Guitar: 11 Drop D Songs That Sound Great [Tabs and Videos]

Many guitar players are used to playing in standard E and that may be because most songs use that tuning. 

However, more alternative tunings are available and through them, you will be able to achieve groundbreaking sounds.

Today we will be talking about Drop D tuning, which consists of detuning the sixth string a whole step until you get a lower D note. 

This option is widely employed by metal players to get a bit more bass but also blues and rock players are fond of this alternative since it makes playing power chords on the lower strings easier.

Next, we will give you a list of 11 Drop D songs that sound amazing and will help you get along with this beautiful tuning. 

They go from classic, famous songs to easy pieces to learn fast!

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, this article is perfect for you. 

Here you will find the list of songs with a short description for each, a guitar lesson, and a link to their tabs.

Easy drop D songs you can play right away

To begin with, we have simple pieces that use this tuning, we don’t want to freak you out so let’s start with easy things. 

These songs will help you get the hang of drop D tuning faster, bear in mind that notes will be shifted a whole step higher compared with standard E tuning (e.g. now in the second fret of the sixth string you will have an E instead of an F#).

Last Resort – Papa Roach

On top of the list, we have this popular 2000s song that built the subgenre known as Nu Metal. 

Although it is composed in E minor key, this tuning makes it sound more aggressive and deeper.

It starts with a distorted power chord progression (E – D – C – B – D) that sounds hard as hell to give way to the intro, a four-bar melodic line that changes the root note to stick to the chords, from E to D, then C and coming back to D. 

During the verses, this line is played using palm mute to highlight the singer’s rapping while the rhythm guitar keeps playing the chords.

The chorus sounds incredible, with just three chords on the lead guitar E – C and F# but this last chord is played with the open sixth string. 

Then goes back to the verse but before that, the intro is played once.

In the second chorus, the guitar does the same but once is finished a new section appears. 

The band adds a progression made by E with a bass note in B, then G, C, and B, and is played twice.

Then the piece repeats everything, intro, verse, and a final chorus that plays a bit with the rhythm of the song. 

As you notice, is a simple song pretty good to have a first approach to this tuning. 

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

On a Plain – Nirvana

Kurt Cobain was known for using lower tunings and this song is a perfect example of it. 

The intro is pretty weird, with some dissonant notes and chords but the rest is quite simple.

The piece only involves power chords, a descendent progression for the verse (D, G5, F5, E5)  with an open D chord in the middle of the changes, and when gets to the E5, alternates with F5 twice. 

The second part of the verse is similar, with descendent chords with open D in between (D5, C5, B5, A5).

Only three chords for the chorus D5, D/G, F/A#, and the bridge is quite easy too! Just F5, E5, A5, and G5. 

A perfect song to practice with this tuning that you will play straight away. 

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Circles – Incubus

As mentioned before, we go from the easiest to the most complex so to finish with this type of drop D song we have a piece that has a tricky tempo in some sections but is great for practicing. 

Composed in A# major it begins with a simple picked melody to be followed by an open D chord combined with a G chord.

The verse plays an octave D chord that is slid to a high C octave chord twice and then strums four power chords: F – Eb – G# – F, from higher to lower. 

Although these chords are played with an added eleventh you can play just power chords and it’ll sound fine.

The pre-chorus plays a lower Eb power chord, an F, and uses an open D as a passing note to go back to the Eb. 

Once in the chorus, you have to play a D octave chord using a C as a passing note (you can also play it as an open D power chord and omit the C), an F, and a G#.

The song is quite repetitive, the only new part you will find is the bridge which is not hard at all. 

It consists of strumming six times the following chord progression: G – DMaj7 – A#/F – G – DMaj7 – A#/F – Eb, one strum per chord.

Incredible as it sounds, that’s the whole song, no solo, no more things to remember. 

Now you just have to memorize the order of the sections and get used to the tempo.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Classic drop D songs

Now you are into this gorgeous tuning we can show the songs that made it famous. 

Maybe you know most of them and we will teach you how to play them so take your guitar, drop that sixth string and be ready to play.

Everlong – Foo Fighters

This song is perfect to head the list because everyone knows it so you can be the center of attention at parties. 

Besides, is quite easy to play and also to remember.

