One of the best ways to progress with your guitar technique and open up the doors of new creative possibilities is experimenting with alternate tunings. As the chord shapes, scales, licks, and riffs you are used to playing change with alternate tunings, they force you to be more attentive and explore new sonic possibilities out of your comfort zone.
One of the greatest and most used alternate tunings is the Drop C tuning. It is mainly used by rock and metal bands, as it sounds thicker and chunkier, especially with distortion. The tuning goes as C-G-C-F-A-D. The low E string is tuned down to C, while all of the other strings are tuned down one whole step.
The lower strings allow you to reach lower notes than the standard tuning, while the higher strings allow for fast lead guitar playing. The strings vibrate less than the standard tuning as the force is less on each of them, which leads to a thicker tone. There are many great rock and metal songs with this tuning which can help you to explore the possibilities it brings.
Chop Suey! – System Of A Down
One of the signature songs of the Armenian heavy metal band, Chop Suey, was released back in 2001. The successful hit song was nominated for a Grammy and is considered one of the best metal songs of the 21st century. The tune is a fan-favorite with its great and controversial lyrics, rock-solid guitar riffs along with its heavy tone.
Chop Suey! is played with guitars tuned to the drop c tuning, which helps the tune to have a heavier tone with lower notes. It is mainly played with power chords and with only the second riff being on the higher strings. It is an easy yet great song to learn and get familiar with the drop C tuning.
Toxicity – System Of A Down
Another greatly famous System Of A Down song in the drop C tuning is Toxicity. The tune was released back in 2001 with the same-titled album. The tune is remembered for its dynamic chorus, aggressive vocals, and prominent drum beat, as well as its great music video, which has more than 600 million views on Youtube.
Toxicity is a tune that features different time signatures like 6/8, so you have to be careful with the rhythmic aspect of the tune when playing. It is mainly in triple meters like 6/4 and 12/8 but sometimes shifts back to 4/4 time. Besides the rhythm, the song is played with single-picked and strummed power chord riffs which are quite easy to play.
If you want to learn more songs in different tuning, check out my other list Top 50 Famous&Easy Guitar Songs In Drop D – Tabs Included
Monster – Skillet
The breakthrough single of the American Christian rock band Skillet was Monster, released back in 2009. The single topped the charts, and the music video was very well-received, winning several awards.
Monster is played with straightforward power chords with the guitar tuned to drop C and plenty of distortion added to the tone. With the drop C tuning, three-note power chords are quite easy to play as the fret numbers are the same on all strings.
You can simply barre the frets to play the power chords. The only thing you should focus on is the dead notes that add a nice spice to the simple tune.
Tears Don’t Fall – Bullet For My Valentine
The Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine’s famous hit song Tear Don’t Fall from their first album, The Poison, is a great piece to learn and master for guitarists who want to get used to the drop C tuning. The song is one of the band’s signature tunes that won the Kerrang! Award for Best Single in 2006.
From the basic single-note riffs to power chord partitions, the song offers many sections for heavy metal fans. All of the parts are quite straightforward that would not challenge even beginner guitarists. The music sheet features bends, palm mutes, dead notes, vibratos which are all essential hard rock and metal techniques.
I Stand Alone – Godsmack
I Stand Alone by the American rock band Godsmack is remembered as the soundtrack of the action movie Scorpion King from the year 2002. The song was added to the band’s album the following year and topped the mainstream rock charts, winning the 2002 Metal Edge Readers’ Choice Award for Song of the Year From a Movie Soundtrack.
The main rhythm partitions of the song are played with a drop C tuned and heavily distorted guitar. Most of the riffs are power chords with a basic rhythm. The lead guitar partitions are a bit more challenging, with great licks and arpeggios played in between and during the riffs and verses.
Here is another alternate drop tuning: Top 50 Famous Guitar Songs In Drop B Tuning – Tabs Included
Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace
One of the signature pieces of the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace was Animal I Have Become, which spent two weeks in the number one position of the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart while selling more than 2 million copies. The 2006 song is highly catchy and easy to play, even for absolute beginners.
