Drop A Tuning Guide With 47 Songs, Chords, Tabs, and More

If you’re a guitarist looking to explore new songwriting and melodic ideas, then you should definitely explore alternate guitar tunings. And while Drop A may not be the first one that comes to mind, it is a hidden gem.

Drop A Tuning Guide

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about the Dropped A tuning, including how to tune to Drop A, chord shapes, pro tips, and even an awesome list of songs in Drop A tuning with Tabs and Videos included.

What is Drop A Tuning?

Unlike in Drop D, the Drop A tuning involves changing the pitch of all 6 of your guitar strings. On a 6-string guitar, Drop A involves tuning all 5 strings from 1 to 5 down a perfect fourth from the standard E tuning and tuning your low E string down further by one whole step.

Whether you’re an experienced guitarist or a beginner that’s just starting out, playing around with the Drop A tuning will give you cool and new ways to play power chords easily and try out a lower, bass-heavy feel and tone of your guitar.

Normally, tuning as low as Drop A is great for 7-string guitars, but here we will be talking about how to adapt this tuning for a regular 6-string guitar.

As a quick recap, the following are the individual notes that your 6 strings are tuned to when in a standard E tuning:

  • 6th string (thickest): E
  • 5th string: A
  • 4th string: D
  • 3rd string: G
  • 2nd string: B
  • 1st string (thinnest): E

Standard E Tuning Setup

However, in a Drop A tuning, all six of your guitar strings are tuned to the following notes:

  • 6th string (thickest): A
  • 5th string: E
  • 4th string: A
  • 3rd string: D
  • 2nd string: F#
  • 1st string (thinnest): B

Drop A Tuning Setup

Who Uses Drop A Tuning?

Because of the massively expanded low range of your guitar, Drop A tuning is very popular amongst a wide variety of metal bands and heavy music genres. Your guitar’s range extends to a fourth step lower, letting you effortlessly play low-power chords with just single finger barring.

Given its low range and ease of playing power chords, it’s no wonder that metal and rock bands such as Nile, Dragonforce, Muse, and The Foo Fighters have composed songs in the Drop A tuning. Check out our song list section, and you’ll find many other genres, such as punk (Rage Against The Machine) and Djent (Periphery), using this cool tuning as well.

How Do You Tune In Drop A?

  • 6th (E) string: Pluck your 6th string, and keep turning your tuning peg lower to go from E all the way down to A – that is 3 and a half steps lower than the original E note. Make sure you keep plucking to hear the accurate note till you reach the A on the tuner.
  • 5th (A) string: Now, tune down your 5th, or the A string, by 2 and a half steps, till you reach the E note on the tuner.
  • 4th (D) string: Similarly, pluck your 4th or the D string and tune it two and a half steps lower to play the A note.
  • 3rd (G) string: Do the same with your 3rd string – tune it down by a total of two and a half steps – till you reach the D note.
  • 2nd (B) string: Tune your 2nd string from its original B note down by two and a half steps – till you reach the F# note on the tuner.
  • 1st (E) string: Finally, last but not least – tune your 1st string two and a half steps down as well – from the standard E till you reach the B note.

What To Keep In Mind When Tuning To Drop A

Use A Tuner: Since we are talking about taking your guitar string’s tunings down by 2 and a half and 2 and a half steps, it might be a good idea to keep a tuner handy to ensure that your final tuning has all the notes accurately tuned. You can use a physical guitar tuner or even a guitar tuning app that can be easily downloaded on both iOs or Android phones.

Consider Thicker Strings: There’s no way around the fact that Drop A is perhaps the lowest of alternate tunings – yep, you’ll be tuning down way lower than your standard E.

So to retain the same comfort while playing and to take full advantage of your guitar’s increased low range, perhaps you should consider changing your strings to a thicker gauge. This also means that you will have to switch your set of strings whenever you decide to tune back up to standard E.

Raise Action/ Adjust Truss Rod: Such an extreme lowering of your guitar’s tuning can significantly reduce the action of your action – which means the guitar strings will now be much closer to the fretboard than in standard E tuning. This can cause a nasty fret buzz if the strings touch the fretboard. To avoid this, consider raising the action of your guitar or adjusting your truss rod so that there is a healthy amount of action.

Chords in Drop A Tuning

The best part about Drop A is that it allows you to play a wide range of power chords by just barring a fret with a single finger. Usually, power chords can take two or three fingers to play on other tunings. Here are three examples of power chords you can play on the Drop A tuning:

Drop A Tuning Chords

Want another trick to keep in mind? The Drop A uses the same fingering as the Drop D tuning – but lower. So all the chord patterns that are usually used for Drop D tuning will also be applicable to the Drop A tuning.

List of Songs in Drop A Tuning You Should Know

Now you know how to tune in Drop A and play some cool power chords on it as well – so now it’s time to start playing actual songs! Here’s a list of iconic songs from across genres that are played in the Drop A tuning – scroll down and find out what they are to expand your repertoire!

