Drop D tuning

guitar with Drop D tuningThe Drop D tuning is common in hard rock styles and one is that it allow power chords to be played by placing a single finger over the same fret. Drop D tuning should not be confused with Open D tuning..

Here is how you tune the guitar: DADGBE. Compared to standard tuning, the only difference is that you tune down the lowest (thickest) string a 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 well. There is also the Double Drop D.

Power chords

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


  • D5 chord diagram


  • E5 chord diagram


  • G5 chord diagram


  • A5 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.

Power chords with alternative bass notes

Power chords with alternative bass notes are also very useful and can be used together with the regular power chords presented above.


  • 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. Although, rich sounds can be found by include the open strings, especially for D chords. For chords that otherwise use the sixth string, such as E and G, there are some new conditions (E major is by the way not very common in songs using this tuning).


  • D chord diagram


  • Dmadd2 chord diagram


  • Em chord diagram


  • A chord diagram


  • G/D chord diagram


  • C/D chord diagram


Em can be played by using the thumb. An alternative way to play Em is xx1000.

Additional open chords:

Dm: 000231
Dmaj7: 000222
Dm7: 000565
E: 222100 / XX2100
E7: 220100
Em7: 220000
Em9: 220002
Emadd4: 202000
F#m: XX4222
G: 5X0003 / 550003
Bm: X2443X

Using shapes around the middle open strings

The 3rd, 4th and 5th strings played open forms a D chord. You can create shapes around these three open strings, some examples are:

Gsus2: 500035
G6/A: 700057
G9sus4/F: 300013

Barre chords

The conditions for barre chords 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 the Drop D tuning, see also Drop C tuning.