How to Tune Down 1/2 step (E-Flat Tuning)

Lesson #394 • Oct 14, 2021

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

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.

Video timestamps:

  • 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.

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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Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

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