1. Psychosocial by Slipknot

Tabs: See Psychosocial Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

With their extensive use of drop tunings, Slipknot has inspired many heavy metal bands to follow suit. They are usually heard playing in Drop B but have experimented with Drop A tuning in some of their compositions. The band’s Grammy-nominated riff-fest, “Psychosocial,” is one of them. Released in 2008 as the fourth track from their fourth studio album, All Hope Is Gone, the track became one of their biggest hits. Not only did it fetch them a Grammy nomination, but it also featured on Marvel’s Punisher: War Zone’s soundtrack as well as some popular video games.

Featuring a lightning-fast solo by Jim Root, Joey Jordison’s punishing, militant drum work, and Corey Taylor’s brutal screams, it is undoubtedly Slipknot at its finest. And how could we forget the infectious chorus “And the rain will kill us all..” that always seems to make the crowd erupt and sing along. “Psychosocial’s” killer main riff and melodic solo is a great way to get familiar with Drop A tuning.

2. Citizen Erased by Muse

Tabs: See Citizen Erased Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

While low tunings, especially ones as low as Drop A, are usually favored in heavier music styles, “Citizen Erased” by Muse is an excellent example of just how awesome this tuning sounds in rock as well. From the well-loved English band’s second album, this seven-minute track is an opera-rock masterpiece. Played in down-tuned seven-string guitar with frontman Matt Bellamy’s falsetto, this gem should definitely be a part of your repertoire.

The heaviness factor is brought about by the incredibly low tuning. No other tuning would have done justice to the track. To play the song exactly like Muse, you’ll need to get hold of a seven-string and tune the B string down one step. Even if you don’t own a seven-string, you’ll do just fine with a six-string. Lyrics-wise, “Citizen Erased” is inspired by George Orwell’s famous book 1984 and revolves around the protagonist’s frustration at being constantly questioned by society. As fans of this awesome song, we are eagerly awaiting the release of its remixed and remastered version in June 2021 to mark the 20th anniversary of their immensely popular album Origin of Symmetry.

3. Pisces by Jinjer

Tabs: See Pisces Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Ukrainian metalcore band’s breath seminal hit single “Pisces” is a brilliant track in Drop A tuning that would enhance your repertoire. Part of their third album, King of Everything, Pisces showcases Tatiana Shmailyuk’s fantastic vocal prowess. Shmailyuk’s effortless switch from clean, melodic singing to a death growl that’s backed by a heavy down-tuned riff is simply mind-blowing.

The song’s popularity catapulted with the release of its music video that went viral, garnering several reaction videos on YouTube, marveling at the vocalist’s phenomenal versatility. Jinjer’s use of Drop A tuning in ‘Pisces’ is a fantastic example of how it lets you use the entirety of the fretboard to support the bass-heavy brutality of the low strings.

4. Three Hammers by Dragonforce

Tabs: See Three Hammers Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

The insane solo in this song has an interesting origin story. After recording numerous takes, guitarist Herman Li had trouble picking which one to go for, so he got his pooch to choose which one to go for. The one where the pet made the cutest face was the one we hear in this fantasy epic track. “Three Hammers” is a melodic mid-paced that transforms into something heavier after it goes past the three-minute mark.

In an album teeming with speedy power metal with galloping solos, fast riffs, and glass-shattering high vocals, “Three Hammers” is a welcome change. You hear a more traditional power metal theme that differs from the band’s usual hyper-fast songwriting. The entire song is played in Drop A, but the low tuning particularly stands out when “Three Hammers” nears three minutes. The exact tuning on their seven-string is AEADGBE.

5. Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch

Key E Minor
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Did you ever think that dichotomy was impossible in heaven? Well, the name of the song states it in its own way.

“Wrong Side of Heaven” is a very interesting and, in some ways, even intricate song by the American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. It was released in 2013 as a single from their fourth studio album, “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1.” It brings forth a deep social subtext; therefore, you need to be very attentive while listening to the track.

The composition addresses themes of personal struggle, pain, and social challenges, which are perfectly expressed in the heavy instrumentation provided by the band members. The guitar part is perfect for intermediate players because it’s neither too easy nor too hard; in other words, it keeps a perfect balance. This is one of my personal favorite Drop A songs of all time.

6. The Hero by Amon Amarth

Key D Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

The song was written by the Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth and released in 2008 as part of their seventh album, “Twilight of the Thunder God.” (Maybe it has to do something with Thor.)

It is a song that conveys an insane amount of power, partially due to the meaning of the song, which is related to a warrior and battles, etc.

From a melodic perspective, the song doesn’t stand out much from the standards of the genre; it contains a thunderous drumming part, crushing guitar riffs that can make your head explode if you accidentally put the volume level to the max, and also some growling vocals. The band’s trademark dual-guitar harmonies are also prominent throughout the track; they add more depth and cohesiveness to the composition.

7. Recreant by Chelsea Grin

Key A Major
Genre Deathcore
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

This is a song that conveys so much aggressiveness, power, and noise. It was created by the American deathcore band called Chelsea Grin. Being released in 2010 as part of their first full-length album, “Desolation of Eden,” the song is characterized to be a part of the deathcore genre.

