Open C

The method used in this tutorial is an alternative stringed instrument tuning method known as Open “C” tuning.

Take any guitar and tune it to match the notes in the diagram on the right. If you need to use a you tube video, or don’t you don’t happen to have a tuner handy,  just click the video play link to have the video guide you.

Open C: CGCgce

This tuning configuration is a popular 12 string or slide guitar tuning but you can also use this on any 6 string guitar as well, even bass, banjo etc. When you play just the open strings you will get a deep rich C Major Chord. 

Step 1: 6th String – C

You can use any C on the guitar as a reference tone. The closest one is the 3rd fret of the 5th string. Fret the 5th string on the 3rd fret and loosen the tuning peg of the 6th string so that they are in harmony. You are lowering it 4 semitones you may have to turn your peg a full turn or more.

Step 2: 5th String – G

To get the 5th string you will need to use a reference tone that is a G. If you’re coming from Standard Tuning the 3rd string is a G. This time you are going to lower the string one full step. Pick the 2 open strings (5th and 3rd) and loosen the 5th string tuning peg until they harmonize.

Step 3: Fourth String – C

Since this is a C, just like your fattest string you can just pluck those 2 strings together and adjust the 4th string until it matches the pitch of the 6th string from step one.

Step 4: 3rd String – G

If you started with Standard Tuning, it’s already a G

Step 5: 2nd String – C

This one you will need to raise up one note. Pick it together with the open 4th or 6th string (if you followed the above steps, both now should be C’s). Pick the 4th string and 2nd string together, and tighten the 2nd string tuning peg until they are they same pitch.

Step 6: 1st String – E

If you started in Standard Guitar Tuning, the 1st string will already be an E, so you can leave it as it is, and that’s all there is to it.

Once you have done these steps, your guitar is in Open “C” tuning, and can be played very simply and easily with as few fingers as you like!

Many songs can be played with this configuration. If you bar your finger across the entire fret board, this is a chord, in fact, this can be broken down into 3 separate distinct chords.

The easiest way to stay in key is to use specific positions on specific frets. Open, of course is C, then use the positions 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12 – repeat..

This graph below shows what our changes are from standard tuning to open c.





String   Standard   Open C
    6      E     C
    5      A     G
    4      D     C
    3      g     g
    2      b     c
    1      e     e