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Fellow fans,

Recently I got a letter from Richie himself and he's provided me with some info about his guitar, the tunings he uses and chords to some of his songs.
I'm really thankful to him for this and I've put it up here for all you fans to see.

If you have any more stuff which you might want to share with other fans, be sure to mail me and I'll include it here.

- Rohit.


Guitar:Richie lets us know that he played a Guild D-40 for most of the years , until they stopped making them. Now he uses various Guilds - a DV-6 , JF30-E , and he still has an old D-40 left.
Also thanks to Rush who lets us know that in a recent addition of guitar player it states that richie now plays a Guild D-30.



Strings:An article on Guitar.com tells us that Richie  now uses D'Angelico 80/20's.

Tunings:Richie uses open D tuning (D-A-D-F#-A-D). Also he further says that he tunes the F# down to an E to get a minor.

Note: Richie clarified that he has never really played in open E tuning.

( and the origin to this in Richie's own words is " when i asked dave Van ronk what chord i was playing because i didn't know...he said it's an "E chord kid'....consequently that is what i told the guys who wrote my first Bio....ooops..... :)

Also here is a li'l piece of information which I've quoted from the Alternate Tuning Guide for Contemporary Folk Music:

"[PB] reports that Richie Havens primarily uses Open D, sometimes tuning the F# down to F to get an open D minor. Sometimes he tunes the 1st string down to a C to get an open major or minor dominant seventh."

Ok, now how do I tune to Open D???


Chords/Tab:So far I've been able to find chords for songs given below. If you have more, please send it I'll include it here.

Handsome Johnny (crds) - Off OLGA

Handsome Johnny (crds) - Thanks to Stefan!

Minstrel from Gault (crds) - My shot at trying to be RH (the 2nd time!)

High Flyin' Bird (crds) - ditto (3rd time!)

I can't make it anymore (crds) - Thanks Tony! New!!

The Key (crds) - Thanks once again Tony! New!!

Alone Together (crds) - Thanks once again Tony! New!!

Red Flowers (crds) - Thanks once again Tony! New!!

Lives in the Balance (crds) - Thanks to Dr Fender!

Stardust and Passion (crds) - Thanks to Dr Fender again!

Richie took a look at these himself , and he's sent his corrections. (My version of Freedom was way off! ;O) Take a look at them below.

Freedom (corrected)

Handsome Johnny (corrected)


Strumming:Now this , I can't really explain. you'll have to listen to it yourself to figure it out. To put it roughly, well almost "percussive".

Another thing I noticed in the video of "Just like a Woman" was that, he used his thumb to hit those bass notes in the ascending sequences all the way up the fret board.

( This might sound crazy to many of u , I mean the way I'm putting things here, but I'm just trying to give in as much info as I can, since there is a definate lack of RH stuff on the net and more so about his Guitar style ;O)



This link  gives some information about the microphones Richie's used in Concert.


Richie also lets us know that he has just finished the book on how he plays....and he'll let us know when it will be available! (This letter was dated Oct 29 1998. Any more news on this, I'll put it up so keep a tag!

Update: Richie now has this book online on his Official Webpage with pictures and the voicings he uses. So look there!


Back to Havens Page.