Drop A Tuning Six-String?

Drop A Tuning Six-String?

Drop A Tuning Six-String?

Drop A calls for the lowest string (the sixth string) to be tuned down an additional step while all other strings are tuned down a fourth for a six-string guitar. The second string’s tuning in drop A is sometimes written as F# and Gb.

On a 6-string guitar, dropping a tune means bringing each string’s pitch down by a certain amount. The lowest string, typically E, is tuned down to D in a “Drop D” tuning for dropping the guitar. As a result, the open strings are tuned D-A-D-G-B-E from low to high.

To achieve a different tonal range and to make particular playing methods easier, tunings are dropped. Guitarists can easily play power chords by placing one finger across the lowest three strings and dropping the lowest string to D. Rock, metal, and alternative music styles frequently employ this tuning.

Due to the lower pitch when playing in a dropped tuning, the guitar’s overall tone gets heavier and more resonant. It produces a wider, richer tone and allows for various chord voicings and melodic suggestions. The looser string tension could also enable more forceful playing techniques, including powerful palm-muted riffs or long bends.

It’s crucial to understand that changing a guitar’s tuning necessitates adjusting the string tension and, maybe, the instrument’s configuration to accommodate the lower pitch.

This may entail adjusting the truss rod, intonation, and string gauge to preserve the best possible playability and prevent string buzz or fretting concerns. While in dropped tuning, using the proper string gauges and ensuring everything is set up correctly can assist in retaining good intonation and playability.

Overall, dropping a tuning, like Drop D, on a 6-string guitar can give musicians more creative options and tone changes, especially in heavier music genres. It modifies the guitar’s tone, makes some playing styles easier, and can generate new musical concepts.

How Low May An A-6 String Be Tuned?

The lowest tuning a 6-string guitar can be tuned to mostly depends on the string gauge you’re using and the structural limits of the instrument. To prevent possible harm to the instrument or impairing its playability, it is essential to consider these aspects. Consider these things when choosing the lowest tuning for a 6-string guitar:

String Size

How low you can tune your guitar is greatly influenced by the gauge of the strings you select. In general, thicker strings can handle lower tunings and offer more tension. However, the use of extremely heavy-gauge strings can require adjusting the guitar’s setup to account for the extra stress.

Finding the right mix between retaining playability and obtaining a lower tune The ideal tension for your desired tuning can be achieved by experimenting with various string gauges.

Construction of a Guitar

A guitar’s construction has a significant impact on how low it can be tuned. Acoustic guitars, for instance, are normally made to be tuned to standard or slightly lower tunings since exceptionally low tunings may put too much strain on their bodies.

On the other hand, electric guitars typically provide more flexibility because of their solid-body design and truss rod that can be adjusted. However, extremely low tunings might still result in intonation problems and string buzz, necessitating setup changes for the instrument.

Setting Up and Intonation

It’s crucial to consider the guitar’s intonation and setup while tuning it to lower pitches. If the guitar’s strings are tuned lower, the notes played on the higher frets may no longer be in tune, resulting in poor intonation. To ensure precise intonation, the bridge saddles may need to be adjusted.

The truss rod might also need to be adjusted to relieve the neck and prevent fret buzzing. Your instrument’s setup for lower tunings can be verified by speaking with a qualified guitar technician or luthier.

Limitations and Considerations

Although a 6-string guitar can be tuned to extremely low pitches, it’s important to know any potential restrictions and disadvantages. Floppy strings, reduced resonance, and a loss of tonal clarity may be the effects of too-low tunings.

Maintaining good string tension and playability may also become more difficult, particularly if the guitar is not made for such tunings. Furthermore, abrupt variations in string tension can impact the instrument’s stability, possibly leading to problems with the neck or other structural elements.

A 6-string guitar’s lowest tuning depends on various elements, including the string gauge, the instrument’s design, intonation, and setup. A guitar can be tuned to extremely low pitches, but it’s crucial to strike the correct balance between the tuning you want and retaining the guitar’s playability and structural integrity.

A professional’s advice and an awareness of your guitar’s limitations can help you tune your guitar safely and get the best performance.

Which Groups Employ Drop A?

