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Questions about alternate tunings...

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Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Ok, so I taught myself to play guitar a year or two ago and have recently gotten into alternate tunings (open and just random ones). I have several tunings I play songs with. Now, I don't have problems tuning or playing chords on them...the problem I have is more of frustration.

I have broken far more strings than I'm willing to count and was wondering what other people do if they actually use as many different tunings as I do. I change tunings on my Takemine acoustic perhaps far more than I should. Johnny Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls uses a lot of different tunings, but from what I've seen he has nearly a different guitar for each one.

So for a college student without that sort of money at my disposal, I was wondering if anyone has any tips on maybe certain brands of strings that are easier to get into alternate tunings without snapping? Or just any info on how to handle the problem of alternate tunings and snapping strings would be helpful.

A few of the tunings I use:

Thanks. :D

Also, the alternate tunings help me get songs I arrange/play and such into my vocal range (figure it is a little easier to change the guitar rather than my voice lol).

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

It's not an issue of using certain brands of strings. It's one of making sure the gauges of strings you use are appropriate for the pitches you'll be tuning each string to. Look up a string tension chart. Each string manufacturer has one. I use D'Addario's. If you don't see the note you'll be using in the range of pitches for the gauge and type of string you're using in each position on your guitar, you're going to have to switch to a different set or make a custom set of strings with a different gauge that can tune to that pitch at a reasonable tension. Standard sets of strings are always optimized to tune together to EADGBE, unless otherwise specified. They won't be "right" in any other tuning, though we may accept the compromises involved.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 830

I do find some strings break more than others, for example: I find Elixer's break far more than D'Addario EXP's.

I used all alternate tunings during my Hedges, Kottke phase.

Elixer's are junk in my book.