Tips & Techniques
How to Tune Down 1/2 step (E-Flat Tuning)
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Hey friends! Lesson today showing a quick overview of how to tune down 1/2 step, so that you’re in E-flat tuning. Alongside Drop D, I would wager this is the most common alternate tuning you’ll run into when playing guitar. The concept is actually quite simple: tune all the strings down one half-step!
The great part about this tuning is you can play everything normally – no special chord substitutions are needed. The catch: everything you play will be lower in pitch, so you might not be able to play along with recordings (or fellow musicians) unless you’re tuned the same. But of course, many songs are recorded this way – so being able to tune “down” (in pitch) to match the recorded instruments is quite handy.
- 0:00 Lesson overview
- 1:11 Tuning from Standard down to E-flat
- 4:00 Tuning from E-flat up to Standard
- 5:27 Tuning to E-flat by ear (w/o a tuner)
- 10:16 Songs I teach that use E-flat tuning
Need help learning the 12 notes?
If the order of the 12 notes isn’t something you’ve learned yet, I strongly recommend my practical music theory lesson where I explain the 12 musical notes, in addition to must-know terms (pitch, sharp vs flat, tone vs. semitone, half step vs whole step, etc).
- View my lessons notes - which includes a link to the instructional PDF cheat sheet available to Song Notes members.
Song lessons I’ve made in E-flat tuning
The following songs are all recorded in E-flat tuning (half-step down). While my guitar lessons linked below are often recorded in standard tuning for the sake of convenience, it’s still good to know about this list of songs – should you want to tune down a half-step and play along with these songs.
- Patience by Guns N’ Roses
- Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses
- 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins
- Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins
- The Man Who Sold the World by Nirvana
- All Apologies by Nirvana
- About a Girl by Nirvana
- Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Nirvana
- Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson
- Walk Right In by The Rooftop Singers
- Long Haul by Ian Munsick
- Gloria by The Lumineers
Other tuning lessons I’ve made
Here are some related instructional videos covering tuning basics. If there’s a specific type of tuning you’re curious in learning more about, let me know and I might feature it in a future lesson.
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