Drop D - Tuning And Basic Chords

author: Lowkin date: 01/03/2013 category: for beginners
rating: 3.5 / votes: 44 
Drop D - Tuning And Basic Chords

Tuning:

Standard - EADGBe, Drop D - DADGBe If you have a tuner just tune your low E string down a whole step until it shows you've tuned it to D. If you do not have a tuner you can tune your low E string down until it is the same pitch as your D string.

Basics:

Probably the first thing everyone learns about Drop D tuning is that power chords on the lowest string become a fair bit easier to play. Below is an A power chord on the left in Standard tuning and on the right in Drop D tuning.
e --x--   e --x--
B --x--   B --x--
G --x--   G --x--
D --7--   D --5--
A --7--   A --5--
E --5--   D --5--
Instead of using 2 or 3 fingers to play power chords you can just bar the three lowest strings of your guitar. This also opens up D and D# power chords closer to the head-stock of the guitar. Play around with the power chords until you're comfortable playing them. Try using the progression below as it may sound familiar to some of you.
e ---------------------------------------------------------
B ---------------------------------------------------------
G ---------------------------------------------------------
D --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-2-2-2-2
A --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-2-2-2-2
D --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-2-2-2-2
For the next part we will add something very small that will also add a different sounds to the Drop D tuning. It's as simple as adding your pinky finger to the 3rd string(G) two frets up from the power chord you already have. The left is an A power chord in Drop D and on the right is the chord when you add your pinky finger.
e -x-   e -x-
B -x-   B -x-
G -x-   G -7-
D -5-   D -5-
A -5-   A -5-
D -5-   D -5-
Let's take the chord progression from the last section and use it here. As you may have noticed it's a part of the song "When You Were Young" by The Killers and as you also may have noticed it sounded a bit off. When you add the fourth note to the power chords from earlier you will get the right sound.
e ---------------------------------------------------------------
B ---------------------------------------------------------------
G --4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-6-6-6/8--8-8--11-11-11-11-11-11-11-11-4-4-4-4
D --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--2-2-2-2
A --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--2-2-2-2
D --2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-4-4/6--6-6--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--9--2-2-2-2
For the last part of this lesson I'll show you a chord that is used in a lot of Killswitch Engage songs and metal songs in general. It's a minor chord that is a modified version of the power chords you learned earlier. On the left is an A power chord and on the right is the new A minor chord.
e -x-   e -x-
D -x-   D -x-
G -x-   G -x-
D -5-   D -8-
A -5-   A -5-
D -5-   D -5-
Play around with chords and get used to moving them to different places on the fret-board. I suggest try using the chord progression below for practice. These chords may hurt a little bit if you're a pure beginner because it's stretching muscles in your hand more than their used to.
e ----------------------------------------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------------------------------------
D -10-10-10-10-6-6-6-6-8-8-8-5-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-5-5-8-6-5-8-6-10-
A -7--7--7--7--3-3-3-3-5-5-5-2-7--7--7--7--7--7--7--7--2-2-5-3-2-5-3-7--
D -7--7--7--7--3-3-3-3-5-5-5-2-7--7--7--7--7--7--7--7--2-2-5-3-2-5-3-7--
I'll put up another Drop D lesson sometime in the coming week or two, but until then feel free to comment on here and let me know what I missed or what you would like to add. Thank you all for reading.

Legend:

For chord diagrams... 1(or any number) - the fret being played 0 - play the string open x - do not play anything For tablature... 1(or any number) - the fret being played 0 - play the string open / - slide from one note to another
More Lowkin lessons:
+ Drop D - Basic Scales And Exercises For Beginners 01/04/2013
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