How To Tune Your Guitar Into Drop D Tuning - Online Guitar Lessons

How To Tune Your Guitar Into Drop D Tuning

How to Tune Your Guitar to Drop D Tuning

Alternate tunings are a great way to expand what you can do with your guitar. They change the sound and feel of what you play by stopping you from relying on the same shapes and tricks you know in standard tuning. This makes them perfect for busting out of a playing rut.

Drop D tuning is usually the first step that players take as they start to explore alternate tunings, and with good reason. It’s quick and simple to tune to and makes some things on guitar a lot easier.

We know that standard tuning is as follows:

6th string – E

5th string – A

4th string – D

3rd string – G

2nd string – B

1st  string – E

So how do we get from standard tuning to drop D?


We tune the 6th string down a tone from E to D, and that’s it.

So the string order is now

6th string – D

5th string – A

4th string – D

3rd string – G

2nd string – B

1st  string – E

Now the 6th string pitch should be an octave below your 4th string.

Here is a reference recording for the pitch.

Of course you might be wondering why you’d want to do this in the first place.

The main reason is that it makes those power chords (or 5ths) even easier to play across the lowest strings by lining up the root note with the 5th and the octave.

Here’s a G power chord in standard tuning:

G Power Chord TAB

Here it is in drop D:

G Power Chord Drop D Tuning TAB

This has the advantage of making a lot of those quick metal riffs a lot less work to pull off at the tempo required, and also gives you a different bass tone to use as an open pedal note should the song call for it.

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Of course, Drop D is far from being a one trick pony. A lot of genres can benefit from the additional tones that this tuning can give you access to. I use drop tunings in my acoustic playing and song writing. It allows me to keep bass notes ringing out, while being easier to grab as part of the chord I’m using. This saves me a lot of awkward stretches, and frees up my hands to add in hammer-ons and pull offs bringing more life to the chords I’m playing.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions of things to listen to give you some ideas outside of the sphere of metal guitar.

Hank Williams Jr – Country Boy Can Survive

Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Once you’re all tuned up you’ll be ready to explore the range of new sounds the altered low string can bring you, so get out there and start exploring!


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