An electric guitar being played on stage

20 Open E Songs: A Journey Through Timeless Tunes

Guitar enthusiasts have long cherished the unique sonic tapestry that open E tuning provides. Unlike standard tuning, open E tuning is where three of the strings are adjusted to form an open E major chord across all the guitar strings.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or a beginner looking to expand your repertoire, diving into songs in open E offers a refreshing take on familiar classics. Let’s delve deep into some of the most iconic tracks played with open E tuning and uncover the magic behind their notes.

1. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones, an English rock band with a legacy spanning over six decades, has explored various tunings throughout their discography. You Can’t Always Get What You Want is a testament to their innovative playing and showcases the use of open E tuning.

This type of tuning gives the song an open, ringing quality, allowing for a fuller sound without needing to play major chords across the fretboard.

For guitarists, learning this song is a lesson in achieving rich textures with minimal finger movement. Plus, playing a Stones’ classic is bound to earn you some street cred!

2. Shelter from the Storm – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, the legendary singer-songwriter, employs open E tuning in Shelter from the Storm. The choice of tuning enriches the song, adding depth and resonance to its chords.

What’s intriguing about this song is its narrative style, typical of Dylan’s songwriting. Open E tuning complements the storytelling, offering a flowing acoustic guitar backdrop to Dylan’s poignant lyrics.

For budding songwriters, Shelter from the Storm showcases how these songs can serve as the perfect canvas for lyrical storytelling. It’s also a great introduction to the dynamic world of Bob Dylan’s playing.

3. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell

Featured on her third studio album, Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi is a delightful example of an amazing song in open E. Known for her unique guitar techniques, Mitchell’s choice of tuning provides the track with its bouncy, cheerful vibe.

The fascinating thing about this track is its juxtaposition of upbeat music and thought-provoking lyrics. The use of open E tuning enhances the song’s bright tonality, making it an instant mood lifter. It’s a beautiful fusion of melodic joy and lyrical depth, making it a favorite for guitarists who love playing songs that tell a story.

4. Rocky Mountain Way- Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way is a celebration of the electric guitar in all its glory. While the Allman Brothers Band is often associated with playing slide guitar, Joe Walsh showcases how open E tuning can bring a rock anthem to life.

A standout element of this song is its iconic talk box solo, which, when combined with the open E tuning, provides a distinctive sonic landscape that is both gritty and melodic.

This song is an electric guitar player’s dream! The combination of open E tuning and raw rock elements makes it a must-learn for those looking to amp up their technique.

5. Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Jumpin’ Jack Flash is another testament to The Rolling Stones’ affection for the open E tuning. This iconic track is instantly recognizable by its driving guitar riff that sets the stage for Mick Jagger’s energetic vocals.

The beauty of this song lies in its raw energy and simplicity. The use of open E tuning provides a full-bodied sound that fills the track, making it a staple in the Stones’ repertoire. For guitarists, mastering this song’s rhythm and lead parts in open E can be incredibly rewarding, especially when the iconic riff resonates through the room.

6. Fiddler’s Green – The Tragically Hip

Fiddler’s Green, by Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip, beautifully showcases the acoustic depth that open E tuning offers. The song is a melodic ballad, and the guitar playing offers a comforting, gentle backdrop to Gord Downie’s evocative lyrics.

What sets this song apart is its emotional depth. Open E tuning enhances the track’s emotional resonance, making it a touching listening experience. Its soulful melodies and poignant lyrics make it a beautiful addition to any guitarist’s repertoire, particularly those who appreciate the subtleties of acoustic guitar playing.

7. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – U2

U2’s Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of beautifully incorporates open E tuning to give depth to its harmonies. The Edge, U2’s guitarist, is known for his unique playing style, and in this track, he uses open E to add a rich sonic layer. Although this song never made the Modern Rock Track Charts, many other U2 songs did, including One and The Fly.

The song stands out due to its anthemic quality. The open E tuning amplifies the track’s uplifting nature, making it a fan favorite during live performances. For those looking to master the art of creating anthems, this song provides a masterclass. The interplay between vocals and guitar in open E is truly something to behold.

8. Stephanie – Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham is primarily known for one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, Fleetwood Mac. He showcases his guitar virtuosity in Stephanie. Using open E tuning, Buckingham creates a soundscape that is both intricate and hauntingly beautiful.

The charm of Stephanie is its simplicity. Buckingham’s fingerstyle technique, combined with open E tuning, makes it a mesmerizing experience for listeners and a challenging endeavor for guitarists.

9. Too Old To Die Young – Brother Dege

Brother Dege, often under the radar yet a master of slide guitar in open E tuning, has crafted a masterpiece with Too Old To Die Young. The song embodies the very soul of the Southern gothic genre, with its haunting slide guitar riffs and reflective lyrics.

The brilliance of this track is in its rawness. The open E tuning accentuates the slide guitar’s resonant notes, encapsulating the deep southern roots from which this song draws inspiration. For those interested in capturing the essence of Southern blues and rock, Too Old To Die Young is a musical treasure.

10. Perth – Bon Iver

Bon Iver, synonymous with experimental soundscapes, embraces open E tuning in Perth. The track is a beautiful amalgamation of ethereal guitar strums, brass instruments, and layered vocals. The open E tuning creates a spacious, open sound, allowing other instruments to weave in and out seamlessly.

