Eric Clapton used open-A tuning when he recorded “Come On In My Kitchen” for 2004’s Me and Mr Johnson album. Jack White employed the same tuning (E-A-E-A-C#-E) on his 2003 monster smash hit “Seven Nation Army.” Little Feat’s Lowell George was also a big fan of open-A. Remember “Apolitical Blues?” Get it—“A” political blues. No doubt, for slide players and their fans, open-A has assumed an important role in blues-rock music history.
A Favorite With Music Artists
While the legendary Duane Allman was known for picking in open-E, open-A is a popular electric blues-rock tuning that has been used by several notable slide guitar music artists. For instance, Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter favored open-A in several of their recordings. Probably because open-A is just a step above open-G (D-G-D-G-B-D) which Waters often used in his innovative brand of blues music. While open-D is closely associated with the sound of Mississippi hill country blues, open-G was a popular Delta tuning.
So, if you are a slide guitarist looking to sound like Waters, Winter, Clapton, White, or George, use open-A tuning. Give it a try.
Image: Blues artist Muddy Waters at the opening of Peaches Records & Tapes in Rockville, MD – Greg Goode, Ft. Lauderdale, FL./Creative Commons.