Open E tuning is the same as open D tuning only a whole step higher, the same chord shapes work in both tunings (only a whole step higher).

Probably one of the most familiar examples of Open E tuning is the beginning guitar part on the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones. This tuning is also used in Guns N' Roses' "It's So Easy," The Black Crowes' "She Talks to Angels", Glen Hansard's "Say It To Me Now", Bob Dylan "Meet Me in the Morning", Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way", Billy F. Gibbons in "Just Got Paid", and many others. Open E tuning also lends itself to easy barre-chording as heard in some of these songs.

Open E tuning is often used for slide guitar, as it constitutes an open chord which can be raised by moving the slide further up the neck. Most notably Duane Allman used Open E for the majority of his slide work, such as in Statesboro Blues.

1980s session guitarist David Persons experimented by using multiple tunings in the same recordings, and he pioneered several revolutionary tuning techniques, including using standard six string and open tuning together (for instance, standard tuning playing in E major and Open E tuning) which produced, due to the natural intervals involved, complementary counterpoints which produced unique harmonies and dissonance.