The Magic of DADGAD

Transform your fingerboard into a landscape of unexplored possibilities.

The experience of playing guitar in DADGAD tuning for the first time is like magic. Simply tuning the first, second, and sixth strings down by one whole step transforms the fingerboard into a landscape of unexplored possibilities where most previously learned left-hand patterns no longer apply, yet every exploration leads to something new and interesting. The magic happens immediately upon strumming the open strings. The root/fifth relationship between the open D’s and A’s is comfortable and easily recognizable, while the addition of the open G string in the midst of all of this comfort creates a beautiful suspension.


By pressing down only the G string on the second fret, the suspension is resolved to create a D chord with no third. Pressing down the fifth string at the second fret creates a beautiful variation of G major with a suspended second (A) on the second string. Another simple move of the finger to the fourth string on the second fret creates a version of A7 (V) with a suspended fourth (D) on the first strings and again no third. So, with only one finger, the three most commonly used chords in the key of D can be played in a new and instantly pleasing way.

Al Petteway
Al Petteway

Al Petteway was an acclaimed fingerstyle guitarist and guitar teacher.

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