Metal bands that play in E standard?

I’m creating this thread to attempt to compile a list of metal bands that play in E standard using six string guitars. Feel free to add more that I forgot or don’t know about.

Emperor (Prometheus has seven string)
King Diamond

edit: I left out a lot of black metal bands because most of them play in E especially the Norwegian ones.

Black Sabbath - E standard on first two albums, C# until Ozzy left and then Eb.
Celtic Frost - Monotheist is in B
Bathory - early albums
Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain and onward are in D.
Croner - first three albums
Nightwish - until Over the Hills and Far Away EP then D.
Pantera - Cowboys From Hell sporadically afterwards
Iron Maiden
Judas Priest - until Painkiller
Metallica - Load, Reload, St. Anger feature alternate tunings.
Megadeth - some 90s albums are in Eb. Dystopia onwards in D.
Anthrax - 80s albums
Slayer - Show No Mercy Eb afterwards

First four albums by Sylosis, as well as two singles (Slings and Arrows and Different Masks on the Same Face).
Also, Skeletonwitch and first Obituary album.


Pessimist <3

Generally a lot of thrashers and black metal bands do. Aside from everything death its really not that uncommon.


Sepultura - Arise


Metallica on any of their releases that anyone cares about, I think their repertoire is as close as a band can get to “widely agreed upon must-learn classics”

Dissection on their first two releases

Rotting Christ - Thy Mighty Contract

Immortal - At the Heart of Winter

Varathron - His Majesty at the Swamp


Dillinger Escape Plan if you like more of the -core sound. Would recommend sticking to pre-Miss Machine.

Updating this as I come across bands from my library.

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Out of curiosity, why? I’m not sure I get the point. Does it matter what a band tunes to or how many strings are on the guitar, as long as the music’s good?


I think it’s a cool list for people looking for stuff to play especially if they have a floating trem and don’t want to be retuning for an hour or so.


Horrendous play in E standard. They’re a bit more underground, but fans of mid-late era Death, Opeth, etc. I think should dig them.

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Also some classic progressive death metal, Edge of Sanity’s demo was in E before they switched to C# and then B.

Just noticed also no one mentioned Possessed. At least Seven Churches is standard.

Also countless NWOBHM bands: Angel Witch, Saxon, Diamond Head, Raven, Grim Reaper, etc.

Helloween are in standard on all of the classic 80s records like Walls of Jericho and the Keepers albums.

Really I don’t think downtuning became a regular thing until thrash and death metal bands.


Eb is usually to accommodate a singer. Most power metal bands are in E or Eb.

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Here are some more:

Mercyful Fate


Which Wintersun songs are in standard? They play in D standard for the most part as far as I know. Wait is the first album actually in E? Now that I think about it there aren’t any open strings in some songs.

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On a side note, I just picked up the entire Cynic catalog after bingeing out on them on YouTube this week. I was a big fan of Sean Malone’s Gordian Knot records years ago, but never heard the band. If only Dream Theater exhibited this level of stylistic growth in the same amount of time.


Wintersun is in DGCFAD or drop C for the first album, I thought, and Time is C standard and drop Bb, if I remember right.

If you need the tabs.


I think the first Wintersun album is tuned mainly to either D standard or Drop C, but if I do remember correctly the “Winter Madness” solo is done on an E standard tuning

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Pretty sure all the early Queensryche stuff is E-standard


It is. DeGarmo and Wilton are criminally underrated. The American Murray/Smith.


Tommy Vetterli is such an underrated player a great study in how to play technically without going overboard and making everything sound like a MIDI file. They started tuning down on later albums but the first couple are in E.

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I thought that Coroner Mental Vortex was Eb? I love Tommy, so underrated.

Annihilator are in standard tuning, with the occasional drop D on Set the World on Fire.

Racer X street lethal is E, except Frenzy Eb. Second Heat and the live release are Eb. Cacophony are E, as are Vinnie Moore, Tony Mac, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman’s Shrapnel releases.