Guitar Tuning

Everything you need to know about guitar tuning – from drop tuning to standard tuning, as well as D Standard, half a step down, drop C, and everything else in between, including tuners and string choice…

When it comes to guitar tuning, you have A LOT of options. You have standard tuning (EADGBE), drop tunings like Drop D (DADGBE), and alternate tunings like DADGAD, and for the real heavy stuff things like D Standard and C Standard

And they’re just the most well-known ones; there are literally hundreds more. Hundreds!

Once you know the rules, you can basically tune your guitar however you like. Just ask Keith Richards or Buzzo from the Melvins. Or Jimmy Page. They’ve all used all kinds of crazy tunings over the years. 

And then you have tunings for extended-range guitars, 8 string guitars, 7 string guitars, and even 9 string guitars. If you’re a learner, it is a lot to take in and make sense of. But if you follow and read the guides and tutorials below, you’ll start to better understand the amazing world of guitar tunings… 

Guitar Tuning Guides, Tips & Actionable Advice


Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tuning: A Guide…

Killer riffs, catchy licks, swagger, and a complete disregard for the rules. These are just a few of the things that make up Josh Homme’s guitar style. But what tuning do Queens of The Stone Age actually use?


The 7 Most Common Guitar Tunings Used In Music

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the seven most common guitar tunings used by the greats – from standard tuning to Drop A and Open G, we cover all the most-used tunings since the 1960s...


Drop D Tuning on Guitar Explained (For Absolute Beginners)

Drop D tuning on guitar is an alternative tuning. Used predominantly in rock, metal, and blues, drop d tuning is great tool to have in your arsenal. Here’s everything you need to know about drop d tuning…


What is D Standard Tuning? Tutorial & Tips For New Players

D Standard tuning is a great option if you’re going for a heavier sound. Mastodon uses D Standard a lot. Here’s everything you need to know about tuning your guitar down to D Standard…


AADGBE Guitar Tuning (Drop A): Gettin’ LOW N’ DIRTY…

What is AADGBE guitar tuning? What bands use it? And what kind of strings do you need to tune down that low? Let’s dig in and find out…


10 Bands That Use Drop C Tuning – EMBRACE THE MIGHTY CHUG!

Drop C tuning sounds heavy – heavy as heck. It also makes playing power chords nice and easy too. Here’s 10 awesome bands that use Drop C tuning...


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

If you try to look up the Every Time I Die Guitar Tunings, you might get confused. Most of the Tabs I have found are very inaccurate.


DGCFAD – The Guitar Tuning of The Gods…

DGCFAD is an alternate tuning you can use on your guitar that is a whole step down from EADGBE. It sounds heavier too which is great for rock, metal, and blues


The Top 5 Doom Metal Tunings: The Ultimate Guide to Going Insanely LOW!

Doom Metal is all about being heavy, slow and foreboding. There are several different Doom Metal tunings that the pros prefer and today we check them out.


Led Zeppelin Guitar Tunings: Alternate Tunings Used By The Band

Led Zeppelin Guitar Tunings, a complete list – including all of the alternate tunings used by Jimmy Page over the years from DADGAD to CACGCE and more...


Metallica Guitar Tunings Over The Years: The Complete, In-Depth Guide!

Metallica guitar tunings over the years have actually been pretty varied, although they are known mostly for using standard tuning. You may be surprised!


The 5 Best Electric Guitar Tuners: The #1 Picks For Beginners & Pros

The best tuners for electric guitars, a list of featuring clip-on, pedal-board, and dedicated options for 2020. All killer. No filler. And simple to use and setup!

Choosing The Right Guitar Tuner

In order to tune your guitar, you will obviously need a guitar tuner. Guitar tuners come in all shapes and sizes, as well as formats.

You have pedal-based guitar tuners that live on your pedalboard; guitar tuner phone apps for iPhone and Android; cheap clip-on guitar tuners that you can use on both electric and acoustic guitars; and web-based guitar tuners that you can use on your computer or laptop.

