What Is Drop D Tuning on Guitar?

What Is Drop D Tuning on Guitar?

Drop D tuning is a popular alternate tuning for the guitar that involves lowering the pitch of the sixth string (the low E string) by a whole step (two frets) to create a D note. This tuning is commonly used in various genres of music, including rock, metal, and folk, and is favored by guitarists for its rich and powerful sound.

Tuning Your Guitar to Drop D

If you’re a beginner, try tuning your guitar with a tuner app like GuitarTuna. To manually tune your guitar to Drop D, start by loosening the sixth string until it is slack. Then, play the fourth fret on the sixth string and tune the open string to match the pitch. Once the open string is tuned to D, you can play it alongside the fifth fret on the fifth string to check that it is in tune. Repeat this process until the open sixth string is in tune with the fifth fret on the fifth string.

It’s important to note that Drop D tuning puts more tension on the guitar neck, so it’s essential to tune the strings carefully and not over-tune them. Additionally, playing in Drop D tuning may take some time to get used to, as the fretboard and finger positions are different from standard tuning.

Drop D Tuning Fretboard Notes

Benefits to Drop D Tuning

One of the benefits of Drop D tuning is that it makes playing power chords much easier. Power chords are two or more notes played together that are meant to be used as a single unit, and they are an essential element of many rock and metal guitar styles. In Drop D tuning, playing a power chord involves only two fingers and can be done with much less effort than in standard tuning.

Drop D tuning is also well-suited for playing songs in D major or D minor, as the open D string provides a strong and resonant foundation for the chords and melody. Additionally, it is often used for alternate chord progressions and fingerpicking patterns, making it a versatile tuning for a wide range of musical styles.

Famous Songs Played in Drop D Tuning


In conclusion, Drop D tuning is a popular alternate tuning for the guitar that offers a rich and powerful sound and is favored by guitarists in various genres of music. Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore different tunings or an experienced guitarist looking to add a new dimension to your playing, learning Drop D tuning is a valuable investment. By incorporating Drop D tuning into your playing, you’ll be able to add new depth and nuance to your songs and create music that resonates with your listeners.

Learn Drop D
Tuning with an Expert Teacher

Drop D tuning completely changes the notes on your fretboard and it takes a lot of time and practice to adjust. Our expert guitar teachers can help students accelerate the learning process while also building essential guitar playing skills. Learn more or schedule your first session by contacting us today!