Slide Guitar: Open D Major Tricks

Slide guitar is a lot of fun to play, partly because it is so different from how you’d normally play a guitar, and partly because it can be so expressive. In this lesson Colin Daniel (from teaches how to play a few slide riffs in between the rhythm. The rhythm we’ll use is a nice shuffle pattern I IV V that you’re probably familiar with from other lessons.

Slide guitar really lends itself to using open tunings, so in this lesson we’ll be using open D major tuning. Colin refers to a previous lesson where he explains this, but the biggest take away from that other lesson is that you need to be tuned like this: D A D F# A D.

The easiest riff you can do in an open tuning on slide guitar is to simply make an arpeggio out of the notes in the chord. It’s nice and simple, and sounds awesome. What’s not to like?

Three primary changes are I IV and V of course, and they’re found at the open position, the 5th fret, and the 7th fret. Don’t forget the octave at the 12th fret too!

Colin’s new course the Essentials of Slide Guitar digs into these topics in far more details; you can learn more about it here:

Slide Guitar Made Simple

Watch on Youtube

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  1. Does anyone know what part of the neck you play licks that go with D, A and G (in open D tuning) ? I just learned a bunch of licks and I’m not sure how to play along with a backing track because I don’t know which ones belong with each chord.

  2. Damn I absolutely love this open D sound. It soulds so cool. One thing I’m a bit concerned is that by changing from standard tuning the shapes of the pentatonic scales (which I mostly use) will shift and now I’ll basically have to be re-learning how to find roots and other scale notes on the fretbord.

    Anyone with same problem?

    But I guess at the end of the day this sound is worth it.

    Thanks for the article.


    1. Hey Alan, yeah, you’re right on the money with that one. As soon as you change up the tuning, all your familiar shapes and patterns get altered. There really is no way around it though. Think of it this way – it gives you an opportunity to apply your fretboard knowledge and figure out the new patterns! (which will help strengthen your fretboard knowledge).

      And yeah, it sounds sweet.

      1. Yea, I agree. It’s absolutely a new opportunity to feel as a complete beginner once again.
        Moreover, it kind of opens a lot of new opportunities and new shapes in the same positions.
        Familiar licks and finger moves will provide completely different music and sounding.
        Definitely worth trying.

  3. Hi Colin. Cool and fun! Cool lessons. I’m a beginner and learning about guitar from the basic. I’m interested in your play -Slide Guitar: Open D Major Tricks. By the way, I’m looking to buy my fist own guitar from this site So, I can practice at home and any time. Could you please give me suggestion how to choose best one? I can’t make a decision. Thank you in advance for your help. I need help from the expert like you.

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