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Wanting to play lower tunings


Trgamemas

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Ive been listening alot to Chevelle and Between the Buried and Me and I realise they use realtivly low tunings such as C# Standard and Drop C tuning. I know I need thicker gauge strings for these tunings to sound good but thats all I know. How thick do they need to be? Does the truss rod need adjusting aswell? Will I have to mess with my tremolo system any to handle such low tunings? A couple of songs I wanna learn even drop the low E string alllll the way to a B! Ive tried tuning it that low, but the string just lays flat against the neck. So can anyone tell me the steps I need to take to prepare my guitar for low tunnigs? Any help is greatly appreciated. Im playing on an Ibanez SA btw.
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I've been listening a lot to 'Chevelle' and 'Between the Buried and Me', and I realise they use relatively low tunings such as C# Standard and Drop C tuning.

 

I know I need thicker gauge strings for these tunings to sound good but that's all I know.

 

How thick do they need to be?

 

Depends on how low you want to tune.

 

Does the truss rod need adjusting as well?

 

I should think it probably will need some adjustment, depending on the tuning & the weight of the strings you use.

 

Will I have to mess with my tremolo system any to handle such low tunings?

 

I should think this is most likely.

 

A couple of songs I wanna learn even drop the low E string alllll the way to a B! Ive tried tuning it that low, but the string just lays flat against the neck. So, can anyone tell me the steps I need to take to prepare my guitar for low tunings? Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm playing on an Ibanez SA btw.

 

If you want to play that low I'd get a 7 string or a baritone

 

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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I want to tune to C# Standard and Drop C,probably end up going back and forth between those two. And be able to drop my low E to a B. Should of pointed that out in my post. Sorry. Im gonna have to get someone else to adjust the truss and tremolo. Id end up messing something up lol.
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In the mid-90s I was a big fan of bands like Chavez and Shiner (great heavy indie rock bands, you should look them up... or I'll just post some vids at the end of the thread) and played in bands like that and tuned down to drop C on a bunch of Gibson, Madiera and Epiphone P-90 equipped guitars (hence my screen name here).

 

I was used to using 8s so I just tuned those that low... were a bit slack (which I liked, actually) but since they weren't tuned down to that pitch from E to begin with they held it fine (when I downtuned a guitar i would have some problems with keeping it straight). I'm used to messing with action, intonation and truss rod relief so it was nothing for me to fiddle with them to get them in shape. Eventually I worked up to 10s, but the sets with beefier strings on the bottom - like 10 - 54 or something.

 

I dunno... what gauge strings do you use now? I'd say just go up one or two gauges, and maybe just have the guitar set up at a shop to hold that tuning if you want to make sure things are fine. In my experience the guitar just needs to live in that tuning to not give you problems so tuning up and down that drastically doesn't work.

 

here's the vids, hope you enjoy.

 

[video:youtube]

 

[video:youtube]

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da1_Zi46zIs

 

[video:youtube]

 

 

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I like heavier strings for Standard-Tuning to begin with; for example, I put .011" - .050" sets on my Les Paul, tuned to Standard. For lower tunings, I go even heavier; I've also assembled mixed-gauge sets for Open-Tunings before. So what I might like and what you might like for down-tuning might likely be two different things!

 

One good yardstick to guide by is to look up the gauges listed in sets of a given type and brand that you like, look at what you're already using, and then look to see the gauges used in heavier and heavier sets of the same type. Try the next set up in gauge for each whole-step or two whole-steps that you're tuning down. For example, if you're used to a set of Heller's Dino-Might strings in 9's for "E"/Standard-Tuning, get their same strings in 11's, 12's or even 13's for tuning down to "C" or "B".

 

Heller's Dino-Might strings is something I just made up for the example here... But you might take a look at D R DDT string-sets ("Dropped Down Tuning"), designed and made specifically for stability when down-tuning.

 

Of course, the intonation and truss-rod relief will need to be adjusted; and if you've got a floating trem-bridge, that will have to be readjusted, as well- a job best left to a pro tech for many people! You CAN learn to do it yourself- saving some money in the process and feeling pride in having DIY- but realistically, many people get extremely frustrated by the attempt and often wind up with a nearly unplayable guitar. I'm NOT trying to discourage you- not at all!- but I do want to be straight-up with you.

 

I've got to admit, Geoff's suggestion above of a 7-String or a Baritone is pretty attractive; especially a 7-String Baritone... :rawk::thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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"when adjusting a truss rod 'not enough' is always 'too much!'"

 

A guy I know decided to mess with his bass... ended up popping the truss rod through the fingerboard. I warned him!

