Drop D - Tuning And Basic Chords

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


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.


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.

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.


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
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