This song is an exploration of sound textures. Playing Perth is like painting a canvas with various sonic hues, each stroke evoking a different emotion. Its chord progression is simple, making it a great track for beginners to learn.

11. The Headmaster Ritual – The Smiths

The Smiths, with their jangly guitar sound, brought The Headmaster Ritual to life in open E tuning. Johnny Marr’s guitar work shines brightly, creating a track that is both melodically rich and rhythmically engaging.

The track’s distinctiveness is in its sharp, chiming guitar notes. The open E tuning complements Marr’s intricate guitar work, making it one of The Smiths’ standout tracks. It’s a masterclass in creating melody-driven guitar parts. For guitarists, it presents a challenge in dexterity and timing, making it a rewarding experience when mastered.

12. Hurts Like Heaven – Coldplay

Coldplay’s Hurts Like Heaven is a vibrant, upbeat track that utilizes the richness of open E tuning. The song’s electric parts, played by Jonny Buckland, provide a shimmering backdrop to Chris Martin’s vocals.

The magic of this song is in its celebratory vibe. The tuning offers a ringing clarity to the guitar parts, enhancing the song’s euphoric feel. For guitarists, the song presents an opportunity to play a modern classic that resonates with audiences worldwide.

13. Scarecrow – Alex and Sierra

Alex and Sierra, winners of the U.S. X Factor, unveiled Scarecrow as an endearing blend of pop and folk, leveraging the richness of open E tuning. The song, with its catchy chorus and heartfelt lyrics, tugs at the heartstrings.

What’s unique about this song is its fresh sound. The open E tuning provides a robust foundation for the duo’s harmonized vocals, allowing for a mesmerizing interplay between voice and guitar. Guitarists looking for a modern, radio-friendly number will find Scarecrow a great song play.

14. All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is a poignant track that beautifully employs open E tuning. With its meditative lyrics and Harrison’s signature slide guitar, it’s a song that transcends time. The beauty of this track lies in its introspective nature. The choice of tuning accentuates Harrison’s meditative lyrics and slide playing, providing a spiritual depth.

For guitarists wanting to explore the slide guitar in the realm of open E, this is a great song to do it with.

15. Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman

Thunderclap Newman’s Something In The Air is a quintessential 60s anthem. With its rallying call for change and the use of open E tuning, it captures the zeitgeist of its era.

The song’s charm lies in its timeless message. The tuning amplifies the track’s anthemic quality, making it resonate even decades later. It’s a journey back in time. Guitarists can relive the spirit of the 60s, tapping into the era’s call for revolution and change.

16. How He Loves Us – Jesus Culture

Jesus Culture’s rendition of How He Loves Us is a powerful worship song that employs open E tuning to create a soul-stirring atmosphere. The track, with its soaring vocals and guitars, is a testament to the power of spiritual music.

The essence of this song is its unabashed declaration of love. Open E tuning gives depth to the song, allowing for a richer worship experience. Guitarists looking to delve into worship music will find How He Loves Us a moving piece that resonates with congregations worldwide.

17. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go is a touching ode to transient love. With its open E tuning, it beautifully conveys the ache of love and loss. This track, with its folk roots, showcases Dylan’s inimitable blend of poetry and music.

For a guitarist, this love song is a doorway into the world of folk music. It’s not hard to see why you’d want to learn a song from of the most celebrated songwriters of our time.

18. Thinking About You – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s Thinking About You is a tender ballad that leverages open E tuning to convey heartfelt emotions. The King’s velvety voice, paired with the richness of the guitar tuning, makes it a timeless classic.

What stands out in this song is its simplicity. The open E tuning provides a warmth that envelops Presley’s voice, making it a serene musical experience. It offers guitarists a chance to delve into classic ballads and experience the charm of playing an Elvis number.

19. Shake Your Moneymaker – Fleetwood Mac

Shake Your Moneymaker by Fleetwood Mac is an electrifying blues number that employs open E tuning to deliver a punch. The track, with its dynamic guitar riffs and energetic vocals, embodies the raw spirit of blues.

The excitement of this song lies in its infectious rhythm and slide guitar work. Playing this song offers a thrilling experience and a chance to dive deep into the essence of blues.

20. Strawberry Swing – Coldplay

Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing is a dreamy, feel-good track that uses open E tuning to create an ethereal soundscape. With its upbeat rhythm and evocative lyrics, it’s a song that transports listeners to a sun-kissed world.

The allure of this song is in its optimistic vibe. The open E tuning, paired with the band’s distinctive sound, makes it a sonic delight. It’s a journey into a realm of positivity and nostalgia. Guitarists will relish the challenge of playing the intricate guitar parts and basking in the track’s warmth.

Wrapping Up: The Magic of Songs in Open E

Open E tuning has captivated artists across genres, imbuing songs with a unique depth and resonance. From the bluesy grit of Fleetwood Mac to Bob Dylan’s poetic narratives and Coldplay’s dreamy melodies, this tuning binds diverse musical masterpieces. For guitarists, exploring these open E songs offers not just a musical journey but a chance to dive deep into varied techniques and styles. So, the next time you’re strumming away, venture into the world of open E and experience its rich tapestry of sound.