Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: What They Use & Why w/ Examples

If you try to look up Every Time I Die guitar tunings, you might get confused. Most of the Tabs I have found are very inaccurate. So let’s take a look at the actual tunings the band has used over the past 20 years of their career!


Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: It’s Probably Not What You Think!

Buffalo’s best kept secret throughout the 2000’s was Every Time I Die. I got to see them in 2001 or so, and their sound back then was much different than the band you hear today. Back then, they sounded more like ZAO, and some of their other metalcore/hardcore peers.

But around the mid 2000’s there was a slow shift in tone of their music, with each album, respectively. Every Time I Die started incorporating melody into not only the vocals, but the guitar riffs. This changed the game completely for the band. What was once your typical hardcore band, now had some southern ‘twang (Due to the entire band’s love of classic rock). The shift was slow and subtle, and was more apparent with each album.

Let me also say, that while Keith Buckley’s vocals and lyrics are usually the full focus of this band, I think that’s kind of unfair. No doubt he is amazing, and he adds a ton of personality to the band. But Every Time I Die is also very musically competent. Try to learn one of their songs. I’ll wait.

every time i die guitar tunings
Jordan Buckley

Looking back, I think that slow burn evolution was really cool. You could tell that Every Time I Die were building a new sound organically. This new sound peaked on their last album, “Low Teens”. As a guitar player and a vocalist, I was more than impressed. I was absolutely entranced by what the band had accomplished. Hell, going to their shows can save your life.

The band’s early material is all pretty easy to figure out, by ear. I didn’t have any problems learning tracks from the first few albums, but when that huge shift in style started showing up (Listen to “The Big Dirty”) the guitar parts got more complex. So I consulted everyone’s friend, Google.

But what I really wanted to learn was the tracks from “Low Teens”.

Looking at user submitted tabs for the songs was…appalling. Mostly, because the usual Every Time I Die guitar tuning is not static. They use more than one, and they have since 2007. We talk a lot about tunings here, and for good reason.

Different guitar tunings produce not only different sounds, but they also provide the guitarist with a clean… pallet. If you play in standard tuning for a while, you will find yourself playing the same riffs over and over. This is the case with me, at any rate. So a different tuning can mean a different perspective. I am sure this is the case with Every Time I Die guitar tunings as well.

So let’s set the record straight on these tunings. How do I know, you are probably wondering? I watched their set at the Warped Tour, and spent an hour watching their fingers, and how the songs were played. Along with changing out guitars during the setlist (which means a change in tuning, usually). Sound tedious? It was.


Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: Drop D

Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: What They Use & Why w/ Examples
Andy Williams From Every Time I Die

You’ll probably be very surprised that a band as heavy as Every Time I Die uses Drop D so often! I know I was surprised, and a little taken aback. Out of all of the regular Every Time I Die Tunings, this is the one that I would say 60% of their material is played in.

Every album has songs in Drop D, and most of their popular songs are in this tuning. In the world of Metal these days, I feel like everyone is trying to tune lower and lower. But the secret to being heavy is “the riff”. Not the tuning. We have discussed this before with bands like The Melvins, who use Drop D almost exclusively.

Drop D Is, Top To Bottom:

  • E
  • B
  • G
  • D
  • A
  • D

Drop D not only lets you have a few more notes to play, but it allows you to play power chords super fast, with one finger, essentially. Out of all the Every Time I Die Tunings, this one is probably the one reserved for the chaotic, fast songs because of this ease of chord switching.

A good example is “Wanderlust”, which has tons of changes in chords and rhythms.


Every Time I Die Tunings: Drop C

Drop C has always been a staple of Metal, but it is usually found in Doom metal. Drop C is useful for way more than just Doom Metal though. You can get some really interesting sounds with this tuning. Drop C is heavy, but it keeps the guitar in the mix where it should be: the midrange.

I have mentioned tons of times that I don’t like to tune further than B. I think past that, you lose definition in guitar, and you tread on the bass territory. I’m not hating on anyone that tunes to Drop Z-. If that’s your thing, that’s fine!

When it comes to Every Time I Die guitar tunings, Drop C seems to be used pretty sparingly. There are a few songs on the newer albums that utilize it in a clever way. This is where the tabs that I found on line get blurry. I have seen everything from D standard, to C standard for these songs.

Drop C Is, From Top To Bottom:

  • D
  • A
  • F
  • C
  • G
  • C

On the past 3 Albums, there have been a handful of songs in Drop C. The most popular that I can think of is “It Remembers” from “Low Teens”. They use Drop C to do an almost…country/blues riff? It is a refreshing take not only for the band, but for the tuning itself. Pretty cool!


Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: Double Drop A

This is a weird one. So weird in fact, I had never even considered using this tuning. But since I have played around with it, it totally makes sense! It is by far the least used Every Time I Die guitar tunings. This tuning is HEAVY.

At first I thought they were using regular Drop A, and just playing the octave. But I was very wrong! Double drop A, as I am calling it, is definitely different.

Double A, Dropped, From Top To Bottom

  • E
  • B
  • G
  • D
  • A
  • A: An Octave Lower

So this basically gives you the normal A string, with your E string tuned down to A. It creates this huge octave sound that has to be heard to understand. This creates a natural octave, and it sounds huge. There are songs on a few albums that utilize this tuning. But it’s most prevalent on “Low Teens” and “Ex Lives”.

I really like that with the different Every Time I Die guitar tunings, the heaviest ones are used the most sparsely. It really adds effect that the track has a different weight, when most of your album is not tuned so low. Lots of modern bands could benefit from this little lesson!

The best way to describe how it sounds, is literally just to hear it!


Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings: Wrapping up…

So I hope I have set the record a little bit straight, as I did with Metallica. The internet is full of great information. But some of that info is sometimes wrong, it’s the double edged sword of the internet. There is so much info out there, that may or may not be correct.

So I sat through a couple of full sets on the internet so you don’t have to! You can thank me later!

Christoper Horton

Christopher started playing guitar in 1994 at 14 years old. He has been a part of the Metal community for the last 25 years and has 11 solo albums under his belt. Christopher started his career in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 90's, later securing a major label record deal in the early 2000s under the name IAMSOUND. He worked briefly as a hired gun in Los Angeles before he opened his own studio in 2010 in Savannah, Georgia. Chris has worked with some big names over the years like Tripping Daisy, Kylesa, Baroness, and the legendary Reflux.

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