In this article, I’ll be providing a list of songs in DADGAD. Shortly, you’ll see a list of 17 different songs that use the DADGAD tuning as well as a brief (and I mean brief) explanation of what exactly the DADGAD guitar tuning is. You’ll also find a mini guitar tuner that will help you tune your guitar to DADGAD should you wish to do so.
As you may or may not be aware, there are many different ways of tuning a guitar. There’s standard tuning which sees the guitar strings tuned to the notes EADGBE from thickest to thinnest, then there’s a whole bunch of alternate guitar tunings. There’re both commonly used and more rarely used alternate guitar tunings. Drop D tuning for example or half step down tuning. DADGAD is another one of these alternate tunings.
I wrote an article on alternate guitar tunings recently. I wrote that article for those who may be interested in the subject but didn’t know where to start but this article is obviously more specific as it focuses on just one alternate tuning and in the opinion of many, the best alternate tuning.
DADGAD is a great alternate tuning and it has been utilised in some truly amazing songs by some truly remarkable musicians. This list will give you a taste of what the DADGAD guitar tuning can sound like in the right hands. If you’re a guitarist who likes the sound of the songs in this list, then maybe the DADGAD guitar tuning is something that you should experiment with.
What EXACTLY is DADGAD Tuning?
I’ve kind of given you the basic answer as to what DADGAD tuning is already. It’s an alternate guitar tuning or, an alternate way of tuning your guitar and the truth is, DADGAD is one of the simpler alternate tunings. As I said earlier, standard tuning is where the strings are tuned to the notes EADGBE from thickest to thinnest. All guitarists should know that obviously but I only bring it up again to illustrate the fact that the name DADGAD tells us what notes the strings are tuned to and when you place the two tunings side by side, it’s easy to see what’s changed.
EADGBE becomes DADGAD
So, the name DADGAD is simply referring to the notes of the strings. When we place this alternate tuning next to standard as we did above, we can easily see which strings are altered and which go untouched.
Three stings remain the same. The A, D and G strings don’t move. The other three are tuned down by one full step. Both E strings are tuned down to a D and the B string is tuned down a full step to an A. This gives us the notes D A D G A D (DADGAD).
That about wraps up the explanation of what DADGAD is. If you can’t grasp this concept then there isn’t much hope for you. For everyone else, please read on. Next, we’ll learn how to tune your guitar to DADGAD via a reference tone guitar tuner.
How to tune your guitar to DADGAD
DADGAD Guitar Tuner
The guitar tuner has been ripped directly from my guitar tuner page. There, you can tune your guitar to standard tuning, as well as a selection of alternate tunings easily quickly and accurately for free.
The tuner uses reference tones. Simply click on each note and then tune your string to match the pitch that you hear. This gets you using your ears.
So now, we have an understanding of what the DADGAD guitar tuning is, and we also know how to tune our guitars to DADGAD. Now that we’ve gotten all of the formalities out of the way, we can look at our list of songs in DADGAD.
Songs in DADGAD Guitar Tuning
Next, we’re going to look at a list of songs in DADGAD. All 17 of the songs in the following list use the DADGAD guitar tuning. Don’t just read the list (or the headers, yes, I see what you’re doing you lazy c***). Listen to the songs. This will help you to gain an understanding of what guitar parts that use this tuning sound like.
The list is in no particular order. This isn’t a ranked thing or anything like that. It’s just a collection of songs that all happen to use DADGAD. Let’s get to it.
Songs in DADGAD #1 Kashmir Led Zeppelin
What better way to start a list than with Kashmir by Led Zeppelin? A song from the band’s sixth album Physical Graffiti (1975). Kashmir is a huge and atmospheric song with not only one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest guitar riffs, but one of the greatest and most memorable riffs of all time. All four members of Led Zeppelin have agreed that Kashmir is one of their best musical achievements. John Paul Jones suggested that it showcases all the elements that made up the Led Zeppelin sound.
Songs in DADGAD #2 Photograph Ed Sheeran
Next up, we have a more modern and more ginger entry. Photograph by Ed Sheeran, a song from his second studio album that describes a long-term relationship inspired by Sheeran’s own experiences of been away from his then girlfriend while on tour. Sheeran wrote Photograph with Johnny McDaid, the instrumentalist and background vocalist of the Irish band Snow Patrol, a band who he’d toured with as a support act. Photograph is a soft and gentle song with beautiful and descriptive lyrics oh and it uses DADGAD tuning too.
Songs in DADGAD #3 White Summer Jimmy Page
White Summer isn’t the first entry linked to guitarist Jimmy Page on the list and guess what, it isn’t the last either. This one is an instrumental. It has Indian and Arabic musical influences. Jimmy Page initially recorded and performed it with the Yardbirds and then later included it in many Led Zeppelin concerts. Page – “I used a special tuning for the song the low string down to D, then A, D, G, A and D. It’s like a modal tuning, a sitar tuning,” Page referred to DADGAD as the CIA tuning (Celtic Indian Arabic).
Songs in DADGAD #4 Dueling Ninjas Trace Bundy
Trace Bundy is an acoustic guitar player known to fans as “The Acoustic Ninja” for his legato and finger tapping skills and his song Dueling Ninjas is a great example of what can be done with the DADGAD tuning on an acoustic guitar because this instrumental piece is nothing short of sensational. It’s a fluid and flowing and very mesmerising piece of music and the sound of this one should be enough to inspire any budding acoustic guitarist to try out the DADGAD tuning.
Songs in DADGAD #5 The Only Boy Awake Meadows
Next up, we have another bright and stunning acoustic guitar performance with the DADGAD guitar tuning and this time, it’s the Meadows track The Only Boy Awake. This one has a nice vibe to it. Very warm and a nice sense of reminiscence and on top of that, it has some of that fluidity that the previous track had. Another truly great example of beautiful music being created with that DADGAD tuning. Crisp and clean. Overall, very nice. Amazing guitar skills on display.
Songs in DADGAD #6 Circle Slipknot
Entry number six takes us to a different place in terms of the vibe and mood. This perhaps won’t be the change in mood and vibe that you’re expecting if you’re not familiar with the band. We aren’t going to the world of big distortion and TAB that includes the number 0 a lot. Nope, this one is also an acoustic entry. What we have lost is that bright and warm feeling from previous entries. Instead, we get something that runs a little deeper. This one proves that DADGAD can be used to create different emotional statements.
Songs in DADGAD #7 Peg Leg Speed King Michael Hedges
Next up, we have Peg Leg Speed King. A Michael Hedges track that more than lives up to the name because wow, this one doesn’t half move. This is a track that plays with both tempo and dynamics. It’s as fluid as H20 and it’s both intense and calming at the same time. I would go as far as saying that Peg Leg Speed King is a virtuoso acoustic guitar performance. It’s so free yet so controlled at the same time. An extremely impressive example of DADGAD guitar.
Songs in DADGAD #8 Black Mountain Side Led Zeppelin
Another Jimmy Page instrumental is up next. This time, it’s a track from the self-titled Led Zeppelin debut album. Black Mountain Slide was inspired by a traditional Irish folk song called Down by Blackwaterside. The guitar arrangement closely follows Bert Jansch’s version of that song. This short two-minute instrumental piece has a very Indian feel to it. There’s a nice supporting beat, and there’s also some bloody cool licks and lead guitar in there too which take it to another level.
Songs in DADGAD #9 That’s When You Came In Steel Panther
Next, we have an entry from American comedy rock band Steel Panther. That’s When You Came In features lyrics just as humorous and vulgar as Steel Panther fans would expect as well as a vibe that alternates between a soft ballad like acoustic guitar performance and a powerful heavy rock performance. This one isn’t the funniest Steel Panther song that I’ve heard but musically, it’s impressive. The contrast in sounds and the dynamic switches are fantastic.
Songs in DADGAD #10 Ain’t No Grave Johnny Cash
Ain’t No Grave (also known as Gonna Hold This Body Down) is a traditional American gospel song that was covered by Johnny Cash shortly before his death in September 2003. The recording was not released until 2010 and my first experience of the track was when it was used by WWE for a match between the Undertaker and Triple H at Wrestlemania. Anyone with an understanding of wrestling will know exactly what kind of feel this acoustic Cash cover has without even listening to it and those who don’t, just listen. You won’t regret it.
#11 Tell Her This Del Amitri
Del Amitri are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in Glasgow in 1980. The band released six studio albums. One of these albums, Twisted, released in 1995 featured a song called Tell Her This which uses the DADGAD guitar tuning. Tell Her This is a perfectly pleasant little acoustic song based around some basic strumming and a warm sense of longing. The guitar in this one isn’t crazy technical like some of the others in the list but it doesn’t need to be. A great example of simple done to perfection with the DADGAD tuning.
#12 Boogie Shred Mike Dawes
Mike Dawes is an English fingerstyle guitar player known for composing, arranging and performing multiple parts simultaneously on the guitar and with a track title like Boogie Shred, you’d be expecting a certain level of fascinating. Well, I’m pleased to say, this DADGAD based track more than lives up to title and reputation. It’s absolutely incredible. I’m not a fingerstyle guitarist so when I hear something like this, I’m always gobsmacked. This is very impressive and a great showboating showcase of what can be done on acoustic guitar with DADGAD.
#13 Black and White Niall Horan
Black and White is a song by Irish singer Niall Horan from his second studio album Heartbreak Weather. This song has the feel of an Ed Sheeran track in my opinion. A perfectly adequate pop / soft rock ballad about the good old subject matter of love and devotion. Okay so I guess it’s not all that unique, but it has a good dynamic range and it’s a great example of DADGAD being used in this context, particularly in the quieter parts.
#14 In Dreams Ben Howard
Ben Howard is an English singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. Howard plays guitar left-handed and makes extensive use of alternate tunings such as CGCGGC, CGA#GFC, and yes, DADGAD which can be heard in his song In Dreams, a track from Howard’s 2014 album I Forgot Where We Were. This is another track that boasts another other worldly acoustic guitar performance that sits behind Ben’s tremendous vocal performance.
#15 Drifting Andy McKee
Andy McKee is an American fingerstyle guitar player who has released six studio albums, two extended plays, and one live album to date. The song Drifting (which uses DADGAD tuning) is a track on the album Art of Motion and this is another fingerstyle performance that was sent by the gods. I wish I could do what Andy does in this track. Drifting was inspired by a guitarist called Preston Reed who Andy saw perform when he was sixteen. Will Andy’s song be the one that inspires you to try DADGAD?
#16 County Down Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy is an American acoustic and electric guitarist and vocalist who has released over fifty albums and contributed to many more. He is considered one of the world’s greatest fingerstyle guitarists. He’s a seven time winner of the GMA Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year, and was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album. Those who haven’t heard the track County Down will probably now have quite high expectations for it. All I can say is listen. You don’t be left disappointed. Truly beautiful.
#17 Given To Fly Pearl Jam
We opened this list of songs in DADGAD with something electric guitar focused and rocky. We’re going to close in the same way. Given To Fly comes from Pearl Jam’s fifth studio album entitled Yield and it served as the first single from the album. Mike McCready – “I just kind of imagined Given to Fly as sort of a wave in an ocean: It starts out slow and then it gets a little larger and a little larger and then it breaks and then it comes down again. And that’s metaphorically how I think of that song.” That summarises this one better than I ever could. It’s the perfect mix of calm and choppy water and a great example of DADGAD mixed with guitar effects.
That concludes my list of songs in DADGAD. Hope you found it interesting. I’ve already directed you to the two most naturally related pages already so why not try something different? Want to learn how to play some songs? Check out the how to play songs tag. Or, check out the articles page if you want more articles that aren’t based on guitar playing, Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat has a bunch more resources available on top of the guitar tuner that I’ve already told you about. Be sure to try out the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat metronome for example or, visit the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat guitar chord library.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.