What guitarists use drop D tuning

Drop D tuning is a versatile and popular alternate guitar tuning that has found a special place in the arsenal of many renowned guitarists across various genres. It offers a unique sonic landscape and allows for a distinct style of playing. In this article, we’ll explore some of the notable guitarists who have embraced drop D tuning in their music.

  1. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana):

Kurt Cobain, the iconic frontman of Nirvana, frequently used drop D tuning in his songs. Tracks like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “In Bloom” showcase the power and heavy riffing that drop D tuning can bring to grunge music. Cobain’s use of this tuning contributed to the distinctive sound that defined an era.

  1. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam):

Eddie Vedder, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Pearl Jam, is another prominent figure in the grunge scene who has employed drop D tuning extensively. Songs like “Jeremy” and “Alive” feature strong, melodic riffs that are enhanced by the depth of this tuning.

  1. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin):

Jimmy Page, legendary guitarist of Led Zeppelin, often incorporated drop D tuning in his iconic riffs. The timeless classic “Moby Dick” showcases Page’s mastery of this tuning, adding a heavy and bluesy dimension to his already impressive repertoire.

  1. Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave):

Tom Morello, known for his innovative guitar work in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, is no stranger to drop D tuning. His use of this tuning, combined with unique effects and techniques, creates a distinctive and powerful sound that is at the core of his signature style.

  1. John Petrucci (Dream Theater):

John Petrucci, the virtuoso guitarist of Dream Theater, incorporates drop D tuning into the band’s progressive metal compositions. Songs like “The Glass Prison” and “The Dark Eternal Night” feature intricate riffs and complex time signatures that are enhanced by the lower tuning.

  1. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave):

Chris Cornell, the late frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave, employed drop D tuning in his music. Tracks like “Black Hole Sun” and “Like a Stone” showcase his soulful vocals and the hauntingly beautiful melodies that this tuning can deliver.

  1. Adam Jones (Tool):

Adam Jones, the guitarist of Tool, is known for his use of drop D tuning to create the band’s progressive and heavy soundscapes. Songs like “Schism” and “Vicarious” demonstrate his ability to craft intricate and hypnotic guitar parts with this tuning.


Drop D tuning has left an indelible mark on the world of guitar music, thanks to the creativity and innovation of these and many other guitarists. It offers a unique tonal palette that can transform the guitar’s sound and unlock new possibilities for songwriting and performance. Whether in the realms of grunge, rock, metal, or progressive music, the guitarists who have embraced drop D tuning have contributed to the evolution of guitar playing and continue to inspire generations of musicians to explore its depths.

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