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Thread: Drawbacks of tuning a halfstep down?

  1. #1
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Drawbacks of tuning a halfstep down?

    I want to tune my guitar a halfstep down because I want to be able to do wider vibratos more easily. What are any drawbacks of doing this if there are any?

  2. #2
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    less sustain?

    wobbly string disease

    you might sound, get this...


    "death metal"...and you surely don't want to sound like that...

  3. #3
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    What about the inconvenience of having to tune down and being in a different tuning than everybody else?
    "I second-hand smoke two packs of cigarettes a day." -- Jerry Seinfeld

  4. #4
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Ι could use a capo everytime I played with others and I don't think Malmsteen or Slash are death metal.

  5. #5
    Late bloomer high-strung's Avatar
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    Are you talking about acoustic or electric?
    I've done this on acoustic a lot when starting out. Most of it had to do with vocal range though and the songs I was learning (eg: Alice in Chains stuff). But yes vibratos were easier on acoustic when downtuned.
    The only difference I noticed (esp. on electric) is tone will change some, and it's easier to bend a string sharp so you have to fret with more precision. You can always go to higher gauge strings but that would sort of defeat your purpose (easier vibrato) since the tension will go back up.

    Of course you could always just go down a gauge and leave in standard tuning---I use 11s instead of 12s on my main acoustic.

  6. #6
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Electric.

  7. #7
    Late bloomer high-strung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati
    Electric.
    Okay. If your only reason for tuning half-step down is easier vibrato/bending, then have you tried going down a string gauge and keeping standard tuning? Are you using 10s now? You can switch to 9s.

    On a side note, I've also noticed (for me), bending/vibrato is easier on 24.75-in scale guitars (Les Paul, PRS) than on 25.5-in scale (Strat and Superstrats). But difference is minimal. Also high profile frets are easier for me to bend/vibrato on, because I perhaps contact the wood less with my fingers. Lately I've been toying with the idea of using hybrid strings---the low 3 strings are from the 10 set, and the top 3 strings (used most for bending) are from the 9 set. That way you still get good tone where you need it and good playability where you need it.

  8. #8
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts! I'm using 9's but my frets are really thin so maybe the increased contact of the wood with the fingertips makes bending tougher.

  9. #9
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teletubby
    less sustain?

    wobbly string disease

    you might sound, get this...


    "death metal"...and you surely want to sound like that... right?
    FIXED
    Quote Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  10. #10
    Signal:Noise Ascaris's Avatar
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    lol

    I tune down to C# with . . . mediumish strings. I had it down at #F for a while . . . you could bloody bend a p4 . . . but the tuning was unstable.
    There's also the whole matter of . . . if you're used to playing with more tension, it's quite possible to just screw up the tuning of what you play simply by stopping the strings too hard.
    I like reeeeaaally bendy strings ^.^ on guitar. On bass I use 110 for my low D. I mean, yes, it's downtuned, but AYB tunes the same way with . . . 90 or 95?

    How far are you trying to bend? What kind of guitar do you have?

  11. #11
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    The guitar is a mediocre Yamaha ERG-121 and I really don't want to detune a halfstep for super bends but for having a more pronounced vibrato more easily.

  12. #12
    Mucho Loco
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    The only drawbacks for me would be, you cannot play along to standard tuned recordings, a little more tension on the strings and the bottom end might be a tad flabbier depending on the amp your playing through. The benefits are larger especially if you sing and play as well.

  13. #13
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    maybe just do lots of bends for a week or so until you wrist is strong enough for a good wide wrist vibrato?

    took me a long time but yeah...it was worth it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati
    ? could use a capo everytime I played with others
    If that's what you want to do, I guess...

    I wouldn't do it -- not with 9s, at least...better to strengthen your fingers and stay in standard tuning IMO.
    "I second-hand smoke two packs of cigarettes a day." -- Jerry Seinfeld

  15. #15
    Registered User Revenant's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do it. You mess with your ear in relation to the guitar if you play in other tunings for too long and you will start to hear stuff shifted down a semitone.
    Not a good idea if you are serious about guitar.
    The Young Apprentice

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