players in Open G? How to better play major chords - in a more convinient way or the other ways due to some (unforseen by me at this time) reasons?

  • I've never played a 7 string guitar, but I would have thought that the idea of open tuning is to be able to finger some chords more easily. If the transitions sound right to you, there is no reason why you shouldn't go for the easier fingering. In the future, for certain pieces it might be better to know the open fingerings, but for now... why not? The whole reason I don't want to learn alternate tunings is that it would mean starting over fom scratch pretty much...
    – mkorman
    Mar 25, 2020 at 11:10
  • Thank you. Yes, I switched from the standard 6-string and I am amazed that the most chords are much easier. On the other hand, there seems to be much more hand positions for one chord and it is cognitively more demanding to decide which one to choose in a particular chords combination.
    –  Ivan.S
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


What I do with students, to help them understand chords on standard guitars, is to make a list of notes needed, for example, E major is E G♯ and B. Then try to find a set of those notes on frets close to each other. Not always easy, or doable, but it produces some chord shapes, most of which are the ones found in many chord charts.

I suggest you do the same, muting offending strings as and when necessary. Make a copy of the chord shapes as you go.

My Russian 7 string was tuned the moment I bought it, to standard, with a low B. That's what I thought it should be! Awful action, sounds bad, so it's just a momento now.

  • Thank you very much. Yes, the standard here is DBGDBGD or it may be DBGDBbGD (Gypsy tuning)
    –  Ivan.S
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:48

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