Open tunings sound different and there are a couple of principle reasons. The intervals between the notes are different which has a big impact on the sound. The detuned strings also have a different tension so there is a change in pitch but more importantly this means acoustic instruments resonate differently.

This tuning only retunes 2 strings – the low E string stays the same; the A string is tuned up a tone to B; the D string stays the same; the G string stays the same; the B string is tuned up a semi-tone to C; the high E string stays the same.

This tuning works well in the key of C (C D E F G A B) and it’s really good to experiment with different chord positions and shapes. As open tunings tend to result in different chord shapes, it may take a while to experiment to get some sounds you like but I’m sure you will.

I’ve included a fretboard diagram of notes and a few chord shapes to get you started:

EBDGCE open tuning-page0001
EBDGCE open tuning-page0002

Quite a long time ago I transcribed the song You and the Mona Lisa from the album ‘A Few Small Repairs’ by Shawn Colvin. I did this for 3 guitars using this tuning for one of the guitar parts. I’ve included the link to this document to give another idea how you can use open tunings in your arrangements. The video for the song is embedded below, like all of Shawn’s albums this is very highly recommended, definitely check out this one and some of Shawn’s other albums if you haven’t heard them.

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