You will need power chords solely to play this tune along with the harmonic technique. The harmonic creates a nice touch if you can play it but do not worry if not, as it is not ultimately necessary. The song takes advantage of the drop C tuning with the open C power chord often played throughout the song.
Bodies – Drowning Pool
The most famous tune of the American rock band Drowning Pool is Bodies which was released in 2001 with their album Sinner. The song was used in many T.V. shows, commercials, movies, and events, which added to the popularity of the song. The song is considered a nu-metal song which was the general hype in the early 2000s.
Once again, you will need rhythmic power chord progressions to play the song. The main part of the song is played with power chords, yet there are nice riffs that are played with higher sting double stops. It is a long yet easy song to learn for newbie players.
Your Guardian Angel – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Your Guardian Angel is the hit and the most famous piece of the American rock band The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The original version was released in 2007, and later the band recorded an acoustic version of the song. It was dedicated to the students who lost their lives in the 2007 tornado in Alabama. The song was also featured in the T.V. show, Moonlight.
Your Guardian Angel is an elementary song to play with many power chord partitions. It is the perfect song to learn and master for novice guitarists as it will get you familiar with the whole fretboard.
If you want to experiment with another alternative tuning; the Drop D tuning, this list might just be for you Top 50 Famous&Easy Guitar Songs In Drop D – Tabs Included
Nymphetamine – Cradle of Filth
Released in 2004, Nymphetamine is one of the famous songs of the English extreme metal band Cradle Of Filth. The song features the same title as the album, which is a synthesis between the words nymphet and amphetamine. As with most of the Cradle Of Filth tunes, the song features a dark and heavy metal tone that goes perfectly with the drop C tuning.
Along with the three-note power chords, the song has nice and easy melodic single-note parts. It is an easy song to play with entertaining riffs. The power chord slides sound great when played correctly.
Stricken – Disturbed
American heavy metal band Disturbed is one of the most successful metal bands of the 21st century. One of their signature songs, Stricken, shows the reason clearly with the catchy rock-solid guitar riffs and anthemic choruses. The band uses the drop C tuning often as they like the heavy chugging on the low strings.
The song has many parts but is mainly played with two-note power chords on the lower strings. There are also some dead notes, chugging on low strings and high-tempo pentatonic licks that add great spice to the tune—a great tune to add to the drop C repertoire.
All I Want – A Day to Remember
All I Want is the famous single of the American rock band A Day to Remember from their album What Separates Me from You. The 2011 song became a hit and has received gold certification from the R.I.A.A. in 2016. Although the band is known for their metal songs, this song was different from the rest as it was a pop-punk tune with clean vocals.
The song is quite easy to play with fast-strummed power chords. It is a great song to get familiar with different Drop C tuning power chords as the song uses different ones in various positions. If you like punk-style guitar playing, this one is the right piece to master for you.
Don’t be afraid to check other tunings as well. Check out my other list Top 40 Famous & Easy Guitar Songs In D Standard – Tabs Included
Happy Song – Bring Me the Horizon
Released in 2015, Happy Song is one of the famous songs of the British rock band Bring Me To The Horizon’s fifth studio album, That’s The Spirit. It has a heavy tone and a prominent guitar riff. Although the song’s name is Happy Song, the lyrics talk about depression.
The song is played with power chords, and low C string chugs with a rhythmic pattern. The guitar riff of the song is played on the lowest 2 strings with pull-offs and open string notes. It is a great riff to learn and master, even for absolute beginner players.
Inside The Fire – Disturbed
Another great song to learn in the Drop C tuning is Inside The Fire by the rock band Disturbed. The song is featured on their fourth album, Indestructible, and talks about suicide. The song’s Youtube video was viewed more than 43 million times.
The main riff of the song is very fun to play with open notes and a sweet melody on the G string. The rhythm guitar parts are also straightforward with several power chords. The song also offers a great lick on the final parts of the song, which you can learn easily.
