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tuning an acoustic like a baritone (B standard)


p90jr

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Has anybody ever done this?

 

There's a show I have coming up, and I want to do a version of something that seems to be solo acoustic (baritone?) In B standard ( B E A D F# B ). I string my acoustics with .010 - .048 sets, so tuning it down was a bit too slack (though the version I'm basing it on has a bit of a slack, slappy thing to it). So, I was just thinking going up to .013 - .056 or something, in effect just moving the guages over one string slot so that they're at the same tension minus the high E and plus a low B. I notice there's "acoustic baritone" sets that the promo paragraphs say also work well on standard acoustics tuned down, that are .016 - .070. Most people I know string acoustics with .013 - 0.56 or .014 - .059, anyway, which does sound pretty incredible but I'm trying to stave off Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so I keep the strings light and make up for the tone with amplification. Like I said, if I'm in effect just shifting things over from my usual tension, .013 - .056 should fit the bill.

 

The guitar for this is my Simon & Patrick with a bolt-on neck, which I think could handle the extra tension.

 

Just wondering if any of you guys have experimented with this stuff?

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I'd pulled together a custom string sweet for the NST, but still, my 6th string was a .059. You should be able to tune down, without going to some inane string gauge. FWIW, I've never seen a guitar nut cut for a .070 string.

"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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http://www.juststrings.com/elx-12302.html <--- Elixir makes the lightest set of baritones (12-68) which may be an idea if the 68 fits the nut...even though these are electric they would do the job for a song or two or at least give you an idea of string gauges if searching acoustic sets...there is a set of 13-62's at the same site... http://www.juststrings.com/man-11362.html :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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There's a show I have coming up, and I want to do a version of something that seems to be solo acoustic (baritone?) In B standard ( B E A D F# B ). I string my acoustics with .010 - .048 sets, so tuning it down was a bit too slack (though the version I'm basing it on has a bit of a slack, slappy thing to it). So, I was just thinking going up to .013 - .056 or something, in effect just moving the guages over one string slot so that they're at the same tension minus the high E and plus a low B.

 

Short answer: yeah, that should work. A .059" might be even better for that low B, though. "YMMV".

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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http://www.juststrings.com/elx-12302.html <--- Elixir makes the lightest set of baritones (12-68) which may be an idea if the 68 fits the nut...even though these are electric they would do the job for a song or two or at least give you an idea of string gauges if searching acoustic sets...there is a set of 13-62's at the same site... http://www.juststrings.com/man-11362.html :cool:

 

I'm not sure about that .068 fitting through the tuner, either. One of my buddies had to take a drill to widen the tuner on his Ibanez RG8. I think he was using a .070 for his 8th string?

"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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Note that, compounded with the scale-length, the pitch tuned to, set-up, and pickups, a very heavy string will start to sound less like a guitar, and more like a bass; every guitar has a 'zone' of gauges where the low/wound-strings sound just twangy enough, with a good balance between round fundamental note and zingy harmonic-overtones, to sound like a "guitar". Too heavy a string with too high a tension when tuned to a given pitch, and it will sound more like a bass, stiffer and more uniform through its attack, envelope, and decay. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but worth considering and choosing which direction you want to head in...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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http://www.juststrings.com/elx-12302.html <--- Elixir makes the lightest set of baritones (12-68) which may be an idea if the 68 fits the nut...even though these are electric they would do the job for a song or two or at least give you an idea of string gauges if searching acoustic sets...there is a set of 13-62's at the same site... http://www.juststrings.com/man-11362.html :cool:

 

I'm not sure about that .068 fitting through the tuner, either. One of my buddies had to take a drill to widen the tuner on his Ibanez RG8. I think he was using a .070 for his 8th string?

 

I was kind of hoping that 13-62 set might fit the bill. The 62 would be a pretty good drop in gauge from a 68 and hopefully fit through the hole without any drilling...I was also thinking that running a light set of baritone strings would keep the other 5 strings in the same corral...I've heard that SRV used 13's on his Strat. :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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I bought an early Highway One strat (small headstock) from a guy who'd bought it and played it for a week, got bored since he's just an acoustic strummer, and let a friend of his use it once for a gig... and that guy put, like, .014s on it. It had been in the back of a closet for years after that... the trem springs were shot. Of course, the guy thought something was wrong with it or that it sucked when he remembered it and pulled it out. I explained the string gauge thing to him and how you have to set things up (and his friend had it down to two springs with those telephone wires on it). He just wanted rto get rid of it, though. SRV-damage plagues a lot of folks. I've know a few people who fall for that and then develop carpal tunnel syndrome. When I was having problems, an older player pointed out to me that he knew for a fact a lot of the "legends" used very light strings to go easier on themselves (as well as the fact that many tuned down a half- or whole step for vocal reasons). Billy Gibbons is using .007s and .005s on his stuff... and who says his tone is lacking?
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Here's the song I'm doing in the lowered tuning, kind of taking this guitar arrangement with a female choir doing a gospel kind of vocal arrangement. Since this was Paul's Civil Right's movement triumph song, it fits.

