The Best 45 Guitar Songs in Open D Tuning (Tabs & Video)

Explore the best 45 songs in open D of all time (according to us dorks).

songs in open d

Open D tuning is an incredible alternate tuning, popular in blues and folk, as our list of songs in Open D confirms.

In Open D the strings are tuned to the notes of a D major chord: D, A, D, F♯, A, D (from the thickest to thinnest string). This allows the guitar to produce a D major chord when all the strings are played, without pressing down any frets.

When I was learning guitar, I thought for a long time that standard tuning was the only way to tune a guitar. But when I began to experiment with alternative tunings a whole world of possibilities opened up.

In fact, it was learning song number 45 on our list that got me into Open D: Oceans by Pearl Jam.

But one of the incredible things about the guitar is that we have the option to tune however we want – allowing us to create a different instrument every time we touch our tuning pegs (kinda).

How to tune to Open D

Switching to Open D from standard tuning is relatively straightforward. It requires adjusting the tuning of four out of the six strings, and it’s unlikely to cause any turning issues or snap a string as the strings are only being lowered.

However, playing in Open D might require some practice, especially if you’re used to standard tuning, as chord shapes and scales will be different.

If your guitar is struggling to hold a tune, check out our article on how to fix it.

The steps to tune to Open D, starting from standard tuning, are as follows. (The strings are numbered 1-6 from the high E string, down to the low E. )

  1. Drop the 6th string (low E string) two notes down to D.
  2. Drop the 3rd string (G string) one note down to F#.
  3. Drop the 2nd string (B string) two notes down to A.
  4. Drop the 1st string (high E string) two notes down to D.

Styles of Open D

Open D tuning offers a richer, more resonant sound, making it ideal for fingerstyle playing, slide guitar, and creating unique chord voicings.

Open D is not to be confused with Drop D, which only has one string lowered – the low E string is lowered to a D. If you’re interested in this turning, check out our list of Drop D songs.

Other song lists

If you’re new to guitar you might want to see our list of guitar songs for beginners.

And if you’re a Bollywood fan, we have a list of guitar songs in Hindi.

Key takeaways:

  • Open D tuning is D-A-D-F♯-A-D, starting with the low 6th string and working towards the high 1st string.
  • Open D works well on electric or acoustic guitar, although it’s more commonly an acoustic guitar tuning
  • By strumming all the strings on the guitar you will play a D major chord
  • It’s a popular tuning for slide guitar, and often used by blues guitarist
  • It’s also a popular turning for folk music, with many fingerstyle guitarists including it in their repertoire
  • The best way to learn Open D turning is to dive into one of our songs below and start experimenting
Table of Contents

Songs in Open D:

1. “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons

“The Cave” is a song by the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons, released as the third single from their debut studio album, “Sigh No More”. It was released in the UK on 26 February 2010. The song’s literary influence is evident, with several references to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Its upbeat tempo and passionate lyrics have made it a standout and a favorite among both fans and critics.

The Cave – Mumford and Sons Tab

2. “Little Martha” by the Allman Brothers

“Little Martha” is the only Allman Brothers Band track written solely by guitarist Duane Allman. The instrumental piece showcases Allman’s exceptional slide guitar skills in open D tuning. The song’s intricate melodies and harmonies make it a favorite among guitarists and a must-include in any list of songs in open D.

Little Martha – The Allman Brothers Tab

3. “Dust My Broom” by Elmore James

“Dust My Broom” is a blues standard that has been recorded by numerous artists. Originally titled “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”, the song is known for its upbeat tempo and slide guitar riff. Elmore James’ rendition is perhaps the most famous, with his signature slide guitar sound taking center stage. The song’s lyrics tell of the singer’s desire to leave his unfaithful lover and start anew.

Dust My Broom – Elmore James Tab

4. “Ivy” by Taylor Swift

“Ivy” is a track from Taylor Swift’s 2020 album “evermore”. The song, with its folk-inspired sound, paints a vivid picture of a clandestine love affair. Swift’s storytelling prowess shines through in the lyrics, making “Ivy” a standout track on the album. The song’s intricate guitar work and haunting melodies make it a perfect fit for open D tuning.

