Open E Chords - Intro

My Open E chords lesson is gonna show you guys not only how to make all your major chords, but also give you a couple exercises on SIXTHS, which along with the interval of the THIRD, is what makes cool chords...and great LICKS!

Scroll and click down below to download the PDF of the complete lesson. Or for a simpler lesson, just follow along with the examples on this page.

The Open E tuning

For the record, the chart above shows the Open E tuning that we're working with here. It's what I would call the Standard of Open E, and I make that distinction because as with all the tunings for this marvelous instrument we call the Non Pedal Steel, aka lap steel, aka Dobro, you've got just as many variations as players!

The following chart shows my recommended string gauges, which are the ones that I've found in the convenient GHS Open E string set pack (note that GHS calls them "Hawaiian" but this string set has absolutely NOTHING to do with Hawaiian music and the string sets work on both electric steels and Dobros):

E Major recommended string gauges:

E .013

B .020

G# .024p

E .032

B .042

E .056

Open E Chords EXAMPLE 1

The example above shows off some simple block chords. I've chosen the D Major Chord here to show that, yes, even though we're working in an Open E tuning, you can access All 12 keys of the Western music system that we all operate in!

I can's stress this last point enough--mostly because I get questions from my C6 lessons, asking how is it possible that the Key Signature in the lesson has an F# in it!!!!!

The purpose of these Open E lessons is to take you beyond thinking that an open tuning ONLY PRODUCES MUSIC IN THAT KEY! This is not the case, and throughout the course of these lessons, we'll play music in many, many keys, including complex jazz chord voicings that you probably thought were just not possible!

Open E Chords EXAMPLE 2

In this example, we're back in the Key of E Major (surprise, surprise!) What you're doing here is harmonizing E Major Scale using the interval of a 6th.

Check out the top notes of this pattern, it is actually the E Major Scale. The PDF lesson attached to this page continues the pattern way up into the stratusphere of the 14th fret, so make sure you download it and check that out.

The PDF also has an exercise that splits these notes up into eighth-note patterns, for some excellent solo/lick opportunities that we'll definitely be taking advantage of in later lessons.


Lesson PDF: All the exercises pertaining to this lesson--which include all the inversions of the D Major Chord, plus all the 6ths in block form and lick form--are found here this E Major Chords PDF.

So I hope you take advantage of the PDF above, it includes lots more music and continations of the examples that you see above. Thanks again for tuning in, drop me a line if you have any questions or comments.

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