Drop D tuning


Drop D tuning
Drop D tuning.

Drop D tuning, also known as DADGBE, is an alternate, or scordatura, form of guitar tuning — specifically, a dropped tuning — in which the lowest (sixth) string is tuned down ("dropped") from the usual E of standard tuning by one whole step (2 frets) to D.

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Uses of drop D tuning

In drop D the three bass strings form a D5 power chord, which can be shifted up or down the fretboard with a single finger to produce a power chord.

Drop D tuning is frequently used in heavy metal and nu metal, as guitarists in these styles often need extremely fast transitions between power chords. However, the tuning has also been used in many other styles of music, including blues, country, folk, and classical. Due to its similarity to standard tuning, drop D is recognised as a useful introduction to alternative tunings, leading logically to an exploration of DADGAD, open D and drop D drop G (in which both the 5th and 6th strings are dropped a tone) tunings.

The tuning allows for chords with a root or bass note of D to be played with a D an octave lower than with standard tuning, and allows playing of open D chords that include the fifth and sixth strings to allow the full sonority of the guitar to be heard. This can be especially useful for songs in the keys of D major or minor and is particularly effective on acoustic guitar. Drop D also allows fingerpickers to play chord shapes higher up the neck while maintaining an alternating bass. The bottom three strings, if left open, will vibrate sympathetically and, using chord shapes limited to the top three strings, a drone effect can easily be achieved.

The trade-off is the loss of the bass E note in chords or fingerings which the player cannot adjust to include fretting the sixth string at the second fret.

Examples of chords in dropped D tuning

D chord in drop D tuning About this sound Play .

Chords in dropped D tuning are formed as they are in standard tuning, with the exception of the sixth string, which is either omitted or fretted one whole step higher:

Chord Tab
A x02220
Am x02210
B x24442
Bm x24432
C x32010
D 000232
Dm 000231
E 222100
Em 222000
F 333211
F♯ 444322
F♯m 444222
G 520033

Note that these chords are not the power chords commonly played in drop D tuning. Power chords generally mute the higher notes rather than the lower notes.

For purposes of making the table easier to read, spaces are provided between each number when the fret number becomes a double digit. Additionally, the highest note in any 5th chord is an octave from the root note so it is not necessary to play it to achieve a 5th chord.

Chord Tabs
A5 777xxx x022xx
Bb5 888xxx x133xx
B5 999xxx x244xx
C5 10 10 10xxx x355xx
C♯5 11 11 11xxx x466xx
D5 000xxx x577xx
Eb5 111xxx x688xx
E5 222xxx x799xx
F5 333xxx x8 10 10xx
F♯5 444xxx x9 11 11xx
G5 555xxx x10 12 12xx
G♯5 666xxx x11 13 13xx

Relation to other tunings

Drop D tuning is the most basic type of "drop 1" tuning, where 6th string is tuned down a whole step. A large number of other "drop 1" tunings can be obtained simply by tuning a guitar to drop D tuning and then tuning all strings down some fixed amount. Examples are the Drop D, Drop C, Drop B, Drop B, and Drop A tunings. All of these use the same fingerings as for drop D tuning.

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