How To Tune Your Guitar Into C Standard Tuning

c standard tuning

C standard tuning is today’s topic. This is quite a heavy-sounding tuning used by metal and rock bands across the globe. This tuning is two full steps down from the standard tuning, i.e., E-A-D-G-B-E.

The C standard tuning goes like this: C-F-A♯-D♯-G-C or C-F-B♭-E♭-G-C. To be clear, we are going to be talking about C standard tuning, not C♯ tuning, which is only one and a half steps lower than the standard tuning, whereas C standard is two steps down.


If possible, try and get strings with a heavier gauge. You can use regular strings, yes, but they won’t sound “that” good because of certain issues that can arise from tuning down standard gauge strings that far.

First off, it is going to take you a while to get used to such a low tuning. With the decreased tension on the strings, they will be more prone to bending, and bending them too far will make them sound out of tune. Again though, it isn’t necessary, but as I said, if possible, do consider getting a heavy gauge string.

If you are tuning your guitar this far down for the first time and your ears aren’t that well trained yet, go with a chromatic tuner. Once you have familiarized yourself with the sounds of this tuning and how each string sounds in C standard tuning, then you can tune without a tuner. In the beginning, though, use one.

Okay, so I am guessing you are already with the basics of tuning, so I won’t go into that. If you don’t, let me explain very simply. Monkey explanation: Tuning knobs, twist them one way, the string gets tighter. Tighter the string, the more the tension. More the tension, the higher the tuning. Twist tuning knob the other way, and the string gets loose. Looser string, lesser tension. Lesser tension, lower the tuning.

With that out of the way, let us begin:

Let us start from the 6th string, the thick boy, which is the top E string in Standard tuning.

  • Turn 6th string, Low-E, to C
  • 5th string, A, goes down to F
  • 4th, D string, goes down to B♭(A♯)
  • 3rd, the G string, tune it down to E♭(D♯)
  • Tune B-string, the 2nd, into G
  • Now, for the high E, the 1st string from the bottom, tune it into C


The C standard tuning is known for being used by many metal and rock bands. It is a meaty, heavy-sounding tuning, so that should come as no surprise. Bands like Amon Amarth, Black Sabbath, Anathema, Porcupine Tree, Soundgarden, Strapping Young Lad, Dream Theater, and many more bands have utilized this tuning in their songs to get that deep, heavy sound.

Naturally, to get to the essence of this tuning, you are probably going to use an electric guitar and make use of distortion and high gain. It is a very fun tuning, and you can have a ton of fun with it.

However, that isn’t to say it is exclusively for headbangers. What I mean by that is, it can very well be used for chill-sounding music as well. You might have seen that video of Jimi Hendrix playing a 12-string guitar in a completely white room, playing his very famous song “Here My Train A’ Comin’” In that song, the twelve-string guitar he was playing, this was the tuning on it.

c standard tuning

Not only that, many other “chill guitarists,” for the lack of a better word, use this tuning like John Butler and Nick Drake. There must be more, but these are the ones that I am familiar with.

The point of me telling you the above was that if, in case you do not have an electric guitar, you can absolutely rock this tuning on an acoustic, and if metal/rock isn’t exactly your genre, there is a lot that this tuning has to offer. Now, certainly, the fun element of this tuning is increasing that gain, turning distortion on, and just headbanging to some heavy “jug jug jug” riffs, but, free advice warning, I suggest playing on the clean channel for some time.

Familiarize yourself with the tuning, understand how it sounds, and get a feels of the strings. With distortion on, many of the mistakes are masked, so in the learning phase, focus your attention on playing clean tones. Shift to distortion when you get bored of the clean channel and want to have some fun now.


That ends this article wherein I told you guys how to tune your guitar to C standard tuning. This tuning has a lot to offer, just like all the other tunings out there. They are all unique. This one specializes in that heavy sound most metalheads enjoy but even has the capabilities of sounding nice and mellow if you put enough effort into it. Anyways, I hoped this article helped you out. Thank you for reading, and happy jamming!

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