Rolling Stones Guitar in Open G
Keith Richards guitar chords
What's the all-time best Rolling Stones track? The answer is at the bottom of this page! Personally I love the guitar style of Keith Richards - if you play it properly in Open G tuning, it is also a lot of fun to play. For a long time it has been common knowledge that Keef removes string 6, the lowest sounding string.
Really I didn't think this was a great idea, because it takes away some options - but I am now converted. Everything in the Keef style becomes much easier with a 5 string guitar set - up. It tends to focus the sound and prevent the muddy tone you can get with the detuned 6th string.
- Most Stones material can be played with this tuning.
- You can also use it to play slide guitar.
- The two most important chords shapes are shown: just a straight barre chord on strings 1 to 5, or the same barre with an Am7 shape on top - nearly always using a hammer on or pull off for the added notes. The video by a Youtube guitarist shows this clearly.
Using open G chords
To tune your guitar to Open G tuning:
- Tune strings 1 and 6 down to D, string 5 goes down to G
- You should now be tuned D G D G B D (low to high)
- For correct Keef tuning, remove string 6
- Use some amp distortion on a Telecaster if possible, but keep it fairly clean
- If you use frets 0, 5, 7, 12 this tuning works for slide guitar too.
- Most of the chord shapes will work for Open D tuning as well, just by moving the whole shape down one string. So if you want to learn Open D, you are not starting from scratch and can use much of the chord vocabulary you have already learned.
- This tuning is also used by Sheryl Crow for If it Makes You Happy - maybe because she used to sing backing vocals for The Stones.
Open G chords: Keith Richards style
Chord diagrams explanation
- The first chord pictures show Brown Sugar chords in Open G. Note that these are almost the same as the video example, but there is no string 6, and you start with an open string 5
- Next line shows boogie or Chuck Berry style chords. Either 0,2,3,2 or 0,2,0,2 patterns on string 5.
- Sliding 3rds : a favourite fill, playing two notes together, and sliding the shape down the neck.
- Then the bend for Honky Tonk Blues. String 3 goes up a tone, don't hurt yourself.
- Finally, riff notes for Jumpin' Jack Flash riff.
Youtube is awash with video material for Keith Richards style. Here are some great examples of Rolling Stones songs in Open G:
Honky Tonk Women
Jumpin Jack Flash
Keith Richards style chords in Open G tuning
Open G chords, ballad style
Keef isn't always the wild man of rock - picture him instead in his library, patiently classifying his exquisite collection of antique books with the Dewey decimal system!
In these quieter and more reflective times he may be found strumming a Martin acoustic, maybe playing Wild Horses in Open G tuning. It's one of the all - time greats of acoustic guitar, combined with a Nashville or high tuned second guitar part on the Sticky Fingers album. For this song you don't really need to remove the 6th string, but it isn't used much.
- Try raking the strings to bring out all the notes in the chords
- Some chord names are simplified
- I've shown the whole harmonised scale for G Open G tuning - this song doesn't use the F sharp m 7b5 chord, or the Em - but it's good to have the whole picture.
- Intro is G to Am7
- Verse starts Bm, G
- Chorus starts with Am7
- F/C chord is for the guitar break