Ivy – Taylor Swift Tab

5. “Show-biz Blues” by Fleetwood Mac

“Show-biz Blues” is a testament to Fleetwood Mac’s blues roots. Before they became known for their pop-rock sound in the late 70s, Fleetwood Mac was a blues band. This track showcases their deep understanding and appreciation of the blues genre. The raw guitar sound and soulful lyrics make it a must-listen for any blues or Fleetwood Mac fan.

Show-Biz Blues – Fleetwood Mac Tab

6. “Like Crying” by Fleetwood Mac

“Like Crying” by Fleetwood Mac is a lesser-known track from the band’s early years, showcasing their blues roots. Its melancholic melody and heartfelt lyrics resonate with listeners, making it a perfect fit for our list. The open D tuning allows for a rich, resonant sound that complements the song’s emotional depth.

Like Crying – Fleetwood Mac Tab Search on Ultimate Guitar

7. “The Gardener” by The Tallest Man on Earth

“The Gardener” by The Tallest Man on Earth is a testament to the artist’s intricate fingerpicking style and poetic lyricism. The song’s narrative, combined with its open D tuning, creates a hauntingly beautiful soundscape. Its inclusion in our list highlights the versatility of open D tuning in modern folk music.

The Gardener – The Tallest Man on Earth Tab

8. “Buckets of Rain” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain” from the iconic “Blood on the Tracks” album is a masterclass in songwriting. The open D tuning gives the song a unique tonal quality, enhancing its melancholic feel. Its inclusion in our list is a nod to Dylan’s immense contribution to music and his experimentation with different guitar tunings.

Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan Tab Search on Ultimate Guitar

9. “Magnolia” by Gang of Youths

“Magnolia” by Gang of Youths is a powerful and emotive song that delves deep into the struggles of life, touching on themes of despair, redemption, and the will to carry on. The song’s raw energy and heartfelt lyrics have resonated with many, making it one of the band’s standout tracks. The use of open D tuning in this song adds a layer of depth and resonance, allowing the guitar to sing along with the poignant lyrics.

Tab for “Magnolia” by Gang of Youths

10. “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” is a timeless classic that has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The song’s catchy melody and socially conscious lyrics have made it a favorite among fans and musicians alike. The open D tuning adds a unique twist to the song, giving it a brighter and more vibrant sound.

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell Tab Search on Ultimate Guitar

11. “Simple Twist Of Fate” by Bob Dylan

https://youtube.com/watch?v=sGnhyoP_DSc “Simple Twist Of Fate” is a track from Bob Dylan’s 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks.” This song is a testament to Dylan’s songwriting prowess, with its poignant lyrics and melancholic melody. Its inclusion in our list is a nod to its timeless appeal and the depth of emotion it evokes. Simple Twist Of Fate – Bob Dylan Tab

12. “Lovestain” by Jose Gonzalez

https://youtube.com/watch?v=h13mlTFXvPc “Lovestain” by Jose Gonzalez is a beautifully crafted song that showcases the artist’s unique fingerpicking style. The song’s gentle rhythm and heartfelt lyrics make it a standout track, and its inclusion in our list of popular songs highlights the versatility of open D tuning. Lovestain – Jose Gonzalez Tab

13. “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes

https://youtube.com/watch?v=H58gMiQQRm0 “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes is a rock ballad that has become an anthem for many. The song’s powerful lyrics, combined with its haunting melody, make it a classic. Its inclusion in our list is a testament to its enduring popularity and the depth of emotion it conveys. She Talks To Angels – The Black Crowes Tab

14. “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam

“Even Flow” by Pearl Jam is a grunge classic that showcases the band’s signature sound. The song’s powerful riffs and Eddie Vedder’s distinctive vocals make it a standout track. Its inclusion in our list highlights the versatility of open D tuning in creating iconic rock anthems.

