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?


Josh Homme is one of the most influential guitarists working today. He effectively invented dessert rock and has been pumping out killer tracks since the early 1990s, starting with KYUSS and then continuing on with his current band Queens of The Stone Age.

Homme has a unique style. He doesn’t play like anyone else. Using bizarre reworking of the pentatonic scale, Homme’s playing is distinctive, drenched in attitude, and always very, very cool.

Homme says he likes to “take things away” rather than add additional things into the mix. And this approach, alongside his gear choice, is what makes his sound so immediately recognizable. From Songs For The Deaf to KYUSS’ Blues For The Red Sun, Homme’s career is expansive, seminal, and always interesting.

But what guitar tuning does Josh Homme use? What tuning did he use in KYUSS and what does he use in Queens of The Stone Age? As always, tuning is a key component of a band’s sound. It affects everything. And Homme’s choice of guitar tuning is part of the reason why his riffs sound so heavy…

Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tuning Explained

Whether playing in KYUSS or Queens of The Stone Age, Josh Homme predominantly uses C Standard tuning. C Standard tuning is two whole steps down from C Standard, where the strings are tuned as follows: C-F-A♯-D♯-G-C or C-F-B♭-E♭-G-C.

A lot of Queens of The Stone Age’s later records feature songs in Standard tuning as well. But the vast majority of Josh Homme’s output sees his guitar tuned to C Standard. With C Standard tuning, you get a heavier, lower-sounding tone. This is why bands like SLEEP also favor C Standard tuning.

As you can see below in the album list, Queens has used a range of guitar tunings on its albums. The most commonly used guitar tunings used by Queens of The Stone Age, however, are C Standard and E Standard tuning.

The vast majority, however, are in C Standard, especially on earlier records like the self-titled album, Rated R, and Songs For The Deaf.

Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tunings By Album

AADGBE Guitar Tuning (Drop A)

Queens of The Stone Age – Self Titled Album

  • Regular John – C standard
  • Avon – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • If Only – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Walkin’ On The Sidewalks – C standard
  • You Would Know – C standard
  • The Bronze – C standard
  • How to Handle a Rope – C standard
  • Mexicola – C standard
  • Hispanic Impressions – C standard
  • You Can’t Quit Me Baby – C standard
  • Give the Mule What He wants – C standard but can be played in E standard IIRC

Queens of The Stone Age – Rated R

  • Feel Good Hit of the Summer – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Leg of Lamb – E standard
  • Auto Pilot – E standard
  • Better Living Through Chemistry – C standard but can be played in E standard with a capo on the first fret kinda
  • Monsters in the Parasol – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Quick and to the Pointless – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • In the Fade – E standard
  • Tension Head – C standard
  • Lightning Song – C standard IIRC
  • I Think I Lost My Headache – C standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

  • Millionaire – C standard
  • No One Knows – C standard
  • First it Giveth – C standard
  • A Song for the Dead – C standard
  • The Sky is Fallin’ – C standard
  • Six Shooter – E standard
  • Hangin’ Tree – E standard
  • Go with the Flow – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Gonna Leave You – E standard
  • Do It Again – C standard
  • God is in the Radio – E standard but can be played in C standard
  • Another Love Song – E standard
  • A Song for the Deaf – C standard
  • Mosquito Song – C standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze

  • This Lullaby – E standard
  • Medication – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Everybody Knows That You’re Insane – C standard
  • Tangled Up in Plaid – C standard
  • Burn the Witch – E standard
  • In My Head – E standard
  • Little Sister – E standard
  • I Never Came – E standard
  • Someone’s in the Wolf – Open G
  • The Blood Is Love – E standard
  • Skin on Skin – E standard
  • Broken Box – E standard
  • “You’ve Got a Killer Scene There, Man…” – E standard
  • Long Slow Goodbye – E standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Era Vulgaris

  • Turnin’ on the Screw – E standard
  • Sick, Sick, Sick – C standard
  • I’m Designer – E standard
  • Into The Hollow – E standard
  • Misfit Love – E standard
  • Battery Acid – E standard but can be played in drop D
  • Make It wit Chu – E standard
  • 3’s & 7’s – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Suture Up Your Future – E standard
  • River in the Road – E standard
  • Run, Pig, Run – E standard

Queens of The Stone Age  – …Like Clockwork

  • Keep Your Eyes Peeled – C standard
  • I Sat by the Ocean – E standard
  • The Vampyre of Time and Memory – E standard
  • If I Had a Tail – E standard
  • My God is the Sun – E standard
  • Kalopsia – E standard
  • Fairweather Friends – E standard
  • Smooth Sailing – E standard
  • I Appear Missing – E standard
  • …Like Clockwork – E standard


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Richard

Richard has been playing guitar for over a decade and is a huge fan of metal, doom, sludge, and rock music in general – though mostly metal. Having played in bands and worked in studios since the early 2000s, Richard is a massive music production geek, a fan of minimalist recording techniques, and he really likes old-school guitars.

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