So, you’re learning a new song on guitar and it says to tune to Drop Db. You’re thinking, “Ok, but what exactly does that mean?”. Well, let’s take a quick look.
You’re going to encounter many alternate guitar tunings during your guitar-playing journey. You’ll likely only utilize a few, but it’s great to experiment. Drop Db tuning is probably used more than you might think though.
What Is Drop Db Tuning?
Drop Db tuning means that you’ll be tuning your entire guitar down one 1/2 step and then dropping your low E-string down an additional full step. So, you’re tuning would become Db – Ab – Db – Gb – Bb – Eb. It’s just like Drop D, but the entire guitar is tuned down a half-step flat.
If you start in standard tuning, you would be tuned E – A – D – G – B – E. Dropping down a 1/2 step (or 1 semitone), would leave each string a half-tone flat (Eb – Ab – Db – Gb – Bb – Eb). Dropping your low E (now Eb) string now gives you Db – Ab -Db – Gb – Bb – Eb.
For more help with tuning your guitar, I suggest checking out this video from Mary Music. If you’re not already following Mary Music, I’d suggest hitting that bell. You’ll probably be hitting Marty up for some pointers again at some point soon.
Why Tune To Drop Db?
Tuning down your guitar lowers the pitch potential of your strings. Usually, you’ll want to do this to accommodate for a singer with a lower vocal range.
Dropping the low E-string an additional step to Db does this even more so. But also, it allows you to use different chord fingerings. Most notably one-finger power chords on the 6th string.
Popular Songs That Are In Drop Db Tuning
While you’re more likely to find songs in Drop D, there are quite a number of noteworthy jams you’ve probably heard of that are played in Drop Db tuning. You’ll notice, for instance, a lot of songs by bands like Paramore, Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park and System Of A Down are in Drop Db.
Here are a number of perfect examples:
- Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana
- Shine – Collective Soul
- Hail To The King – Avenged Sevenfold
- Be Quiet And Drive Far Away – Deftones
- Lonely Day – System Of A Down
- B.Y.O.B – System Of A Down
- Misery Business – Paramore
- No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne
- I Stay Away – Alice In Chains
- Numb – Lincoln Park
Unless you’re looking to play a specific song that calls for it, Drop Db tuning is most likely going to come to you organically if you play tuned down.
Many people tune down a half step for their voice or because they’re trying to play along with songs from their favorite artists. For instance, if you’re a big Slash, Jimi or SRV fan, you will usually find yourself in Eb standard. In that case, when you want to “Drop D”, you’ll technically be in Drop Db.
Whatever the case may be, it probably won’t be your everyday tuning. You will certainly need to use it here and there though. Who knows, though? Maybe it will become YOUR new standard. That’s the beauty of music. There are no rules!
For more alternate tunings, check out this article from Guitar World. You might be amazed at the possibilities it may open up.