Top 10 Best Guitar Tunings

No, this is not a list of best alternate guitar tunings. Just best guitar tunings. That list is not accurate anyway because standard tuning is at the top.

Disclaimer: if you don't play guitar or don't know music theory, chances are, you won't know what I'm talking about.
The Top Ten
1 C# Standard (C#F#BEG#C#)

This tuning I just feel very comfortable with. It feels very natural to me, like this tuning was made for me. You get plenty of bass with the C#, which is good for some dark, weird sounding stuff. And of course it makes the keys of D#, D and C# much easier to play in than in standard tuning. It's also really good for Sabbath type stuff since my dude Tony Iommi basically pioneered this tuning on the Master Of Reality album. It's super fun to mess around in.


This is my second favorite to play in. A standard is generally thought of as ADGCFAD, a full step down on a seven string. But I like to play in ADGCEAD, with the 3rd string flattened a half step so all your basic barre chords work, but you've got that extra fourth at the end, which gives the chords a really unique flavor. Your approach to the guitar changes with that one flattened string: when it's not flattened, you approach the guitar as a six string tuned to D with an extra low A at the bottom. But when it is, it's just a six string tuned to A with an extra high D at the end. Both are really good for metal since you get plenty of bass but you don't lose a ton of treble. Baritone A personally isn't my thing since I lose the high A#, B, C, C# and D notes that you get with the highest string, but I can see why you'd prefer A standard baritone to A standard 7 string.


My 2nd favorite drop tuning. Most people think of the Psychosocial riff when you say drop A, and I don't blame them. It's the song that got me into the tuning. Drop A is super good for riffs with a nice kick to them, like Psychosocial, Viper King by Dream Theater, etc. It's a very foamy, jumpy tuning. That's the best way I can describe it.

5 D Standard (DGCFAD)

This was the first non-E standard tuning I really got comfortable with, aside from Eb/D#. Every Symphony X song is in this tuning, along with Forsaken by Dream Theater, Endless Sacrifice by Dream Theater, etc. It's got enough bass for me and also I don't lose too much treble. I have to use this in place of A at the moment since I don't currently have a 7 string, but I'm content with it for now.

My second favorite behind standard tuning. Really dark and heavy sound


I don't usually play in major keys, which is why I lean towards DADFAD. It's much easier to build a D minor chord in open D minor than it is in open D major. All you have to do is fret the F# on the F string, you just strum the rest of the strings open. The same applies to all the other barre chords. Some people just prefer the open major chord, and that's fine. It's just my preference. They're both great for slide guitar though, since you can get the fifth between the D and A strings, the fourth between the A and D, the minor third between the D and F, the major third between the F and A, and the final fourth between the high A and high D. Or if you're that into slide guitar, you can just, you know, Zakk Wylde it and go to drop C#.

7 C Standard (CFA#D#GC)

If you want to write dark music, tune to C standard, because this tuning is the absolute key to dark writing. This is my go to tuning if I want to get really creative, cause the riffs just pour out when you tune down a whole two steps. Some of my absolute favorite guitar songs of all time, like In The Name Of God by Dream Theater, Dopesmoker by Sleep, plenty of Static-X songs, etc are all in C standard.

8 Drop B

Ah, the Slipknot tuning. Makes sense that I'd love this tuning since C# is my main tuning and this is the drop tuning you get from it. The riffs you get from drop B are just straight up nasty.

9 G# Standard (G#C#F#BEG#C#/G#C#F#BD#G#C#/G#C#F#BD#G#)

G# is my favorite tuning for that extra low end punch. A is my general main tuning, but in case I need that extra half step, I'll go to G#. I can't name too many songs in G#, but they're definitely out there. The same principles I talked about on the A standard entry apply here, but just a half step down.

10 D# Standard (D#G#C#F#A#D#)

Most artists tune to D# to help the singer or reduce string tension, I usually use it for...okay, I don't really use it anymore now that I've moved onto D, C#, C, B and A but it's still useful sometimes for more bluesy stuff.

The Contenders
11 E Standard
12 E Flat
13 Open D5 (DADADd)
14 Drop G#
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