Old time Blues masters like Muddy Waters and Bukka White usually referred to Vestapol tuning (151351) with the major third tuned down a half step to the minor third as Cross Note Tuning (151b351)

Actually this is the same as Open Minor tuning. Although, they did not play a minor blues. Instead by fretting the third string, they had a major chord again. Lifting the finger was the same sound you get when playing in standard tuning, fingering an open position E chord and lifting your first finger to open the third string.

This tension between major and minor third is an important element in that blues sound. Although, not commonly associated with traditional blues, by tuning the third string up to g, the guitar is now in DADgad tuning. This is another very popular open tuning.

So, by just retuning one string in Vestapol tuning, you can play in 3 different tunings and create 3 very different musical ideas: DADf#ad...DADfad...DADgad.

I am using 151b351 tuning in this video. Key of C (CGCeflatgc) Listen, I pick out the minor chord at the end.


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Comment by Keni Lee Burgess on April 20, 2012 at 9:02am

Thank you Scot,

Yes, CD 5 is for 4 string CBG. You can start anywhere in the series because the CD are individually comprehensive. As a whole, the series presents an approach to playing in open tunings, that it does not matter how many strings are on the instrument or the tuning is different. Once you understand the material, you can apply it in many various ways. Please feel free to write, if any questions arise as you work through the lessons. Enjoy your practice, Keni Lee      

Comment by Flippin 9's (Scot C.) on April 20, 2012 at 8:26am

Hello Mr. Burgess, I was at your ebay store to buy instuctions for the four string. And all I could see was four string CD 5. Is that where the four string lessons start?

Comment by Keni Lee Burgess on March 29, 2012 at 3:09pm

Thank you Kid for replying. Playing scales is definitely a good way to improve your fnger skills, but more importantly use them to understand two note doublestops (chord fragments) and basic 3 note triads. This way, you begin to understand how to play lead over chord changes and create melody lines, runs, and fills that sound appropriate. Enjoy.       

Comment by The Phrygian Kid on March 28, 2012 at 3:11pm
Most students learn a musical instrument by running scales. Scales scales scales. The guitar and it's fretted brothers are unusual because the majority of guys start out putting chords together from maps. Which is great, cos you can knock out wild thing or knockin on heavens door real quick. But it's also a dead end. Chords, one at a time. Takes years actually. Run some scales kids. You know your scales and the chords jump right out at you.
Comment by Keni Lee Burgess on March 28, 2012 at 3:01pm

Thank you ED. Yes, Chord charts are good for reference or when you are just beginning, but they should not be a crutch. Using theory and understanding the notes required to form chords in a lot more enlightening. If you can find the major scale across the strings, you can find the chord there too. Now you have the chord and the associated notes. Furthermore, you understand how extended chords can be formed by adding the neccesary notes from the scale. In my How to Play in Open Tunings: Theory and Practice series of lessons, this will be a future topic. Enjoy your practice.   

Comment by Bad Finger (Eric) on March 28, 2012 at 12:58pm

Like I've said before, a lot of times I find things when I stop looking for them.  If I find a quick cheat sheet, I find that I need to reference it every time to get the detail.  If I work it out myself, then it sticks.  And I've probably invested about the same time.  Zen.

Comment by Keni Lee Burgess on March 27, 2012 at 6:54pm

Thank you turtlehead for your reply. It works well with 3 string CBG too.

GDg (G5 tuning on my CD 4) or GDf (G5 add 7th) or GDa (G5 add 9)

Retune GDg to ADf# (Open D tuning on my CD 6) or ADf (D minor) or ADg (standard guitar chords / moveable e chord).

Oh, the vastness...Enjoy your practice.   

Comment by Keni Lee Burgess on March 27, 2012 at 6:47pm

Thank you ED for replying. Ya, nothing new under the sun. Just got misplaced until we find it again. LOL This is why the old blues masters were so secretive of their approach. Skip James would turn around, if he felt someone was studying his hands too closely. When someone asked Fury Lewis how to play a certain song, he said get lost, learn your own song. That is why I love theory. The patterns slowly reveal themselves as you see the bigger picture. Enjoy your practice and keep exploring.      

Comment by turtlehead on March 27, 2012 at 5:41pm

Good stuff Keni.  I was just playing around with this idea on my four string and I like it both ways for different songs.  Didn't think about the DADgad idea though.  Great way to be versatile with a very simple re-tuning.  Thanks for posting.

Comment by Bad Finger (Eric) on March 27, 2012 at 1:34pm

Thanks for posting Keni.  When I have looked at chord position cheat sheets for 3 and 5 string guitars with a 1,3,5 element, I have always wondered why it isn't a natural choice to flat the 3rd so you get minor tuning as standard and then you just fret the 3 note one fret higher for the major chord.  Surely, I didn't believe I was the only one thinking it.

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