The song, as stated before, presents a dark and intense portrayal of anger and aggressive power, which is amplified by the harsh and heavy guitar part, intense breakdowns, and guttural vocals. The brutality of the song can be felt instantly from the moment you try to play it since you cannot sound like the actual recording without an aggressive strumming pattern you need to learn to use.

8. You Only Live Once by Suicide Silence

Key F# Major
Genre Deathcore
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“You Only Live Once” is not a happy pop song, as you might think from its name. This is a deathcore composition written by the band called “Suicide Silence.” It was released in 2011 as the lead single from one of their albums called “The Black Crown.” The track is one of the most popular in their discography.

It relentlessly talks about embracing life and living it to the fullest. Actually, that’s a good mood to have in order to stop wasting time and finally grab your guitar to start learning the song, which contains a heavy guitar part that is, by the way, pretty confusing and will still take some time to ponder, especially considering the fact you have to retune your guitar (the song is evidently in the Drop A Tuning).

9. Reign of Darkness by Thy Art Is Murder

Key A Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Old English words sound beautiful when a band is named using ones; that’s why the next band deserves you to take heed of.
The Australian deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder is waiting for you with their song “Reign of Darkness,” released in 2012 as the opening track from their second studio album, “Hate.” The composition is considered to be one of the band’s most popular ones.
The instrumental part can give you a deep feeling of brutality, harshness, and heaviness by being relentless and loud. It features the guitar part of the same sound, thunderous drumming, and loud noticeable vocals. The rhythm part uses tremolo picking and also rhythmical breakdowns; therefore, you need to acquire the sense of playing notes at the right time.

10. Solar Flare Homicide by Emmure

Key D Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“Solar Flare Homicide” is a song by the metalcore band Emmure that was released in 2011 as part of their studio album, “Speaker of the Dead.” I definitely recommend you learn the song if you are a fan of such a genre since it will be a really good one in your collection.

The song contains a very rebellious motive inside, which makes it instantly noticeable and vivid.

Harsh vocals and a relentless drum part are perfectly accompanied by the guitar section, which mostly uses bass notes to convey the message of harshness and anger. Our recommendation for you is to use a thicker pick because you will mainly have to work with thicker strings, as we’ve figured out.

11. Sin City by Upon a Burning Body

Key F# Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

This particular one is a very heavy track by Upon a Burning Body, featured on their third studio album, “The World Is My Enemy Now,” which was released in 2014. The song’s sound can literally be associated with death because that’s the only thing that usually comes to mind while listening to it.

The composition showcases the band’s approach to the genre and such music in general, which is pretty interesting and unique. It is really fast-paced; therefore, you might need to learn the fast picking technique that will allow you to get the sound out of your guitar as soon as possible in order to be on time since it’s one of the most important jobs of a guitar player in such music, where a heavy and fast rhythm basically conveys the main message of aggressiveness and harshness.

12. Cancer by The Devil Wears Prada

Key F Major
Genre Post-rock
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

It’s time to give it up for fresh artists; the band The Devil Wears Prada is here with a new post-rock release, which truly deserves your attention if you want to explore new music, especially in such interesting and distinct genres, providing unique sound and melodies. The song was released in 2022; therefore, you can grab it while it’s still fresh and hot and be one of the first people to listen to the composition!

The song features a very interesting instrumental part, which is, from the perspective of a guitar player, not very hard, but in order to play it you need to elaborate skills such as retuning your guitar, being agile when operating with a pick, and using the bass strings solely to make the rhythm part sound powerful and clean.

13. This Is Exile by Whitechapel

Key D Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

The song I’m about to tell you is the title track and one of the most iconic songs from Whitechapel’s second studio album, which was released in 2008. The song is often regarded as one of the band’s most iconic and influential compositions within the deathcore genre; therefore, you can see that it had much of an impact on it.

Struggles, inner battles, and many other topics are featured on the track, making it pretty much insightful.

Actually, the main guitar section is very interesting and may even cause you to sit some time and examine the tab because of the tremolo picking, for example, but niftiness and complexity aren’t what makes a great song great; the perfect combination of meaning, sound, and energy are the main components required, and the song perfectly covers all of the aspects.

14. Another Life by Motionless In White

Key E Minor
Genre Metalcore
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Wish you had another try to live this life and avoid all the struggles you’ve encountered and mistakes you’ve made? The “Another Life” song’s meaning is probably the one that reflects on the same thing that’s on your mind. It was created by the American metalcore band Motionless In White. Released in 2019 as part of their fourth studio album, “Disguise,” the song showcases the band’s ability to blend heavy and melodic elements within their music, expressing the moods felt during a heartbreak and other difficult situations that happen within the lifespan of a human being.

The synergy of atmospheric keyboards and the guitar part is really cool, especially since the statement’s true for the second component since it will be perfect for intermediate players because it features the combination of open strings with ones pressed in the middle of the fretboard; therefore, it may even work as a good.

