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30 Songs in D Standard: A Guitarist’s Guide to Iconic Tunes

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There is a captivating universe of songs in D standard tuning, just waiting for you to discover them. This unique tuning method, often overshadowed by the omnipresence of other tunings, such as standard tuning or drop C or open E, offers a rich and resonant sound that has been embraced by artists across various genres.

We’ve also included a few songs that we believe would sound great with this alternate tuning, so why not give it a go? Grab your acoustic or electric guitar, tune those strings, and let’s explore some of the iconic songs that have harnessed this tuning to create unforgettable music.

1. This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

One of the most heartwarming songs in D standard tuning is This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham. This contemporary Christian hit, known for its uplifting melody and profound lyrics, resonates deeply with audiences worldwide.

Phil Wickham’s skillful playing, combined with powerful lyrics, makes this song a staple in modern worship music. The song’s use in various church services and Christian gatherings has cemented its place as one of the best songs in the genre.

2. Paradise – George Ezra

George Ezra’s Paradise offers a delightful twist to songs in D standard tuning. With its catchy beat and Ezra’s distinctive baritone, the song takes us on a journey of love and longing. The use of D standard tuning in this track adds depth and richness to the acoustic guitar, enhancing the song’s overall feel. Paradise is a great song for showcasing how D standard can be used in modern pop culture and country music.

3. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road is a classic in the realm of rock. From the album Born to Run, this song showcases The Boss’s storytelling prowess and musical genius. The D standard in Thunder Road complements Springsteen’s raw, emotive vocals, creating a powerful and moving experience. This track is a testament to how alternate tunings can enhance the emotional impact of a rock song.

4. Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers’ Garden Song is a mesmerizing piece that showcases the more introspective side of songs in D standard tuning. The haunting melody, combined with Bridgers’ ethereal vocals, creates a dream-like quality that is both captivating and deeply personal. This song illustrates the versatility of D standard tuning in conveying complex emotions and narratives.

5. The Joker – The Steve Miller Band

The Joker by The Steve Miller Band is an anthem in the world of rock music. Known for its funky groove and whimsical lyrics, this song from the band’s same album name has become one of their most iconic songs. The alternate tuning adds a unique flavor to the track, enhancing its playful and laid-back vibe. This song is a perfect example of how D standard tuning can be used to create memorable and iconic rock tunes.

6. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart’s rendition of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You is a heartfelt ballad that has touched the hearts of many. With its tender lyrics and Stewart’s soulful voice, this song becomes even more poignant thanks to alternative tuning. The richness of the D standard tuning complements the tune’s romantic vibe, making it a favorite for intimate moments and special occasions. It’s a beautiful example of how this tuning type can capture the essence of love and devotion.

7. Between The Bars – Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith’s Between The Bars is a hauntingly beautiful song that showcases the depth and versatility of D standard. Smith’s gentle, whispering vocals and the delicate strumming of the guitar create a profoundly emotional and introspective experience. This song is a testament to the power of D standard tuning in conveying deep, personal narratives. It’s no hard to see how this has become one of Smith’s most beloved tracks.

8. Kickstart My Heart – Mötley Crüe

Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe is a high-octane anthem that epitomizes the energy and spirit of rock music. The use of D standard tuning in this song adds a heavier, more aggressive tone to the guitar, matching the song’s adrenaline-pumping rhythm and electrifying vocals. This track is a perfect example of how this tuning can be used to amplify the intensity and excitement of a rock song.

9. Yesterday – The Beatles

The Beatles’ Yesterday is one of the most iconic songs in the history of music. From the band’s album, Help!, this melancholic and introspective song, with its simple yet profound lyrics, is enhanced by the use of D standard tuning. The tuning adds depth to the guitar’s sound, complementing the song’s nostalgic and reflective mood. It’s not hard to see why Yesterday is such a popular song from one of the world’s most influential bands.

10. Adam’s Song – Blink 182

Adam’s Song by Blink 182 is a poignant and powerful track that stands out in the band’s repertoire. This song, with its introspective lyrics and dynamic composition, gains a unique edge with its unique tuning. The tuning adds richness and depth to the guitar sound, enhancing the song’s emotional impact. Adam’s Song is a prime example of how this tuning can be effectively used in alternative rock to convey deep, complex emotions.

11. Walk – Pantera

Pantera’s Walk is a towering giant in the heavy metal scene, known for its aggressive riffs and commanding presence. The tuning in this song adds a profound heaviness and depth, perfectly complementing the track’s raw power and intensity. Walk is not just a song but an anthem in the metal community, showcasing the impact of D standard tuning in creating some of the most powerful and enduring tracks in the genre.

