By tuning your bottom E string just one step down, you can add a whole extra heavy layer to your guitar part. Drop D is a great way to start practicing with alternative tunings, especially since it’s a favorite tuning for dozens of metal bands. But when you’re just starting, you’re going to want to find some easy drop D songs.
Easy metal songs in drop D tuning are typically lower in range and should be relatively simple, using just a couple of notes rather than a wide range. Though these solos might be more challenging to master than the main riffs, they can be altered or pared down to match your skill level.
Since metal is meant to sound “heavier” than other genres, usually, this is where you can find the richest drop D parts. So let’s dive into some easy drop D metal songs!
11 Easy Metal Songs in Drop D Tuning
These metal songs in drop D are perfect for beginners who want to work on this exciting tuning. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t nail them immediately, though.
Dedicated practice is the only way you’ll get good at this style of music. Pick one song to master at a time, and you’ll be a pro at drop D in no time!
1. Walk by Pantera
Like many other intuitive guitarists, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell came up with this iconic riff during a soundcheck.
This riff is built around a low D to D#, which translates to an open low string to one fret on that same string. The rest of the chords are power chords that stay on the bottom strings.
The solo on the top of the neck is a different story, but you don’t need to memorize the solo to get that critical two-note part that everybody knows.
“Walk” is a testament to the power of drop D tuning.
2. Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine
Tom Morello is one of those names that scare people off. He’s a legend, and rightfully so that everyone assumes that Rage songs are all going to be killer to learn.
But sometimes, it’s not about how difficult the guitar part is, but how you play it, and “Killing In The Name” is one of those songs.
The juicy high notes are up at the eleventh and twelfth frets, but then you immediately drop down to the bottom two strings, leaving them open. That means you don’t need to quickly move your fingers down the neck to get those meaty bass notes.
Just make sure you stick to this song’s groovy rhythm and try not to trip up around the solos!
3. Pneuma by Tool
Like many other metal and progressive bands, Tool wrote the bulk of their songs in drop D. Therefore, there are dozens of Tool songs written in this powerful tuning that you can choose from.
“Pneuma” has an easy opening riff that isn’t just complex and unique but also quite lovely. It sounds more complicated than it is, so it’s easy to impress your friends (and yourself) by learning this tune.
4. Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
If you want to practice your fingerpicking, this song from Soundgarden can help with that. There are not too many fingering changes, and it shows you the wide range of sounds you can achieve with drop D.
Soundgarden is another heavy metal/grunge group that wrote much of their material in drop D, so check them out if you want to work on your drop D tunings.
5. Du Hast by Rammstein
“Du Hast” by Rammstein is one of those mythical metal songs that went mainstream against all odds, despite its growly vocals, German lyrics, and heavy guitars. You could play this one at a wedding, and people would start singing along.
There are several tabs in standard tuning for “Du Hast,” which translates to “You Have,” but to get that intense metal sound, you want to take your bottom string and take it a step lower. That will also simplify many of the chords you have to play.
6. The Thing That Should Not Be by Metallica
This song relies on a lot of dynamic changes, a staple of nearly every Metallica song. Get that down, and this drop D song can be played by just about anyone.
The solo is tough, but it’s also a great opportunity to develop your simplified version.
7. Hey Man, Nice Shot by Filter
This song requires a lot of palm muting, and the guitar doesn’t get going until you get to the chorus. Still, the effect of a sudden explosion of guitars is downright delicious. No wonder this was such a hit.
Nail this by getting comfortable with quick changes from open strings to hitting notes along the tenth and twelfth frets.
8. Aerials by System of a Down
With its circular picking pattern and a melody that centers on the bottom string, this song is another one that will impress without too much effort on your part.
Learn the fingerpicking intro first, and then you can get the power chords down. What’s more, this song is great fun to sing along to no matter what kind of singer you are.
System of a Down has plenty of other drop D tunes that will sound great and are easy to learn, so if you like this one, check out the rest of their music!
9. Last Resort by Papa Roach
This is another song that even non-metal fans can appreciate. This radio-friendly metal tune sounds tough, but it’s pretty simple to nail. This verges on being an intermediate song, but if you nail the finger pattern, all you need to do is move it up and down the neck.
Practice by starting slow, then speed it up. It’s okay to use a metronome when you’re learning.
10. Redneck by Lamb of God
Lamb of God lead guitarist Mark Morton makes even the simplest guitar parts thrash. This part is almost exclusively played on your lowest two strings, so all you have to do is fret in the right places and keep your pick in the same place.
11. Unholy Confessions by Avenged Sevenfold
These two dueling guitar parts aren’t too difficult to master. The tricky part is that the two riffs harmonize for much of the song, which will sound awful unless your guitarists are exactly in sync. If you stay together, though, you get a magical metal piece that will take your playing to another level.
If you’re playing solo, pick one of the guitar parts and master it. If your band wants to take a shot at this song, get both of your guitarists to master their parts separately before they practice together.
If you need to find the perfect metal guitar to play these songs on, check out the 10 Best Metal Guitar Brands In The World!