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One thing that Dream Theater is known for as a band is the range of music that they create. John Petrucci is known for the tunings he uses across the band's discography in order to express the range of the band's music through his instrument. Below is a comprehensive list of every guitar tuning used on a studio recording. The tunings are written from low to high.

Contents

6 String Tunings[]

E Standard (E-A-D-G-B-E)[]

Most guitars that are built around the world come from the factory set up in this tuning. For this reason, this tuning is also just called "standard tuning." This tuning will be used as a reference to tune down from.

When Dream and Day Unite[]

Full album

Images and Words[]

Full album

Awake[]

Falling Into Infinity[]

Scenes From a Memory[]

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence[]

Octavarium[]

Systematic Chaos[]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings[]

A Dramatic Turn of Events[]

Dream Theater[]

The Astonishing[]

Distance Over Time[]

A View From The Top Of The World[]

  1. The Alien

E♭ Standard (E♭-A♭-D♭-G♭-B♭-E♭)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning the entire guitar down a semitone, or 1 half-step from E Standard tuning.

Train of Thought[]

Octavarium[]

Drop D (D-A-D-G-B-E)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning the low E string on a standard-tuned guitar down a full tone, or 1 full step, down to D. This creates a power chord with the three lowest open strings.

Awake[]

Scenes From a Memory[]

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence[]

The Astonishing[]

D Standard (D-G-C-F-A-D)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning the entire guitar down a full tone, or 1 full step from E Standard tuning.

Train of Thought[]

Octavarium[]

Systematic Chaos[]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings[]

A Dramatic Turn of Events[]

Distance Over Time[]

C Standard (C-F-B♭-E♭-G-C)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning the entire guitar down 2 full tones, or 2 full steps from E Standard.

Train of Thought[]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings[]

Distance Over Time[]

7 String Tunings[]

Petrucci started using 7 string guitars when recording Awake, and has used them from time to time throughout the years to write heavier riffs and more complex melodies than a normal 6 string allows.

7 string E standard (B-E-A-D-G-B-E)[]

Nearly all 7 string guitars are built with an extra low B string below a standard tuned guitar. The result of adding this string allows for heavier riffs.

Awake[]

A Change of Seasons[]

Falling Into Infinity[]

Scenes From a Memory[]

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence[]

Train of Thought[]

Systematic Chaos[]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings[]

A Dramatic Turn of Events[]

Dream Theater[]

The Astonishing[]

Distance Over Time[]

7 string D Standard (A-D-G-C-F-A-D)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning the whole 7 string guitar down 1 full tone, or 1 full step from 7 string E Standard tuning.

God of War: Blood and Metal[]

Dream Theater[]

8 String Tunings[]

When Distance Over Time was being recorded, a rumour began to spread that Petrucci was looking to incorporate 8 string guitars into Dream Theater's music. However, that's all it was - a rumour. Then, on February 24th, 2021, Petrucci confirmed in an interview with UltimateGuitar that he was in possession of two prototype 8 string Majesty guitars, and that it would be featured on at least one song on the band's fifteenth album, A View From The Top Of The World.

8 string E Standard (F♯-B-E-A-D-G-B-E)[]

Every eight string guitar adds a low F# string beneath a 7 string guitar. The result of this is even lower riffs than a 7 string allows. In fact, the low F# is the same note as the second fret on the E string of a bass guitar in E Standard tuning.

A View From The Top Of The World[]

TBA

Baritone Tunings[]

Petrucci is also well-known for his use of baritone guitars in-studio and live. A baritone guitar is a 6 string guitar that has a longer scale length (the distance from the nut to the bridge of the instrument, e.g. normal guitar = 24.75 - 25.5 inch scale, baritone guitar = 27+ inch scale). This allows for lower tunings to be achieved easier with higher tuning stability.

B♭ Standard (B♭-E♭-A♭-D♭-F-B♭)[]

Most baritone guitars are sold tuned B-E-A-D-F#-B (This will be called baritone standard). This tuning is achieved by tuning a baritone guitar down a semitone, or 1 half-step, from baritone standard. This tuning can also be achieved by tuning a normal 6-string guitar down 3 full tones, or 3 full steps from E Standard tuning. However, due to tuning stability and string tension issues, this is usually not feasible or possible on a normal guitar.

Octavarium[]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings[]

Distance Over Time[]

A Standard (A-D-G-C-E-A)[]

This tuning is achieved by tuning a baritone guitar down 1 full tone, or 1 full step from baritone standard. If you dare, this tuning can also be achieved by tuning a normal 6-string guitar down 3 full tones and 1 semitone, or 3-and-a-half steps from E Standard tuning. At that point, just buy a baritone guitar, since playing in this tuning on a normal guitar is nigh impossible due to tuning stability and string tension issues.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence[]

Octavarium[]

Distance Over Time[]

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