When I think of drop D tuning, I immediately think of overplayed guitar store music. We’ve all seen that guy sitting in the corner with a Line 6 Spider and BC Rich Warlock butchering some slightly out-of-tune drop-D riffs with the gain and delay on 10, right?
While that type of wankery is a rite of passage in some ways, there is more to drop-D tuning than just barred power chords and a chugging rhythm. Whether you prefer to try the chords in this lesson clean or with some distortion, you’ll be pleased to discover some new variety in your drop-D guitar playing once you implant them in your repertoire.
The cool thing about these chords is that they are movable, meaning the shapes can be moved around anywhere on the neck, which makes them all the more versatile. A quick way to get started using these chords is to take riffs you’d normally play with just your index finger and amend them to incorporate these new notes.
A couple of these chords utilize all six strings, but that doesn’t mean you have to play all the strings when you're writing new music. Emphasizing certain string sets of a given chord shape will allow for multiple sounds in one chord. Different styling and articulation of notes against each other will yield a larger, more organic sound than you might have experimented with before.
While these are certainly not the only chord shapes unique to drop-D tuning, they are the ones I like to use in my own guitar playing. With a bit of finger dexterity and some proper chord intonation, you’ll be creating new and interesting drop-D riffs in no time!
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.