4 reasons I like drop D tuning


      • It makes the standard D chord sound amazing when you play all the strings
      • It is somewhere between open D and standard tuning, giving you the rich open sound of the bass strings, along with the flexibility of standard tuning.
      • It makes it very easy to change quickly between power chords
      • It makes swapping between standard chords and power chords much easier and quicker


    1: Getting your guitar into drop D tuning

    You need to tune the E (thickest) string down to D


      1. If you have a good ear, play the 4th and 6th (D and E) strings together.  The D string will give you the guide note.  Keep playing the two strings, either together or alternately, while slowly tuning the thickest string down – stop when they sound right together – they will be an octave apart.
      1. Using a tuner on the “chromatic” setting – If you’re in tune, the tuner will say E when playing the 6th string.  Slowly tune the string down and the tuner will first say D#.  Carry on past D# and it will say D.
      1. Using a tuner that doesn’t have a chromatic setting – play the twelfth fret on the 6th string.  The tuner will think that you’re playing the D string and tell you it’s out of tune.  Tune down and keep playing the 12th fret until the tuner is satisfied that you’re playing what it thinks is the in-tune 4th D string

    2: Power chords in drop D

    To play a power chord in drop D, you need to play the 3 thickest strings.  Playing them open will give you a D power chord.  Holding the strings down on any fret will give you a different power chord.  The best way to do this is with the top part of the first finger (sometimes middle finger) like a partial barre chord:

    3. Names of all power chords

    Depending on which fret you do this, these are the names of the power chords you’ll get

    Assuming you’re using the first finger to hold the power chord with the top section of the finger:

    Normally, you might bend that finger backwards to keep it out of the way of those thin strings:

    This is good technique usually – keeping the finger out of the way of other strings.  But not in this case!  Just lay the rest of the fingers across those unwanted strings.

    Don’t press the thin strings down, but make sure you’re in contact with them.  This means that, when you strum those strings, they’ll be muted, leaving the power chord notes to be heard.

    5. Converting songs into power anthems

    Take the chord progression of a pop song and convert the chords into power chords.  This will completely change the character of the song.  For example:

    Take a chord progression like:  Am   F   G7   C

    You can convert this to the power chords:  A   F   G   C

    Or –  C#m  –  F#m  –  A  –  G#7

    Becomes –  C#  –  F#  –  A  –  G#

    Remember that power chords are uncompromising lumps of sound and are not bothered with niceties like minor or any of the numbers that follow chord names (but do take notice of sharps and flats!)

    Using the chart, you can now take standard chord progressions and play them with power chords.  This works for whole songs or sections of songs that you’d like to play heavier.  It doesn’t always mean that you have to turn the gain up full.  It works really well on acoustic and cleaner electric sounds, giving a nice chunky feel to a chord progression.

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