drop d tuning

Best Guitars for Drop D Tuning: Our Top Picks!

Drop D tuning is a popular tuning for guitarists. 

There are many guitars that can be used with this tuning but not all of them are created equal. 

This blog post will go over some of the best guitars for drop d tuning and why they’re so great, as well as what you should look out for when buying one! 

What is Drop D Tuning?

Drop D tuning is an alternate way of tuning a guitar, most often used in heavy metal and occasionally in rock. 

The tuning consists of the 6th string being tuned down one whole step to a D, and the 5th string tuned down two steps to a G. 

This tuning is often used in heavy metal music because it allows bands to use heavier strings which produce a thicker, heavier sound.

This allows for more freedom on the strings when playing power chords or heavier riffs because there are three open strings that can be played instead of just two. 

There are many benefits to using Drop D Tuning for your guitars; not only does it allow you to play power chords easier, but it also gives you access to new scales such as E minor pentatonic (E-G-A-B-D). 

Some of the artists that have famously used this tuning in some (or all) of their songs are:

  • Kurt Cobain of Nirvana 
  • Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains 
  • Chris Cornell of Soundgarden 
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Deftones
  • System of a Down 
  • Story of the Year 

Let’s take a look at some of our top choices for best guitars to use with Drop D Tuning along with the pros and cons of each! 

Best Overall For Drop D Tuning

Ibanez S series S521 Electric Guitar Ocean Fade Metallic

Ibanez S series guitars are made with the most careful attention to detail and this one is no exception. 

From rosewood fretboard to mahogany body, Ibanez electric guitar offers a range of sounds from mellow all the way up to high-octane. 

It also features carefully selected wood that will produce your favorite tones without compromise. 

It sounds impressive as well with heavy duty pickups and comfortable neck that allow for swift strumming. 

Lurking beneath the 3D shape is acoustic Mahogany specifically chosen for S Series instruments which responds beautifully when amplified through Quantum pickups – you know it means business! 

The comfortable, thin neck and Infinity pickups are just some of what will make this guitar a great companion for years to come. 

The innovative Wizard III neck has achieved fame as one of the most playable necks out there. 

So no matter your skill level, this little beauty will provide comfort from a well-known and respected maker of guitars like none other.



  • Great craftsmanship.
  • Slim neck for fast playing. 
  • No fret buzz. 
  • Lightweight. 
  • Full and bold tone. 



  • Does not have a whammy bar. 


Best Budget For Drop D

Schecter 430 C-6 Deluxe Solid-Body Electric Guitar

The Schecter 430 C-6 Deluxe Solid Body Electric Guitar was built to give you the best value and quality in sound, style and playability. 

With a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fingerboard that deliver clarity and speed of play, the sound is supplied by Schecter’s Diamond Plus pickups (neck, bridge). 

A contoured basswood body will keep your hands where they want to be so you can rock out comfortably. 

Don’t make a mistake and pick up one of those “even cheaper” guitars from other brands that will result in you playing more like John Tesh than Jimi Hendrix. 

The electric Schecter guitar features a deep c body for comfort while looking sleek on stage, making it easy for you to shred at breakneck speeds all night long without breaking a sweat. 

This guitar also has great Schecter tuning machines which make it easy to stay on track as well as tune fast if needed.

With its sharp looks this instrument is designed for clean sounds, but don’t worry because when plugged in your amp or other device we think you’ll flip over what she puts out!



  • Great price. 
  • Satin finished. 
  • Thin neck. 
  • Schecter diamond plus pickups. 
  • 3-way switch. 
  • Fixed string thru bridge. 



  • No tremolo. 


Best Guitar Under $500

ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar, Dark Brown Sunburst

The ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar is a beautiful and affordable instrument not only for beginners but experienced players as well. 

With 3 pickups, mahogany construction, and many of the features found on more expensive guitars.

This guitar has a set-neck design, flamed maple top, and roasted jatoba fretboard which provides good resistance without feeling synthetic in your hand or wear away quickly.

This guitar is well-balanced and it’s lightweight design makes it easy to play for long periods of time. Thanks to its set neck construction, quality hardware, and luxurious finish.

ESP guitars have increased in their popularity over the years and as you can see, you will not have to break the bank.

This guitar delivers a great sound, is comfortable to play, and offers the flexibility to create lots of different tones. It’s ideal for those who like to experiment and drop that 6th string down to D! 



  • High quality at a great price. 
  • 3 piece neck. 
  • Great for all types of rock. 
  • Push/pull tone pot. 
  • Easy playability. 
  • Rich tones. 



  • Pickups could eventually use an upgrade. 


Best Guitar Under $200

Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS22 Electric Guitar 

The Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS22 Electric Guitar is a perfect fit for the guitarist who needs an affordable, reliable guitar that gives me that heavy tone. 

The archtop design and compound-radius fretboard make it fun and comfortable to play. 

