"The Chain" and Double-Drop D tuning

Lesson #168 • Aug 6, 2018

Let’s play around with Double-drop D tuning!

A recent request came in for “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. I decided to check it out, and learned it requires double-drop D tuning - which is something I’ve never played with before. Fresh off of watching a fantastic video about “The Chain” by Polyphonic (an excellent YouTube channel I recommend greatly), I decided to give it a whirl. Here’s the notes from my practice session… follow along to have some fun with double-drop D and the opening bars of “The Chain”

Here’s my video lesson where I demonstrate and share some of what I learned:

Instructional PDF 2 pages

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It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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First, tune to double-drop D

That means your thickest string and thinnest string (both “E” in standard tuning) will need to be tuned one whole step down to a “D”.

Standard tuning      = E A D G B E
Double Drop D tuning = D A D G B D

A good way to make sure you’re all tuned up and ready is to rock a D-major chord in double-drop D. It should sound nice and full, given 3 of the 6 strings are tuned to the same note.

D ––0––
B ––3––
G ––2––
D ––0––
A ––0––
D ––0––

Optional next step: add a capo

If you want to play along with Fleetwood Mac’s version of The Chain, add a capo on the 2nd fret and follow everything I show below. In my video lesson, I don’t bother with a capo. Just a heads up there.

Chord shapes needed in “The Chain” intro riff:

Before diving into “The Chain” riff, get familiar with these two chords. You’ll need to use your left pinky on the 3rd fret of the B string when playing the second chord - which allows you to switch back to the first chord by simply lifting your finger.

D ––2––  <-- left ring        D ––2––
B ––1––  <-- left index       B ––3––  <-- use left pinky for 3rd fret note,
G ––2––  <-- left middle      G ––2––      (and keep left index on 1st fret)
D ––0––                       D ––0––
A ––0––                       A ––0––
D ––0––                       D ––0––

Intro phrases from “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac

Here are the three main phrases heard in the opening part of this song. These are very fun to play around with in double-drop-d tuning. Start off without the pulsing bass note (master the treble notes first). Then, when you’re ready, add the bass note to add some rhythmic pulse.

Phrase 1:

D ––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––1–––––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––2–––––2–––––––––––––––––––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Phrase 2:

D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––1–––––1h3–––––––––––––––––
G ––––––2–––––2–––––––––––––––––––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Phrase 3:

D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––1–––––1–––1h3–––––––––––––
G ––––––2–––––2–––––––––––––––––––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Turnaround & walkdown

Here’s a good way to “end” a series of these phrases, as to either stop the song or just start over again from the top. This isn’t really from The Chain per se, though it’s a bit inspired. See my video lesson for reference.

D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––
B ––––––––3–––––3–––––––––3–––––3–––––––––3–––––3–––––––––––––––––––|–––––
G ––––––0–––––0–––––––––0–––––0–––––––––0–––––0–––––––––––––––––––––|–––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–0–––––––––|–––––
A ––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0–––––––3–0–––––|–––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3~~–|––0––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +    1

“The Chain” outro bass line

Here’s the tab for the bassline heard at the end of “The Chain”. It’s another fun one to practice, though a bit tricky to work out smoothly. To practice this, I suggest breaking these notes into two sequences: the first moving between 5-7-8; and the second moving between 3-5-7.

D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––5–––––––––––5–7–8–––––7–5–3–5–7–0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

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