The Complete Guide To Drop Tunings

author: kattaway96 date: 04/16/2009 category: for beginners
rating: 7.9 / votes: 13 
what's up fools. I decided to share some of my vast knowledge on one of the few things that I have a vast knowledge of: drop tunings. The exercises in this lesson are in drop D but can really be played in any drop tuning. Lets start out by looking at some different drop tunings. Drop D (DADGBe) Drop C (CGCFAD) Drop B (BFBEGC) Drop A (AEADFB) As you can see from looking at this, the drop tuning is just where the E string is tuned a whole step down from where it would normally be. For example to go from D standard (DGCFAD) to drop C (CGCFAD), you tune the E string down a whole step. Power Chords In a standard tuning, a power chord is played like this.
|-----|
|-----|
|-----|
|--7--|
|--7--|
|--5--|
However in a drop tuning, if the power chord is played on the bottom 3 strings, then it is played like this.
|-----|
|-----|
|-----|
|--7--|
|--7--|
|--7--|
Playing power chords like this makes it easier to change them faster. For example, "Chop Suey" by System of A Down.
|-----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------|
|--6-7------6-7-6-7-6-7-6-7-5-6------5-6-5-6-5-6-5-6--|
|--6-7------6-7-6-7-6-7-6-7-5-6------5-6-5-6-5-6-5-6--|
*note: Because of the fact that you can play power chords like this, some people use slides to play their rythm parts. *note: Only power chords with the root note on the E string, are played barred across the same fret. If the root note of the chord is on the A string, then the chord is played as though it in standard tuning. Drop tunings can also be used to make things sound heavier. For Example, "Laid to Rest" by lamb of God.
|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------3-------------------------------|
|--------6-5-3---------6-5---------------------------|
|--0-0-0-------0-0-0-------0-0-0-8-5-4-7-8-7-10-8-7--|
   P.M...      P.M...      P.M... 
To play in a drop tuning, you must first tune your guitar down to whatever drop tuning you are going to use. My personal favorite is Drop D so that is what I will be using, but you can play these exercises in whatever tuning you want. These first to exercises will help you get used to playing power chords in Drop tunings.
Exercise 1
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|--5-5-5-5-6-6-6-6-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-8--|
|--5-5-5-5-6-6-6-6-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-8--|

Exercise 2
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|--5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7--|
|--5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7-5-6-5-7--|
This next exercise combines playing power chords, and a single note pattern.
Exercise 3
|-------------------------------|
|-------------------------------|
|-------------------------------|
|-------------------------------|
|--2-2-2-2-8-7-5-3-3-3-3-9-8-6--|
|--2-2-2-2-------3-3-3-3--------|
These exercises will help you with playing rythm parts in drop tunings. Now it's time to talk about playing lead. The only difference is that if you want to play on the top string you have to move up a whole step. This exercise is a solo that will demonstrate what I mean by this.
|--------------------------------------------------------------------
|--------------------------------------------------------------------
|-----------------10ZYABLA~HUYABLAZYABLA~HUYABLA~13p12p10------------------------------------
|--------10-10h12-----------------13p12p10---------------------------
|--10h12-----------------------------------13p12p10------------------
|---------------------------------------------------14ZYABLA~HUYABLAZYABLA~HUYABLA~12h14h15--

---------------------|
---------------------|
---------------------|
-----------10ZYABLA~HUYABLAZYABLA~HUYABLAZYABLA~HUYABLA--|
--10h12h13-----------|
---------------------|
The solo I always play goes on from there, but you see the part about going up a whole step in order to stay in the same key. Well that is pretty much all that I have to say about drop tunings. I hope that this lesson helped you. Enjoi!
More kattaway96 lessons:
+ Tips For Playing Original Solos Soloing 07/01/2009
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