If you want to learn more about drop G sharp tuning on the guitar, you’ve come to the right post!
I don’t often use this alternate tuning.
But it is an interesting tuning that I thought I’d write a post about here on the blog.
Let’s get to it!
For some guitarists, the classic E standard tuning can get a bit boring. And there are other tunings better suited for a darker heavier sound. That’s why plenty of metal musicians go with lower tunings.
There are some fairly common solutions, like D standard or drop C. Some bands go as low as C# standard, C standard, drop B, or even B standard. But this is not where it ends.
We’re looking at stuff like drop A, A standard, and even G# standard. However, these might not work the best on a regular scale guitar. This is why we have extended-range and long-scale guitars for some super-low tunings.
Those long-scale guitars are also called baritone guitars. With a longer scale length, you get a better string tension in low tunings. In short, your strings won’t feel like rubber in these tunings.
When I say long-scale guitars, I’m referring to scale lengths of 26.5 inches or more. However, you should know that some instruments go extra long, up to 30 inches.
If you really want to use a regular scale guitar, then try with thicker strings. Maybe a 12- or 13-gauge will bring more tension. Nonetheless, long-scale guitars are a better solution for these lower tunings because the heavy strings won’t overwhelm a standard guitar neck with tension.
Drop G Sharp Tuning Explained
But what we’re interested in here is drop G-sharp tuning. The tuning is, obviously, really popular among metal musicians. This way, you get easy access to those chugging power chords on bottom strings.
However, there are two ways to approach this. Drop G-sharp tuning can be achieved on both 6-string and 7-string guitars.
It wouldn’t make much sense on an 8-string as they’re usually tuned to F-sharp standard. This is lower than G-sharp.
So how low is the drop G-sharp tuning? The bottom string is G#1. This is the same as with the 4th fret, the 4th string of a 4-string bass. That’s pretty low, right? This is a bass guitar territory.
Anyhow, let’s get into it.
Drop G Sharp Tuning on 6-String Guitars
Drop G-sharp may be a bit trickier to achieve on 6-string guitars. But you won’t have any problems if you have a long-scale guitar.
There are actually two ways how you can approach this. As you know, the 2nd and the 3rd string traditionally form a major third interval. In that case, it looks like this:
Some of those who are really strict about music theory may use E-sharp instead of F. But that’s a whole different story.
So what about drop A-flat? Is this the same tuning? Technically, yes. It’s just a different way to look at things if you prefer flats over sharps. In that case, you can write down the tuning like this:
If all these note names seem complicated, there’s another way to look at this tuning. Take your regular drop D and lower all strings by 6 semitones. Or 3 whole notes.
However, there’s another drop G-sharp tuning on a 6-string guitar. As mentioned, 2nd and 3rd strings are tuned in such a way to build a major third interval.
But then you can take the 7-string drop G-sharp tuning and just remove the top string. In that case, it looks like this:
In this case, the top two strings build the major 3rd interval. However, this is a far less common variant. The first one is easier. Especially if you’re used to standard 6-string tunings.
Drop G Sharp Tuning on 7-String Guitars
There’s one common way to tune the 7-string guitar to drop G-sharp. Firstly, you take the B standard and drop the bottom string to A. This way, you get the drop A tuning.
Your second step will be to lower all strings by just one semitone. And that’s it. The tuning would then look like this:
Or, if you prefer flats, then it goes like this:
This is the most common way to go. And, it’s usually much simpler to use than the other variant.
To be fair, this other variant of the G# drop tuning isn’t that practical in most cases. But it’s still something that you can use.
Once again, the difference is in just one string. And, yes, it’s the third string. Instead of F#, you go with F. So it looks like this:
In this case, we have a major third interval between the 3rd and the 4th string. And, if you look closer, you’ll notice that this is the same as the first variant of the 6-string drop G-sharp, only with the added top string.
If you prefer flats, then it looks like this:
But, as I mentioned, this one is pretty uncommon.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you can use regular 7-string guitars for drop G-sharp. There’s no need to use long-scale variants. Those with 25.5 inches will do.
I hope this article has clarified this tuning and when to use it!
As usual, please let me know of any questions you may have in the comments!