A Simple Explanation of Drop D Tuning

There are a lot of cool practical things about the guitar. For example: it's portable, any chord or scale shape you learn is moveable, and you can also change the tuning on the fly.

One of the most common alternate tunings is Drop D tuning, but before we talk about that, we need to understand standard tuning.

Standard tuning is, from lowest sounding to highest sounding string, spelled E-A-D-G-B-E. 

In order to get your guitar in Drop D tuning, you need to drop your lowest string (E(The 6th string)) down a step to D. That's all. Then the notes from lowest to highest will be D-A-D-G-B-E.

There are a couple ways to do this. One, you can use a tuner but make sure it's a chromatic tuner. If you don't have a tuner, you can tune the 6th string 7th fret to the same pitch as the open A string, then you will be in Drop D tuning. Or, tune the harmonic on the 12th fret of the 6th string to the same note as the open D string (an octave higher.)

The most common reason to tune to Drop D tuning is to enable power chords to be played with one finger. That's why you'll see a lot of heavier bands using the tuning.

Just as common as Drop D tuning is to tune everything lower by the same amount to get tunings like Drop C#, Drop C, or even Drop B. For example, Drop C# is Drop D with everything lowered by a half step. Drop C is Drop D with everything a whole step lower, and so on and so forth.

The only drawback to tuning everything lower is that it changes the tension on your strings. Try it! Once you start getting into Drop C# territory or lower, your strings start to get really floppy and will have more trouble holding their pitch. But it sounds so badass with the right gear!

Here is a quick and simple video to help you understand:

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