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Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tuning: A Guide…

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Killer riffs, catchy licks, swagger, and a complete disregard for the rules. These are just a few of the things that make up Josh Homme’s guitar style. But what tuning do Queens of The Stone Age actually use?


Josh Homme is one of the most influential guitarists working today. He effectively invented dessert rock and has been pumping out killer tracks since the early 1990s, starting with KYUSS and then continuing on with his current band Queens of The Stone Age.

Homme has a unique style. He doesn’t play like anyone else. Using bizarre reworking of the pentatonic scale, Homme’s playing is distinctive, drenched in attitude, and always very, very cool.

Homme says he likes to “take things away” rather than add additional things into the mix. And this approach, alongside his gear choice, is what makes his sound so immediately recognizable. From Songs For The Deaf to KYUSS’ Blues For The Red Sun, Homme’s career is expansive, seminal, and always interesting.

But what guitar tuning does Josh Homme use? What tuning did he use in KYUSS and what does he use in Queens of The Stone Age? As always, tuning is a key component of a band’s sound. It affects everything. And Homme’s choice of guitar tuning is part of the reason why his riffs sound so heavy…

Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tuning Explained

Whether playing in KYUSS or Queens of The Stone Age, Josh Homme predominantly uses C Standard tuning. C Standard tuning is two whole steps down from C Standard, where the strings are tuned as follows: C-F-A♯-D♯-G-C or C-F-B♭-E♭-G-C.

A lot of Queens of The Stone Age’s later records feature songs in Standard tuning as well. But the vast majority of Josh Homme’s output sees his guitar tuned to C Standard. With C Standard tuning, you get a heavier, lower-sounding tone.

This is why bands like SLEEP also favor C Standard tuning.

As you can see below in the album list, Queens has used a range of guitar tunings on its albums. The most commonly used guitar tunings used by Queens of The Stone Age, however, are C Standard and E Standard tuning.

The vast majority, however, are in C Standard, especially on earlier records like the self-titled album, Rated R, and Songs For The Deaf.

Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tunings By Album

AADGBE Guitar Tuning (Drop A)
AlbumSongTuning
Queens of The Stone Age – Self TitledRegular JohnC standard
AvonC standard (can be played in E standard)
If OnlyC standard (can be played in E standard)
Walkin’ On The SidewalksC standard
You Would KnowC standard
The BronzeC standard
How to Handle a RopeC standard
MexicolaC standard
Hispanic ImpressionsC standard
You Can’t Quit Me BabyC standard
Give the Mule What He wantsC standard (can be played in E standard)
Queens of The Stone Age – Rated RFeel Good Hit of the SummerC standard (can be played in E standard)
The Lost Art of Keeping a SecretC standard (can be played in E standard)
Leg of LambE standard
Auto PilotE standard
Better Living Through ChemistryC standard (can be played in E standard with capo)
Monsters in the ParasolC standard (can be played in E standard)
Quick and to the PointlessC standard (can be played in E standard)
In the FadeE standard
Tension HeadC standard
Lightning SongC standard
I Think I Lost My HeadacheC standard
Queens of The Stone Age – Songs For The DeafMillionaireC standard
No One KnowsC standard
First it GivethC standard
A Song for the DeadC standard
The Sky is Fallin’C standard
Six ShooterE standard
Hangin’ TreeE standard
Go with the FlowC standard (can be played in E standard)
Gonna Leave YouE standard
Do It AgainC standard
God is in the RadioE standard (can be played in C standard)
Another Love SongE standard
A Song for the DeafC standard
Mosquito SongC standard
Queens of The Stone Age – Lullabies to ParalyzeThis LullabyE standard
MedicationC standard (can be played in E standard)
Everybody Knows That You’re InsaneC standard
Tangled Up in PlaidC standard
Burn the WitchE standard
In My HeadE standard
Little SisterE standard
I Never CameE standard
Someone’s in the WolfOpen G
The Blood Is LoveE standard
Skin on SkinE standard
Broken BoxE standard
“You’ve Got a Killer Scene There, Man…”E standard
Long Slow GoodbyeE standard
Queens of The Stone Age – Era VulgarisTurnin’ on the ScrewE standard
Sick, Sick, SickC standard
I’m DesignerE standard
Into The HollowE standard
Misfit LoveE standard
Battery AcidE standard (can be played in drop D)
Make It wit ChuE standard
3’s & 7’sC standard (can be played in E standard)
Suture Up Your FutureE standard
River in the RoadE standard
Run, Pig, RunE standard
Queens of The Stone Age – …Like ClockworkKeep Your Eyes PeeledC standard
I Sat by the OceanE standard
The Vampyre of Time and MemoryE standard
If I Had a TailE standard
My God is the SunE standard
KalopsiaE standard
Fairweather FriendsE standard
Smooth SailingE standard
I Appear MissingE standard
…Like ClockworkE standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Self Titled Album