Hearts Burst Into Fire – Bullet For My Valentine
Hearts Burst Into Fire is the famous hit of the British metal band Bullet For My Valentine, which was released in 2008 with the Scream Aim Fire album. It is one of the melodic songs of the band with catchy riffs and great lyrics. It was featured in some video games like N.H.L. 09.
To play the song, you will need several power chords, some easy single-note riffs, arpeggios, and double-stop riffs. All of the parts You can both play the lead and rhythm guitar parts of the song as they are all quite easy and fun to play.
If you want to learn some more easy electric guitar tunes, you might want to check out this article Top 60 Famous & Easy Electric Guitar Songs – Tabs Included
My Curse – Killswitch Engage
One of the bands who popularized the metalcore genre was Killswitch Engage which was formed in the ’90s and created many great songs with catchy riffs and leads. Often they composed songs in drop C, with My Curse being one of the most famous ones. It is a great song with heavy yet melodic riffs and leas and a catchy chorus.
The song is played with power chords and bluesy riffs. It is a straightforward and fun-to-play song. You can also play the lead guitar parts in the chorus. You should down-pick all the notes to make it sound like the recording.
Change (In The House Of Flies) – Deftones
Change or In The House Of Flies is a great song by the American alternative metal band Deftones. The song was released back in 2000 and became one of the signature tunes of the band, which led them to change their sound to a more ambient and moody style. Deftones is known for using alternating tunings, and this one was in the drop C tuning.
It is one of the easiest songs to play n the list, which is played with a moderate tempo, plenty of distortion, and straightforward three-note power chords.
Neon – John Mayer
One of the rare songs that are not in the rock or metal genre on the list is Neon by the American guitarist and singer John Mayer. The acoustic guitar song is one of the earliest hits of the artist, which is a relatively lesser-known yet amazing-sounding tune.
The song is played with various chords and arpeggios, which are not very suitable for absolute beginners. But for players with a little bit of experience with different chord shapes, this one is a great chance to enrich their chord repertoire.
If you like metal riffs and want to learn some more of them, check out my list Top 60 Famous Easy & Intermediate Metal Riffs Ever – Tabs Included
I Don’t Wanna Stop – Ozzy Osbourne
I Don’t Wanna Stop is the first single from the father of heavy metal Ozzy Osbourne’s tenth album Black Rain. It is one of the most famous songs of the album, which topped the mainstream rock chart in the U.S.A. The great heavy metal song was also nominated for a Grammy.
The main riff of the song is a great and easy one. It is played with open notes and a few notes on the low C string. The rhythm guitar parts are also quite easy with palm mutes and two-chord shapes.
So Cold – Breaking Benjamin
Released in 2004, So Cold is one of the successful hits of the American rock band Breaking Benjamin. Although it was never featured in the top mainstream rock list, the song remained in the charts for more than 62 weeks which was a record. The music video of the song was also loved by the fans.
The song is great for beginners who want to learn some classic-style rock riffs in drop C. Besides the power chords, the song has many techniques to learn and master, like palm mutes, legatos, and double stops.
L’Enfant Sauvage – Gojira
Another great drop C song is L’Enfant Sauvage by the French progressive metal/technical death metal band Gojira. It was released in 2012 and became a worldwide hit giving global fame to the band.
The metal tune is great for beginner metal players as it has all the metal-style playing elements in a straightforward way. It has different note chugs with and without palm mute. It is great training for the picking hand.
Power chords are fundamental elements of rock and metal songs, if you want to practice them you should check this list Top 45 Famous & Easy Power Chord Songs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Oblivion – Mastodon
One of the most famous songs of the American progressive metal band Mastodon is Oblivion from their Crack the Skye album. With killer guitar riffs and the classic metal tone of the song, the 2009 song is one of the latest metal gems.
The song has many different sections with arpeggio parts and power chord parts. It is a long piece, yet all of the riffs are easy to master individually.
Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow – Bullet For My Valentine
As you may have noticed, the Welsh metal band Bullet For My Valentine is one of the bands that use drop C tuning very often. Their single Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow is another great song with this tuning which got its fame with the movie Saw III.
The song has a main riff repeated throughout the song, which is driven forward with open G notes while the melody is added with notes on the high C string. The rest is quite easy to play with power chords.
Frantic – Metallica
The thrash metal giants Metallica do not use alternate tunings often, but Frantic is an exception. The song was released back in 2003 and is one of the lesser-known pieces of the band. It tells about the addiction and past struggles of the singer James Hetfield.
The song is quite straightforward with drop C tuned guitars and the main riff on the low C string.
If you are looking for some new guitar licks to learn, do not forget to check out this article 50 Famous & Easy Rock Guitar Licks For Beginners
Feed The Machine – Nickelback
Released in 2017, Feed The Machine is one of the latest singles of the Canadian rock band Nickelback. The song is the most successful single of the album, with a heavy tone and catchy riffs and chorus.
The intro riff and the verse riffs are quite easy to play with all of the notes on the same string. The chorus is driven forward with power chords and slides in between.
Passenger – Deftones
Another Deftones tune on the list is Passenger from their White Pony album released in 2000. It is one of the lesser-known tracks of the band, but it offers great partitions for guitarists looking fortunes in the drop C tuning.
The main riff is played on the low C string and the D string, while the verses and chorus are played with straightforward power chords.
Can’t Kick Up The Roots – Neck Deep
The Welsh pop-punk band Neck Deep has a few successful hits, and Can’t Kick Up The Roots is definitely one of them. The song came out in 2015 as the first single of their album Life’s Not Out to Get You.
As with most punk tunes, you will need many power chords strummed in a fast tempo to play this one. Add plenty of overdrive to your tone, and you are ready to go. This one is an easy and great song to add to your drop C repertoire.
Rain – Breaking Benjamin
There are only a few acoustic tunes played with a drop C tuning, and this one is one of them. Rain was released back in 2004 by the American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It is one of the most famous tunes of the band.
This is one of the easiest tunes on the list as it is played with basic chords strummed in a traditional pattern—a great song to get used to chord shapes on the drop C tuning.
If you want to learn some more songs in other alternative tunings, do not forget to check my list Top 40 Easy&Advanced Guitar Songs In Open G – Tabs Included
Isolation – Alter Bridge
One of the most underrated bands in rock history is definitely Alter Bridge. You can see what this band is capable of in their song Isolation which clearly shows the amazing musical skills of each member of the band. The heavy and aggressive tune features great vocals amazingly melodic guitar riffs in a speed metal style.
You will need two-note power chords with some slides in between and a melodic guitar riff played on the lowest 2 strings to play the tune—quite an easy yet great-sounding song from Alter Bridge for the drop C repertoire.
Becoming the Bull – Atreyu.
Becoming The Bull is one of the well-known tunes of the metal band Atreyu. The song is played in drop C and has great guitar partitions for metal lovers.
The main riff is a great one to play with many pull-offs on different strings. With plenty of distortion, it sounds great and reminds me of the great riff of Hallowed Be Thy Name of Iron Maiden.
Marigold – Periphery
Released in 2016, Marigold is one of the famous tunes of the American progressive metal band Periphery. The band loves the djent riffs, and this one reflects it amazingly. The song is recorded with drop C-tuned guitars, and the guitar took advantage of the low notes pretty well.
The main riff starting from the open C note and arpeggiating between the low 3 strings sounds great and heavy. There are many parts in the song which are variations of this riff.
Roulette – System Of A Down
The 2002 song Roulette of the Armenian metal band System Of A Down is yet another tune with the drop C tuning. It is one of the songs featured in the Steal This Album! Album. It is also one of the favorite songs of the fans of the band, thanks to its great guitar riffs.
The song’s main riff is played on the high C and D string along with G and A strings. So you will need to use the string skipping technique to play the riffs. If you feel comfortable, you can also try to play the solo of the tune, which is a fast-paced yet easy solo to play.
