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Thread: Alternative tunings - the basics

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    Alternative tunings - the basics

    Hopefully this is really a set of stupid questions and if it is I apologise – I’m new to all this so I have loads of questions…………….

    A lot of the music I like involves alternative tunings – Tool and Karnivool are two examples.

    With that in mind, what do I need to consider when I’m tuning my guitar down?

    For example – do I need to change my string guage? Do I need to adjust the truss rod? Can I do it with any guitar? Does the guitar need to be 24 fretted neck or will 22 work just as well? Will I damage my guitar by changing tunings?

    Any help or advice would be great

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    There are bigger experts on the issue, but let me start. In general the lower you go, the heavier gauge is appropriate, the more you'll need to adjust the truss rod. I wouldn't change tunings on one guitar too often (or too much). 22 is fine
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
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    great - thanks for the answer! What's the reason behind not changing the tuning too often on one guitar?

    is that an excuse for buying another guitar?!

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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntto View Post
    great - thanks for the answer! What's the reason behind not changing the tuning too often on one guitar?

    is that an excuse for buying another guitar?!
    Of course, haha
    Given that you should adjust the truss rod every time you make a major tuning alteration, it would just drive me crazy to do it very often, that's all...
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    I say buy more guitars!

    I have one for each different tuning. I don't think switching back and forth from standard to drop D is a big deal, just a pain.
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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Check out Michael Hedges (even though he's WAY different than Tool and Karnivool) for some great examples of alternate tunings and what can be done. Plus look at stropes.com - that's John Stropes' site, and he's done quite a bit of transcriptions for alternate tunings. More important, especially with the Hedges stuff, he has a database of most of the tunings MH used, so if you find a tuning that you like, it's an easy way to decode it.
    Alan

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    Frets doesn't affect anything at all, apart from having 12 extra notes to play with. The heavier string gauges will help lower tunings, but if you're experimenting with open tunings, it doesn't matter much. Drop D or lower tunings, you'll most likely come across the flopping low E string. That's because the factory set-up comes with gauge 9-42, you'll need at least 10-46 for the 25" scale and probably 11-49 or thicker for the 24.5" scale. Better get yourself a stoptail/hardtail guitar for these altered tunings, or you'll be sitting there for a long time getting that trem set-up, especially if you change the tunings a lot!

    For starters, the easiest alternative tunings to use are Drop D and Eb Standard. Once you get more ambitious you can try out Drop C, D Standard, Drop B, Open E, Open G for Keef stuff or even Drop B for the disemboweling BROOTALZ (not necessarily brutal but the droning B gives new possibilities to play with)

    Or you can try out funny tunings like Mark Tremonti's DADADD, Nick Drake's BEBEBE, some Soundgarden with EEBBBB or even DADGAD for some Led Zeppelin. There's a lot more, like the Baritone Tuning BEADF#B and ultra-easy-barre-chord tunings like CGDGBE.

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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtuna26 View Post
    disemboweling BROOTALZ
    I really, really like this term. Disemboweling BROOTALZ
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
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    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    I really, really like this term. Disemboweling BROOTALZ
    The BROOTZ!!!
    Plank Owner

  10. #10
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    The BROOTZ!!!
    Or the KRUELZ!
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
    The 3-Mike-7 devotee.

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