12. Broadway – Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls’ Broadway is a standout track that beautifully demonstrates the versatility of alternate tunings. This song, with its blend of alternative rock and poignant lyrics, captures the essence of life’s ups and downs. The D standard tuning adds a unique tonal quality to the guitar, enriching the song’s emotional depth and making it one of the band’s most famous songs.

13. Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood

Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood is a song that perfectly encapsulates the mood of a cool, introspective day. The track’s smooth melody and catchy rhythm, complemented by the D standard tuning of the guitar, create a captivating and atmospheric sound. This song has become a defining track for the band, showcasing the ability of alternative tunings to enhance the mood and tone of alternative rock.

14. Come as You Are – Nirvana

Nirvana’s Come as You Are is one of the most iconic tracks in the grunge genre. The use of D standard tuning in this song contributes significantly to its haunting and memorable riff. Kurt Cobain’s distinctive voice, combined with the resonant, deep sound of the guitar, creates a sound that is quintessentially Nirvana. This song remains a cornerstone of rock and a brilliant example of the effectiveness of D standard tuning in creating a distinctive sound.

15. Scream Aim Fire – Bullet for My Valentine

Scream Aim Fire by Bullet for My Valentine is a high-energy track that exemplifies the thrilling and intense nature of metal music. The tuning in this song adds an extra layer of depth and power, perfectly aligning with the song’s aggressive rhythm and explosive vocals. This track is a clear demonstration of how D standard tuning can be employed to elevate the intensity and impact of metalcore riffs and songs, making it a favorite among fans of the genre.

16. The Pretender – Foo Fighters

The Pretender by Foo Fighters is a song that epitomizes the raw energy and passion of modern rock. This track, featuring a tuning in D standard, offers a richer and more resonant sound that perfectly complements Dave Grohl’s intense vocals and the song’s driving rhythm. The Pretender stands as a testament to the Foo Fighters’ ability to create music that is both powerful and emotionally resonant, making it one of their most popular songs.

17. Plush – Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots’ Plush is a classic in the grunge genre, known for its distinctive sound and emotive depth. The tuning in this song adds a layer of richness and warmth to the guitar, enhancing the overall texture of the track. Plush showcases the band’s ability to blend powerful guitar riffs with haunting melodies, making it a staple of 90s rock.

18. Close Your Eyes – Young Love

Close Your Eyes by Young Love is a captivating track that showcases the softer side of songs with this tuning. The song’s dreamy and romantic vibe is enhanced by the deeper, more resonant guitar sounds made possible by this tuning. It’s a beautiful example of how this tuning can be used to create a rich, atmospheric backdrop for modern pop and indie music.

19. Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon is an iconic song that has transcended generations. While not typically associated with the guitar, many musicians have covered this timeless classic with an alternate guitar tuning. The deeper tuning adds a unique and rich tonal quality to this beloved standard, potentially offering a fresh and intriguing interpretation that respects Sinatra’s legendary voice and the song’s enduring charm.

20. Voodoo Chile – Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile is a monumental track in the world of rock and blues music. Hendrix’s mastery of the guitar is on full display in this song, and the use of tuning creates an even deeper and more vibrant dimension to the track’s iconic guitar riffs. Voodoo Chile is a testament to Hendrix’s unparalleled influence in guitar playing.

21. The Partisan – Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s The Partisan is a haunting and evocative song that tells a powerful story. The depth of emotion in Cohen’s voice is beautifully complemented by the guitar’s unique tuning, adding a resonant and melancholic quality to the music. This tuning enhances the song’s narrative, weaving a richer sonic tapestry that aligns perfectly with Cohen’s poignant storytelling.

22. If I Could Fly – One Direction

One Direction’s If I Could Fly is a tender, emotional ballad that speaks of love and longing. The guitar tuned down to D-standard adds a layer of depth and warmth to the song’s melody, further emphasizing the heartfelt lyrics. This tuning allows the guitar to resonate with the song’s intimate and vulnerable tone, making it even more impactful.

23. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years is a song that has become synonymous with timeless love and devotion. The emotive power of this ballad is enhanced with an alternative tuning. This tuning provides a deeper, more resonant sound, perfectly complementing the song’s sweeping melody and passionate lyrics.

24. To The Bone – Pamungkas

To The Bone by Pamungkas is a beautifully crafted song that explores the depths of personal emotion and connection. The gentle, intricate melody of this song would be well-suited to a tuning in D standard, which could add a layer of richness and depth to its sound. The tuning would complement the song’s introspective and soulful nature, making it a deeply resonant and touching piece. So next time you’re playing guitar, try playing this song in d-standard.

25. Let It Go – James Bay

James Bay’s Let It Go is a song about freedom, change, and the complexities of relationships. The raw emotion and honesty in Bay’s voice and lyrics is further amplified by tuning in D standard. This tuning adds a fuller, more resonant sound to the guitar, enhancing the song’s powerful message of letting go and moving forward.

