Watch the Course Primer online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Open Tuning Handbook: Rhythm
In summary, this is how I've laid out the course:
- Naming the strings in each tuning
- Playing diatonic chords in the "key" of the tuning (I, II, III, etc.)
- Playing "Let It Be" in each tuning
- Playing and breaking down the etudes – 3 levels for each tuning
I've created etudes for each tuning in 3 different levels, starting with "late beginner" and reaching into the early and late intermediate levels. However,
I encourage you to customize these exercises if you need to. The progressions are simple. Most of the chord shapes are pretty simple (occasional stretch required!). You can always make an exercise more challenging by increasing the speed, or perhaps playing it in a different time signature (if it's in 4/4, try 3/4 or evern 5/4!). You can use a strumming or fingerpicking pattern that's more difficult. Similarly, if you need to make something simpler, try it ultra-slowly, use a more basic strumming or picking pattern. The most important thing is to begin to hear the new sounds, chords and possibilities the tunings bring forth!
- I'll often refer to chords with numbers, which refer to scale tones (diatonic). In each tuning, there's a central "key" around which we can most easily build these chords.
- To indicate which fingers to use with your picking hand on picking etudes, I've used the Italian system of fingering called p-i-m-a. p=thumb, i=index, m=middle, a=ring.
- Don't be surprised if you have to "coax" your strings into staying in tune. They are not used to all this changing around! Use your tuner, and after a while, try just using your ear. The more you use it, the better it will get! (good skill for a musician.)
For those who are interested, let me go just a little deeper into the theory. Go to this website
for a great explanation. Diatonic chords are built upon the notes in a major scale. Since we have 7 notes (plus the octave) in a scale, there are 7 diatonic chords for each key. 3 are major, 2 are minor, and one is diminished. Millions of songs in hundreds of genres use combinations of these 7 chords to create their structure. It follows then, that if you're familiar with these chords you can play or compose and endless amount of music!