 

Really? Not to argue, but I've been adjusting truss-rods for what, thirty years or so, and never had a problem. Although I always go by very small increments- like an eighth or a quarter of a turn at a time, look-see, another eighth or quarter, and so on...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I told him to go in small increments, he got impatient and carried away. When he told it popped through the fingerboard I didn't believe him or know what he meant, even, but in the center of the fingerboard it did crack and the rod buckled out a bit. It was one of those Squiers that has a Fender logo more prominent and Squier smalled next to it. The neck was a bit warped and bonkers when he bought it but I still don't understand what happened totally. I'll take a pic of it next time I'm over there. He put a great All Parts neck on and it's a better bass all around, now.

 

 

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+1 on small increment truss rod adjustments and intonation settings, and don't for get to totally loosen the 4th and 3rd strings on the 6 sting guitars before making any truss rod adjustments IMHO...although these days, I let the techies do my adjustments as they are very reasonable pricewise and do not charge if they are already changing my strings (which I normally do when no adjustments are necessary)...I'm using 11-52's (except on the strats I use 10-47's) on my Taylor T3, T5 and acoustic...but I stay in standard tuning and have had no need for any adjustments recently...

 

+1 on going to a baritone guitar (6 or 7 strings) if you're going to be on the down-low all of the time...

 

You might check out the Hawaiian slack key tunings for your six strings as they work pretty well for those who like drop tunings, and you might avoid having to make truss rod and intonation adjustments...

 

 

 

 

Take care, Larryz
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I just thought about the fact that I know a guy in a successful doom metal band here where the band tunes down to an octave below E... and he just uses .10s on Les Pauls and an L6-S and says he has no problems.

 

That would be waaay too floppy for ME... what I might like and what you might like for down-tuning might likely be two different things! :thu:

 

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I just thought about the fact that I know a guy in a successful doom metal band here where the band tunes down to an octave below E... and he just uses .10s on Les Pauls and an L6-S and says he has no problems.

 

[video:youtube]

 

...he lies.......

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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One issue you may have to deal with is cutting wider slots on the nut, for a heavier set of strings - it all depends on how the original slots were cut on your SA. Once you do that, it may not work as well if you decide to switch back to a .009 or .010 set. I know that my PRS SE's will barely handle a standard .010-.046 set, so there's no way I could bulk up to a heavier string set without changing the nut slots.

 

If it's at all affordable, I agree that getting a backup guitar may be your best solution, especially if you're not committed to using lower tunings yet. I've seen a number of decent used Ibanez and Schecter guitars turn up at reasonable prices - something to consider before you alter a working guitar, or commit to buying a new guitar as a backup.

 

You will have to do some other adjustments on your guitar, if you switch up to a heavier string gauge. Among other things, you may have to add another spring to your trem system, and you'll definitely have to adjust the intonation. If you don't feel comfortable adjusting the truss rod, don't mess with it! (I have to agree with Caevan, here, though. I've also been adjusting my own guitars for well on thirty years, and I've never had a break, or a twist.)

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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Gawd, wee're auld faarrts, ain't wee, WP'? :D

 

 

Good call on dressing nut slots (and maybe even bridge saddle-notches) if heavier gauge strings are used.

 

I'd recommend that you have a very experienced qualified pro do any nut-filing; it's really easy to make the guitar unplayable if the slots are too deep, too wide, poorly dressed in any way... better to pay to have it done right the first time, than to pay more to have a nut replaced or filled and re-filed...

 

 

And, yeah, you DON'T want to be switching back and forth between Standard and down-tuned on the same guitar; NOTHING but a TOTAL pain in the @$$, just ASKING for troubles... !!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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One issue you may have to deal with is cutting wider slots on the nut, for a heavier set of strings - it all depends on how the original slots were cut on your SA. Once you do that, it may not work as well if you decide to switch back to a .009 or .010 set. I know that my PRS SE's will barely handle a standard .010-.046 set, so there's no way I could bulk up to a heavier string set without changing the nut slots.

 

If it's at all affordable, I agree that getting a backup guitar may be your best solution, especially if you're not committed to using lower tunings yet. I've seen a number of decent used Ibanez and Schecter guitars turn up at reasonable prices - something to consider before you alter a working guitar, or commit to buying a new guitar as a backup.

 

You will have to do some other adjustments on your guitar, if you switch up to a heavier string gauge. Among other things, you may have to add another spring to your trem system, and you'll definitely have to adjust the intonation. If you don't feel comfortable adjusting the truss rod, don't mess with it! (I have to agree with Caevan, here, though. I've also been adjusting my own guitars for well on thirty years, and I've never had a break, or a twist.)

