I case you didn’t know, the standard tuning of “E A D G B E” isn’t the only possibility you can go for. There are a lot of alternate guitar tunings to choose from, and in this post I’m going to focus on the three most basic ones: drop D, double drop D, and drop C. But first…
What are alternate guitar tunings?
Basically, it’s every tuning in which at least one string is tuned differently than usual. This is going to be clear once I give you some examples so let’s get straight down to business.
Drop D guitar tuning
Let’s start with one of the most basic alternate guitar tunings. The only difference between the standard tuning and the drop D tuning is that the thickest string (E6) is tuned down one whole tone to a D.
This is what it looks like:
As you can see, only one sound has changed, all the other strings are tuned normally.
This drop D tuning is actually quite helpful. Due to the fact that the thickest string is tuned down one whole tone you can grab a power chord by simply holding down three bottom strings across one fret. The easiest way of fretting those strings is to make a bar with your 1st finger.
The easiest way of tuning your guitar this way is to actually use a digital tuner and start by tuning the guitar normally. Then focusing on the E6 string and tuning it down to the nearest D.
Double drop D guitar tuning
This one is very similar to the drop D, only this time both E strings have to be tuned down one whole tone.
This is what it looks like:
This is a fun tuning because you end up with 3 different D sounds on 3 different open strings: E6, D4, and E1.
Tuning your guitar this way is very similar to the previous case. You start with the standard tuning, then tune the E6 string down to the nearest D, and finally tune the E1 string down to the nearest D as well.
Drop C guitar tuning
This one is more complex than the other alternate guitar tunings because every string is tuned differently than in the standard tuning. See for yourself:
This looks like a mess, but actually it’s just a drop D tuning dropped down one whole tone. If you take a closer look you’ll see that every sound is exactly one whole tone lower than in the drop D tuning.
The benefits of using this tuning are the same as for drop D. You can grab three bottom strings with a bar across one fret and you have a power chord.
The actual tuning takes a little longer though. You start with the standard tuning, then tune the E6 string to a D (to get the drop D tuning), and then you take every note down one whole tone. So the E6 string needs to be tuned down to the nearest C, A5 to G, D4 to C, G3 to F, B2 to A, and E1 to D.
That’s it for the three most basic dropped tunings. Next time I’m going to talk about some opened tunings, so don’t forget to subscribe to this blog (you’ll get the post delivered to your email address the minute it gets published).