Written in D major key, it begins with a crushed F# chord that adds the sixth open string, then keeps the F# chord but adds a B, goes to a D5/G chord and finishes with the F#/B chord again. 

The intro is played along with all the verses and the pre-chorus involves a slid octave chord progression that ends in A that leads to the next section.

The chorus is a progression of amazing power chords: B, G, and D in the first time but then an A is added at the end. 

Up to this point we don’t any new section until we reach the solo which is composed of more octave chords creating an emotive melody.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Moby Dick – Led Zeppelin

What can we say about this rock anthem that has not been said before? 

As Led Zeppelin is a classic, legendary rock band, just by playing a few notes, this song will be instantly recognized. 

Composed in G major and as with most songs by this group Moby Dick consists of a bunch of riffs with some variations.

This song particularly focuses on the drums and doesn’t have lyrics so you don’t have to learn many things. Just stick to your drummer and enjoy.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Walk – Pantera

For those metalheads, we have an iconic song that even though is not purely tuned in drop D can be played on that tuning. 

A distorted, simple intro riff emphasizing the open sixth string plus altering some hammer-ons and bendings that sound harshly aggressive.

The intro, verses, pre-chorus, choruses, and even the outro are in fact quite similar. It’s almost the same line with some variations. 

The only dissimilar section is the solo, a groundbreaking, dark melodic line full of bends and a bit of shredding.

Here is a link to its tab

The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson 

In this position, we have a well-known song made by one of the most controversial musicians of modern times. 

Written in A major this may be one of the simplest drop-D songs.

The intro is made of muted notes following the drum fills, a D, and an F chord (later adds a G#) to give way to the verse which consists just of more ghost notes. 

When the pre-chorus appears you have to play a chromatic descendent line of octave chords from D to B.

The chorus is the same as the intro, open D, F, and B and that’s it. 

You just need to remember the order of the parts.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Killing In The Name – Rage Against The Machine

To finish with the classics we have probably the most famous Rage Against The Machine song. 

Although the intro starts with a low, overdriven D chord, this song is almost entirely made of riffs.

It is composed in G major and comprises two main riffs, the verse, and the chorus. 

Once you learn those sections most of the job is done, the rest of the parts are fifth chords and a DJ-sounding-like solo.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Drop D songs that sound amazing

Once you are getting accustomed to lower notes, we will leave you a handful of more songs to continue improving your drop D skills. 

So, don’t come back to standard tuning yet, and keep on trying this killer tuning.

Spoonman – Soundgarden

In this place, we have a plain song with a breaking riff only made by power chords. 

The interesting thing about it is that riff takes part in most of the song.

During the refrain, a new line with hammer-ons is played but then continues playing the same as in the intro. 

The solo is a new section of the piece, with plenty of hammer-ons and bendings but there’s no more to learn, put the sections together and you have the work completed.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

Slither – Velvet Revolver

In this position, we have a song that starts with a killer bass intro. 

This piece is in D minor and the guitar appears playing plus sliding octave chords.

The main riff involves some hammer-ons, pull-offs, and altering the sixth open string as a pivot between the rest of the notes. 

The rhythmic guitar plays power chords while the lead plays the same line but uses higher notes toward the ends of the melody.

The verse remains the same, with an equal melodic line this time with palm muting and a higher fill on the lead. 

In the refrain, the rhythm guitar strums the chords Dm – C – Bm – Dm using the open low D when playing that chord while the lead maintains the same high melody.

Once you learn those sections, you have 90% of the song because the bridge is the same as the intro, and although the solo is a classic Slash beastly recital, the progression keeps without changes (Dm – C – Bm – Dm).

After the solo, the verses have a variation in the fourth part but is easy to learn. 

The solo is probably the hardest part but you can improvise something under the key and it will sound perfect.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab

You Are In Love – Ratt

Last but not least, it appears a classic from the hard rock band Ratt. 

Using G major as the key, this song offers a palm-muted intro that plays some chords (D, E, C, A) while maintaining the strumming in the sixth string.

That riff is kept during most of the song, it adds certain variations during the verses in the last part that plays a Bb and a C plus some bendings work as fills. 

The bridge has only two chords, G and A.

The solo is played under the main riff and when it finishes what comes next is an extended version of the bridge. 

No more sections to learn, as you see this is a nice hard rock piece to play on drop D.

Here’s a lesson:

Here is a link to its tab