Drop D tuning

guitar with Drop D tuningThe Drop D tuning is very often used in hard rock styles and one of the advantages is the possible to play power chords by placing only one finger over the same fret. (Not to be confused with Open D tuning.)

Here is how you tune the guitar: D A D G B E. If standard tuning is used as a reference the only difference is that you tune down the lowest (thickest) string one whole step, from E to D. When you have a guitar that delivers some more bass in the sound; perfect for some rock styles as already mention, but there are other possibilities as we will see.

Power chords

There are two alternatives for playing power chords in this tuning. Here are examples of chords with both shapes, that obviously are movable.


  • C chord diagram


  • D chord diagram


  • F chord diagram


  • G chord diagram


  • D5 chord diagram


  • E5 chord diagram


  • G5 chord diagram


  • A5 chord diagram


The popularity of this tuning depends much on the many cool riffs that can be easily created by using chords with the same bass note. A video that demonstrates this well.

Power chords with alternative bass note

These power chords are also very useful and also used together with the regular power chords.


  • F#5/D chord diagram


  • F#5/B chord diagram


  • D5/G chord diagram


  • E5/A chord diagram

Song example

The song "Everlong" by Foo Fighters uses three of the above chords in the verses: F#5/D - F#5/B - D5/G - F#5/B.

Open chords

Since only the lowest string differs from standard tuning, many open chords could be played just as normal. Concerning chords using the sixth string, such as E and G, there are some new conditions.

Common open chords that are played differently:
D: 000232
Dm: 000231
E: 222100 / XX2100
E7: 220100
Em: 222000 /XX2000
Em7: 222000
Em9: 222002
G: 5X0003 / 550003

Barre chords

The conditions for the barre chord changes when the lowest string is included.

Common barre chords that are played differently:
F: 333211
F7: 331211
F6: 3X3211
Fm: 313111
Fm7: 331111

This was an introduction about chords and playing ideas in Drop D tuning, see also Drop C tuning.