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Blues Slide guitar

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Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 680
Topic starter  

So I been thinkin' bout the days of the Delta blues and I want to recreate that on my guitar I have a decent tab of Robert Johnson's Crossroad blues on guitar pro and its tuned down to open G.

I don't really know what I'm doing though admittedly it sounds ok so I'm not going to lose hope on this, though I doubt I'll ever do it quite like Robert Johnson.

Does anyone have any tips on how to play blues in this tuning? It feels like starting again and relearning the instrument, I'm not sure exactly which notes to hit or how to form chords in this tuning..... so anyone know where to start besides trying to learn this Robert Johnson tune?



P.s I'm using an acoustic guitar and a Metal slide if thats any help

together we stand, divided we fall..........

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

Open G's by far the most common tuning used in Delta blues. Some think that RJ recorded in it, but with the disc slowed down so at "normal" speed it's faster and higher.

Used to be some good introductory lessons over on Big Road Blues, and the founder of the board Brian "Doc Mojo" Robertson has a CD set on CDBaby, I think. Really, though, most folks learn by listening and imitating. The action's all around the open strings, third, fifth, seventh and twelfth frets. With fretted shuffles and such and alternating string thumb rhythm thrown in. Look here for help with chords in any tuning:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

I play open G (GBDGBD or high bass G). there are blues licks all over the place.

I don't do Tab on line, but I could chart out some things by hand and mail them to you.
PM me.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480

I play open G (GBDGBD or high bass G). there are blues licks all over the place.

I don't do Tab on line, but I could chart out some things by hand and mail them to you.
PM me.

Hey Dogbite, I'd be interested too. I leave on in open-G and just put another one into open E. Gonna try my hand at those two.

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 503

The open-G (both low and high bass) is no doubt the easiest one to figure out for someone who is already familiar with standard tuning. Strings 2-4 are the same and the 1st string is dropped one whole step so it's more of a natural extension of the other 3. So all the familiar chord triads and moves are still there on strings 2-4...


"Play to express, not to impress"
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Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 123

You might find this helpful, as I just finished watching it, and am tuning a guitar to Open G right now.

Instructor Mel Reeves goes over this blues and opening tuning in his "Complete Acoustic Guitar - Lesson 2: Classical Acoustic, Django Style Jazz, and Slide Style" downloaded DVD. This is about a 42 minute video, and what you are after is toward the end.

This video is available for download at:

I think they have a two week "free" subscription to this for free, and you can watch scores of their musical instruction video's as part of the subscription.

Their normal subscription is about 10 bucks a month, which I pay as I also use the video's for the keyboard in addition to the guitar.

As a side note, I have found Mel Reeves stuff very helpful to watch with what I am learning here at the guitarnoise site. Sometimes you just can't beat a professional instructor, with top knotch graphics to help some of this be a little clearer.

Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 124

If you are trying to get that sound, give up... but you can do the song with YOUR sound and it'll be great. You have to remember that after you take into consideration the limits of recording technology, the limits of available strings (some bluesers had to string their guitars with hardware store wire), the unavoidable changes brought with transferring the recordings from one format to the other, etc., what it sounded like when RJ played it and what you hear bear very little resemblance to each other. It gives you a great template though and you can make it yours with some dedicated work.

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 128

I would be greatly interested in Open G resources. I've been doing some research, and here's some I've found that I'm going to look into:

Learning requires a willingness to be bad at something for awhile.