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Alternate tunings and breaking strings

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lord_ariez
(@lord_ariez)
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I know the best practice for alternate tunings is to use the right string diameter, as in, you'll probably need to buy a couple packs of strings for most. I would do this, but then you pretty much need to keep you're guitar in that tuning, correct?

My question is this, when doing a tuning of say dadadd, I ussually snap the fifth string (d). Would I have a better chance of achieving this without breaking a string with light or heavey strings? or does it not make a difference?

'You and I in a little toy shop, bought a bag of balloons with the money we got"

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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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You've got to have string gauges appropriate for the tuning. Tunings that are way off from "standard" are going to need custom gauged sets. D'Addario has a string gauge chart for the tension on the string at each note in the range they can reasonably be tuned to. Check it out.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Fierce_Teapot
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For DADADD (if you mean DADADd) then you are tuning your B string to D...

So drop a tone to CGCGCc and put a capo on the 2nd fret. Due to the e strings dropping to C you might want to try 12 guage strings.

I play with D'Addario 12s on my acoustic all the time in Eb. When I fancy a bizarre tuning I usually drop down a tone if it involves the B string going to C or above... But you can probably get away with CGCGCc now and then.


   
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lord_ariez
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Topic starter  

ahhhh the capo!!!!!! Why haven't I thought of that!

Drop it down nice and low to save the strings and throw a capo on...... Genius! Thanx!

Now I don't need to buy a special set and have to leave my guitar in that tuning.

'You and I in a little toy shop, bought a bag of balloons with the money we got"

feel free to talk with me on msn at [email protected] no icq anymore


   
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Fierce_Teapot
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No problem! I might be new here but I know a trick or two!

Remember the lower you tune, the higher you will be placing the capo, thus the more out of tune it will be when capoed. So make sure you check your tuning again after putting the capo on.


   
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lord_ariez
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Roger that!

Thx for the tip

'You and I in a little toy shop, bought a bag of balloons with the money we got"

feel free to talk with me on msn at [email protected] no icq anymore


   
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Ricochet
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Roger that!That might mean something a bit different to our British friends. :lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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phangeaux
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Also it is important to use a lubricant on the nut slots if you are changing tunings frequently because strings can and do bind in the nut slots creating more tension than the string can endure when changing tunings. Binding strings could be due to the build-up of some corrosion that you can't see, or when using higher guage and thus thicker strings.

For whatever cause I have found that lubrication has helped a great deal to remedy the breaking string poblem.

There are products that are sold in guitar stores for this. I think they are a graphite lubricant. Personally I would not use any petroleum based lubricant products on a guitar due to the petroleum based solvents which are probably not compatable with the nut or the finish on the guitar.

I would feel comfortable using a silicone lubricant but what I am using now is a small spray can of Teflon lubricant. (Slick 50 brand) and I spray some on a cotton swab and then dab it from the swab into the nut slots and on the strings just a little bit beyond where the string rests in the nut slot.

I remember in the old days, we used a little bit of graphite powder from a pencil lead.

Phangeaux
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Ricochet
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Graphite's nasty and black. I've used good old automotive wheel bearing and chassis grease (not the black moly kind) on bone nuts, with no problem. As for guitar finishes, anything that lubricating mineral oils and greases will affect would be ruined by "lemon oil," which is just light mineral oil with a lemon fragrance. Lots of people use that with perfect satisfaction. Mostly I lube my strings and fretboards with olive oil, and it works well.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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phangeaux
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DISCOVERY: Heavier guage strings may tend to bind more in the nut slots. When they bind in the nut slot the string will break between the nut and the tuner peg. If your strings break in that location, that is probably the cause.

I broke a wound G string on my tricone the other day, fairly new set of strings, a 'dobro' set. I had noticed some binding at the nut for a few days when changing tunings and I knew I needed to lubricate the nut but I neglected to do it.

I was using an invisible teflon spray lubricant applied with a cotton tipped swab- (Q-Tip is one brand) it seemed to work fine. I can't recall if I did so with this fairly recent set of strings but in any case I may go to a heavier lubricant.

I am not going to file the nut to accommodate heavier guage strings. This is an expensive and precision crafted instruemnt and filing the nut slots a precision operation requiring precision nut files which I can't afford to buy. I would not file it even if I had the files, I'll just let the strings eventually shape the nut. I'd rather break strings than mess up a nice bone nut. This guitar has been just too perfect to mess with. It is a Continental Style II from 1997 and they did a great job on this one. I have had it for about 4 or 5 years and it never ceases to amaze me with it's perfection.

It is certainly worthy of using the best possible strings but I haven't figured out what those are yet and I have to work within my budget.

I don't recall what brand these are, they are phosphor bronze and labelled as 'dobro' strings and I think they start with a 16 ga. on one and 60 or 62 on 6. I am not much impressed with the tone on the higher frets on the tricone, so I'll be looking for something better now.

I have to either order strings online which is difficult since I don't have a credit card, or I have to wait until I go into Seattle and the place to buy good strings is about 75 miles (121km) from where I live. So that, considering the price of gas, my low income and the inconvenience means that I need to be careful about breaking strings.

If there is a moral to this story it may be, "don't neglect simple string maintenance" It can be a bummer when a string breaks.

phangeaux

Phangeaux
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phangeaux
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Oh yeah, another option is to have several guitars in reach, each tuned to the most common tunings that you use. I have more guitars than I have room for but I only have one resonator so I have to change the tunings on that one much more frequently.

In this last case of breaking a G string, I may be able to find an old string lying around that will work, but otherwise I won't get to play my tricone for about 2 weeks. That's a bummer.

So, I am getting a 12 string set up with a new set of strings I already have and I will be playing that for awhile instead of the tricone, and messing with the other guitars but I'll miss the tricone.

It's the broken string blues, you want to avoid that.

Phangeaux
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Misanthrope
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Roger that!That might mean something a bit different to our British friends. :lol:
Hairy blighter dicky-birdied, feathered back on his Sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harper's and caught his can in the Bertie? :shock:

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Ricochet
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DISCOVERY: Heavier guage strings may tend to bind more in the nut slots. When they bind in the nut slot the string will break between the nut and the tuner peg. If your strings break in that location, that is probably the cause.Yeah, I've encountered that problem a lot, from installing heavier than standard strings. I've found it works fairly well to "saw" the larger strings in the nut slots till they slide freely without binding.

Misanthrope, I'm not touching that! :lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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