To generations of American musicians “Sevastapol” hasn’t referred to a place in Crimea but to a guitar tuning, also called “Open D” (DADF#AD low to high). Liverpool-born Henry Worrall was teaching guitar at the Ohio Female College in 1855 when he wrote and published a piece commemorating the Siege of Sevastapol in the Crimean War. “Sebastopol: A descriptive fantaisie for the guitar,” specified Open D, and the sprightly march helped spread the tuning.

As time went on the “‘Vastapol” guitar tuning really caught on with Blues musicians, especially those who played slide (“bottleneck”) style.


“Talkin’ Siege of Sebastopol Blues: How the first Crimean War helped create rock ‘n’ roll,” Alexander Zaitchik, Salon


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Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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