4 Steps How To Tune To Drop D On Guitar – Dive Deep Into The Depths Of Drop D

Ready to dive into the world of alternative tunings? Well, if you’re looking to add a touch of heaviness and depth to your guitar sound, you’ve come to the right place. Drop D tuning is where it’s at!

Not only does it add a beefy, deeper sound to your guitar, but it also opens up a plethora of new playing possibilities. Let’s break it down step by step!

What’s The Deal With Drop D?

Before we start twisting those tuning pegs, let’s get a grasp on what Drop D is all about.

What is Drop D?

Drop D is one of the simplest alternate tunings out there. Instead of your standard E-A-D-G-B-e tuning, you’ll be tuning your low E string down a whole step to D, giving you D-A-D-G-B-e.

Why Should You Care?

There’s a reason Drop D is so popular, especially among rockers and metalheads:

  • Power Chords Galore: With Drop D, playing power chords becomes a breeze. Just bar the three lowest strings with one finger, and boom, an instant power chord!
  • Darker Tone: Lowering the pitch gives your guitar a deeper, more resonant tone.
  • Creative Spark: A new tuning can really ignite your creativity and get you out of that musical rut.

The Nitty-Gritty: How to Tune to Drop D

Alright, enough chit-chat. Let’s get to the actual tuning process.

Step 1: Grab Your Tools

  • Your Guitar (obviously!).
  • A Tuner: While you can tune by ear, using a tuner makes the process way more precise. This could be a clip-on tuner, pedal tuner, or even a tuning app on your phone.

Step 2: Lower That E String

  • Start Strumming: Begin by playing your low E string.
  • Watch the Tuner: As you’re strumming, start turning the tuning peg for the E string counterclockwise. You’ll see the needle on your tuner start to move (or the display on your app changes).
  • Stop At D: Keep tuning down until the tuner indicates you’ve hit D.

Step 3: Double Check Against the D String

While tuners are awesome, it’s always a good idea to check your tuning by ear as well.

  • Play The Lowered E (Now D) and The D String Together: They should sound harmonious since they’re now the same note. If there’s any weird wobbliness in the sound, you might be slightly out of tune.
  • Adjust If Needed: If things don’t sound right, adjust the tuning peg while playing the two strings together until they’re in harmony.

Step 4: Rock On!

Now that you’re in Drop D, try playing some chords, riffs, or even writing your own groovy tunes. The musical world is your oyster!

Exploring the Potential of Drop D

With your guitar now tuned to Drop D, you’ve unlocked a new realm of musical possibilities. Here’s a bit of what you can dive into:

Riff Central

Drop D is a favorite among many rock and metal guitarists because of the ease with which you can play heavy riffs. Try playing around on the three lowest strings and see what monstrous sounds you can produce!

Chord Variations

Many of your standard chord shapes will produce different sounds in Drop D. Play around and see how familiar chords have changed and how you can incorporate these new sounds into your playing.

Creative Freedom

Perhaps the most exciting part of trying a new tuning is the creativity it can inspire. Sometimes, just the process of learning to navigate the fretboard in a new way can lead to the creation of unique and innovative music.

A Few Tips and Tricks

  1. Intonation Matters: When you change the tuning of a string, especially if it’s a drastic change, it can throw off your guitar’s intonation. If you’re planning on playing in Drop D often, it might be worth getting your guitar set up specifically for that tuning.
  2. Consider String Gauge: If you find your newly tuned D string feels too floppy or lacks sustain, consider getting a slightly thicker string for that position.
  3. Practice: Like all things guitar, mastering Drop D will take some practice. Spend time getting familiar with the new note positions and exploring what this tuning has to offer.

Some Cool Songs in Drop D

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a new tuning is to learn songs that utilize it. Here are a few tracks across various genres that make good use of Drop D:

“Everlong” by Foo Fighters

Arguably one of the best rock songs of the ’90s. The driving riffs of “Everlong” are a great introduction to the potential of Drop D.

“Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin

This classic gives you a taste of how even the rock gods of yore made use of this versatile tuning.

“Killing In The Name” by Rage Against The Machine

If you’re looking to get a bit more aggressive with your Drop D escapades, this is the track for you.

“Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden

This hauntingly beautiful song showcases the more melodic side of Drop D.

Expanding Your Drop D Vocabulary

The more you play in Drop D, the more you’ll realize that this tuning has its own set of chord shapes, scales, and nuances.

Drop D Chords

While power chords become a breeze in Drop D, there are also many unique chord shapes you can explore. For instance, try playing a regular D chord but with the added depth of the dropped D string. Feels richer, right?

Drop D Scales

Your familiar scales will have a slightly different shape in Drop D, especially on the lowest string. This can lead to new melodic ideas and patterns that you might not have thought of in standard tuning.

Some Precautions & Parting Thoughts

Watch That Truss Rod!

Drastically changing your tuning often, especially if you’re going between something like standard and Drop C, can put stress on your guitar’s neck. If you’re planning on using alternate tunings frequently, consider having a separate guitar for that purpose or regularly checking and adjusting your truss rod.

Trust Your Ears

While tuners are fantastic, always trust your ears. They’ll tell you when something’s amiss. The more you tune by ear, the better you’ll get at it.

Experiment & Have Fun!

Music is all about expression and creativity. Alternate tunings like Drop D can reignite your passion and inspire new ideas. So don’t be afraid to experiment, try new things, and, most importantly, have fun with it.


In conclusion, Drop D is more than just an alternative tuning. It’s a gateway to new sonic landscapes, a tool for creative expression, and a testament to the versatility of the guitar. So go ahead, drop that E string down to D, and explore the musical realms waiting for you. Happy playing! 🎸