15. Bones by Make Them Suffer

Key F# Major
Genre Metalcore
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Even though the band’s name is catchy, I think that the song will not make you suffer – quite the opposite!

“Bones” is a song by the Australian metalcore band Make Them Suffer, which was released in 2017 as one of the tracks featured on their third studio album, “Worlds Apart.” The song combines elements of genres such as metalcore, symphonic metal, and some other interesting ones.

“Bones” explores themes of despair, inner turmoil, and the struggle to find meaning and purpose in life; therefore, as you might have already guessed, the instrumentation is pretty heavy and dark, which perfectly fits the setting of the composition. The guitar section also features parts where open strings are mixed with pressed ones, which showcases the skillfulness of the band’s players and also makes the sound very cohesive and diverse.

16. The Relic by Rings Of Saturn

Key D Minor
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“The Relic” is an intricate and diverse song by the American deathcore band Rings of Saturn. Released in 2013 as part of their second studio album, “Dingir.”

The song explores themes of the world’s enigma, cosmic entities, and the mysteries of the universe, and that can be perfectly seen in the instrumental part, which is pretty fast and intricate. If you look at the tab of the song, you won’t notice anything scary; there are no lines going all over the place and notes you can’t understand how to play, but when you actually get to play the song, you realize that all the expectations you had about simplicity and ease might vanish pretty soon, and you’ll have to examine some parts with precise thoroughness, due to the fast tremolo picking technique you need to nail, etc.

17. Bleed Like You by Ill Niño

Key B Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“Bleed Like You” showcases Ill Niño’s fusion of nu metal, alternative metal, and Latin influences, which is a very interesting mixture you won’t see frequently in modern music (the song was released in 2010). The composition is about emotional pain, inner turmoil, and the struggles of relationships.

Melodically, due to the strange and distinct combination of genres and motives, the track incorporates heavy guitar riffs and a harsh sound with Latin percussion, which at first makes you feel like you have never heard anything like this before. In general, the whole song revolves around only five chords; therefore, it won’t be that hard to learn it and play it over and over while practicing guitar. Don’t forget to get used to the distinct sound of the song before you actually start playing it.

18. Story Of A Stranger by Breakdown Of Sanity

Key B Minor
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“Story of a Stranger” showcases Breakdown of Sanity’s signature metalcore sound, combining heavy breakdowns, intense riff sections, and soaring melodies. The song tells the tale of an outsider or an outcast who feels disconnected from society and struggles so much, which is perfectly conveyed melodically due to the perfect choice of the key made by the band: B minor, a very sad one that truly corresponds to the actual setting of the track.

In terms of the instrumental part, everything’s pretty stable and standard for a song of such a genre: a heavy guitar riff in a corresponding tuning, harsh and aggressive vocals, and an energetic and powerful drum section that makes your heart beat faster each time you listen to the song again.

19. The Flood by Of Mice & Men

Key F Major
Genre Rock
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

The composition by the American metalcore band Of Mice & Men, which was released in 2011 as the title track and lead single from their second studio album, “The Flood,” can be described as something really thunderous and powerful, while at the same time featuring pretty decent and clear vocals.

What’s about the instrumental part? Well, here you’ll need to nail the skill of muting certain notes, especially when playing some chords, which are shown in the actual tab. Also, you need to be very fast due to the song’s fast tempo (160 BPM), which makes it a little bit more difficult for beginners to understand and learn how to play. Even though the combination of sounds is pretty standard, the band’s distinctiveness can definitely be heard and noticed.

20. Man Made Disaster by Betraying The Martyrs

Key A Major
Genre Progressive metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Ever felt like people only make life worse and progress towards destroying it every day? Well, then the next song, “Man Made Disaster,” by the metalcore band Betraying The Martyrs will perfectly fit your point of view. The song was released in 2011, so maybe you’ll find some stuff there that is even relevant up to this day as well.

The drum part of the song is very interesting and can be perfectly accompanied with a very cool guitar section, which you can actually learn if you are an intermediate or above player, since there’s a very intricate and interesting bridge, which can perfectly expand your arsenal of stuff you can play and practice with.

21. Crack The Skye by Mastodon

Key C Major
Genre Progressive metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Don’t read the title if you are obsessed with English grammar, because the next song is called “Crack the Skye,” and it is a song by the American progressive metal band Mastodon, which was released in 2009 as the title track and the centerpiece of their fourth studio album, “Crack the Skye.”

Since the song explores profound metaphysical topics, the instrumental part perfectly corresponds to that, which is why it features odd and complex time signatures, unusual sounds, etc. That is what makes the song pretty hard for beginners; I especially recommend considering the fact that it has a tempo of 122 BPM. Don’t be misled by the ease of the key; it’s a trap!

22. Glass Hearts by Of Mice & Men

Key D Major
Genre Progressive metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Not only ballads can be written about heartbreaks and difficult situations in relationships between people, and the next song showcases it perfectly.

“Glass Hearts” is a very emotionally charged metalcore song that addresses themes such as those that have already been mentioned earlier.