Bands in various heavy music genres, especially in the metal and alternative genres, frequently adopt drop A tuning, in which the lowest string is tuned to A. The following list of bands, along with a brief description of their musical style and some of their well-known songs, uses drop tuning:

  • Slipknot: The influential nu-metal band Slipknot is recognized for its ferocious and furious sound. Drop A tuning is widely used by them to produce powerful and low guitar chords. Drop A tuning is used in songs like “Psychosocial,” “Duality,” and “Before I Forget” to produce a strong and crushing tone.
  • Korn: One of the nu-metal genre’s forerunners, Korn, frequently uses Drop A tuning in their music. This tune influences their distinctively dark and deep tone. Drop A tuning is used in songs like “Freak on a Leash,” “Blind,” and “Got the Life” to produce deep, distorted guitar riffs.
  • Take Me to the Horizon: Metalcore group Bring Me the Horizon has evolved from its early deathcore sound to a more alternative and melodic sound. Drop A tuning is a common technique, particularly in their harder tracks. Tracks like “Shadow Moses,” “Chelsea Smile,” and “Throne” are good examples of how they use Drop A tuning to give their music gravitas and depth.
  • The Ram of God: The groove metal band Lamb of God is known for its ferocious and rhythmic guitar playing. They frequently use Drop A tuning to produce a lower, heavier sound that adds to their aggressive and dramatic style. Songs like “Redneck,” “Laid to Rest,” and “Walk with Me in Hell” showcase their mastery of Drop A tuning for devastating guitar riffs and tight grooves.
  • Whitechapel: Deathcore band Whitechapel is renowned for its powerful and vicious sound. They commonly use Drop A tuning to produce a gloomy and oppressive environment. In songs like “This Is Exile,” “Possession,” and “I, Dementia,” the band employs drop A tuning to create low-tuned, chugging guitar riffs that emphasize their fierce and violent attitude.

Who Employs the Drop A Tuning?

Many bands in different heavy music genres use drop-A tuning, where the lowest string is tuned to A. Here are some well-known performers who employ Drop A tuning, along with a brief synopsis of their musical aesthetic and standout songs:

  • Meshuggah: The progressive metal band Meshuggah is renowned for its intricate rhythms and polyrhythmic patterns. They are recognized for popularizing drop-A tuning and extended-range guitars.
    The low-tuned guitars influence their distinct heavy, djent-inspired sound. They demonstrate their command of Drop A tuning and their capacity to craft complex and heavy guitar riffs in songs like “Bleed,” “New Millennium Cyanide Christ,” and “Demiurge.”
  • Gojira: The French progressive metal band Gojira is renowned for its fusion of many metal subgenres and songs with an environmental theme. They regularly use Drop A tuning in their music, which gives their already powerful sound more depth and heaviness. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe, Flying Whales, and Silvera are well-known songs demonstrating Drop A tuning.
  • Deftones: Drop A tuning is frequently used by the alternative metal band Deftones, especially in their older albums.
    The lower tunings complement their distinctive synthesis of ambient and heavy elements and increase the intensity of their sound. Songs like “My Summer (Shove It),” “Change (In the House of Flies),” and “Diamond Eyes” exemplify their utilization of Drop A tuning to create a heavy and captivating sonic atmosphere.
  • Periphery: Periphery is a progressive metal band known for their intricate guitar work and technical proficiency. They usually use extended-range guitars with Drop A tuning to create a heavier and more aggressive sound. Songs like “Scarlet,” “Icarus Lives!,” and “Marigold” demonstrate their adeptness at utilizing Drop A tuning to create complex and crushing guitar riffs.
  • Architects: Architects are a metalcore band recognized for blending melodic and aggressive elements. They incorporate Drop A tuning in their music, allowing for heavy and impactful guitar riffs that enhance the intensity of their sound. Notable songs that feature Drop A tuning include “Nihilist,” “Doomsday,” and “Gone with the Wind.”

These artists represent a selection of bands that utilize Drop A tuning in their music. By incorporating this tuning, they can achieve a lower and heavier guitar sound, adding depth and power to their compositions. Drop A tuning allows for the creation of thick and crushing guitar riffs that contribute to the intensity and impact of their respective musical styles.

What Strings Are Best for Drop A Tuning?

When choosing strings for Drop A tuning, it’s essential to consider factors such as string gauge, material, and tension. The goal is to find strings that provide the appropriate tension and balance between playability and tone. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when selecting strings for Drop A tuning:

  • String size: For Drop A tuning, heavier gauge strings are typically recommended to maintain appropriate tension and avoid excessive string floppiness. Commonly used string gauges for Drop A tuning range from.012-.056 to.013-.062 for the 6th and 1st strings, respectively. Finding a gauge that offers enough tension to prevent intonation and playability issues while providing a satisfactory tone is crucial.
  • Material: The choice of string material also impacts the overall sound and durability of Drop A tuning. Nickel-plated steel strings are popular, as they offer a good balance of warmth, brightness, and longevity. Stainless steel strings provide a brighter tone and increased durability,but they can feel stiffer. Coated strings can also prolong their lifespan and maintain a consistent tone.
  • Balanced Tension: Finding strings with balanced tension across the set is crucial to achieving a uniform feel and maintaining good intonation in Drop A tuning. Some string manufacturers offer specific sets designed for lower tunings that feature carefully calibrated tension across the strings.
    These sets can help ensure that the lower-tuned strings have adequate tension without compromising the playability and intonation of the higher strings.
  • Experimentation: Every guitarist has unique preferences, playing style, and guitar setup, so it’s important to experiment with different string brands, materials, and gauges to find the ideal strings for Drop A tuning. Trying out a few different sets and gauges can help you determine the combination that suits your playing style, guitar, and desired tone.
    It’s recommended to keep a spare set of strings on hand for replacements, as lower tunings can put more stress on the strings, potentially reducing their lifespan.
  • Professional Setup: Once you have chosen the appropriate strings for Drop A tuning, you should have your guitar professionally set up or make the necessary adjustments yourself. Lower tunings can affect the guitar’s neck relief, intonation, and action, so it’s important to ensure that your instrument is properly adjusted to accommodate the specific string tension and maintain optimal playability.

