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Drop tune - why is it looked down on?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by EatADeadGoat, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. EatADeadGoat


    Aug 29, 2010
    Not sure if this is the right spot for this thread - feel free to move it if you want mods.


    I've noticed this growing trend where people hate on drop tuning, and things like "real men play in standard" are commonly said. Not so much here, but i see it every once in a while. I've been wondering - why the negative stigma? It's just for a different style of play. I like drop and standard tunes, just depends on how I want to write a song. Why all the hate, peeps?
  2. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I wasn't aware there was animosity towards drop tuning. My band plays in D standard and we love it.
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I can't say I know for sure.
    The "animosity" I see here seems to be directed toward bands where the guitarists drop-tune, and a bassist auditions using a 5 string (which is capable of playing the low notes of their drop-tunings) and they insist that he drop-tune as well - which makes it seem that they don't understand what they (or he) are doing.
  4. EatADeadGoat


    Aug 29, 2010
    I've been seeing it more often. It's strange. I just don't get it and I'm actually hoping that a "standard" purist will come around and "educate" me on the viewpoint.
  5. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    One thing I've noticed is some guys don't know the true key they're playing in. Drop tuning is fine but call em what they are. If it's an original project and everyone is doing it, no big deal. But if it's on a gig where you're doing a bunch of tunes with different instruments, and say I want to sing a tune in G, be ready to play in G not Gb or F. There is a sound to drop tuning that's cool for some stuff, but some standard tuning tunes don't work as well IMO.
  6. pharaohamps

    pharaohamps Commercial User

    May 30, 2006
    Garner, NC
    Owner, Disaster Area Designs / Alexander Pedals
    I have played in bands that drop-tuned, and I always just play in standard. That said, sometimes the structure of the riffs and is based on the physical intervals of the drop tuning. Just because I could play the notes in standard, it didn't make it easier. One band played in drop D, where just the low E was tuned to a D, and that mostly works on a 5-string. Another band tuned down a whole-step (DGCFAD) and on some songs we were in drop C (CGCFAD.) Once you get down there, it may or may not be easier to play the riffs in the new tuning, but I just the bass in standard so that I wouldn't have to have a separate bass just for that band.

    My current band plays in standard, and our guitarist switches between 7-string (BEADGBE) and 6-string (EADGBE.) As much as I love down-tuned metal, the thrash we play sounds great in standard :bassist:

    Tune it down if you wanna!
  7. cactus waltz

    cactus waltz

    Feb 10, 2005
    Well, I react negatively towards drop tuning simply because of genre associations. To me drop tuning screams of demo band playing metal or progressive rock... And that makes me want to turn 180 degrees and run as fast as I can.
  8. brammerd


    Aug 9, 2009
    I dislike drop tuning because of the string you then have that has less tension and plays differently.

    For me it's annoying.
    And also the different patterns you have to learn.`
    It takes away from my freedom
  9. Zitch


    May 12, 2010
    Akron, Oh
    I dont mind D standard, but anything much lower just annoys me. I feel you start to lose tonal qualities and everything just starts to sound dull. In standard or even d standard notes have more zip and definition. This is just my opinion, but I feel people should play what they are comfortable with.
  10. This is what i find is the problem with people against drop tuning. Most of them just see it as only being used in Death Metal and things of the like, whereas its used in alot more genres than that. My band plays punk and we play in Drop D (DADGBE) and Drop D Standard (DGCFAD) and also used to use Drop C (DGCFAD) along with Standard E, even for our calmer songs we were tuned to Drop C for some of them. We don't play in C anymore as we have no need to.

  11. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    People who look down on drop tuning or any tuning for that matter are closed minded individuals who's opinion I wouldn't have much use for anyway. My hard rock/alt band plays 1/2 step down and standard tuning, depending on quite a few variables.

    If it sounds good, who cares?
  12. Cant say I ever noticed any "tuning snobbery". My band plays in drop c to match our female lead vocals voice (she sings in that key) my bass is tuned cgcf. The E string has a bit less tension, which was something I was worried about initially, but I can play no problem. I admit outside of standard tuning, I have no idea what notes are where on the fretboard...except for the tunes we play of course, but really who cares? As long as it sounds good.
  13. Stanley Pugh

    Stanley Pugh

    Jun 14, 2008
    Been there , walked away from that band.
    Plus the guitar player said you dont need a five.
    I am fine if the guitar player wants to drop tune, I just don't need to.
    Here again personal taste, and sometimes control issues.
  14. MontzterMash

    MontzterMash Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    OK, maybe here's my snobbery, but what is she, a harmonica?

    Neat thread. Definitely an interesting divergence between changing one's tuning in order to open up new possibilities, vs. doing it after limiting them.
  15. Dmanlamius


    Feb 24, 2008
    Because of Dinosaurs.

    People un-willing to embrace any type of change.


    That's pretty much it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of it around.

    It's important we do different things, such as experiment with different tunings. It helps us grow as players, and gives us a better understanding of the instrument, plus offers us completely different tonal qualities.

  16. The band I play in recently switched from Standard to D-Standard and I think it's pretty fun, we all like the tone a bit better and the strings haven't gotten wobbly because the guy who does our setup does a great job. We go into drop C every once and a while but that's just if we are playing something in C and we desire a big boomy low C. (C! C! C! C!)

    I don't see what the problem is as long as it's because you're open to trying different things and not because all your guitar player can play is drop power chords.
  17. madmatt


    Apr 28, 2009
    If people do not like it, it will be looked down upon.
    If you like it, do it.
  18. PunkSweeper


    Jan 23, 2010
    A lot of wannabe metal guitarists play in dropped tunings, and they're pretty easy to pick out- (open, 1, open, 3, open...). Often times the bass is also a four string that's just following that. Not all, but sometimes. Yes, I'm kind of snobbish that way, but there's also the string tension issue.

    When I was in a dropped-D metal band, as soon as I could handle another string with confidence (I had only been playing for about half a year), I switched to a fiver in A standard. It wasn't really any harder, over all- I had my D to play every other note, but I could also get under the guitars and do fun stuff that way.
  19. If it gets wobbly just get thicker strings! I use GHS 115 on my low D (what was once an E) and it works great!
  20. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    There is a lot of fun to be had with downtuning. Different melodic and chordal approaches, contrasting between heavy and crispy tones and all.

    Strangely, people who call on metalheads for doing it never tell Michael Manring or Adrian Belew how wrong they are.

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