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Tuning down...and back again!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bobwhite, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010
    To those who regularly tune down:

    How many half-steps can you tune down and then return to open "E" and expect the strings to still sound good and hold a tune? How about intonation?

    A "D" would be two half-steps. Can you go any farther realistically and still have the strings work for you?

    How much do you shorten string life if you regularly drop to "D", for those who do so?

  2. As far as shortening string life by tuning down, I would think not much at all. Now tuning up would be another story.

    I just looked at Altered Guitar Tunings - a FastForward instructional book.
    All the altered tunings were down a semi tone or in some cases E to D or two semi tones down. Open A --- E,A,E,A,C#,E went up, but it warned taking an acoustic this high up and said to rely upon open G instead.

    Coming down looks like two semi or one tone is the norm.

    Others may be familiar with something else.
  3. Bassguy87564


    Jul 5, 2006
    +1 for MalcolmAmos
    I would say with my experience with tuning down the furthest you can go down before it starts to sound out of tune with fretted notes is C#. It also depends on how old your strings are, the older the strings the more they stretch. One band that I played in a lot of the songs were in Drop C#. Everyone in the band was cool with it but playing the upright has helped me with intonation and keeping things in tune so I would notice the little things. Another thing to watch for is the lower you go the tension decreases and it is much easier to bend the string, even when you don't want to.

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