Tech Tip:Heavy Sound Alternate Tuning

Take me to






Gary Bessel; Portland, OR


Q: I'm just wondering how to tune down from EADG to CGCF.


A: I use this tuning while live for some of my heavier songs; it's know as--whole step drop "D." Your reference is probably for bass guitar since you only had four strings, but if you add the last two strings it can be used for electric guitar as well.


You first tune all your strings down one whole step. You can do this easily with a chromatic tuner--the 6th string becomes "D," 5th "G," 4th "C," 3rd "F," 2nd "A," and 1st "D."


When you have all these strings tuned down one whole step, the second part comes into action--drop "D." Hit your 4th string (second string for bass) and tune your bottom or thickest string down to match this pitch as if you were tuning it in drop "D." But because it was tuned down to "D" already it becomes a "C" note.


This tuning creates a heavy dark sound that many new bands use. If you want to stay in this tuning for long periods of time you need to adjust your guitar's truss rod and use heavy gauge strings or they will be flapping in the wind. But if you just tune it this way for a song or two you won't hurt your axe.



Hope this helps
John McCarthy
Rock House
Guitar Instructor