Instrumentally, the song can seem an exception from the usual obscure sound of such songs, but again, don’t be misled by the key of D major since the aggressiveness and heaviness of the guitar riffs and instrumental mix, in general, can actually be felt throughout the whole length of the song. Also, the first part of the rhythm guitar section can be easily learned by you since it just features open strings’ sound, which doesn’t sound boring due to the tuning used in the track. If you’re looking for songs in Drop A tuning, this is one I highly recommend trying to play.

23. Lifelines by I Prevail

Key F# Minor
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

This is a song by the American rock band I Prevail. It was released in 2016 as the title track and lead single from their debut studio album, which has the same name as the track itself.

The song contains catchy melodies made by the powerful sound of the guitars and drums. Also, technically, the song isn’t very hard to learn due to its structure, but you’ll still have to acquire the skill of sticking to the rhythm and being consistent with it, which is one of the most fundamental skills in any type of music, whether it is a metal song or a forlorn folk ballad. This will bring its benefits to you sooner or later, don’t doubt it.

24. Visions by Bring Me The Horizon

Key Bb Minor
Genre Alternative metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

The song is a composition by the rock band Bring Me the Horizon, which they released as part of their third studio album, “There Is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It. There Is A heaven; Let’s Keep It a Secret.”

The track itself features a very clear aspect of introspectiveness and profound meaning, probably not clearly visible or understandable right off the bat. The choice of the key is very meticulous and really interesting; Bb Minor isn’t only a very sad -sounding one but also gloomy and somber. It is rarely seen that the key is being used by many artists; therefore, it can be said that the composition we’re looking at exemplifies some sort of uniqueness and stands out from the main mass of songs.

25. Siren Charms by In Flames

Key D Major
Genre Progressive metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Let’s dive deeper into a little bit of mythology here because our next pick is a song by the Swedish metal band In Flames, which was released in 2014 as the title track and lead single from their eleventh studio album. The track revolves around the ability of the band to create a very interesting atmospheric sound that creates a lot of space around itself.

This sound is achieved by blending keyboards with the rhythm guitar part. The second one, by the way, will require you to learn how to use the technique called ‘’alternate picking,” so you have to already have a solid base in the field of playing guitar.

26. Possession by Whitechapel

Key A Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“Possession” is another song by the already-mentioned deathcore band Whitechapel. They released it in 2014 as part of their fifth studio album, “Our Endless War.”

The track explores topics of inner struggle, mental issues, and the feeling of being trapped within one’s own mind.

Melodically, the song features very intricate guitar parts that will require you to have enough skill in order to play them and actually understand what you are playing (which can be done only if you know enough music theory). Vocally, there’s a great alternation between screaming and usually spoken lines that blend together really well.

27. A For Andrew by  Attack Attack!

Key Db Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

The song is featured on the band’s self-titled debut album, “Attack Attack,” which was released in 2010, as are some of the songs mentioned earlier in this list. Probably, this particular era was really suitable for some people to turn more to such a genre.

“A for Andrew” is unique due to the way it mixes harsh and heavy guitar riffs with catchy sections and electronic melodies, which is something you might have never heard before, even though there are many creative works in the world. Also, the special flavor the instrumental part brings can be explained by the choice of the key, which is Db Major for this song, and by the way songs mix the same notes but play them in different octaves. In general, the sound is very energetic and charges the listener with its power.

28. Widower by Make Them Suffer

Key Bb Minor
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

“Widower” is a song by the metalcore band that I’ve already talked about on this list not long ago. Make Them Suffer released in 2012 as part of their debut studio album, “Neverbloom,” the song showcases the band’s ability to blend heavy elements with talking about deep emotional topics that are pretty insightful and reflective.

The song represents a very grief-sounding composition that can also be heard while deconstructing the song, again created by the specific key of Bb minor, which has already been mentioned, mixed with the special heaviness of the sound. The song is hard in terms of its dynamic shifts in tempo and intensity of the melody, which are also accompanied by really atmospheric passages.

29. High Road by Mastodon

Key A Major
Genre Metal
Tabs See The Tabs for the Song Here

Time to get our hands on some relatively fresh material again!

The next song on the list is one by the progressive metal band going by the name of Mastodon. The composition was put out in 2014 as the lead single from their studio album, “Once More ‘Round the Sun,” and became one that shows the ability of the band that allows them to create catchy melodies within this particular style.

Hence, the guitar sound used here is something really interesting because it’s not that often that such songs can be as memorable as this one. And the most important thing I’d recommend you to do is that you actually get skilled enough in order to sound like the actual recording; therefore, I wish you good luck in practicing and improving your skills because it’s the only way to get yourself to the top of your abilities, but also don’t forget to enjoy the time you spend playing guitar!

30. Eaten by Bloodbath

Tabs: See Eaten Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Not for the faint-hearted, “Eaten” by Swedish death metal supergroup Bloodbath has brutal, stomach-churning lyrics that dig into the mind of a voluntarily cannibalized victim and why he wanted to be consumed. It is one of the band’s most recognizable compositions that was written by Dan Swano with Hypocrisy’s Peter Tagtgren on vocals. Through their active years, Bloodbath has gone through numerous changes, but their trademark extreme heaviness has remained intact.