Jumbo frets ensure a helpful player will have no problem smoothly and accurately navigating up and down the fingerboard without any trouble while our patented synchronized fulcrum tremolo makes sure they stay in tune during fierce performances, backstage jam sessions or at home practicing.

It also features shallower neck angles to reduce hand strain and strong, light-weight basswood body binding that will not wear out your fingers. 

The Jackson High Output Humbucking Bridge and Neck Pickups are powerful for those long gigs while the two-point synchronized fulcrum tremolo secures tuning stability when you play chords or solo. 

This cool guitar also comes equipped with a tremolo bridge design that helps make changing between notes smooth and effortless. 

It also sustains the Drop D tuning so you do not have to constantly ensure it’s in tune. 



  • Great price. 
  • Double cutaway body. 
  • Smooth maple neck. 
  • Humbucking bridge and neck pickups. 
  • Black hardware. 
  • Features tremolo. 



  • Action will need to be adjusted. 


Best 7 String For Drop Tuning

Ibanez GRG 7 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar-Translucent Black 

Taken from our “Best 7 String Guitars” article, this is a cool axe. 

With high infinity pickups and 24 frets, this guitar is perfect for those heavy sounds that you are craving. 

You’ll get a fat and distorted sound by the humbuckers and unlike most Ibanez guitars, it has a fixed bridge. 

The GRG’s poplar body has a quilted maple art grain top and features a high glass finish and a very eye pleasing translucent black.  

Now you don’t have to play metal or heavier music to get the full tone of this guitar. It’s super light and comfortable to play making it very easy for you to play.

The guitar’s intonation is very close to perfect and sounds beautiful when played clean. You can use the neck or the bridge pickup and still experience a great depth of sound. 

The volume knob and tone knob will help you get the sounds you want and the 5-way selector will give you that freedom to do so. 

If you use this as your main axe, then down the line you may want to look at upgrading the pickups.  

Overall this guitar gives you a great bang for the buck as you will be able to experience the fascinating sounds of a 7 string guitar. 



  • Translucent black finish. 
  • 24 jumbo frets.
  • Wide range of sound and tone. 
  • 5-way selector. 
  • Infinity pickups. 
  • Easy to play. 



  • Frets will need to be polished. 
  • Pickups may eventually need to be upgraded. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

Now let us take a look at some frequently asked questions for Drop D tuning in our buyers guide! 

How do I tune my guitar to drop D?

The first step in tuning is making sure that all six strings are tuned by using this standard tuning: EADGBE (from lowest pitch – top). 

Drop D is tuned one whole step down from standard tuning, so it’s also called “Drop D Standard Tuning.” When you tune your guitar in this way, the low string (the sixth string) will now be a D. 

To get started, first loosen all the strings on your guitar by loosening your tuners. 

Once they’re loose, use whatever method works best for you: You can either use a digital tuner or an online app that tunes guitars. 

The tuning will look like DADGBE. 

Is Drop D tuning cheating?

Drop D tuning is not cheating! It’s a great way to play with a little bit of a heavier sound.

It also has other benefits like making it easier for beginners to learn chords, as well as giving guitarists more of an easier feel on the fretboard. 

Drop D tuning is a very popular tuning because it allows for easy access to power chords and the ability to get some aggression behind the music.

There are many guitarists that believe that the use of this tuning should be discouraged as it promotes laziness, but there are also some benefits. 

It’s up to you whether or not you want to use Drop D tuning when playing your own music, so feel free to experiment with different tunings and see what works best for you.

Is Drop D tuning bad for your guitar?

Drop D tuning is a common guitar tuning. It lowers the pitch of lowest E string (6th string) one whole step. 

This mean that you can play songs in the key of D without having to transpose them up an octave. 

Drop tunings do have some potential downsides such as the taking away of the melody in some of the open chords and even full barre chords. However, you can always tune back. 

The Drop D tuning is one of the most popular guitar tunings. 

Is Drop D higher or lower?

Drop D is lower than the standard tuning (EADGBE) by one whole step, which means it’s tuned to DADBBE. 

Drop D is used in heavier rock music because it has a deeper and fuller sound. 

Think of playing the sixth string (E) open. It’s a very deep and full sound. In fact many early Metallica songs start with an open E which allows room to add in heavy riffs and palm muting. 

So now we’ve taken the sixth string and tuned it a whole step down to even give it a heavier feel. It makes the chords sound deeper which is more aligned in heavier music. 


Drop D tuning is a popular alternate guitar tuning with its own unique sound. 

If you’re looking for the best guitars to tune in this style, we’ve provided our top picks along with what drop d tunings are most frequently used and the most common questions asked about it.

We hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions about Drop D tuning or the guitars we discussed, feel free to contact us.

If you want more information or have any other questions, please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you on how your favorite song sounds when played using Drop D tuning. Let us know if you like it or not?

There are many other great options out there so please make sure you do your research. We hope that we were able to help with that.  

As always, we want to hear from you about your own experience. Have you tried any of these guitars before? If so, what is are your thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to read the article and remember to always HAVE FUN!

Frank DeMaria

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.