Open F Tuning: How To Do It & What You Need To Know

When it comes to Open F tuning, it’s where guitar strings are tuned to create an F major chord when played open & creates a full & mesmerizing chorus sound. This type of guitar tuning has gained popularity among guitarists seeking new sonic landscapes and is a favorite among blues, folk, and rock musicians.

Its rich, resonant tones make it a gateway to captivating and soulful guitar playing, offering limitless creative potential and a world of ethereal melodies and enchanting harmonies. In this article we cover some of the basics, how to do it, as well as answer some commonly asked questions. Stay tuned!

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Related: What are the guitar string names

Open F Tuning Basics

Open F tuning is an alternative guitar tuning that deviates from the conventional standard tuning. In Open F tuning, the strings are tuned to create an F major chord when strummed open, resulting in a distinct and resonant sound without having to fret any notes.

Unlike standard tuning, in which the strings are typically tuned to E-A-D-G-B-E from low to high, Open F tuning is set to F-A-C-F-C-F

When comparing Open F tuning to other open tunings, such as Open G or Open D, there are notable differences in the resulting chord shapes and tonal characteristics. Open F tuning provides its own set of chord voicings and fingerings, which may suit certain musical styles or compositions better than other open tunings. 

Finally, the intervals between the strings in Open F tuning are a perfect fourth, a perfect fifth, a perfect fourth, a major third, a perfect fourth, and a perfect fourth again. These intervals create a rich and open sound, allowing for lush chord progressions and intricate fingerpicking patterns.

Related: How many guitar tunings are there?

How To Tune Your Guitar to Open F

To tune your guitar to Open F, simply adjust the tuning peg of each string until it sounds in unison to the video below.

Go about this 1 string at a time until you go through all six strings.

Once finished, be sure to give the strings a strum & re-check them to make sure you’ve achieved some tuning stability.

Related: What are the notes of each guitar string (standard tuning)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Open F Tuning

Like all things, this configuration comes with its pros & cons. Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages of Open F Tuning

Rich and resonant sound: 

The open and full-bodied resonance of Open F tuning creates a distinct and captivating sound. The changed string tension and distinct chord voicings create a rich harmonic palette that allows for expressive and emotive playing.

Easy chord formations: 

One of the primary benefits of Open F tuning is the ease with which chords can be formed. Many common chord shapes become easier to execute with the strings already tuned to create an F major chord, making it more accessible for beginners and facilitating quick chord changes during performances.

Playing style versatility and flexibility:

Open F tuning accommodates a wide range of playing styles and genres. It is especially popular in blues, folk, and rock music, but it is also used in other genres. It gives players the opportunity to experiment with slide techniques, intricate fingerpicking patterns, and creative song arrangements.

Disadvantages of Open F Tuning:

Learning curve for switching from standard tuning to Open F tuning: 

Transitioning from standard tuning to Open F tuning can be challenging, especially for guitarists accustomed to traditional chord shapes and fretboard patterns. Adjusting finger positions and memorizing new chord formations may take some time.

Learning resources are limited in availability: 

When compared to standard tuning or more common alternative tunings, the availability of learning resources specifically tailored to Open F tuning may be more limited. This can make it more difficult for beginners to find comprehensive tutorials, chord charts, or songbooks, necessitating some additional effort and exploration.

Other Alternate Guitar Tunings

Standard D tuning

Open D tuning

Drop D guitar tuning

Drop C guitar tuning

How to tune a 7 string guitar

How to tune an 8 string guitar

How to tune a 12 string guitar

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Frequently Asked Questions

What opening tuning for slide blues?

Open D tuning is the most commonly used open tuning for slide blues guitar. When the guitar strings are strummed openly in Open D tuning, they produce a D major chord. From low to high, the tuning is typically D-A-D-F#-A-D. 

This tuning produces a rich, resonant sound that is ideal for slide guitar playing. The open strings combine to form a D major chord, which allows for easy slide movement and the creation of bluesy melodies and licks. Open D tuning has been used to great effect by many legendary blues slide guitarists, including Robert Johnson and Duane Allman.

What is an open F chord?

An open F chord is a finger position on the guitar fretboard that when strummed open produces a F major chord. In an open F chord, the index finger is typically placed across the first fret, preventing all strings from being played. The middle finger is placed at the second fret on the second string (B string), the ring finger at the third fret on the third string (G string), and the pinky finger at the third fret on the fourth string (D string). 

The remaining strings are left open so that when strummed, they can ring out. This finger positioning produces the distinctive sound of a F major chord in an open position, allowing guitarists to easily play and incorporate the chord into their playing.

What is F key on guitar?

The musical key of F major is represented by the key of F on a guitar. The F note serves as the tonic or “home” note in the key of F major. The F major scale is frequently used as a reference when playing in the key of F, starting on the F note and following the pattern of whole and half steps to create the seven notes of the scale (F, G, A, B-flat, C, D, and E).

F major, G minor, A minor, B-flat major, C major, D minor, and E diminished are all common chords in the key of F. Guitarists can create melodies and chord progressions in the key of F by using these chords and incorporating the F major scale.

What is the most used 7-string tuning?

The most common 7-string tuning is the “standard” 7-string tuning, also known as B standard tuning. The guitar strings in this tuning are tuned to the following pitches, from low to high: B-E-A-D-G-B-E.

The addition of a seventh string, tuned to a low B, broadens the guitar’s range and allows the player to access lower notes for heavier and more aggressive styles of music. This tuning is popular in metal, djent, and progressive rock genres, where the low B string adds depth and heaviness to the guitar sound. It allows for chugging power chords and intricate riffing on the lower strings while keeping the higher strings in standard guitar tuning.

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