Drop C: CGCfad

There are a couple variations of Drop C Tuning. In this tutorial you will be learning the most common of these — CGCfad. These instructions assume your guitar is already tuned to Standard Guitar Tuning (EADgbe).


Step 1: Tune Your Guitar to Drop D

Drop D is a great starting point to get yourself into Drop C, especially if you have no reference tones available. This is because if you tune to Drop D and then drop every string down 1 whole tone, your guitar would be in Drop C. So the first step to Drop C is to lower your thickest E to a D. Do that then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: The 5th String – G

Now that your low E is a D, place your index finger on the fifth fret of the 6th string. Because you are in Drop D, this fret is now a G note, and that’s the one we want for the fifth string. Keep your finger on that fret. Now pick the fifth and six strings together and loosen the fifth string tuning peg until the pitch of the two strings is in harmony.

Step 3: The 4th String – C

Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the G string. That’s a C note. Tune the 4th string to that.

Step 4: The 3rd String – F

Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the C string. That’s a F note. Tune the 3rd string to that.

Step 5: The 2nd String – a

Place your index finger on the fourth fret of the F string. That’s a A note. Tune the 2nd string to that.

Step 6: The 1st String – d

Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the A string. That’s a D note. Tune the 1st string to that.

Step 7: The 6th String – c

Now the guitar from top down should sound like this DGCfad – the one final step is to drop the thickest string (D note) down to a C. Since the fourth string open is in fact now a C, you can use it as the reference tone to do this. You can test if you got it right by playing a D Major Shape, which is now a C Chord.

String Drop D Drop C
6 D C
5 A G
4 D C
3 g f
2 b a
1 e d
Tip: Remembering Drop C
Once you have learned the above, you well may see a familiar pattern in how you are getting your reference tones. They are exactly the same as the reference tones for Standard Tuning Pattern:

5th fret, 5th fret, 5th fret, 4th fret, 5th fret

Of course this only works if your 6th string is already a D, and you have to remember the final step which is to go back and lower that 6th string to a C.