You’ve probably heard of it before. In this type of guitar tuning, the lowest string is dropped down one whole step from E to D. So, you’re left with DADGBE. It was originally developed by blues and classical guitarists and is now widely used today. Here are some of its advantages.
Makes Power Chords Easier
The 3 lowest strings can easily form a D5 power chord. Power chords are made of a root note and a fifth and are very stylistic of rock. They have this aggressive, bass sound. With drop D tuning, you can quickly and smoothly play them up and down the fret board.
Gives a Grungier, Heavier Sound
You are dropping the lowest note even lower. This makes it sounds deep and more like a bass. That’s partly why it’s used so much for genres such as metal, hard rock, and punk rock.
Makes Bending Easier
Because the lowest string is now looser, it is easier to bend and manipulate with fingers. So, it’s easier to play a vibrato or drones (harmonic effects). You may even delay that blood blister.
Convenient for Songs in the key of D major/minor
That open D string and that D5 power chord are now at your fingertips — literally! This allows for quicker transitions and a faster tempo. Some examples are Switchfoot’s “Meant to Live” and Foo Fighter’s “Everlong.”
Drop D tuning may even be the most popular type of alternate tuning. Feel free to experiment with it!
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Michelle Nguyen is a writer whose passions include music, sports, health, and wellness. She loves playing drums and bass guitar, as well as swimming. If she indirectly helps you write the next “Stairway to Heaven,” she will be very happy.