Drop D tuning is an ultra cool, simple way to make your guitar more heavy sounding. Take the low E, tune it down to D (might even want to tune the high E down to D as well, though that’s not the norm…but it sounds great) and you’re there. Power chords can now be played with one finger because the root and 5th are on the same fret instead of a step apart. Use the open string power chord in any progression and the riffs write themselves…to me, anyway.
The other tunings annoy the crap out of me. My guitar students keep bringing in these modern metal bands that do seven string drop D, down ten steps or whatever, so the strings flutter all slack off the strings. They don’t even know how to use a tuner yet they want to return their guitar to play this stuff, which gives them the excuse not to practice their basics because they don’t know how to get it back in tune. Half the time I tell them to push the whammy bar of their Squiers as far down as they’ll go and strum the strings…same thing!
Alright, sounds like the grouchy teacher needs a cup of coffee and a workout. I actually love many of those bands and tunings…
Drop D is my teaching trick of keeping students at bay about wild tunings yet keeping them motivated at the same time. So I thought I’d create a list of tunes I often teach that are in drop D that I teach regularly. I’ll warn you now this list ain’t going to be comprehensive, so you’d better add something in the comment section!
–Nirvana used a lot of drop D in their songs. My favorite is “Heart Shaped Box”.
–Rage Against the Machine did too. “Killing in the Name” and “Testify” are my favorites.
–“Monkey Wrench” by the Foo Fighters. I think “Everlong” is too, gotta check.
–“Laid to Rest” by Lamb of God. Alright, I don’t know how famous this song is, but it’s in the Guitar Hero tab book and all the teens seem happy to learn that opening riff, which rocks, so there you go!
–“Slither” by Velvet Revolver has some choice Slash riffs in drop D.
–“Chop Suey!” by System of a Down still gets requested. I think it’s drop D down a whole step, but if you don’t mind being a step higher than the song, just lowering the low E down to D should work.
–“Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. Actually, isn’t most of their stuff in drop D? “Outshined” is another good one.
–“Walk” by Pantera. Simple yet tricky, uber cool riff.
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