Even Flow – Pearl Jam Tab

15. “Shake Your Money Maker” by James Elmore

https://youtube.com/watch?v=837GaWUZ4Yk “Shake Your Money Maker” by James Elmore is a blues classic that has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The song’s infectious rhythm and catchy lyrics make it a dance floor favorite. Its inclusion in our list is a nod to the rich history of blues music and its influence on modern rock. Shake Your Money Maker – James Elmore Tab

16. “Barcelona” by George Ezra

https://youtube.com/watch?v=nc9rYioj2QM “Barcelona” by George Ezra is a breezy track that captures the essence of summer. With its catchy chorus and upbeat rhythm, it’s no wonder the song has become a favorite among fans. Its inclusion in our list showcases the versatility of open D tuning in creating feel-good tracks. Barcelona – George Ezra Tab

17. “Late July” by Shakey Graves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUkSTnUK_T0 Shakey Graves, also known as Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is known for his unique blend of blues, folk, and rock. “Late July” is one of his most iconic tracks, showcasing his distinctive fingerpicking style and raw vocals. The song’s haunting melody and evocative lyrics make it a standout in open D tuning. Tab for “Late July” by Shakey Graves

18. “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sfYpolGCu8 Phoebe Bridgers is a rising star in the indie folk scene, and “Motion Sickness” is one of her most popular tracks. The song’s melancholic lyrics and Bridgers’ ethereal voice make it a memorable piece. Played in open D tuning, an acoustic version of the song’s guitar work complements its introspective mood. Tab for “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

19. “Pretty Mary K” by Elliott Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a8a6A_pFLk Elliott Smith was known for his intricate guitar work and deeply personal lyrics. “Pretty Mary K” is a testament to his great song-writing prowess, with its delicate guitar parts and poignant lyrics. The song’s gentle melody and Smith’s soft vocals make it a classic in open D tuning. Tab for “Pretty Mary K” by Elliott Smith

20. “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0DJ8hWgNes Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” is a timeless classic that resonates with listeners even today. The song’s soulful lyrics and Morrison’s passionate vocals make it a favorite among many. Played in open D tuning, the song’s guitar parts add depth to its already rich sound. Tab for “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

21. “Lump Sum” by Bon Iver

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssdgFoHLwnk Bon Iver, the brainchild of musician Justin Vernon, is known for its atmospheric sound and poetic lyrics. “Lump Sum” is a track that showcases the band’s signature style, with its layered vocals and intricate guitar work. The song’s dreamy ambiance is enhanced by its open D tuning. Tab for “Lump Sum” by Bon Iver

22. “Highway 51 Blues” by Bob Dylan

“Highway 51 Blues” is a classic blues song that has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Bob Dylan’s rendition on his debut album showcases his early love for traditional blues. The raw energy and authenticity he brings to this track make it a standout in his vast catalog. It’s a testament to Dylan’s deep respect for the roots of American music.

Highway 51 Blues – Bob Dylan Tab

23. “Jive Talkin’” by Bee Gees

“Jive Talkin’” is one of the Bee Gees’ most iconic tracks, marking their transition into the disco era. The infectious rhythm and memorable chorus make it a dance floor favorite to this day. The song’s lyrics delve into the theme of deceit, with the term “jive talkin'” referring to deceptive language. Its inclusion in our list highlights the versatility of open D tuning in capturing various musical moods.

Jive Talkin’ – Bee Gees Tab

24. “Dreamin’” by Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco’s “Dreamin’” is a laid-back track that perfectly encapsulates his signature jangly pop sound. The song’s dreamy atmosphere and introspective lyrics make it a favorite among fans. DeMarco’s unique approach to guitar playing shines through in this track, making it a great example of modern songs in open D tuning.

Dreamin’ – Mac DeMarco Tab

25. “Re: Stacks” by Bon Iver

“Re: Stacks” is a hauntingly beautiful track from Bon Iver’s critically acclaimed album “For Emma, Forever Ago.” The song’s sparse arrangement and introspective lyrics showcase Justin Vernon’s ability to convey deep emotion with minimal instrumentation. The open D tuning adds to the song’s ethereal quality, making it a standout in the world of indie folk.