From their second album, Nightmares Made Flesh; this track is a mid-tempo masterpiece that is heavier than faster. “Eaten” is powered by groovy riffs, lead growler Tagtgren’s gutturals, powerful drumming, and not to mention a super catchy chorus that’ll have you singing along. We particularly liked the infectious slow-paced chugging in the pre-chorus that’ll tempt you to pick up your guitar and start playing. Don’t forget to tune to Drop A while you are at it.

31. Sacrifice Unto Sebek by Nile

Tabs: See Sacrifice Unto Sebek Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Propelled by George Kollias’ otherworldly drumming, this song by the American death metal band Nile is a technical marvel. The guitar work by Karl Sanders and Dallas-Toller Wade is equally phenomenal, with complex riffs and wicked harmonies. “Sacrifice Unto Sebek” starts slow and then explodes with fast riffs that keep pace with Kollias’ pounding drums. The Egyptian sounds throughout add a dramatic vibe to the three-minute song.

There’s a killer riff that shows up around the 2-minute mark that simply takes your breath away. Nile tuned their six strings to Drop A to play this amazing track that features in Nile’s fourth studio album, Annihilation of the Wicked. You’ll be thrilled to know that there is a guitar lesson for this song by Sanders himself that’ll be a big help for learning this technically challenging track.

32. Gravity’s Union by Coheed and Cambria

Tabs: See Gravity’s Union Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Coheed and Cambria is a well-known name in the progressive space. While you’ll mostly hear them in standard tuning, there are some pretty great compositions that have them tuning down all the way to Drop A. Part of their 2012 album The Afterman: Descension, “Gravity’s Union” centers around the protagonist’s rage and sorrow over his wife’s death in an accident. It took the band about two years to create this multi-layered, emotional masterpiece.

They chose to go with Drop A to make the distorted riffs sound hard-hitting and heavier than their usual style. With a duration spanning seven minutes, the track is packed with soaring vocals, masterful guitaring, pounding drum work, and an amazing chorus. The entire album did pretty well; it charted to number three on Billboard Top Rock Albums and made it to the top 10 on Billboard US Top 200 albums chart.

33. Stacked Actors by Foo Fighters

Tabs: See Stacked Actors Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

In “Stacked Actors,” Alt-rock giants Foo Fighters can be heard tapping into Drop A for a deeper, heavier feel sound. The American rock band was formed by ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl after Kurt Cobain’s death, achieving phenomenal success and winning 12 Grammys over the course of their career. Part of their third album, There is Nothing Left to Lose, ‘Stacked Actors’ is arguably one of Foo Fighters’ most aggressive songs, with a sound that is reminiscent of Grohl’s grunge-influenced past.

Fuelled by power chord-based punk-like riffs and jazzy verses, this song is an immersive album opener. It’s interesting to note that Foo Fighters goes with a variation of dropped A in this song. Retune your E standard with the 6th string dropped to a low A to arrive at AADGBE. Here the first A is tuned a whole octave lower than the second one, producing an incredibly interesting sound. If you’re a fan of the Foo Fighters, then this is one of those Drop A songs you’ll definitely want to learn.

34. Wormholes by Volumes

Tabs: See Wormholes Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Progressive metalcore band Volumes’ djent riffs, groovy breakdowns, and dual lead vocals have earned them quite a fan following. Formed in 2009, this band from Los Angeles, California, debuted with Via, which reached number 1 on the iTunes Rock & Metal Charts.

From the same album, we bring you “Wormholes.” It’s an awesome track where the band managed to create their signature music on a six-string than the usual seven and eight-string djent-friendly guitars. A remarkable feat that simply wouldn’t have been possible without the low and heavy dropped A tuning that goes A-E-A-D-F#-B. Fans of groovy metal and djent, be sure to check out this band’s amazing repertoire. You won’t be disappointed!

35. King of All Excuses by Staind

Tabs: See King Of All Excuses Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

American rock band Staind has been churning out fantastic rockers since their debut in 1996. While many of their songs like “Fade,” “It’s Been Awhile” have been chart-toppers, there are some underrated gems that deserve our attention. “King of All Excuses” is one such lesser-known track from their 2006 album Chapter V. It’s the heaviest song on the album, featuring an ultra-low alternate tuning. With screamed-out vocals, angry lyrics, and down-tuned guitar riffs, especially the opening one, the single deserved more popularity than it got. The song’s lyrics call out a pathological liar for betraying the protagonist’s trust.

Mike Mushok uses a baritone guitar to play this song which works great as its longer scale length, larger body, and heavier internal bracing make it perfect for ultra-low tuning. He tunes the guitar all the way down to Drop A, which is A-E-A-D-E-B in this case. As there’s a lot of fast sliding going on all over the fretboard, this song is more suited for advanced players than new learners.

