Queens of The Stone Age Guitar Tuning: A Guide…

By Richard •  Updated: 11/08/21 •  5 min read

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)

Queens of The Stone Age – Self Titled Album

Queens of The Stone Age – Rated R

Queens of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

Queens of The Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze

Queens of The Stone Age – Era Vulgaris

Queens of The Stone Age  – …Like Clockwork

epiphone sg colors

Learn More About Epiphone Guitars: Best New Models, Buying Guides & Tone Tips

Access Epiphone Resource Hub ↗

Recommended Gear

The latest and best gear we recommend right now…

Spark Amp – The amp itself is brilliant, coming with a bunch of great tones and plenty of power with its 50W speaker. But the real magic happens when it is paired with your phone, opening up access to thousands of effects and tones that you can customize to your exact specifications. And best of all? It’s not even that expensive either.

BIAS FX 2 – If you want to run your guitar through your PC or Mac, BIAS FX 2 is one of the best ways to develop and create amazing-sounding tones. BIAS FX is an amp and effects simulator and it is one of the best in the business. Inexpensive and perfect for jamming and recording, BIAS FX 2 is one of my favorite amp sims for Mac and PC.

Fender Mustang Micro – The Fender Mustang Micro is a small gizmo that plugs directly into your guitar’s jack. You then plug in some headphones and can switch between 12 of Fender’s Mustang amp, complete with effects and modification options. It doesn’t have any wires, it will fit in your pocket, and it even doubles as a USB audio interface too. It is one of the coolest things I’ve tested all year.

Fender Play – Learning guitar can be hard. It takes forever, seemingly, and progress is slow. But if you take a focussed approach with learning the basics and even more advanced stuff, you’ll develop much quicker. That’s why we love Fender Play; it has over 3,000 lessons and everything a beginner player needs. You can also get a free trial right now too – so you have literally nothing to lose!


Richard has been playing guitar for over a decade and is a huge fan of metal, doom, sludge, and rock music in general – though mostly metal. Having played in bands and worked in studios since the early 2000s, Richard is a massive music production geek, a fan of minimalist recording techniques, and he really likes old-school guitars.

Keep Reading

Pin It on Pinterest