The Basics Of Drop D Tuning

As an audiophile and a guitar player, it’s nice to play around with your guitar in terms of tuning it up. Drop D tuning is one of the popular choices for those that want to tune their guitar and play all kinds of rock and metal music.

We will be providing you tips that you can use whether you are entirely new to guitar playing or have played for quite a while; this is also an excellent tuning method if you want to play power chords with the greatest ease.

Let’s dive right in and discuss more about Drop D Tuning.

Drop D Tuning

The purpose of Drop D tuning is about the same as tuning a guitar in general. However, there is one thing that stands out. The lowest string (or the sixth string) will be tuned down an entire step. 

When strumming this string, it will make a D note as opposed to an E note. When a string plays E2 at the start, it’ll drop down to D2 once successfully tuned. 

With standard tuning, the strings will play the following notes (from lowest to highest):

  • E,A,D,G,B,E

Now, if you were to use Drop D tuning, the order will be this:

  • D,A,D,G,B,E

Why Drop D Tuning?

Drop D tuning is known for making it easier for guitarists to shift their range. If you sing with a lower voice, it will be easier to hit the right notes on the guitar itself. 

Drop D tuning will be perfect for power chords and various riffs if you usually play rock or metal. You want that rough, powerful sound like you would typically hear in songs in both genres.

Examples of When Drop D Tuning is Used

If you need examples of how Drop D tuning works, listen to the song ‘All Apologies’ by Nirvana. Alternatively, listen to any music from Nirvana since Kurt Cobain has been known to use Drop D tuning almost all the time.

Dave Grohl even carried on the legacy of Cobain by doing this himself as the frontman for the Foo Fighters. One song that features Drop D Tuning is ‘Everlong.’ You’ll notice this when Grohl plays the power chords in the song.

The Benefits of Drop D Tuning

Let’s take a look at a list of benefits you can get out of Drop D tuning:

  • You get a lower pitch: With Drop D tuning, you can gain access to a lower pitch when you strum on the string. At the same time, it won’t change the highest pitch in the slightest.
  • It gives you a heavier sound: The sound will be heavier when the string is loose. As a result, you get a lower frequency sound as opposed to standard tuning.
  • Easier to play power chords: By now, you already know how simple it is to pull off different power chords. It will be easier to get it done when it’s correctly tuned with Drop D by strumming the bottom three strings.

How Do You Drop D Tune a Guitar?

To Drop D tune a guitar, play the low E string. Then, you need to tune it down a whole step. To do this, turn the tuning peg associated with the string towards you.

You want to keep picking at the string until you are able to hear the right note. This is where your ‘play by ear’ skills come in handy. Alternatively, you can use a guitar tuner (either an online tuner or an app on your phone).

Use the easiest method you can get your hands on. Next, you want to pick the D string and do this until the tone matches. The low E string needs to be lower than the D string by one octave.

If you want to make it as easy and accurate as possible, we suggest using an online tuner or an app on your phone.

Choose a Song You Want to Play

Now that you have successfully Dropped D tune your guitar, you can jam out as you please. Or you can practice certain songs in the rock or metal genre. There’s plenty of sheet music and chords that you can find online if you want to learn how to play a specific song with Drop D.

Again, we highly recommend anything from Nirvana, Alice in Chains, or any band from the grunge genre. If you are into metal, you’re bound to find songs from Avenged Sevenfold and other bands that you enjoy listening to.


We hope you found this guide on Drop D tuning to be helpful. We promise you that if you play guitar using this tune setup, you’re not going to get enough of it, especially if you fancy yourself to be a rock or metal guitarist. 

It may not match the sounds of Kurt Cobain to a T. But we can tell you right now that nothing makes rock sound more awesome than tuning the guitar with Drop D. Play around with it and let us know how it sounds.

Best of luck, and keep on jamming.