Some days I just feel old.......

I completed a nice fretted 4-stringer and started stringing it up, then the "Senior Moment" hit. What was the correct tuning? I looked at the string package and it showed G major as DGBD. Then I looked at a chord chart for 4-string Open G which showed strings as GDGB (from the top of the guitar to the bottom).

This makes me think that for open G major I need GDGB not DGBD as shown on the package. What am I missing here and what is the correct tuning (before I start breaking strings).


Tom T

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Tuning for Gmaj 4 string is GDGB, and is created with the 2345 strings (ADGB with the A tuned down to the lower octave G). What string gauges do you have?

I'm currently using 0.035, 0.030,0.022 and 0.013

that wound .022 may be too heavy to pull up to the second G.

Thanks for the tip. I've seen the GDGD setup noted before. May give it a try to see what it sounds like.



I use GDGb - string gauges 32, 26, 17, 13 - any thicker tension, tuning and tone problems crept in only solved with a much more substantial build of guitar, mine are generally made rigid but lighter. :-)


Thanks Steve.

My strings seem okay except for the 0.022" second G string (third string). I have lighter strings, but don't want things too loose and floppy. Two unwound strings (0.017 and 0.013) might be too loose, but I can give it a try.


Tom T


Something you don't mention is your scale length.

The DGBD can be accomplished very easily with the top 4 strings (D, G, B and e) from a standard set. Tune the e down to d. It is a versatile standard tenor banjo tuning. Another highly useful tuning is ADF#B, which can be accomplished using the 5, 4, 3 and 2 strings from a standard 6-banger set. You can use a lot of your standard 6-string chord shapes. The kewl thing about that is that you can also tune it GDGB for the same string set.
Best bridge ever!! I'm steeling it!!

I like the low, grumpy growly sound of tuning EADG strings to DGDG.  You basically get the two highest strings of a bass guitar and power chord regular guitar.  Fun tuning and great for slide.

Wow, Eric.

I'm getting quite the education here. Simple question on how to get open G and I now have a wealth of options to try. Since I really like the sound of slide, your tuning is worth a try.


Options are great, but............

They also can create confusion. Guess it cuts both ways.

I finally used .035, .030, .017 and .013 to tune to GDGB. That .022 high G string just couldn't get all the way up to G. The two unwound strings feel a bit loose to me, but if the next size up won't work, I guess it's settled.

I look forward to trying some of the other tunings listed in this thread. Should be very educational

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and tips.

Hi Eric,

I meant to get back to you about your suggested strings.Can you give the the string diameters you are using? It from what you have said, ti should be a great set up for a four string.


Tom T

Martin Bluegrass Electric Resonators

D = 056

G = 046

D = 036

G = 026

All are wound.  The D 056 and G 046 are the same as the highest two strings on a bass guitar.  The low D can be tricky, however since it adds some dissonant tones.  I usually mute the open string with my thumb over top of the neck if I'm strumming, but use it if finger picking.


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