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.

Posted on in Classical Guitar Videos, Guitar Performance Tips


  • Gerald Klickstein

    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

  • damjan

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

    • Christopher Davis

      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.

  • Jim Doyle

    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

  • Christopher Davis


    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.


  • hans

    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)