  • Regular John – C standard
  • Avon – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • If Only – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Walkin’ On The Sidewalks – C standard
  • You Would Know – C standard
  • The Bronze – C standard
  • How to Handle a Rope – C standard
  • Mexicola – C standard
  • Hispanic Impressions – C standard
  • You Can’t Quit Me Baby – C standard
  • Give the Mule What He wants – C standard but can be played in E standard IIRC

Queens of The Stone Age – Rated R

  • Feel Good Hit of the Summer – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Leg of Lamb – E standard
  • Auto Pilot – E standard
  • Better Living Through Chemistry – C standard but can be played in E standard with a capo on the first fret kinda
  • Monsters in the Parasol – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Quick and to the Pointless – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • In the Fade – E standard
  • Tension Head – C standard
  • Lightning Song – C standard IIRC
  • I Think I Lost My Headache – C standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

  • Millionaire – C standard
  • No One Knows – C standard
  • First it Giveth – C standard
  • A Song for the Dead – C standard
  • The Sky is Fallin’ – C standard
  • Six Shooter – E standard
  • Hangin’ Tree – E standard
  • Go with the Flow – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Gonna Leave You – E standard
  • Do It Again – C standard
  • God is in the Radio – E standard but can be played in C standard
  • Another Love Song – E standard
  • A Song for the Deaf – C standard
  • Mosquito Song – C standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze

  • This Lullaby – E standard
  • Medication – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Everybody Knows That You’re Insane – C standard
  • Tangled Up in Plaid – C standard
  • Burn the Witch – E standard
  • In My Head – E standard
  • Little Sister – E standard
  • I Never Came – E standard
  • Someone’s in the Wolf – Open G
  • The Blood Is Love – E standard
  • Skin on Skin – E standard
  • Broken Box – E standard
  • “You’ve Got a Killer Scene There, Man…” – E standard
  • Long Slow Goodbye – E standard

Queens of The Stone Age – Era Vulgaris

  • Turnin’ on the Screw – E standard
  • Sick, Sick, Sick – C standard
  • I’m Designer – E standard
  • Into The Hollow – E standard
  • Misfit Love – E standard
  • Battery Acid – E standard but can be played in drop D
  • Make It wit Chu – E standard
  • 3’s & 7’s – C standard but can be played in E standard
  • Suture Up Your Future – E standard
  • River in the Road – E standard
  • Run, Pig, Run – E standard

Queens of The Stone Age  – …Like Clockwork

  • Keep Your Eyes Peeled – C standard
  • I Sat by the Ocean – E standard
  • The Vampyre of Time and Memory – E standard
  • If I Had a Tail – E standard
  • My God is the Sun – E standard
  • Kalopsia – E standard
  • Fairweather Friends – E standard
  • Smooth Sailing – E standard
  • I Appear Missing – E standard
  • …Like Clockwork – E standard


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