Vestapol tuning…

…is the general term for the relative tuning shared by Open D and Open E. This is a good video that can really improve your ability to properly dissect chords in open tuning. It may be a little advanced for beginners, but that is where our free mini-course and Open D Master Course comes in handy. Below is a rough transcript of what is covered in this video:

Lets take a look at vestapol tuning (sometimes referred to as open d tuning).

Our sixth string is already tuned to D. We’re at A on the fifth string, D on the fourth, take the first string down to D, the second string down to A and the third string down to F#

There is open d tuning: DADF#AD (aka vestapol tuning in the key of D)

Lets take a moment and name/describe those notes in terms of their voice:

D ->Root

A -> five (V)

D -> root

F# -> three (III)

A -> five (V)

d -> root

It so happens that this set of intervals is exactly what you get if you finger an E chord in standard tuning and finger across. So if I put a capo on the second fret and strum the guitar it would sound exactly the same notes on the same strings as someone playing an E chord in standard tuning.

If you are thinking about the tuning in terms of “what does the tuning give me”, the first thing the tuning gives you and probably the most significant thing the tuning gives you is an ability to get an octave bass that is open (you don’t have to finger the fret).

This leaves you free to become more active in the treble. You can run up and down the neck while running the bass on open strings.

A song that is traditionally played a lot in vestapol tuning is “John Henry”. I think you’ll see what vestapol gives us.

Another traditional song is “Steamboat Whistle Blues”.

What does vestapol do to the IV and V chord sounds? It changes them quite a lot.

Example: if you’re playing in D and go to G for our IV chord, you’d have to move a full step. This is one reason why you don’t often hear the IV chord played in vestapol with the root in the bass. On the third sting, if you want to play the same note you would in standard tuning you’d have to go a half-step up (instead of open). The second string has been lowered a full step (use ring finger). The first string is normally on the third fret in standard but it has been lowered so leave it open.

It has a similar shape to B7 in standard tuning.

Now for the V chord in vestapol (an A in this case). Everything has been changed so much you’d have to move all over the neck of the guitar and it is impossible. What we need to do is keep your fifth and fourth strings (since they didn’t change). Now raise a half-step on the fifth string to get your seventh (G from an F#). The second string can stay since it is a root. Just finger the second fret on your high string to finish the chord.


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