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String Gauge Question

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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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What is the best gauge to use for tuning to C F Bb Eb G C? The strings that came with my guitar get kinda floppy in that tuning.


   
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(@stengah)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Down 2 whole steps? Which ones was the guitar set up with? I would say something heavy like 11's. You might have to get the nut altered at a repair shop if it came equipped with 9's. If it had 10's from the factory you might get away with it, but it will still have to probably have a truss rod and intonation adjustment.


   
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(@stengah)
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The scale length of the instrument will affect it as well. Hopefully you have at least a 25.5" scale guitar. That's almost a baritone tuning. Baritone guitars tuned to B standard have a 27" scale. It might not hold enough tension without some custom gauges if its a 24.75" scale like a Les Paul.

I found these, but you might have to get the nut or even the tuning posts modded to fit them on: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ernie-Ball-2626-Nickel-Not-Even-Slinky-Drop-Tune-Strings?sku=100870
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ernie-Ball-2627-Nickel-Beefy-Slinky-Drop-Tune-Strings?sku=100871


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

How much would modifying the nut cost? The tech charges $59.99 to do truss and inotation on a hardtail guitar and the guitar is only worth $450. If it's expensive, I might just wait and get a baritone guitar or a 7 string. How hard would 11's or 12's be to fret, I'm not even sure what gauge is on my acoustic. And my LP copy is 25" from the bridge to the nut.


   
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(@trguitar)
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And my LP copy is 25" from the bridge to the nut.
Sure it's not 24 3/4"?

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

Took out a tape measure. Think you are right, it's 24.75" or at least darn close to it. My strat is 25.5" or somewhere around that. My explorer looks also to be 24.75"


   
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(@trguitar)
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Yup .. standard scales. 24 3/4" and 25 1/2". Which do you prefer? I kind of like my 24 3/4 " sclaes. 24 3/4" = Gibson, 25 1/2" = Fender.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@redneckrocker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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The heavier strings will not be harder to fret, because the strings will be tensioned looser than standard tuning. I've heard it's about the same. I want to get a seperate guitar to keep tuned down because I play a lot of different styles of music, including the hard rock/metal associated with drop tuning.

Edit: Stengah, Les Pauls are tuned down that low all the time, it should work fine.

~Mike the Redneck Rocker.

"The only two things in life that make it worth living are guitars that tune good and firm feeling women" - Waylon


   
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(@stengah)
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Some of the string manufacturers have forums like GHS. They have moderators that could probably tell you real quick which gauge is best for the scale length you have.
It probably would work on a short scale guitar, but normally slightly thicker gauges are used for those scale lengths. I would probably just use normal 11's . Get a cheap set for a few dollars and see if they do ok. If you change the way the nut is slotted, you're pretty much stuck with those string gauges. You might decide you don't like them, then you can't change back to thinner ones later. I wouldn't do anything too extreme until you decide whether you like the heaver gauges drop tuned.


   
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(@anonymous)
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the information.

I read somewhere that down tuning can damage the neck. Especially if you go from it to standard a lot. Is that true?


   
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(@stengah)
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If you release too much string tension, over time it may eventually back-bow. If you use heavy gauges in standard, it can bow the other way. Usually if the truss rod is adjusted a couple times (over time) after you make the change a lot of necks seem to do ok.
On my guitar 9's in Eb seem similar in tension to 10's in D standard (down one step). I'm thinking 11's in C#/Dd might be fairly close to your tuning, and will be somewhere near a regular 10 gauge set in tension. String companies can tell you how many pounds of pull at any tuning their strings have.
Sometimes just getting within a half step of the tuning you want, and using your tone knob will be close enough. C and Dd can sound almost the same with it E.Q'ed in right. Drop tuning too low without running your guitar through a Nasa rig can turn your sound to mush...or at least take the bite out of your chords. I have trouble getting definition on some of my stuff on a seven string tuned to Bb . If I don't at least use an E.Q. pedal, and a bright amp setting my sound goes to mud. :?
ESP guitar company says the nut has to be altered even to change from the 10's that they come equipped with from the factory to 11's. If you do try heavy ones, you might need to email the guitar company to see what gauges will work with your guitar.


   
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