Open D Blues Scale in D
Since Open D guitar tuning is “ready made” for playing songs in the key of D, it is important to learn both the layout of the neck and what scales you can play in D. You can play any scale (major, minor, pentatonic, etc) in any key but the type of scale you use will definitely have a direct impact on the sound and style of your playing.
Since Open D is heavily relied on by blues players we will be focusing on the blues scale. Since D will be the easiest key to learn in with this tuning we will be focusing this blues scale on the key of D.
A blues scale in the key of D consists of the following notes: D, F, G, G#, A, and C (returning to the “tonic” or root note of D after C resolves the scale so we have included it on our diagrams below). The first diagram shows the D blues scale played in the open position on the 5th and 6th strings.
If you are accustomed to playing the blues scale in standard tuning, you will notice that this pattern seems awkward at first. However, once you begin to memorize the layout of the notes on the neck (and practice!) it becomes much easier.
Blues Scale in D mapped for the entire neck up to 12 Frets:
Once you know the scales and note positions it becomes much easier to play anything you want in the key of D: