27 Songs In C-Standard Tuning

Some guitarists spend their entire life devoted to mastering just the basic E-Standard tuning. For others, this common tuning isn’t low enough in pitch to deliver the gut punch they’re looking for. 

C-Standard is a popular choice, primarily because it only requires each string to be detuned by 2 steps. This, in turn, will keep the intervallic string relationship intact, which is convenient if you’re used to E-Standard. 

The following list of songs contains some excellent examples of C-Standard that anybody should attempt to learn. There is a bit of a caveat here, as there are some songs that have a modified C-Standard tuning. 

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“Spring To Come” by John Butler Trio


John Butler Trio manages to blend folk and roots essences into a jam-music setting. Their live performances have that same spirit of improvisation with some unexpected surprises to keep audiences on their toes. 

The song, Spring To Come will have you employing some intricate fingerpicking patterns for its rolling, anticipatory sound. You’ll modify the C-Standard tuning to reflect a sort of G chord with a C on the bottom. 

“Nottingham Lace” by Buckethead


Buckethead may have gained widespread notoriety with Guitar Hero, but his catalog speaks for itself. There really might not be anyone more prolific than Buckethead.

Buckethead has come to be known for otherworldly guitar skills influenced by almost any genre. See him live and he may do a 10-minute nunchaku demonstration and jump on his Kawasaki, vanishing into the night. 

Nottingham Lace is a song that showcases Buckethead’s virtuosity and compositional skills. Do be prepared to lose patience with yourself when learning this barn-burner of a track.

“What Makes A Man” by City And Colour


While Alexisonfire has a massive worldwide following, City And Colour (Dallas Green’s solo project) is almost equally as popular. If anything, City And Colour’s folk-influenced sound exemplifies his versatility, especially considering his role in Alexisonfire. 

City And Colour really started to take off during the Myspace days when groups bordering on folk-emo were extremely popular. The song, What Makes A Man, utilizes normal open chord shapes.

You’ll find that the rich depth of the C-Standard tuning adds quite a bit of character on an acoustic guitar. 

“No One Knows” by Queens Of The Stone Age

“No One Knows” by Queens Of The Stone Age


Queens Of The Stone Age might be one of the most popular groups that regularly use the C-Standard tuning. From a compositional point of view, this actually makes quite a bit of sense.

This group often blends quirky 60’s pop characteristics with fuzzed-out psychedelic riff rock. Their sound has this snarl that is obviously much lower than the typical E-Standard tuning could muster. 

No One Knows, is one example of how this band can be stoner-rock and 60’s bop simultaneously. 

“The Botanist” by Sleep


Sleep’s 2018 album, The Sciences, was completely unexpected for just about anyone. Though the band has just a few releases, they are incredibly vital to the formation of stoner-rock and doom metal. 

This album showed that Sleep could awake from a slumber of any time duration and shake the world’s foundation. The Botanist is an instrumental track that closes out this fine, modern masterpiece. 

In a way, the guitar solo in this kind of takes a blues-rock/classic-rock approach while melting faces. 

“Freya” by The Sword


While The Sword might have been much heavier back at their start, they have evolved into a premier stoner-metal band. They have a knack for exploiting rhythms and composing catchy riffs that get stuck in the brain. 

The Sword possesses a sound that many bands of this genre attempt but fall short of achieving. It’s partly why the band found itself in so many skateboarding videos during the mid-2000s. 

Freya is a classic song in The Sword’s catalog, primarily because it was featured on a Guitar Hero game. Learning to play this song in real life is much more gratifying. 

“Little River” by The Tallest Man On Earth


The Tallest Man On Earth might be modern folk-indie’s version of the folk era of Neil Young. Kristian Matsson possesses one of the most unique voices currently delivering this style of music.

For many fans, The Tallest Man On Earth’s debut release is the stuff of gold, featuring stripped-down performances. While Little River doesn’t come from this album, it harkens back to the sound that originally gained so much attention. 

“Game Over” by Machine Head


If you’re looking for something relatively easy that doesn’t require too much technique, check out Game Over. The majority of this song utilizes simple power chords and 2-string octave shapes with a smattering of riffs. 

You will want to make sure that your picking rhythms are up to snuff, especially when palm-muting. Compositionally, this is a fairly standard and straightforward metal-tinged rock track. 

There is one harmonized guitar section in the middle that might give you some difficulty. Just take it slow and learn to play it cleanly before attempting the section at normal speed.

“Blood On Your Hands” by Arch Enemy

“Blood On Your Hands” by Arch Enemy


Arch Enemy has been a constant enigma in the death metal scene ever since the late 1990s. While the band isn’t the supergroup lineup it began as initially, Arch Enemy still knows how to please a crowd. 

In fact, Arch Enemy has continued to build on its reputation, with the late 2000s being a prime era. The song, Blood On Your Hands, comes from the album, Rise Of The Tyrant, which charted well for Arch Enemy. 

“Mantra” by Bring Me The Horizon


Have you been searching for a song that primarily makes use of 1 guitar string? Bring Me The Horizon’s track, Mantra, fits this bill, though you’ll need to be prepared to bring the rhythm. 

Mantra plays more like a sort of stoner-rock track considering its riff-heavy nature. The low 6th string is the primary string being used, with the 4th string thrown in here and there.

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