In this lesson we’ll take a look at standard D tuning on the guitar. This particular tuning is quite popular in country and metal, although I’m sure you’ll find it used elsewhere as well.
Standard D tuning is quite simply dropping standard E tuning by one whole tone on each string. It produces a lower, more growly sound, which can be really cool on the guitar.
There are hundreds of alternate tunings for the guitar, so when you’re deciding which one to use, you really need to consider what you want to do with it. One of the big benefits of standard D tuning, as opposed to some of the open tunings, is that all the same chord patterns you’re familiar with still work. You’ve only just dropped things down by a whole step.
Keeping that in mind, in standard D, if you play an open D major, that will now become a C major. Likewise, G becomes F, A becomes G, etc etc. Definitely something you’ll have to think about, unless you’re the only person playing.
For quick comparison here’s E Standard Tuning: E A D G B E
And here’s D Standard Tuning: D G C F A D
One thing you might want to consider if you’re using a lot of alternate tunings is to setup a guitar just for that tuning. It allows the guitar to settle into that tuning, and also allows you to tweak the action and string gauge specifically for that tuning. For instance, with many of the drop tunings you’ll get a better tone out of a heavier gauge string. Of course, if you play mostly in standard tuning, you may not want a heavier gauge string on there all the time. So that’s something to have a think on.