19 Guitar Songs In D Standard [With Tabs] - Music Industry How To (2024)

While it’s nice to play in regular E standard tuning, it’s always worth your time to explore other tunings. An easy one to try out without much to remember (tuning-wise) is D standard.

This isn’t Drop-D, but rather, is essentially E standard with every string tuned down 1 whole step. You’ll find that, while the tunings are similar, the lower notes provide a rich depth to the guitar’s sound.

Here are some excellent D standard songs to get you started with this tuning.

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“Yesterday” by The Beatles


You might be sick and tired of always having to hear about The Beatles. However, this group is perhaps one of the most influential bands in all of pop music history.

This group spent as much time in the studio as a normal person spends working their day job. And by the sheer number of hits the group recorded, it’s evident that this hard work was not in vain.

One of the group’s most iconic songs from their early period is the track, Yesterday. This song has a sort of smoky quietness that really helps to drive home the lonely aspect of its lyrics.

It’s one of those songs that could have been written and released in any time period. There isn’t much here that makes it seem as if it’s dated specifically to the mid-1960s.

With this song in D standard, you’ll essentially be employing your normal E standard chord shapes. There’s a good number of chords in the song, but they are all fairly easy for the most part.

“Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica


If you grew up with Metallica, you never would have guessed that they would play an Irish folk tune. But, in the late 1990s, the band did just that and ended up having great success with the song.

This was what Metallica was hoping for, as the group really seemed to be struggling with maintaining their relevance. Sure, the band had a die-hard loyal following, but they were by no means the cutting-edge group they once were.

Whiskey In The Jar gave Metallica a Grammy, and was one of the last positive notes for the group. Not long after, they would become embroiled in a public battle against Napster, among other things.

Hetfield notably had an alcohol problem throughout this period, so there may be some reasoning behind this song. Irish folk tunes and drinking go together like butter and bread, at least from a stereotypical point of view.

“Girls, Girls, Girls” by Mötley Crüe


The 1980s in Western culture is an interesting decade, especially as far as entertainment is concerned. Those who grew up in the 80s consider it to be the greatest decade ever.

Of course, anyone else might look at the 80s as a sort of cultural cesspool. The reasoning behind this is that many feel the music lacks a timeless quality that other decades possess.

That doesn’t stop people from enjoying 80s metal, and Mötley Crüe was one of the major founding fathers. They successfully combined an image, a lifestyle, and an attitude into their brand of fast metal.

And, yes, some of it was quite crude, which is evident with songs like Girls, Girls, Girls. Nobody can be certain that this song would have been as successful (or even accepted) if released today.

“If We Were Vampires” by Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit


Jason Isbell is a name you might have seen floating around the ether where country music is concerned. Isbell made a name for himself when he was young, recording with Drive-By Truckers and working in Muscle Shoals.

While he could be considered a modern master of the Telecaster, his acoustic skills are top-notch, too. You can really hear his mastery in the song If We Were Vampires, which features D standard tuning.

There are only 5 different chords to worry about during this song, but the magic is in the picking hand. Isbell employs some fingerpicking that will truly leave you stumped for a while.

Like anything, start out slowly and work your way up to normal speeds as you get better. If it takes you 3 months, then so be it, but the results will be worth it.

“Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra


While Fly Me To The Moon had been around for a bit, Frank Sinatra’s version blasted it into space. Perhaps it was a bit of intuition, but Sinatra released the song around the time of the first lunar landing.

Part of what made Fly Me To The Moon so successful is the involvement of Count Basie. This would open the door to involvement with the well-known jazz session guitarist, Freddie Green.

What’s often overlooked is that Sinatra and Basie’s partnership came at a pivotal time in history. This was the same time period that Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading the efforts for civil rights.

Fly Me To The Moon does have its fair share of chords, but, for the most part, are fairly simple. Take your time to really translate the orchestration to the guitar in a way that presents itself nicely.

“The Biggest Lie” by Elliott Smith


One of the greatest songwriters of the last 30 years is undoubtedly, Elliott Smith. Unfortunately, he was not given the full amount of recognition he likely deserved during the time he was living.

Smith has a way of writing lyrics that say things in a way that nobody else can really touch. His lyrics are often emotionally haunting and are amplified by his musical stylings.

His first record, while a bit raw, shows the vast potential that Elliott possessed and would soon become honed in. A great example of this can be heard in the song, The Biggest Lie.

This track in D standard involves 5 chords, often with a pulsing bass line played by the thumb. While simple, it tells the tale of mixed feelings and being the victim of somebody else’s whims.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles

19 Guitar Songs In D Standard [With Tabs] - Music Industry How To (2)


By the late 1960s, music had gotten a bit more trippy, which isn’t necessarily at the fault of The Beatles. However, because they were the giants in the industry, their influence paved the way for trippiness to become normalized.

One of the most psychedelic songs ever released is their track, Strawberry Fields Forever. This is a bit of an unusual song, and not just because of the way it sounds.

When recording the song, they actually slowed the tape to give Lennon’s voice a more ethereal sound. The track actually has multiple takes spliced seamlessly together, slightly altering the listener’s perceptions.

You’ll be able to play this on a guitar tuned to D standard. However, you’ll need to adapt to the weirdness a little to make it work.

“Cowgirl In The Sand” by Neil Young


Neil Young was truly on fire in the early years of his career. He made a name for himself by playing in different groups, as well as with his own solo project.

Many consider Young’s earliest solo releases to be the true prized gems of his career. These albums would spark the hits that Young is known most for today (aside from releases with other bands).

Neil isn’t afraid to do what he wants, and it’s spawned a few songs that are classic for guitar solos. Cowgirl In The Sand is one of these songs, featuring a lengthy track time and a bevy of different solos.

This is a song you’ll want to know and keep in your back pocket for any occasion. You can bust this out at jam sessions where everyone is looking for a platform to solo with.

“Shout At The Devil” by Mötley Crüe


As far as history goes, there have always been styles of music associated with evil, and more specifically, the devil. It’s only been in the last 50 years that styles of music have begun to embrace this imagery.

When Mötley Crüe released Shout At The Devil, it helped to give them an image of living on the edge. Parents certainly were not too enthused about letting their children listen to such music.

However, Chuck Klosterman makes a great point in his book, Fargo Rock City. The song seems to actually be about battling the devil, rather than embracing the dark side.

Nevertheless, this D standard track is the epitome of 80s metal at its finest. There’s even an anthem here for an audience to sing along with.

“Lithium” by Nirvana


Nirvana’s track, Lithium, is a song that has seemingly been in the band’s repertoire since its beginning. It wasn’t until Butch Vig provided his production mastery that the song became what it is today.

Lithium is just one of many songs that have transcended its track listing on the album, Nevermind. It has a very eerie musicality that plays into the song’s lyrics about chemical happiness and confusion.

This D standard song is relatively easy to play. Perhaps the only thing that can cause an issue is the odd timing during the song’s intro and verses.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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