11 alternate and open tunings every guitarist should know

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs on stage at Brixton Academy on September 18, 2013 in London, England
Chris Cornell and Soundgarden were frequent users of altered tunings (Image credit: Marc Broussely/Redferns via Getty Images)

Standard guitar tuning, in which the strings are tuned, low to high, to E A D G B E, has been extensively explored and mined for riffs, licks and chord voicings by generations of guitarists.

While its familiarity is beneficial, in terms of the numerous fretboard shapes and patterns you’ve invested so much time in learning, that can sometimes work against you, as it can be a creative challenge to not keep playing all those same ingrained chords and licks from habit.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.