Double Drop D Tuning

Double Drop D tuning is an alternative tuning for the guitar that modifies the standard tuning by lowering both the sixth (the thickest string) and the first (the thinnest string) strings down a whole step from E to D. This results in a tuning of DADGBD, from the sixth string to the first.

This tuning shares some similarities with Drop D tuning (DADGBE) but goes further by also tuning down the first string, which adds a symmetrical aspect to the tuning and offers several unique benefits:

1. Extended Range:

  • Like Drop D, Double Drop D extends the guitar’s range on the lower end, but it also adds depth to the higher register by lowering the first string. This can create a fuller, more resonant sound that is particularly effective for solo acoustic performances, where the guitar must fill a lot of sonic space.

2. New Chord Voicings:

  • The tuning allows for new chord voicings and textures that are not possible in standard tuning. It facilitates open, droning sounds that can give a song an ethereal or majestic quality. The symmetrical tuning of the two outer strings to D can make certain fingerings easier and inspire new approaches to chord progressions and melodies.

3. Ease of Playing:

  • Similar to Drop D, Double Drop D can simplify the fingerings for certain chords and riffs. For example, a D chord can be played by strumming all strings open, creating a powerful and resonant D5 chord that utilizes the guitar’s entire range.

4. Creative Inspiration:

  • This tuning can inspire new ideas for songwriting and arrangements. The altered intervals and the ability to use open strings in new ways can lead to innovative guitar parts that might not be as intuitive in standard tuning.

How to Tune to Double Drop D:

  1. Start in Standard Tuning (EADGBE).
  2. Lower the Sixth String: Use an electronic tuner to accurately lower the pitch of the sixth string from E down to D.
  3. Lower the First String: Similarly, adjust the first string down from E to D. You can compare it to the fourth string (D) to help ensure it’s in tune, remembering it should be two octaves higher than the sixth string.
  4. Fine-tune: Check and adjust all strings as necessary to ensure they are in tune.

Double Drop D tuning is especially popular in folk, rock, and solo acoustic guitar music for its rich harmonic possibilities and the ease with which it allows the guitarist to create a full and vibrant sound. It’s a favorite among songwriters and fingerstyle players for the unique tonal qualities and the creative avenues it opens up.

Here is a couple of examples using double drop D tuning:

All About Music
Friday’s Freebies