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Video Lesson: Tuning the 6th String to D

This is a (very) short video about how I like to put my guitar in “Drop D” tuning. This method, as I explain the video, works a bit better for keeping the sixth string more stable. As in, it doesn’t go sharp again after a minute or two of playing.

7 Responses
  1. 2010 November 12
    Andriy permalink

    It was helpful for me, thanks man!

  2. 2010 November 14

    Hi Chris – Bravo to you for addressing the string stabilization issue!

    Please allow me to point out to your readers that I cover issues of string stabilization and tuning back and forth from E to D on p. 43-47 of my book Tuning the Guitar by Ear, which you reviewed earlier this year:

    Also, regarding stretching (6), extra lowering when tuning from E to D isn’t just better than stretching the string, as you point out; stretching when lowering defeats the purpose of stabilizing. That is, we deliberately loosen (6) below D to help it ‘forget’ that it was tighter when tuned to E. If a guitarist pulls on (6) after lowering, he’s making the string tight again and thereby encouraging the string to creep sharp. Of course, if (6) gets caught in the nut, a brief gentle tug might be in order, but stretching is not. Stretching is appropriate, though, when raising (6) from D to E – the stretch helps (6) ‘forget’ that it was previously at a lower tension level.

    Best wishes for the holidays, Gerald

  3. 2010 November 15
    damjan permalink

    heeeeey! Christopher thanks for lesson… question…guitar used in lesson video is 640mm diapason guitar or not???sorry for my english…

    • 2010 November 15

      Did you mean 640mm scale length?

      Diapason is a term used in pythagorean (medieval) tuning systems for an octave.

      Anyway, no. It’s a 650mm scale length. I’m just kind of a big guy, so I make guitars look small.

  4. 2010 November 18
    Jim Doyle permalink

    Hi Chris, this is a good post. One thing I wanted to share, is something I learned at the National Guitar Workshop. I believe Sharon Isbin uses this in concert when going down to D during a performance. My Guitar has Rogers Tuners. So if I am at Normal tuning, and I want to go to Low D, If I give the Tuner 9 full turns down, then wait a few seconds and give it 6 turns up, it places me almost everytime at just below D pitch. This is useful in not making a lot of tuning noise inbetween songs. I am sure if players experiment with their guitars in this process, they will find a ratio of number of turns that will work with their specific brand tuners. It is a pretty handy thing to know and use. Thanks for a great website blog. Jim Doyle

  5. 2010 November 18


    Thanks for the tips!

    It brings up an interesting point: How obnoxiously loud most guitarists tune. I think it’s fine to use a reference pitch as long as you tune quietly.


  6. 2011 November 13

    I sometime tune the 6th string down to A and then after say 2, 3 seconds I turn it up to D. This helps it go through I longer piece, for example the first movement of Sonata II by ponce (aprox 7 min)