Probably the most recognized open tuning, DADGAD, has permeated Celtic, American roots, blues, and fingerstyle genres, just to name a few. Many trace the tuning back to Davey Graham, one of the most influential guitarists in the British folk music scene of the 60’s. Graham had a great influence on guitarists as diverse as Bert Jansch, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, John Martyn, Paul Simon and Jimmy Page, who in turn influenced players such as the French-Algerian guitarist, Pierre Bensusan who uses DADGAD exclusively in his music, which is most often characterized as Celtic, folk, World music, New Age, or chamber jazz.

The etude I’ve composed for this tuning reflects two sides of this uber versatile tuning; a modal, roots feel showing its blues influence, as well as a more new age or folk feel, which highlights the lush, rich chord voicings that are so easily found here. Take note of the basso ostinato in the first section where we allow the low 6th string (E) to ring throughout the first three chord changes.

In the first section, when playing the single note descending scale phrase, see what works for you – you can pick each note or you may want to do some pull-offs. Notice the middle finger of my left hand subtly muting the 6th string on the C#m11 chord in the second section. Can you do that? It’s a great skill to have. After a while, it becomes second nature!

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