Laurence Juber

Understanding DADGAD and Building Repertoire [Solid Air]

As players as varied as Adrian Legg and Eric Johnson have proven with brilliant solo pieces, DADGAD tuning sounds quite amazing on steel-string acoustic. And, as Jimmy Page proved so effectively with Led Zep’s “Kashmir,” the tuning also produces spectacular timbres on electric guitar. In fact, DADGAD’s hypnotic, tonally ambiguous sus4 drone works so well in both major and minor tonalities, it’s a wonder more guitarists don’t experiment with it. Usually, the reason people avoid this and other cool open tunings is simple fear. Many players are afraid that rearranging the intervals between the strings will effectively knock their technique back to square one by rendering many of their go-to fingerings null and void. Not so.

The truth is, as Laurence Juber so eloquently shares in this video, DADGAD actually makes many melodic approaches easier.

How? As the guitarist/producer/ McCartney sideman reveals with “Amazing Grace,” “Greensleeves,” and his succinct introduction, the beauty of DADGAD is that it allows adjacent scale tones—the primary ingredient in most great melodies—to be placed on separate strings. Want your melody to have a gorgeous harp-like chime? Take it from Juber: Try it in DADGAD.
—Jude Gold