 

I have a Gibson SG 60's Tribute guitar. Would that be more suited to handle the lower tunings?? And thanks for all you guys insight, its really helping me :D

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Almost did the all caps thing when you said SG - my answer would be a guarded "No." Not sure if the 60's Tribute model has the longer neck tenon for strength and stability, but by and large, the modern-made SG's don't like to have the neck tension fooled with. A very nice gentleman from Gibson's 800 number didn't think I should go heavier than a standard .010-.046 set on my black SG Special, in standard tuning, of course.

 

You're better off experimenting on a guitar with a bolt-on neck, like an Ibanez, IMHO - the bolt-on necks are much more forgiving, and again, you can pick up a spare used Ibanez in the RG or SA series for $150-350, at least in this area. I hate to recommend Guitar Center for any reason, but as a major Ibanez dealer, they get a lot of beginner to mid-line guitars back in trade, and they try to move them pretty cheap. That's my advice . . .

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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Cool, innovative guitar! Note the details of the bridge and bridge saddles... :cool:

 

Caev they have several 8 string models. The two extra strings are in fourths below the low E-you can get WAY down there.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Cool, innovative guitar! Note the details of the bridge and bridge saddles... :cool:

 

Caev they have several 8 string models. The two extra strings are in fourths below the low E-you can get WAY down there.

 

:cool:

 

I also really like the idea of having a High-A and a Low-B as the 1st and 8th strings, respectively, on an eight-string; or doing some relative tuning-arrangement, tuned down to lessen the tension on the 1st/"High-A"-string.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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The 11-52's worked out fine on the acoustic...Taylor calls for 11-49's on the T5 and 10-46's on the T3...so I'm going back to 10-46's on both as I think the 52's are just a little heavy and don't want to get into the nut cutting concept...I want to run a wound 3rd string on these two guitars and found a set of light Gibson L5 10-46's pure nickel with a wound 18guage 3rd string...the L5 11-52's sounded great and I hoping the lighter guage L5's will sound just as good...I'm not into detuning down and then capo'ing back up to standard just to use heavier strings...

 

I stay in standard tuning, but just for kicks I tried a Hawaiian slack-key tuning that's fast and easy to get to...turn your 1st and 6th strings down to D while plucking your 4th string to match the octave sounds, leave the 2nd string where it is and then tune the 5th string down to G while plucking the 3rd string to match the octave sound...you wind up with DGDGBD low to high and a pretty sounding guitar...I know this may be nothing new to anybody but me, but you might find it fun to play around with and your drop-tuning takes only a second or two... :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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Now, if you're going to ONLY tune them way down low, like C or B, 11's or 12's should be alright on your SG; but I would NOT recommend that you try them for Standard-Tuning on most SG's.

 

You would still have to have the nut-slots and general set-up addressed.

 

 

I use an .011" - .050" set, tuned to Standard, on my Les Paul, which has a "'60 Slim-Taper" neck, very similar in profile to that of many slim-necked SG's; however, the Les Paul has the neck joining around the 16th-Fret on a single-cutaway body, which stiffens it quite a bit as opposed to an SG's much longer, flexier neck and double-cutaway body...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I stay in standard tuning, but just for kicks I tried a Hawaiian slack-key tuning that's fast and easy to get to...turn your 1st and 6th strings down to D while plucking your 4th string to match the octave sounds, leave the 2nd string where it is and then tune the 5th string down to G while plucking the 3rd string to match the octave sound...you wind up with DGDGBD low to high and a pretty sounding guitar...I know this may be nothing new to anybody but me, but you might find it fun to play around with and your drop-tuning takes only a second or two... :cool:

 

if this tuning is new to you (not slagging you at all) cue up Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street and prepare to have a blast playing Keith's rhythm parts. Keep a capo handy, and ignore that low D string. I keep a black '72 Custom Tele in this tuning, played "Honky Tonk Women" and "Brown Sugar" at a Christmas party last night... people's faces light up when you kick off these songs in this tuning and they don't know why, but the intervals of the strings are just perfect.

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Thanks P90 for the song suggestions as I've always been a Stones fan...just for kicks I pulled out a slide last night and low and behold it sounded pretty darn good (and I'm not really a slide player)...I may just leave the 11-52's on the Black Custom T5 tuned down to this tuning and start praticing with it a lot more...might even try a capo too... :thu:
Take care, Larryz
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Yhup, what p90jr said; that's Open-G, and also a popular tuning for blues and rootsy stuff. It's like Keef Central. :thu::cool:

 

If you like that tuning, Larryz, try playing slide in Open-G6, D G E G B D; sounds REALLY Hawaiian and Western-Swing. :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Thanks Caevan, will give it a try as I love 6th chords and western swing stuff (I think I'm actually using 13th's as I always add the flat 7th to the 6th chords kinda rockabilly style)... :thu:

 

Yer gonna smile the first time you put a slide across all six strings in that tuning, strike a chord and slide up... :thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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