Difference Between Drop D, Drop C and Standard E

author: XxLoneWolf541xX date: 01/13/2014 category: for beginners

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Difference Between Drop D, Drop C and Standard E
This guide is to help beginners to be able to play rhythm guitar parts of post-hardcore and other dropped tuning songs.

The first thing we should cover is the difference between E Standard, Drop D, Drop C, and what bands use what tuning. Standard is what most guitarists use (standard for a reason):

EADGBE

Now, power chords in a standard song might look like this:
D-5 
A-5
E-3
You can play this chord anyway you desire, but I find it easiest to put my pinky over the A and D strings on 5 and put my index finger on the 3. If you can play this, most likely, you can play drop D and C.

However, this tutorial is for bands that use Dropped Tunings some examples:

Escape The Fate and Falling In Reverse: Drop C
Three Days Grace and Papa Roach: Drop D
Avenged Sevenfold: Drop D
Bullet For My Valentine: Drop C

Drop D

Drop D is the same exact tuning as standard, except, the low E string is tuned down to a D:

DADGBE

Bands utilize this trick to make power chords easier. Instead of:
5 
5
3
it can be played as:
5 
5
5

I play these by pressing my middle finger down on them.

If you are tuned to drop D however, any song in standard on the low E string, must be played 2 frets higher.

Standard
A-2--4-2-6-3-7---------------- 
E--------------4-4-6-6-8-8-1-1

Drop D
A-2--4-2-6-3-7------------------ 
D--------------6-6-8-8-10-10-3-3

Example of a drop D song:

Avenged Sevenfold: "Nightmare" (Rhythm Guitar chorus)

All chords are strummed 8 times
D -0-10-3-8 
A -0-10-3-8
D -0-10-3-8
The first power chord cannot be achieved in standard (all open). This presents many opportunities such as palm open mutes.

Another downfall to Drop D is that your normal chords that use the low E string cannot be played.

Summary

If a song is set in standard, 99% of the time you have to play it in standard. New bands like to play in drop D for a more full tone and easy access to power chords.

Drop C

CGCFAD

This is where your post-hardcore bands come in. Drop C is the same exact concept of Drop D except every note sounds 2 frets lower than in drop D.

Example:
0
0
0
In drop D, an all open chord in drop C is impossible.

Drop D = Drop C
0 2 
0 2
0 2
Drop C can copy any drop D note (except on 23rd and 24th frets). Drop D cannot copy any notes on an open, 1st, or 2nd fret power chord.

Escape The Fate - "Situations" CGCFAD
C-7-7-5-5--4-4-2
G-5-5-3-3--2-2-0
C
This song would be impossible to play correctly in Drop D because the
2 
0
X
chord cannot be played.

Soloing in different tunings

Soloing in drop D is the same as Standard as long as you aren't using the E string. if you are, you have to add 2 frets.

Soloing in drop C

To solo in a drop d song while playing drop D, you must add 2 frets to everything. Pretty much same rule for the power chords.

Hope you understand the difference now.
More XxLoneWolf541xX lessons:
+ Sweep Pick Help (5 Strings) Guitar Techniques 01/13/2014
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