Re: Stacks – Bon Iver Tab

26. “Loser” by Beck

“Loser” is Beck’s breakout hit and remains one of his most iconic tracks. The song’s eclectic mix of genres, from hip hop to folk, showcases Beck’s innovative approach to music-making. The slide guitar riff, played in open D tuning, adds a distinctive touch to the track. Its inclusion in our list highlights the versatility of open D tuning in capturing a wide range of musical styles.

Loser – Beck Tab

27. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by Bee Gees

The Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is a soulful ballad that speaks to the pain of lost love. Its melancholic lyrics and harmonious melodies make it a standout track for open D tuning. The song’s timeless appeal is a testament to the Bee Gees’ songwriting prowess and their ability to craft songs that resonate deeply with listeners. Its inclusion in our list is a nod to the song’s enduring popularity and its significance in the world of music.

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart – Bee Gees Tab

28. “Girl in the Forest” by Calexico

Calexico’s “Girl in the Forest” is a hauntingly beautiful track that showcases the band’s signature blend of indie rock and Americana. The song’s ethereal melodies and evocative lyrics make it a standout track for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list highlights Calexico’s unique sound and their ability to craft songs that resonate deeply with listeners.

Tab for “Girl in the Forest” by Calexico

29. “What He Wrote” by Laura Marling

Laura Marling’s “What He Wrote” is a beautifully crafted song that delves deep into the intricacies of love and longing. The song’s haunting melodies and poignant lyrics make it a perfect fit for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list is a testament to Marling’s exceptional songwriting skills and her ability to evoke deep emotions through her music.

Tab for “What He Wrote” by Laura Marling

30. “Agape” by Bear’s Den

Bear’s Den’s “Agape” is a heartfelt song that touches on the themes of love, loss, and longing. The song’s evocative lyrics and soul-stirring melodies make it a standout track for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list is a testament to the band’s exceptional songwriting skills and their ability to evoke deep emotions through their music.

Tab for “Agape” by Bear’s Den

31. “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues” is a song that captures the essence of introspection and self-discovery. The track’s intricate harmonies and poetic lyrics make it a standout song for open D tuning. Its place as most perfect guitar song on our list is a testament to the band’s ability to craft songs that resonate deeply with listeners, touching on universal themes of identity, purpose, and the human experience.

Tab for “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes

32. “A Life of Illusion” by Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh’s “A Life of Illusion” is a rock classic that showcases his signature guitar riffs and distinctive vocals. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a favorite among fans and a great choice for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list is a nod to Walsh’s contribution to the rock genre and his ability to craft timeless hits.

Tab for “A Life of Illusion” by Joe Walsh

33. “Wasteland, Baby” by Hozier

Hozier’s “Wasteland, Baby” is a soulful track that beautifully captures the essence of love and longing. The song’s intricate melodies and evocative lyrics make it a standout choice for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list is a testament to Hozier’s exceptional songwriting skills and his ability to evoke deep emotions through his music.

Tab for “Wasteland, Baby” by Hozier

34. “Taro” by Alt-J

Alt-J’s “Taro” is a mesmerizing track that showcases the band’s unique blend of indie rock and folk influences. The song’s intricate guitar work and evocative lyrics make it a standout choice for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list of best songs highlights Alt-J’s innovative approach to music and their ability to craft songs that resonate deeply with listeners.

Tab for “Taro” by Alt-J

35. “Crippled Inside” by John Lennon

John Lennon’s “Crippled Inside” is a song that exudes a blend of folk-rock with a tinge of country, making it a unique piece in Lennon’s repertoire. The song, from his 1971 album “Imagine,” touches upon the theme of inner turmoil and the facade people often put up to hide their true feelings. Its catchy tune, combined with profound lyrics, makes it a memorable track. The song’s suitability for open D tuning adds another layer of depth to its sound, making it a must-try for guitar enthusiasts.