What is the best guitar tuner? As always this will depend on your own personal needs. If you’re playing live regularly, you’ll want something that is accurate and can run as part of your pedalboard. If you’re just getting started, you’ll be fine with a cheap clip-on guitar tuner or a guitar tuner app for your phone.

Best Guitar Tuners – For Every Level

Whether you’re playing in front of 60,000 people a night or just learning in your bedroom, you will need a guitar tuner. As guitar accessories go, a good guitar tuner is about as essential as it gets – you basically cannot live or play without one. 

Even players with perfect pitch use tuners in order to always ensure their guitar is perfectly tuned for playing live, recording, or demoing ideas. And right now, these are our #1 picks for the best guitar tuners for every level of player – from professional to bedroom noodler. 

Best For Beginners
Thomann CTC-50 Tuner

A cheap and inexpensive tuner that’ll work on both acoustic and electric guitars. Just click on the Thomann CTC-50, switch it on, and start plucking your strings to get them tuned perfectly. This one is perfect for beginners and/or casual players. 

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The Best For Advanced Players
Boss TU-3 Tuner Pedal

If you’re looking for a more professional tuner, the BOSS TU-3 has been an industry standard for years. Perfect for when you’re playing live or in the studio, this chromatic tuning pedal is near-perfect and built to last. You’ll still be using this in 2040. It is really that good. 

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Should You Learn Guitar In Standard Tuning?

When it comes to setting up your guitar for the first time and learning to play it, you’ll want to begin your journey in standard tuning. Why? Because it is the most commonly used tuning in music and is the easiest way to understand things like chords, chord progressions, and scales.

Starting with standard tuning will form the foundation of your understanding about how the guitar works. Once you know your way around all the strings, or the bottom string, you’ll open up the entire neck, learning what goes where, where certain notes are, and how to move between keys.

standard guitar tuning versus drop c tuning
The Difference Between Standard Tuning and Drop C Tuning

With standard tuning, you’ll also have to learn things like barre chords too, and these help massively with dexterity. Barre chords seem impossible at first but after a few months, you’ll have them down. Ditto scales like the pentatonic scale.

Learning in standard is the quickest way to learn all the core, foundational skills required to play guitar.

And because when you first start out, you won’t have any songs of your own, you’ll have to start by learning other artists’ songs. And most classic rock and metal is in standard. Black Sabbath, Metallica, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles – it’s all in standard tuning. And if it is good enough for those guys, it is good enough for you.

Is Drop D Tuning Easier Than Standard Tuning? 

Drop D tuning is used because A) it sounds lower and heavier than standard tuning. In Drop D tuning, your bottom string – usually an E – is tuned down a whole step to D. The rest of the strings remain the same. 

Because you’ve dropped the bottom string down a whole step, you can now play power chords with a single finger, whereas in standard tuning you’d have to use two fingers or a barre chord. 

This makes playing fast riffs is easier in Drop D tuning and it is why bands like Lamb of God use it. If you want to shred through notes, as Lamb of God does, dropping down to Drop D is usually pretty helpful. 

D Standard Tuning
Brent Hinds of Mastodon Plays In D Standard A LOT Which is Standard Tuning Tuned Down a Whole Step

Drop tunings are great for speed and tone, but they do lack certain things you get with standard tuning. This is why many, many metal bands prefer to play in standard or a stepped-down version of standard. 

With tunings like Drop D, Drop C and Drop B, you will also have to relearn your pentatonic patterns too, as the intervals between the strings are not preserved.

Do you need to use drop tuning to play metal? Absolutely not! Pantera didn’t use drop tunings and neither does Metallica, Mastodon, or Sleep. Heaviness comes from your playing, not from your tuning. 

Opeth and Dillinger Escape Plan play standard tuning. Similarly, a lot of doom bands – like SLEEP – use tunings like D Standard or C, which is the same as standard tuning just moved down a whole step or two whole steps. 

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