 

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

 

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http://www.juststrings.com/elx-12302.html <--- Elixir makes the lightest set of baritones (12-68) which may be an idea if the 68 fits the nut...even though these are electric they would do the job for a song or two or at least give you an idea of string gauges if searching acoustic sets...there is a set of 13-62's at the same site... http://www.juststrings.com/man-11362.html :cool:

 

I'm not sure about that .068 fitting through the tuner, either. One of my buddies had to take a drill to widen the tuner on his Ibanez RG8. I think he was using a .070 for his 8th string?

 

I was kind of hoping that 13-62 set might fit the bill. The 62 would be a pretty good drop in gauge from a 68 and hopefully fit through the hole without any drilling...I was also thinking that running a light set of baritone strings would keep the other 5 strings in the same corral...I've heard that SRV used 13's on his Strat. :cool:

 

FWIW, a guitar with a good bolt-on neck, like a Strat, will be more tolerant of higher string gauges & string tension. You can put a .013 string set on a Strat, and set it up for standard tuning, but don't try that on your SG.

"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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http://www.juststrings.com/elx-12302.html <--- Elixir makes the lightest set of baritones (12-68) which may be an idea if the 68 fits the nut...even though these are electric they would do the job for a song or two or at least give you an idea of string gauges if searching acoustic sets...there is a set of 13-62's at the same site... http://www.juststrings.com/man-11362.html :cool:

 

I'm not sure about that .068 fitting through the tuner, either. One of my buddies had to take a drill to widen the tuner on his Ibanez RG8. I think he was using a .070 for his 8th string?

 

I was kind of hoping that 13-62 set might fit the bill. The 62 would be a pretty good drop in gauge from a 68 and hopefully fit through the hole without any drilling...I was also thinking that running a light set of baritone strings would keep the other 5 strings in the same corral...I've heard that SRV used 13's on his Strat. :cool:

 

"FWIW, a guitar with a good bolt-on neck, like a Strat, will be more tolerant of higher string gauges & string tension. You can put a .013 string set on a Strat, and set it up for standard tuning, but don't try that on your SG.

"

 

+1 the heaviest gauges I use on my guitars both acoustic and electric are 11's. On my Strats, I use 10's. I'm pretty sure SRV tuned down a half step and reduced the tension on those 13's in standard tuning...you may want to think about using the same concept if running a baritone set. :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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Yeah, SRV generally tuned down a half-step or more; this takes a good amount of the tension out of medium and heavy gauge sets.

 

Personally, I like medium and heavy gauge strings, they just feel 'right' to me and my approach. But to each their own; I don't buy the BS hype that you must have heavy strings for good tone- there are too many other factors that all add up along with the string type and gauges. If you want certain tones and response, yeah, heavier strings will help; but guess what? If you want to sound something like EVH on the first three VH albums, lighter gauge strings are almost mandatory. It's ALL good! :D

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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You might have problems with intonation on the very heavy strings.

 

G.

 

+1 as the OP is "tuning an acoustic like a baritone" which could result in saddle height adjustments, truss rod adjustments, etc. I would pick [pun intended] on an electric guitar as they have adjustable saddles and bridge height along with intonation adjustments readily available that even this novice can tackle...

Take care, Larryz
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The heaviest acoustic strings I could find in town were .013-.056.

 

But before I put them on the guitar I had picked out for this, I plugged it into an amp for the first time in a year or two and no signal. The wire connecting to the endpin jack is broken... and I bet my daughter and her young cousin's habit of dropping toys into the soundhole caused it, since my wife usually shakes them out of the guitar upside down when that happens. Time to re-solder. And I'm glad I left the "beater" of the herd on "next to sofa" duty...

 

Since that took place a couple of hours before the first rehearsal for this I just grabbed an Alvarez-Yairi I have - strung with 10s - and tuned it down to B standard, stretched it out and let set for a bit. When I got to the rehearsal, the singer asked if I wouldn't mind doing the song in C instead, which I told her the strings on the guitar would probably appreciate. Tuned it up a half-step and it was fine... a bit slack, but everybody dug the deep, slinky, bluesy quality. No intonation problems... even stayed in tune,

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