Tab for “Crippled Inside” by John Lennon in Open D Tuning

36. “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell

“Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell is a timeless classic that has touched the hearts of many since its release. The song, with its introspective lyrics and melodic tune, delves into the complexities of life, love, and the human experience. Mitchell’s unique voice and the song’s profound message have made it a favorite for many guitarists. Its adaptability to open D tuning adds a fresh dimension to the song, making it a must-play for enthusiasts.

Tab for “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell

37. “Mountains By” by Message to the Bears

“Mountains By” by Message to the Bears is a beautifully composed track that exudes a sense of serenity and introspection. The song’s delicate melodies and evocative instrumentals make it a perfect fit for open D tuning. Its inclusion in our list is a testament to the band’s ability to craft songs that resonate deeply with listeners, touching on universal themes of nature, life, and the human experience.

Tab for “Mountains By” by Message to the Bears

38. “Oxford Town” by Bob Dylan

“Oxford Town” by Bob Dylan is a poignant song that delves into the racial tensions of the 1960s, particularly the events surrounding the enrollment of James Meredith, an African American, at the University of Mississippi. The song’s straightforward lyrics and catchy tune make it a memorable track in Dylan’s vast discography. Its adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a unique way to experience and play this historic song.

Tab for “Oxford Town” by Bob Dylan

39. “Your Love is Forever” by George Harrison

“Your Love is Forever” by George Harrison is a melodic and heartfelt song that showcases Harrison’s signature slide guitar style and his spiritual leanings. The song, from his 1979 self-titled album, is a testament to the enduring nature of love. Its gentle rhythm and introspective lyrics make it a favorite among fans and guitarists alike. The song’s adaptability to open D tuning offers a unique way to experience this beautiful track.

Tab for “Your Love is Forever” by George Harrison

40. “1999” by beabadoobee

“1999” by beabadoobee is a nostalgic track that captures the essence of youthful memories and the longing for simpler times. With its dreamy instrumentals and beabadoobee’s signature soft vocals, the song transports listeners back to a time of innocence and wonder. The track’s adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a fresh perspective on this modern indie gem.

Tab for “1999” by beabadoobee

41. “Acadian Driftwood” by The Band

“Acadian Driftwood” by The Band is a poignant song that tells the story of the Acadian expulsion from Nova Scotia during the mid-18th century. The entire song itself, with its rich historical narrative and evocative instrumentals, captures the heartache and displacement of the Acadian people. The Band’s ability to weave history into their music makes this track a standout, and its adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a unique rendition of this classic.

Tab for “Acadian Driftwood” by The Band

42. “Graduate” by Third Eye Blind

“Graduate” by Third Eye Blind is an energetic track that captures the essence of youthful rebellion and the desire to move forward in life. With its catchy chorus and memorable guitar riffs, the song became a staple of late 90s rock music. Its lyrics touch on the themes of growing up, seeking independence, and the challenges of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. For guitarists looking to play this iconic track, open D tuning offers a fresh perspective and a unique sound.

Tab for “Graduate” by Third Eye Blind

43. “Santa Monica Dream” by Angus & Julia Stone

“Santa Monica Dream” by Angus & Julia Stone is a melancholic and introspective track that beautifully captures the essence of longing and memories. The song’s gentle melodies and evocative lyrics make it a standout in the duo’s discography. Its adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a unique way to experience this touching track.

Tab for “Santa Monica Dream” by Angus & Julia Stone

44. “Fitzpleasure” by alt-J

“Fitzpleasure” by alt-J is a dynamic and rhythmically intricate track that showcases the band’s unique sound and innovative songwriting. The song, from their debut album “An Awesome Wave,” is characterized by its complex rhythms, haunting vocals, and cryptic lyrics. Its adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a fresh perspective on this modern indie gem.

Tab for “Fitzpleasure” by alt-J

45. “Oceans” by Pearl Jam

“Oceans” by Pearl Jam is a serene and introspective track from the band’s debut album “Ten.” The song’s gentle melodies and evocative lyrics showcase the band’s versatility, moving away from their signature grunge sound to deliver a more mellow and contemplative tune. Its adaptability to open D tuning offers guitarists a unique way to experience this iconic track.

Tab for “Oceans” by Pearl Jam