How To: Guitar Tuning D Standard (DGCFAD)

Guitar tuning d standard can help you attain a heavier & more powerful overall sound like you might hear from metal bands. It’s also easier to do than you might think!

Standard D tuning is essentially the same as your run-of-the-mill E standard tuning. The only difference is that all the strings are lowered by 2 semitones (1 whole step)

So if you were changing tunings from E standard to D standard, your would go from EADGBE to DGCFAD tuning.

Overall, you get a lower tone but are able to play the same chord shapes, scales, and songs as previously. Learn more about the basics of guitar tuning here.

guitar tuning d standard

Why Use D Standard Tuning?

Here are some of the benefits of using this tuning configuration for your electric guitars.

Heavier sound: By tuning all strings down a whole step, guitars produce a deeper and heavier sound. This makes it ideal for genres like metal, blues, & rock music in general.

Better for lower vocals: If you’re a singer with a lower vocal range, D Standard can be useful because it allows you to play in a lower key, making it easier to sing.

Versatile: This tuning is also versatile enough to play many other genres, including folk, country, and blues. Really anyone can use it as its so similar to the standard E configuration and a song with either of these tunings could be played interchangeably.

Less string tension: If you are wanting to use thicker strings for a beefier sound, you will need to lower the tension on your guitars. Using Standard D will allow you to do this as well as play more comfortably for extended periods of time.

Learning techniques: if you’re newer to guitar & struggling with techniques like guitar bends, this could help. You can try lowering your tunings by a half step to Eb but & if it’s still difficult, try tuning to Standard D.

This lowers the tension as mentioned & will allow you to fret, bend the string, and perform vibratos much easier.

How to Tune Your Guitar to Open D

Remember that you are only lowering the pitch of your strings by 2 semi tones or 2 frets.

Other than that, the tuning procedure should be identical to the standard guitar E tuning.

So we recommend starting with the thickest open string, tuning it to pitch, & then moving on to towards the high E which will then be tuned down to a D when played open. Here’s a dgcfad tuner to help you out:

Songs in Standard D Tuning

If you are looking for a song to play along with in this tuning, here’s a few to check out:

  1. Come As You Are – Nirvana

  2. Budapest – George Ezra

  3. The Joker – The Steve Miller Band

  4. Walk – Pantera

  5. I Will Not Bow – Breaking Benjamin

  6. Flying Whales – Gojira

  7. Plush – Stone Temple Pilots

  8. Yesterday – The Beatles

  9. Ritual – Ghost

  10. Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue

  11. Crystal Mountain – Death

  12. Was It A Dream – 30 Seconds To Mars

  13. Metallica – Sad But True

  14. Dragula – Rob Zombie

  15. Life of Illusion – Joe Walsh

  16. Gravity Storm – Steve Vai

  17. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

Have any suggestions for another song? Feel free to comment them below!

a minor pentatonic scale erik mclean 4157090

Why use heavier gauge guitar strings?

Using thicker guitar strings can provide several benefits:

Fuller tone: Thicker strings give a fuller, more resonant tone, which is very useful when playing rhythm guitar in heavier genres such as metal and hard rock.

Better for down-tuning: Thicker strings, especially on the lower strings, provide better tension and sound quality while playing in a lower tuning.

Increased sustain: Thicker strings can sustain sounds for longer periods of time, which is beneficial for lead playing and generating long, soaring melodies in a song.

Better for fingerpicking: Thicker strings can improve fingerpicking response and control, allowing you to play more expressively and with more nuance.

Thicker strings, on the other hand, can be more difficult to play, especially for novices or people with tiny hands. They also necessitate greater finger strength to fret and bend. The optimal string gauge is ultimately determined by personal preference, play style, and the instrument itself.

Related: How to tune a 12 string guitar

guitar string & fret close up

Artists/Bands who use DGCFAD tuning

Here’s a few bands that primarily use this configuration:

  1. Mastodon

  2. Gojira

  3. Children of Bodom

  4. Death

  5. Killswitch Engage

  6. Motley Crue

  7. All That Remains

Have any suggestions for another band? Feel free to comment them below!

how to mute guitar strings while playing

Other Alternate Tunings

Here’s a few different tunings you might want to explore:

Drop D Tuning: D-A-D-G-B-E

Eb Standard Tuning: Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb

Drop C Tuning: C-G-C-F-A-D

Open F Tuning: F-A-C-F-C-F

C Standard: C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C


How To: Tuning a 7 String Guitar

How To: Tuning an 8 String Guitar

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tune a guitar in D standard?

The same way you would tune a guitar in E standard. Essentially it is the same format, however the pitch of the strings is 1 step lower.

Is D standard tuning drop D tuning?

No, D standard tuning affects all the strings being lowered in pitch by two semitones.

Dropped D tuning on the other hand, is basically standard E tuning but affects only one string, the low E string which is lowered by 2 semitones.

How do you remember D standard tuning?

If you already know the letters for E standard tuning (EADGBE), then simply replace each letter with the previous one in the alphabet. Just remember that the last note for music in general is G before restarting back to A. The result is DGCFAD

Why is drop D tuning so popular?

This configuration is popular in hard rock & various styles of metal because it allows for quick & easy power chords. Whereas basic power chords require 2 separate fingers, but when using Dropped D you only need 1.

What is D standard good for?

D standard is useful when choosing to use thicker strings. Lowering the pitch by a whole step also lowers the tension of your strings which makes the thicker strings more comfortable to play.

What is the difference between drop C & D standard?

D standard is tuned identically to E standard guitar tuning, only 1 whole step lower in pitch.

Drop C is therefore identical to the tuning of drop D where only the 6th or thickest string is lowered by a whole step.

So for drop C tuning, you basically tune your guitar to D standard (DGCFAD tuning) and then you lower just the low d string by 1 more whole step to this: CGCFAD

What are open tunings?

Open tunings are a sort of guitar tuning in which the strings are tuned to make a chord when played openly without the use of frets.

This means that when all strings are played together, depending on the tune, they generate a major or minor chord.

Open tunings can be utilized to create unusual sounds and chord voicings that would be impossible to achieve with standard tuning. They are frequently employed in slide guitar playing and can spark new songwriting ideas and tunes.


Tuning to standard D can help you achieve a stronger and more powerful sound. This is why it’s so common in a lot of hard rock & grunge types of music.

It’s also simple to implement as it’s roughly the same as standard E tuning. The sole difference is that all of the strings are lowered by two semitones.

For example, if you were changing tunings from E to D, you would move from EADGBE to DGCFAD tuning.

The result will be a lower tone but you’ll still be able to play all the same chords, scales, and songs as before.

Scroll to Top