36. The Heretic Anthem by Slipknot

Tabs: See Heretic Anthem Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

If it’s a song list on drop tunings, you know Slipknot will show up, not just once. Here they are again, this time for a death metal song, “The Heretic Anthem,” from their second album Iowa. Pummeling drums, intense riffing, and double-bass barrage define this track which also happens to feature one of the most recognizable choruses in metal music. The lyrics slam the music industry and talk about how many of the record labels took absolutely no interest in signing the band in their early days. Corey’s scream, “If you’re 555, then I’m 666,” never fails to evoke an anthemic response from the crowd.

“The Heretic Anthem” was later covered by prominent progressive metal band Periphery and was added as a bonus track in the limited edition of Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. The original, as well as cover feature, Drop A tuning, while Slipknot’s version was done in A-E-A-D-F#-B, Periphery used a seven-string in A-E-A-D-G-B-E.

37. Guardians of Asgaard by Amon Amarth

Tabs: See Guardians Of Asgaard Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth’s body of work draws inspiration from Norse mythology. With a career spanning close to three decades and eleven albums under their belt, the band evolved into a highly influential band in the metal world. Being fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction, the band picked the Sindarin name of Mount Doom, a volcano from Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Ancient melodies, fast-picking riffs, harmonized guitars, and death growls define their signature style of music.

In Guardians of Asgaard, the band sings about Asgaard, a realm ruled by the god Odin. Driven by the potent combination of Johan Hegg’s brutal gutturals and Entombed L.G. Petrov’s powerful vocals, this riff-heavy song is an astounding piece of Viking metal. Guardians of Asgaard and The Hero are two incredibly catchy tracks from the band’s seventh studio album, Twilight of the Thunder God. Both tracks use the same Drop A tuning.

38. Supremacy by Muse

Tabs: See Supremacy Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

“Supremacy” is another brilliant piece of music where Muse can be heard playing in Drop A. The song’s guitar riff, drum beat, and orchestration would remind you of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” All of its elements would make you feel as if you are listening to a James Bond song. The track was released in 2013 in the band’s sixth studio album, The 2nd Law. The monstrous opening riff that’s played on a down-tuned seven-string by Matt is goosebumps-worthy! In fact, this is the first time he uses a seven-string after “Citizen Erased,” which was also played in the alternate tuning of Drop A.

In terms of vocals, Bellamy kicks off slowly in a narrative fashion, and builds it up into trademark shrieks that he’s well-known for. If you want to try your hand at the song’s famous riff, you don’t need a seven-string as the riff only uses one string. Just retune your six-string by tuning the low E down to A. The riff is not as hard as it sounds but may require heaps of practice to nail how to pick the strings and how hard to press to make it sound as weighty as the track.

39. Welcome To The Fold by Filter

Tabs: See Welcome To The Fold Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Make way for some great in-your-face rock done in the super low Drop A tuning. With screamed verses and hard-hitting industrial riffs that contrast ingeniously with a milder chorus, “Welcome To The Fold” is an addictive fare by American rock band Filter. The song featured as the title track in their second album, Title of Record, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock chart. It was also picked by Spin for their list of “The 69 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1999”.

Filter’s music can best be described as alternative rock, hard rock with some influence of industrial metal and post-grunge. In Title of Record, the band melded grunge with folk, worldbeat, and psychedelia resulting in a more diverse and guitar-oriented sound than their previous albums. Filter’s frontman and guitarist Richard Patrick is known to have a soft corner for drop D, but in this riff-heavy song, we hear his guitar tuned to A-E-A-F#-D-B from low to high.

40. Remember Everything by Five Finger Death Punch

Tabs: See Remember Everything Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Ivan Moody from Five Finger Finger Death Punch penned this song describing his upbringing and childhood. “Remember Everything’s” poignant lyrics touch upon Moody’s bitter arguments with his parents and the fact that his mother disapproved of his music career. It’s one of the softer, more ballad-y tracks on the band’s third album American Capitalist which is otherwise packed with a crunchy, mosh pit ready collection.

Chart-wise, “Remember Everything” peaked at number two on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and 10th on the Billboard Rock Songs chart. You can arrive at the Drop A used by the band in the song by tuning your guitar from low to high: A-E-A-D-F#-B.

41. No One Loves Me & Neither Do I by Them Crooked Vultures

Tabs: See No One Loves Me And Neither Do I Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Next up is a hard rock marvel by influential alt-rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Formed in 2009 when rock legends Josh Homme (Kyuss), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters and Nirvana) came together to create great music. Very few supergroups are able to live up to their past, the celebrity trio managed to do that and more! The album opener “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” from 2009 their self-titled debut packs in one of their finest performances.

It is a superb track that’s powered by Grohl’s technically precise drum beats, Homme’s captivating vocals, and a seductive guitar riff that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The entire album is pretty amazing, debuting at number 12 on the Billboard 20. This is not the only track of theirs that’s in Drop A. You should also check out “Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up” and “Caligulove,” which use the same tuning.

42. Bangers And Mash by Radiohead

Tabs: See Bangers N Mash Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Thom Yorke of the popular rock band Radiohead is a big fan of alternate tunings. Open tunings to drop tunings; he’s used them all! Even the lowest tuning of Drop A. In “Bangers and Mash,” the band utilized A-A-D-G-B-E, which is a variation of Drop A. This choice of tuning increased the overall heaviness factor of this aggressive rocker.

