Keef's biog and open tuning

DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,328Member
Some of my lockdown reading has been Keith Richards' autobiography. I skipped most of the druggy bits but there's some interesting guitar related stuff in it. He talks about discovering open tunings, in particular open G. I take it this is D-G-D-G-B-D? (I'm assuming you can only lower the pitch of strings, not raise them, to avoid breakages.) He also says he didn't use the lowest string, so he took it off and later had special 5-string guitars made for this tuning.

Thinking about it, I wonder if an open G minor tuning would work: lower the B string to Bb. Then you could play minor chords as simple barres, but major chords would also be easy as they'd be a barre with a second finger on the B string. Has anyone tried this? Does it work?

It would also be interesting to try an open D tuning: D-A-D-F#-A-D. Or open D minor, as above but with the F# dropped to F natural.

I think I'm going to have to play around with these myself!



  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    I've not read the book and I don't experiment much with other tunings (Joni Mitchell is a master of that).
    What I have noticed in recent years is that Keefs fingers/joints look swollen, I wonder if some form of arthritis has encouraged him to adapt his playing. Can't take away the brilliance and success of the man though.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    I’m willing to bet you can tune the thing however you like. Experimentation is the root of all great music.
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,328Member
    I've now blocked the tremelo on my Cort G270 (bought from Richard in an online sale many years ago). I used two wood blocks, to prevent the bridge moving in either direction. The tuning is now rock solid. I've been experimenting with open D tuning (D-A-D-F#-A-D) and finding it's pretty easy to get Keef-like sounds. Despite not having touched a guitar for years and my fingers having gone all soft. :-)
  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 388Member
    I have tried open tunings for slide, but gave up as I have enough issues finding notes in regular tuning :blush:
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    I loved Keef’s autobiography, but I did find it seemed to jump about chronologically. Probably just a feature of his addled mind! Ronnie Wood’s autobiography gives an interesting counterpoint - the same events from a different perspective
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