When selecting strings for Drop A tuning, it’s recommended to choose heavier gauge strings with balanced tension, such as nickel-plated steel or stainless steel. Material, gauge, and tension significantly affect the desired tone, intonation, and playability. Experimentation and finding the right combination that suits your preferences and guitar setup are key to obtaining the best results in Drop A tuning.

What Tuning Is Drop A?

Drop A tuning is a specific guitar tuning where the lowest string, typically the 6th string, is tuned down from the standard E pitch to A. This results in lower and heavier overall tuning. Here are some details and explanations regarding Drop A tuning:

  • String Pitches: In Drop A tuning, the pitches of the strings from low to high (in standard notation) are A-E-A-D-G-B-E. All strings remain in their standard tuning except for the 6th string, which is tuned down from E to A. This tuning provides a lower and deeper tonal range, allowing for heavier and more powerful guitar riffs.
  • Advantages and Applications: Drop A tuning offers several advantages and is commonly used in various heavy music genres, including metal, hardcore, and alternative. Here are some reasons for using Drop A tuning:
  • Heavy Riffs: The lower tuning allows guitarists to create heavier and more massive riffs, especially on the lower strings. This can provide a crushing and aggressive sound that suits heavy music genres.
  • Power Chords: Drop A tuning makes it easy to play power chords by simply barring a finger across the lowest three strings. This facilitates a more straightforward approach to playing power chord-based progressions and opens up possibilities for fast and heavy chugging patterns.
  • Extended Range: By lowering the lowest string to A, Drop A tuning extends the lower range of the guitar, allowing for deeper bass notes and a fuller sound. This expanded range is useful for creating heavy breakdowns and adding depth to musical compositions.
  • Similar Tunings: The Drop A tuning is closely related to popular drop tunings such as Drop B and Drop C#. While Drop B tuning involves tuning the 6th string to B, Drop C# tuning tunes the 6th string down to C#. Drop A tuning is often chosen when a lower and heavier sound is desired than Drop B or Drop C#.

Guitar Setup Considerations

When tuning to Drop A, it’s essential to consider the setup of your guitar. Lower tunings can affect string tension and may require adjustments to maintain proper intonation, string action (height), and neck relief. Consulting a professional guitar technician or learning how to make adjustments can help ensure your guitar is properly set up for Drop A tuning.

Drop A tuning allows guitarists to explore heavier and more powerful musical territories. Tuning the lowest string down to A enhances the low-end range of the instrument and provides opportunities for crushing guitar riffs and heavy breakdowns. It’s important to remember that using heavier-gauge strings and making appropriate setup adjustments can help maintain playability and optimize the guitar’s performance in Drop A tuning.


Which strings work best with a drop a?

For drop A tuning, a gauge of 13-65 would be ideal. Drop A is ideal for certain strings, such as the DR Strings DDT 13-65. Choose something like the Ernie Ball 13-72 Baritone Slinky if you want an even beefier low end.

Who is a member of Drop a tuning?

Guitarists who enjoy playing harder music, such as death metal, heavy metal, and other genres that frequently use high gain distortion, tend to adopt drop tunings. These tunings make power chords sound thick and meaty, yet they are also incredibly simple to play—even simpler than power chords played in standard tuning!

How are six strings supposed to be tuned?

The high E string—the thinnest, highest-pitched string at the bottom of the neck—is known as the first string, and all others follow suit. Standard guitar tuning, starting from the thickest, lowest-pitched string (the 6th string) at the top of the neck, is: E – A – D – G – B – E.

What chords are less painful?

Yes, novices won’t typically have to worry about finger pain or growing the calluses that will allow them practise without feeling any pain because nylon strings are softer and more kind on players’ fingertips.

What scale does Slipknot use?

There are several excellent, powerful songs that employ drop B tuning. Here are a few tunes you can start learning to play in drop B. The powerful, harsh sound of “Duality” by Slipknot is mostly derived from the open sixth string.

Was drop D tuning used by Nirvana?

The band Nirvana, which gave the world the late, brilliant vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain, the fierce drumming of Dave Grohl (who subsequently gave birth to Foo Fighters), the murky bass stylings of Krist Novoselic, and the adoption of Drop D tuning on nearly all of their songs.