What Is Drop D Tuning? How to Tune a Guitar to Drop D
Written by the MasterClass staff
Last updated: Aug 10, 2021 • 6 min read
In standard tuning for a six-string guitar, the notes progress from lowest to highest pitch, as follows:
- 1. 6th (lowest) string - E2
- 2. 5th string - A2
- 3. 4th string - D3
- 4. 3rd string - G3
- 5. 2nd string - B3
- 6. 1st (highest) string - E4
In other words, the lowest string is tuned to the note E in the second octave, while the highest string is tuned to the note E in the fourth octave. The lower the octave, the lower the pitch.
When reading a piece of music notation, assume your guitar should tuned to this standard “EADGBE” format. Sometimes, however, your guitar must be tuned differently to play a particular piece of music. One of the most popular alternative tunings is known as drop D tuning.