Instructables

How to Tune a Guitar in Drop D

Picture of How to Tune a Guitar in Drop D
Have you ever wanted to play a song which is written in Drop D tuning, but you didn't have your tuner on hand? Well, this task is actually quite simple, and after using this method several times, you'll find yourself able to do this under a minute. In no time at all, you'll be able to switch between songs with a dropped tuning and a standard tuning quickly and correctly.
 
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Step 1: Precautions

Picture of Precautions
Make sure your guitar is in standard tuning. If your guitar isn't in tune, the end result will be less than great. If you're unsure on how to tune a guitar in standard tuning, check out this wonderful instructable, written by builder2.0. Once you're in standard tuning, move onto the next step.

Step 2: Tuning

Picture of Tuning
Place your index finger on the seventh fret of the low E-string. What you need to do now is tune your guitar so when you play the seventh fret on the E-string (the sixth, or lowest sounding string), it will play the same note as the open A-string (the fifth, or the second-lowest sounding string).

Step 3: Conclusion

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It never hurts to double-check your tuning. Play the lowest string and the D-string (the fourth string). It should be an octave higher than your lowest string. In other words, the open fourth string should sound identical to the lowest string on the twelfth fret. If it sounds right, congratulations, you're done.
The absolute easiest way to tune to drop D correctly and perfectly is: do a harmonic, 7th fret, on the low E string, and without stopping it, do a harmonic on the 12 fret of the A string. you should hear a waving/beating sound, if not, then you're either already in drop D, or try switching to the bridge pup. Tune down until the waving slows down, and stop when the waving stops. It should be perfectly in drop D then.

Oh, and UG FTW...
metal-matt5 years ago
you SHOULDNOT change tuneings on the fly... not play one song in one, then anothing in a differant tuneing.... that will wear out your strings fast, and be a total paint in the butt to keep intune
skip25725 years ago
The Easiest way to tune to drop D tunning is pluck the 4th string(D) and 6th string(E) at the same time, then start turning the 6th string down til you quit hearing the wah-wah sound (assuming your already in tune). This means the E string is tuned to D. Drop D tuning is DADGBE. To go back press the E string on the 5th fret anf strum the E and A(5) at the same time, then without lifting off the 5th fret turn the E string tighter til you quit hearing the wah-wah sound, this is easiest with a little overdrive turned on, or you can get a tuner for about $15 at your local music store.
Heh, didn't think anyone would make an Instructable about this, but what isn't there one for these days...
I usually take this tuning a step further. Most of the time I play In DADGAD. Which is a dropD tuning with the two highest strings (B and E) both tuned a full step down so it becomes A and D.
Fallout (author)  Paul the Mole5 years ago
Well, "DADGAD" tuning is also pretty useful, and I'm pretty sure that's the one you need for "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin. To achieve that tuning without a tuner, one would simple tune the E-string to the third fret on the B-string. Then, tune the B-string to the second fret on the G-string.
dchall85 years ago
Which string do you change, the 6th or the 5th? (E or A)? There's a twelfth string? Do you mean 12th fret? Okay I think I understand this. You are retuning the 6th string (E) down to a D. And that D note on the low string is one octave lower than the 4th string (D) string. Is that right? Then you could use either the 6th string 7th fret against the 5th string or the 12th fret against the 4th string to tune. I'm may sound confused but this is hard to write. Instead of EADG... you would have DADG.... Right? That is simple. Who uses this tuning?
Fallout (author)  dchall85 years ago
Yes, the E-string. I meant twelfth fret, sorry. I'll go fix that. Yes, "DADGBE". "DADG", or Drop D tuning allows power chords to be played by simply barring the bottom three strings. Several bands use this tuning in songs, such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Used, System Of A Down, Billy Talent, Muse, and Velvet Revolver.