26. Colors of the Wind – Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams’ rendition of Colors of the Wind from Disney’s Pocahontas is a moving and powerful anthem that speaks to the beauty and spirituality of the natural world. The tuning in this performance adds depth and richness, enhancing the song’s message of unity and respect for nature. This deeper tuning could bring a new dimension to the classic, highlighting its timeless and poignant message.

27. Fire And The Flood – Vance Joy

Vance Joy’s Fire And The Flood is a heartfelt song that combines elements of folk and indie pop. The alternative tuning adds a warm, resonant quality to the track, complementing its rich, melodic sound. This tuning enhances the emotional depth of the song, making its narrative of love and devotion even more impactful.

28. Was It 26 – Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton’s Was It 26 is a soulful country song that explores themes of reflection and nostalgia. The tuning in this song lends a deeper, more melancholic tone to the guitar, perfectly aligning with the song’s introspective and heartfelt lyrics. It’s an ideal example of how changing the tuning can enhance the storytelling aspect of country music.

29. Drain You – Nirvana

Nirvana’s Drain You is a standout track in the grunge genre, known for its intense and dynamic sound. The alternative tuning brings an added layer of depth and power to the song, amplifying its raw and visceral impact. This tuning perfectly complements Kurt Cobain’s emotive vocals and the song’s gritty, compelling rhythm.

30. Was It A Dream – 30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds To Mars’ Was It A Dream is a powerful and emotive song that combines elements of rock and alternative music. When it comes to the acoustic version of this song, the deeper, resonant sound of a guitar tuning adds a rich texture to the song, enhancing its atmospheric and cinematic quality. This tuning aligns perfectly with the band’s style, emphasizing the song’s intense and passionate narrative.

A lady tuning an acoustic  guitar.

What is D-Standard Tuning?

D standard is a variant of guitar tuning that is both unique and captivating. It offers a distinctive sound that has been utilized across various genres of music, from pop to rock and metal. This tuning lowers each string of the guitar by one whole step from the standard EADGBE tuning. The strings are tuned to DGCFAD. This alteration creates a deeper, richer sound that resonates differently from the standard tuning.

The Mechanics of D Standard

Each string is tuned down as follows:

  1. The sixth string (E) is tuned down to D.
  2. The fifth string (A) is tuned down to G.
  3. The fourth string (D) remains as D.
  4. The third string (G) is tuned down to F.
  5. The second string (B) is tuned down to A.
  6. The first string (E) is tuned down to D.

This tuning results in a lower overall pitch for the guitar, giving it a deeper tonal quality. Many guitarists prefer this tuning style when they want to add depth to their music.

The Appeal and Use of This Tuning

The appeal of this tuning lies in its ability to produce a fuller, more resonant sound. This tuning is particularly favored in genres like rock, metal, and alternative music, where a heavier and more profound sound is often desired. It allows for easier finger positioning for certain chords and can be less strenuous on the fingers, making it a preferred choice for some guitarists.

The Impact on Guitar Playing

Adopting this tuning can change the tension of the strings, which may require adjustments to the guitar’s setup for the best playability. Additionally, it can affect the way chords and scales are played, as the fingering positions change in relation to the tuning.

Artistic Expression in D Standard

D standard is not just a technical aspect of playing the guitar; it’s a means of artistic expression. It opens up new sonic possibilities and allows musicians to explore different musical landscapes. Songs in D standard often have a unique character and depth, offering a fresh perspective on guitar music.

Conclusion: The Rich Tapestry of D Standard

As we conclude our exploration of songs in this versatile tuning, it’s evident that this tuning is more than just a variation in string pitches—it’s a gateway to a whole new dimension of musical expression. D standard tuning offers a unique blend of depth, richness, and versatility, making it a beloved choice for guitarists across various genres.

From the soul-stirring melodies of Leonard Cohen to the high-energy anthems of the Foo Fighters, this tuning type has played a pivotal role in shaping the sound and emotional impact of many famous songs. It allows musicians to delve into deeper sonic territories, enabling them to express a wide range of emotions and narratives through their music.

For guitarists, whether beginners or seasoned players, experimenting with tuning can be an exciting and rewarding journey. It not only challenges and enhances their playing skills but also broadens their musical horizons. The deeper tonal quality and the new chord shapes and scales that come with D standard encourage creativity and innovation.

This tuning is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of music and the endless possibilities it offers for artistic expression. It underscores the guitar’s versatility as an instrument and its ability to adapt and resonate across different musical styles and eras. Whether you’re a fan of rock, metal, pop, or country, create a rich and diverse listening experience, reminding us of the powerful and unifying force of music.

So, grab your guitar, tune down those strings, and immerse yourself in the profound and captivating world of D standard.