What Type of Guitar is Best for Open Tunings?
A guitar is a guitar. If you are looking to play in Open D Tuning and are wondering if you need to have an acoustic or need to have and electric the short answer is that it doesn’t matter. There is however an “ideal” setup as explained below, especially when it comes to playing Open D AND Open E.
It all comes down to how each type of guitar handles string tension.
Acoustic guitars and electric guitars do have their share of differences. As such it is recommended that if you want to play in true Open D Tuning you will use an acoustic guitar. If you were to try and play in Open E the strings put a bit more tension on the neck than is ideal. Therefore, tuning to Open D and using a capo is the best way to play Open E on an acoustic.
On an electric, Open D tuning has less than ideal string tension. You can still play whatever you want but you will notice that the strings often feel a bit “sloppy”. Therefore Open E tuning is ideal on an electric. If you are playing with another guitarist or a band it is quite simple to get them to use a capo and switch over to E.
You can play around with this yourself and see what you find. If you have both an acoustic and electric guitar try switching between the two tunings and using your capo. You may be surprised at how difficult it is to play in a non-capo Open E on an acoustic, and how loose your strings are on an Open D electric.