How to Set Up a Guitar for Drop B Tuning

Written by matthew anderson
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How to Set Up a Guitar for Drop B Tuning
(Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

"Drop B" guitar tuning is most commonly used by heavy-metal guitarists that want a dark tone. This tuning is common with death-metal and doom-metal bands. The Drop B tuning uses the same interval difference between each string as other dropped guitar tunings, such as "Drop D" and "Drop C" tuning. Drop B tuning lowers the pitch each string lower than those two tunings to get a darker tone. The name references the B note the sixth string is tuned to.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Electric guitar tuner or reference pitch generator

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn the tuning peg attached to the sixth or biggest string to tune the string down to the B note. Verify the string is the correct pitch by comparing it to an electric guitar tuner or a reference pitch generator.

  2. 2

    Tune the fifth-string down to the F# note. Some electric guitar tuners may refer to this note as Gb.

  3. 3

    Tune the fourth string down to the B note. This B note is an octave higher than the 6-string in Drop B tuning.

  4. 4

    Tune the third string down to the E note.

  5. 5

    Tune the second string down to the G# note. Some electric guitar tuners may refer to this note as Ab.

  6. 6

    Tune the first down to the Db note. Some electric guitar tuners may refer to this note as C#.

Tips and warnings

  • Drop B tuning does not have to be used exclusively for extreme metal songs. “Calm Envy” by the Gazette is written for Drop B tuning, but is a slow, mellow love song.
  • The note a string produces is based on the thickness and string tension. Setting up a guitar in Drop B tuning requires lowering the string tension to lower the pitch of the string. The lower string tension can potentially be awkward to play, even for guitarists that regularly use other dropped guitar tunings. Thicker guitar strings require more string tension to reach the same pitch as a thinner guitar string. You may want to try using thicker guitar strings than you use for standard guitar tunings to keep the string tension at a similar amount of force.

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