Dropped-D Seminar

The most popular altered and open tunings (DADGAD, open G, and open D) contain three or four strings that differ from standard.
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Many guitarists find it difficult to deal with that much change, even though the sonic rewards are substantial. If you’re eager to explore the rich bass of a lowered tuning—but don’t relish the idea of getting lost on your fretboard—you’re in for a treat. Dropped-D tuning offers intriguing new sounds, yet only one string departs from the standard E, A, D, G, B, E scheme. Though it’s the simplest of all altered tunings, dropped-D delivers a lot of musical mojo. Best of all, you won’t need to change your string gauges to experience these sonic benefits.

To enter dropped-D from standard tuning, simply lower your sixth string a whole-step to D. As we’ll discover in this lesson, the burly low D lets you create wonderful new chords and riffs. For extra points, we’ll also try double dropped-D tuning, in which the first string is lowered a whole-step to D, echoing the sixth string two octaves below.