Drop D Tuning
This is the most popular alternative tuning for a guitar. It's exactly the same as standard tuning except the 6th string (the low E) is dropped one tone to a D. Drop D tuning is a good starting point for guitarists looking for a different and possibly heavier sound.
Playing the open three bass strings (D A D) in drop D produces a power chord (D5). By barring across the three strings with one finger, it's easy to play any power chord you like by moving around the fretboard.
Your power chords will have a distinctive tone and can be played two semitones lower than would be possible with standard tuning.
No Guitar Tuner?
If your guitar is standard tuned just drop the pitch of the 6th or low E string until it sounds one octave below the open 4th or D string to get to drop D. Another way to get the 6th string to D is to hold down the 7th fret of the 6th string and play the 5th and 6th strings together. Adjust the 6th string until they are playing at the same pitch. You are now in drop D!
Many guitarists have played songs in this tuning. A few examples are:
- Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick and Kashmir
- Nirvana - All Apologies
- Foo Fighters - Everlong
Many folk and country musicians also use drop D tuning.
Don't confuse drop D tuning with standard D tuning.
When reading tab music follow the tuning it suggests. If there is no mention of tunings then you will most likely need standard tuning.
If you're having problems tuning or your intonations is wondering off, it may be time to change your guitar strings.