If you’re curious about guitar songs in C standard, this is the post for you!
I’ve been a guitar player since 2003.
And although I don’t often play in C standard, it is an interesting tuning that allows you to explore a different side of the guitar compared to standard tuning.
Let’s discuss some popular songs you can learn in this unique tuning!
1. Freya by The Sword
The C standard tuning is pretty common in doom, stoner, and sludge metal. And the band, The Sword is one of the biggest names in this movement. Some describe their style as the continuation of Black Sabbath’s early material.
In their catalog, Freya from the Age of Winters album stands out. As one of their most popular songs, it’s filled with some pretty heavy riffs. Throughout its length, it also keeps a pretty steady tempo. So it shouldn’t be that difficult to learn. It also has a few lead parts that are simple yet catchy.
2. Hear My Train a Comin’ by Jimi Hendrix
Whoever plays guitar today owes a lot to Jimi Hendrix. And although most remember him for his accomplishments on the electric guitar, he was also a pretty skilled acoustic player. Plus his songwriting and improvisational skills deeply rooted in blues were pretty amazing.
One such example is his “Hear My Train a Comin'” that he performed plenty of times. The song is semi-improvised with every performance. But his most famous performance of this one is on a 12-string acoustic guitar during a photoshoot on December 19, 1967.
He did this particular version with the guitar tuned to C standard. And since he used a 12-string, it sounds really full. You can check out this performance in the video above.
3. No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme-fronted band, Queens of the Stone Age, took the stoner rock genre into more commercial waters. Probably the best example is their song No One Knows. And sure, most people associate the C standard tuning with heavy stuff. However, this one is pretty catchy and laid-back.
And although simple, the song also has some uncommon riffs. You can feel the power when Homme and bassist Nick Olivieri hit the bottom C string. But at the same time, they combine it with chords on higher strings.
4. Green Machine by Kyuss
Josh Homme’s previous band Kyuss started the whole “desert rock” or “stoner rock” movement. They’re a pretty underrated band. However, they have a legendary status among the fans of this subgenre.
From their discography, I’d single out Green Machine. Also, a lot of their stuff is recorded in C standard tuning. But in Green Machine, they combine heavy riffs and grooving drums in an overall catchy song structure.
5. The Eagle Flies Alone by Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy is one of those bands that pushed the limits of metal music. With the inclusion of Alissa White-Gluz into the lineup, they got a new burst of energy. But none of that would work without immensely heavy guitar riffs.
The mastermind behind their sound is guitarist Michael Amott. Of course, since they’re a melodic death metal band, they’re going to tune down. For one of their biggest songs, “The Eagle Flies Alone,” they went down to C standard. It really works well with Alissa’s powerful growling vocals.
6. The House of Wolves by Bring Me the Horizon
The rise of metalcore in the late 1990s and the early 2000s was of great importance in the evolution of guitar genres. One of these bands that is still active today is Bring Me the Horizon. And although they’ve completely changed their style, many still fondly remember their earlier heavy stuff.
One such song is The House of Wolves from the 2013 album Sempiternal. The song is a personal one, with lyrics by Oliver Sykes. This is all accompanied by downtuned guitars and super-heavy riffs.
At the same time, you will also notice some emotional melodic parts. As is the case with a lot of their songs, BMTH likes these contrasts.
7. As I Am by Dream Theater
There’s no band out there like Dream Theater. They are one of those bands that pushes the limits of metal. And although prog metal existed prior to their formation, they were the ones to popularize it.
For many music fans, they might be difficult to get into. However, if you’re a metal fan and want to check them out, start with As I Am. This one is a real banger. It’s a very balanced combination of heavy riffs and prog elements. And, of course, John Petrucci downtuned to C standard for it.
8. Dopesmoker by Sleep
Now, I mentioned stoner and doom metal here. But the ultimate band within this category is Sleep. In fact, they’ve composed and recorded a song that’s synonymous with stoner rock and metal. And, to those not familiar, it’s over 60 minutes long. Yes, over an hour.
But the story behind “Dopesmoker” is pretty weird. The record label gave them complete creative freedom. So they decided to record their ultimate masterpiece. It’s very slow and monotonous, although fans of doom and stoner metal love it. And, of course, it’s tuned to C standard.
Unfortunately, some changes happened in the label during the song’s recording. Imagine their shock when they heard an hour-long doom-stoner masterpiece. The band broke immediately after it. But the song achieved legendary status and Sleep came back together some years later.
9. Rumors of War by High on Fire
Guitarist Matt Pike of Sleep also formed another band called High on Fire. Just like in Sleep, his main tuning remains C standard. However, the band’s style is different. You can expect faster and heavier songs. It’s as if stoner rock met thrash and death metal. One of their most famous songs is Rumors of War.
If you like Motörhead but want something heavier, definitely check out High on Fire. In Rumors of War, you can expect nothing but straight-up heavy riffing and blasting drums. This is also accompanied by Matt Pike’s aggressive vocals and a scorching guitar solo.
10. Only for the Weak by In Flames
Coming from Sweden, In Flames is one of the bands that pioneered melodic death metal. Of course, their style evolved over the years. But they always stayed true to their death metal origins.
But for this one, we’re going back to the year 2000 with their fifth album Clayman. The piece that I’d like to single out is Only for the Weak, featuring C standard tuning.
This is one of their staple songs that showcases their style. It features an easily accessible structure and arrangement. There’s also a lot of melodic and catchy parts. But at the same time, there’s no shortage of crushing riffs, not to mention its awesome solos.
So if you want to learn a song that’s in C standard, Only for the Weak is a good start. The riffs aren’t that difficult and the piece is somewhat easy to remember.
Songs in C Standard: Conclusion
I hope this list of songs in C standard has helped you come up with some songs to learn in this interesting tuning!
As usual, feel free to message me in the comments if you have questions about this or another guitar topic!
And if you’re curious about an instrument that can better handle this tuning, check out my post about baritone guitar tuning.
Unique tuning? It’s literally 4 steps (= 2 whole notes) down from E standard on all strings. There’s nothing “unique” about it, as well as nothing’s unique about D standard or any of the drop D or drop C. Open C, now THAT is unique!
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.