Dansm's Guitar Chord Theory
Chords in Drop-D Tuning
Drop-D tuning is very common in popular music. To use drop-D tuning, simply "drop" your low E string to a D (one whole step down). This leaves your bottom three strings as D A D, a root-fifth-root configuration. Therefore, you can play power chords (5 chords; see my lesson on number chords) by simply barring the three low strings. So a G5 would be 555xxx and an A5 would be 777xxx.
Soundgarden uses this to play Spoonman. Here is the opening riff:
   C5 D5             C5     D5 A5    G5  F5      D5  F5 G5     D5
   +     +     +   +      +    +   +   +     +   +   +   +     +   +   +   +
e:----------------------|------------------|-----------------|-----------------|
B:----------------------|------------------|-----------------|-----------------|
G:-------------.--------|------------------|-----------------|-.-.-.-----------|
D:-10h12-12-12-12----10-|---12-7-----5---3-|-3---0---3h5-5-5-|-0-0-0-----------|
A:-10h12-12-12-12----10-|---12-7-----5---3-|-3---0---3h5-5-5-|-0-0-0-----------|
E:-10h12-12-12-12----10-|---12-7-----5---3-|-3---0---3h5-5-5-|-0-0-0-----------|


Drop-D tuning is used for things other than easy power chords. Jimmy Page uses it in Going to California, James Taylor uses it in Country Road, and John Denver uses it in Take Me Home Country Roads. The rest of this page will explain how to play common chords in drop-D tuning.
Playing chords in drop-D tuning is very simple as long as you remember that anything played on the sixth string must be moved up two frets. So it should come as no surprise to dicover that the following fingerings are used in drop D tuning to make standard chords:

A
Am
B
Bm
C
D
Dm
E
Em
F
F#
F#m
G
dansm rules x02220
x02210
x24442
x24432
x32010
000232
000231
xx2100
222000
xx3211
xx4322
xx4222
5x0003
As you can see, there isn't a really easy way to make an E chord, or E-derived barre chords, using drop-D tuning. But all others are rather simple. If you need to make any other chord, just think about moving the sixth string up two frets. It should be rather apparent once you think about it.
You should now be more comfortable with drop-D tuning, so I hope you use this and that it helps you play some songs! Good luck, and keep playin' !
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1997 Daniel E. Smith.