From the band’s 2007 In Rainbows album, this is an energetic, gritty, loud song that features one of the quirkiest vocal performances by Yorke. It is underrated from a commercial standpoint but became a live staple for its abrasive, choppy guitars, funky rhythm, and Yorke’s frenzied performance.

43. Sorceress by Opeth

Tabs: See Sorceress Tabs on Guitar Tabs Explorer here.

Swedish progressive metal/rock band Opeth’s forte is their amazing versatility. They never restrict their sound to just one style of music. Formed in 1989, the band started their journey with death metal but incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences along the way. The title track from their 12th studio album Sorceress kicks off with groovy keyboards and a funky organ riff intro. Just when you feel that you’re being treated to quintessential ‘70s progressive rock, the chugging down-tuned guitars push it into a heavier direction. It ends with a melodic part that’s strongly influenced by Abba.

“Sorceress” doesn’t have a chorus, but the infectious rhythm won’t make you miss it. There’s a menacing, dual guitar riff that shows up in this song which is an excellent example of heavy guitaring in the unusually low tuning of Drop A. All in all a solid opener for their progressive and dark 2016 album.

44. Layers Of Time by Lacuna Coil

Tabs: See Layers Of Time Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

Famous for their gothic imagery and music, this Italian alt-metal band from Milan has been producing quality metal for over two decades. While Lacuna Coil’s earlier music was rife with catchy, mid-paced guitar-driven songs with dual male/female harmonies, their more recent repertoire shows the band embracing a heavier, down-tuned style. The lead single from their ninth studio album Black Anima mirrors the band’s newer sound.

Running slightly over 4 minutes, “Layers of Time” is a roaring mix of slamming drums, fast-paced chugging riffs, and contrasting vocals by Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia. Ferro’s growls during the verses and Scabbia’s beautifully sung chorus create their signature vocal duality that the band is hailed for. A real treat to the ears! Taut is one of the best tracks on the album. Lacuna coil plays this song by tuning their seven-string guitars to A-E-A-D-G-B-e.

45. Boris by Melvins

Tabs: See Boris Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

The next track is one of the most well-known compositions by the grunge and sludge metal trio, The Melvins. The band never stuck to just one style, infusing their sound with noise rock, dark ambient, jazz-rock, punk country, and many more elements. From their 1991 album Bullhead, “Boris” is an eight-and-a-half-minute-long slow riff epic about a cat that inspired a generation of metalheads. An influential Japanese doom/drone metal band even chose to name themselves after this track. It’s incredibly heavy, probably one of the heaviest tracks you’ve ever heard.

The mind-bending riff dominates this droney track. Dale Crover’s taut drumming and Buzz Osborne’s raw vocals that oscillate from high, clean to bizarre growls accentuate the guitaring all the more. So even though you find yourself hearing the same down-tuned sludgy riff throughout the track, it doesn’t ever get boring. The song’s mind-bending riff can be played by tuning your guitar from low to high: A-A-D-G-B-E.

46. Alone In A Room by Asking Alexandria

Tabs: See Alone In A Room Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

British rock band, Asking Alexandria’s biggest hit is an outstanding piece of music in Drop A. With prominent keyboards, crushing guitars, and powerful vocals, the song became a colossal success, garnering over 40 million Spotify streams and close to 5 million views on YouTube. The lyrics are reflective, capturing frontman Danny Worsnop’s short solo journey when he quit the band in 2015. “Alone In A Room” is Worsnop’s first single after the reunion.

The solid rocker starts slowly, becoming more energetic and aggressive over the course of the song. As soon as the song broke into the top 10 on the radio, Asking Alexandria decided to release an acoustic rendition. Worsnop’s passionate vocals, gentle acoustic, and piano worked beautifully in amplifying the emotions behind the song even further.

47. Marigold by Caligula’s Horse

Tabs: See Marigold Tabs on Ultimate Guitar here.

For the fans of djent, we have an impressive composition by the Australian progressive metal band Caligula’s horse. The second single from their third album Bloom, the dynamic and aggressive “Marigold” is a headbanger’s delight!

Heavy riffing, serene melodies and an infectious chorus fuel this catchy track. We particularly loved the opening riff and the wicked solo at the end that is a brilliant work of art in Drop A. To arrive at the tuning used by Caligula’s Horse, you’ll need to tune your six-string to A-E-A-D-F#-B. If you own a seven-string retune to A-E-A-D-G-B-E for Drop A.

Final Thoughts

Alternate tunings are a fabulous way to expand your creative horizons as a musician and the Drop A tuning helps you do exactly that. With this article, we hope you have all the information you need to start chugging those low, Drop A riffs! If you’re interested in exploring other awesome alternate guitar tunings, don’t forget to check out our article resources on open E tuning, open G tuning, open C tuning, drop C tuning, open D tuning, Drop B, and DADGAD tunings!

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