Open E / Vestapol



Open E is like Open D’s ‘electric’ counterpart – the interval pattern is the same (also known, regardless of transposition, as ‘Vestapol’ – after The Siege of Sevastopol, an 1854 folk song about the Crimean War popular in the ‘learn guitar’ manuals of late-19th-century America).


But here, everything is raised up two semitones (electric strings are lighter, so can go higher) – so you can reach Open E with a 2fr capo on Open D as well. Favoured by countless electric slide legends over the years.

Pattern: 7>5>4>3>5
Harmony: Emaj | 1-5-1-3-5-1




Countless electric slide masters, e.g. Duane Allman and Derek Trucks – and plenty of older Chicago players such as Tampa Red. Also on Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley) Jumping Jack Flash, Gimme Shelter (Keith Richards), Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh), Come in Alone (My Bloody Valentine, cp.3), The Headmaster Ritual (Johnny Marr), most of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, and many more.


  • ‘Welcome To The Fillmore’ set – Allman Brothers (1970):


6str 5str 4str 3str 2str 1str
Note E B E Ab B E
Alteration 0 +2 +2 +1 0 0
Tension (%) 0 +26 +26 12 0 0
Freq. (Hz) 82 123 165 208 247 330
Pattern (>) 7 5 4 3 5
Semitones 0 7 12 16 19 24
Intervals 1 5 1 3 5 1
  • See my Tunings Megatable for further such nerdery: more numbers, intervallic relations, comparative methods, etc. And to any genuine vibratory scientists reading: please critique my DIY analysis!


—Associated tunings: proximities of shape, concept, context, etc…

  • Open D (this -2): the lower variant, better on acoustic
  • Open Em (this with 3str -1): the minor sibling, one twist away
  • Only Shallow (this with 3str -2): MBV’s soaring Esus2 layout


—Further learnings: sources, readings, lessons, other onward links…

  • Open E masters: hear from Ariel Posen, and learn some of Duane Allman’s stylistic tricks from my fellow Guitar World instructor Andy Alendort (“Duane wore a small glass Coricidin bottle…a cold medication – on his ring finger…[he] fingerpicked exclusively, using his thumb, index and middle fingers…a major element in the uniqueness of his sound was his pick-hand muting…”)
  • The Siege of Sevastopol: more on the song – and the conflict – from Alex Zaitchik in Salon (“The Crimean War is often cited as the first war reported by telegraph and photograph. Less remembered is the momentous impact that reportage had on an Ohio music teacher named Henry Worrall…”)


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rāga: ‘that which colours the mind’

George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher. I play guitar, tabla, and santoor, loosely focusing on jazz, rhythm, and other global improvised traditions. Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the human voices, cultures, and passions behind them. Site above, follow below, & hit me up for…


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Dedicated to Nigel Tufnel – a true tuning connoisseur

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