It Never Ends – Bring Me The Horizon
It Never Ends is a song by the British rock band Bring Me The Horizon. The song is one of the most successful hits of the artists and features a heavy tone with the guitars tuned to the drop C alternative tuning.
The song has many different sections with different power chords. Most of the mare is easy and won’t give you a challenge, but there are also some lead guitar interludes and bridge sections which can be a bit challenging for the newbie guitarists.
Blew – Nirvana
The only song the famous grunge pioneer band Nirvana used drop C tuned guitars were Blew from their debut album Bleach, released in 1989. The song charted number 15 in the rock charts and became one of the first successful hits of the legendary band. It is one of the most exciting Nirvana songs besides the most famous ones.
The song features classic Nirvana-style basic lead guitar riffs, power chords, and a melodic straightforward guitar solo. You can easily learn and master this tune without any problems.
Bad Horsie – Steve Vai
The most challenging song to learn and play on this list is probably this one. Of course, you would not expect the song Bad Horsie by the great guitar virtuoso Steve Vai to be an easy piece to play.
It is a great song with an amazing guitar riff. You can try to learn the riff and the rhythm guitar parts if you struggle with the lead guitar partitions. There are so many techniques and nuances used in tune it is very hard to play like the original version. But, try to play the parts you can, which will greatly improve the mastery of your instrument.
Through Struggle – As I Lay Dying
The 2005 song Through Struggle By the metal band As I Lay Dying is another great song to learn in the drop C tuning. The song is classic metal with djent riffs and heavily distorted aggressive guitars.
The song takes advantage of the lower notes well, with the main riff played on the low C string mainly with open notes. There are also power chord sections along with different riffs throughout the piece.
All Laid Back and Stuff – Andy McKee
The 2001 song, All Laid Back and Stuff, of the fingerstyle acoustic guitar player Andy McKee is another rare acoustic guitar tune with the drop C tuning. It is a great and mellow song to learn and play for acoustic guitar players. The song was featured in the album Nocturne by the artist.
The song is mainly played with arpeggios. There are many techniques used in the song, like legatos, harmonics, and dead notes. It is not a very easy song to play but definitely a very educative one.
Trashed, Lost & Strung out – Children of Bodom
Trashed, Lost & Strung out is the 2004 song of the metal band Children Of Bodom. The song is extremely heavy and dark with djent riffs, power chords, and high-tempo lead guitar partitions. It is an excellent song to learn by metal lovers.
Freya – The Sword
Freya is a song by American heavy metal band The Sword, which was released back in 2007. The song was used many times with pop cultures, such as in video games and commercials. The song became the signature song of the band by far.
Among the power chords that build up the rhythm guitar parts of the song, there are some single-note great riffs throughout the song. It is played with repetitive patterns filled with hammer-ons on different strings.
Feuer Und Wasser – Rammstein
The famous metal band from Germany, Rammstein, is yet another band that uses the drop C tuning pretty often. One of their lesser-known tunes, Feuer Und Wasser, is a great example of that. The song offers a multitude of riffs and parts who want to learn and get familiar with the drop C tuning.
The song uses many open notes, which is great for beginner guitarists. It also has many power chords in the rhythm guitar parts.
Elite – Deftones
Another Deftones tune, Elite, is a great song with hints from alternative metal, post-hardcore, trip-hop, progressive rock, and post-rock. It is a great song to learn and master as it is quite easy with power chords. The short riffs in the song can also be learned and mastered when playing with friends especially.
Drop C tuning is one of the most used alternative tunings. It makes the power chords easier to play as in drop C, a basic barre on any fret creates power chords. Another great reason is that with drop C tuning, guitarists get access to lower notes which is great for heavy genres like metal and hard rock.
Learning and mastering the tracks on this list not only get you familiar with the drop C tuning, but it will also help you understand which genres use the drop C tuning and why. When you get to understand it better, you can start using this great tuning in your own compositions.
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