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15 Bands that Play in Drop C Tuning [2021 Edition]

If you’re curious about bands that play in drop C, this is the post for you!

Although not a super common tuning, I thought I’d compile a list of some bands that play in drop C!

Let’s get to it!

1. System of a Down

System of a Down is one of the most famous bands that plays in drop C tuning. In fact, they’re the ones who popularized it. The band is well-known for Daron Malakian’s heavy riffs. However, this is all complemented by Serj Tankian’s voice.

Back in the late 1990s, such a combination was something previously unheard of in metal. This was especially prominent on their legendary album Toxicity from 2001. There are some other tunings that they have used. But drop C still remains their main one.

2. Deftones

The Deftones are a really creative metal band. Many have been arguing about which subgenre they belong to. But their music is so unique it’s hard to type-cast.

What’s particularly noteworthy about this band is Stephen Carpenter’s incredible guitar work and songwriting. The tunings are usually all over the place. And he’s known for his extended-scale guitars.

However, tThe band’s 2000 album White Pony is all in drop C tuning. And, of course, this is one of their most popular records. Using drop C back in 2000 was a real game-changer.

3. Killswitch Engage

While we’re on the subject, Killswitch Engage is another band that revolutionized metal. They’re one of the earliest bands of the metalcore movement.

The guitar duo of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel is responsible for some of the heaviest riffs in modern metal. And this is all supported by their choice to use drop C tuning.

In fact, this is the tuning they have used on most of their material. You can hear songs featuring this tuning on all of their albums.

4. Stoned Jesus

The whole stoner metal movement relies on heavy blues-driven riffs. But, in most cases, this is also accompanied by lower tunings. This is particularly true for the Ukrainian champions of this subgenre, Stoned Jesus.

Pretty much all of their material is recorded with guitars in drop C. Those slow and heavy riffs really work well with such a tuning. To get a sense of their sound, I’m the Mountain is the band’s most popular song. However, you may also want to check out their other stuff, like Here Come the Robots and Black Woods.

5. As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying has been around since the early 2000s. They’re a classic metalcore band. And they’re considered one of the bands that has helped define the genre. So it’s not that surprising that they use drop C tuning.

Most of their albums feature the guitar duo of Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa. And almost all of their material, if not all, features drop C. This is exactly what they needed in their music for that heavy sound.

6. Ministry

The industrial metal genre probably wouldn’t exist without Ministry. But, interestingly enough, the group originally started with synth-pop. As time went on, Al Jourgensen and his band started exploring the heavier side of music.

Eventually, this ended up with them using the drop C tuning. Many think that their best use of this tuning occurs on their album The Last Sucker from 2007.

7. Periphery

There’s no band out there like Periphery. They’re the ones who took the progressive metal genre into new territories. And this is all thanks to their creative mastermind, Misha Mansoor.

For a while now, they’ve been working with three guitars and no bass in the band. Mansoor, along with Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb, predominantly use drop C tuning.

Of course, they’ve also implemented 7 and 8-string guitars in their works. But as far as 6-strings go, it’s all mostly drop C. That’s what you will hear in their classic works like Marigold.

8. Rammstein

Inspired by artists like Ministry and Laibach, Rammstein took industrial into new territories. In fact, they’re the ones who popularized the genre. Their straightforward heavy riffs, drum beats, and unique vocals set them apart for all other bands.

For the most part, the band has used drop D tuning. However, some of their works also featured drop C. This is the case with their untitled album from 2018. Additionally, some of their older songs also feature drop C. Such is the case with Mein Herz Brennt.

9. August Burns Red

Coming from Pennsylvania, August Burns Red is one of metalcore’s biggest names. Their nine albums are filled with some of the genre’s most popular songs.

Of course, like most other metalcore bands, they use lower tunings. In fact, a lot of their works are in the drop C. Some of the best examples of songs in this alternate tuning are probably Mariana’s Trench and Meddler.

10. Mastodon

It’s really hard to explain Mastodon’s exact style. But regardless of how you describe it, the guitar duo of Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher has had a profound impact on the use of the guitar as an instrument.

During the band’s career, the two have used some pretty unusual tunings. In fact, they’ve been all over the place. However, they’ve also used drop C on some of their songs like Oblivion.

11. Bullet for My Valentine

Bullet for My Valentine is one of those early metalcore bands that later took a softer turn. Nonetheless, they still have a lot of heavy stuff in their discography. And being an early metalcore band, there’s stuff written and recorded in drop C.

The band’s first three albums are especially popular among early metalcore fans. For instance, drop C songs like Tears Don’t Fall and Hearts Burst Into Fire are really popular.

12. A Day to Remember

Some have described A Day to Remember as easycore. And it’s an interesting way to describe a band that combines metalcore and pop-punk.

During their career, they’ve implemented some interesting tunings. Aside from drop B and even drop A, they have a lot of material in drop C. If you want a good song to play in drop C, try their song, All Signs Point to Lauderdale.

13. The Faceless

Death metal champions, The Faceless, also use this tuning. And this is straight-up technical death metal. No unusual combinations of genres. Just pure heaviness and brutality.

Unsurprisingly, this is all accompanied by lower tunings. They’ve used drop C a lot on their material. But if you’re planning to learn their songs, bear in mind that this stuff is pretty difficult.

14. As Blood Runs Black

Whether you describe them as metalcore, deathcore, or melodic death metal, As Blood Runs Black is one of the most important names of modern metal.

Sure, the band has seen a lot of lineup changes. And it’s been a while since they released new material. But many still eagerly expect another album from them.

Until then, you can check out some of their songs in drop C tuning like In Dying Days.

15. Godsmack

Although a classic metal and post-grunge band, Godsmack has also used drop C. And the frontman Sully Erna sure knew how to implement it for some seriously heavy riffing.

Their classic I Stand Alone is just one example this tuning in action. But you may also want to check out some of their other songs featuring drop C like Bulletproof or Straight Out of Line. The good news is, Godsmacks’s songs aren’t usually that difficult. So this band’s music is a great way to get familiar with drop C tuning.  

Bands that Play in Drop C: Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some good examples of bands that play in drop C tuning.

And if you have more examples, feel free to message them to me in the comments below!

I’d love to add to this list and make it more thorough!

Lastly, if you want to learn more about down tuning and bands that use it, check out my article about Korn.

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