DADGAD: “Almost Open D Tuning”

DADGAD tuning, sometimes referred to as “Celtic Tuning” is only slightly different than typical open d tuning. The easy thing about this tuning (pronounced “DAD-GAD” by the way) is that the name itself tells you how it is tuned. The only difference from typical open d is that the F# in open d is tuned up a half-step to a G. You can watch the tuning video on our homepage and simply adjust your F# to achieve the desired result. You can also read the following if you’d like to stay on this page:

  • Tune your E (1st) string to D
  • Tune your B (2nd) string to A
  • Tune your other E (6th) to D

There you have it. It is quite easy as you leave half of your strings untouched and you change the other 3 by only one step.

DADGAD is sometimes referred to as “Celtic Tuning” because of its frequent use in Celtic, Irish folk and other forms of music originating from the British Isles. DADGAD allows for many chords to be played with open strings which often can add the characteristic drone heard in a lot of the Celtic music you might encounter.

Some of the more famous songs you may have heard that utilize DADGAD tuning include:

  • She Moved Through the Fair – Davey Graham (Davey Graham is often credited with “inventing” this tuning after traveling the world and being exposed to foreign music)
  • Kashmir – Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page was heavily influenced by Davey Graham and even “borrowed” from his music early on in Led Zeppelin’s career. Kashmir however, is an original and unique tune that has been etched into rock and roll history)
  • Drifting – Andy Mckee (Anybody who wants to see phenomenal guitar playing in action should watch one of Andy’s videos)

Much like open d, DADGAD is a tuning that provides guitarists with a great time fingerpicking, strumming and playing slide. It packs quite a punch with its de-tuned depth while still allowing for a lot of musical versatility. Hopefully you find time to test this tuning out. Don’t be shy, as we showed it is only one slight adjustment away from open d tuning anyway.

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