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Keeping my Guitar Tuned Down All the Time


Avery

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I used to have a Martin HD 35 tuned down a whole step - all the time, and an HD-28 tuned down a half - all the time. I thought it worked pretty well on those long scales. Used tp have a Gibson 12-fret Jackson Browne tuned down most of the time,. worked well. I almost always played these guitars with Medium (13s) strings.

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I agree with the above, but it made me think of this:

 

Do guitars have "natural frequencies" they like to resonate at? I say this because when changing strings I can usually tell when I get to pitch because the guitar seems to come alive. I by no means have perfect pitch. So, would you expect the same guitar to sound a little better when tuned to pitch vs tuned down?

 

Alternatively we can discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. [rolleyes]

 

Rich

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Guess you think about the structure and what the down-tuning does when/if one day you or a buyer goes standard.

 

Won't be a problem -

 

in the nerdy perspective one could even claim the wood developes a wider range of vibration, which might be an advantage in std. also.

 

 

 

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Do guitars have "natural frequencies" they like to resonate at? I say this because when changing strings I can usually tell when I get to pitch because the guitar seems to come alive. I by no means have perfect pitch. So, would you expect the same guitar to sound a little better when tuned to pitch vs tuned down?

 

Alternatively we can discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. [rolleyes]

 

Rich

 

Surely an alternative, Rich, but can we do music with the angels yet?

 

Where you and Em7 are gently suggesting areas deeper than mere structural considerations, this quickly becomes a gray area where belief becomes part of the equation. If wood takes a "memory" of the range of frequencies it vibrates at, then one can begin to question the usefulness of things such as the Tonerite. (Or: "... this guitar was broken in by hundreds of hours of the playing of D minor exclusively, and therefore, should excel at playing the most saddest of songs").

 

As the Druids might question: "It's only wood?"

 

ScreenShot2014-04-26at81627AM_zpsa441f952.png

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I keep 'em all tuned down and just keep the capos handy if I want to blow harp or play along with a song I'd like to learn, but I've noticed that a fair number of artists must also, as I often pick up my tuned down guitar to find their songs are already D# - D#.

 

16 angels. John Prine says so.

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Mine are mostly tuned down.

 

 

The onliest only trouble is probably a light tweak to the neck now and again could be needed ( I haven't) and the fingers get used to the slacker strings.........grab your friend's beast tuned to standard with mediums and feel the blues baby......

 

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Surely an alternative, Rich, but can we do music with the angels yet?

 

Where you and Em7 are gently suggesting areas deeper than mere structural considerations, this quickly becomes a gray area where belief becomes part of the equation. If wood takes a "memory" of the range of frequencies it vibrates at, then one can begin to question the usefulness of things such as the Tonerite. (Or: "... this guitar was broken in by hundreds of hours of the playing of D minor exclusively, and therefore, should excel at playing the most saddest of songs").

 

As the Druids might question: "It's only wood?"

 

Confess there's no scientific background for the vibe-theory, but to me it makes sense that the components can get used to certains ways - counts for playing styles as well.

 

If the logic is the instrument transfers hand-energy through the combination of materials to generate the sounds, then heavy bass activity of fx regular power strumming in E and A might influence the woods in that direction over time.

An acoustic guitar played by a Salvation Army nun all its life, can't be as sonically explored as it would have been in the hands of a skilled folkie or punch-rocker.

 

Maybe some here disagree - please chime in.

 

I sold a Lemon Grove Taylor to an experienced bass-player some years ago. Remembering him saying : I can drive this one up.

Well, , , hope he did - it sounded convincing and pretty impressing to me.

 

Anyway it's interesting to get down this path again.

It's been a while since the theme was touched - where as 2 or 3 years ago, bridge, pins, saddle, nut, wood, season, moisture, state of wood/resin even p-guard thickness was passionately debated.

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I keep my 3 tuned down a whole step (DGCFAd) 90% of the time. Better suited for matching my limited vocal range.

As far as causing damage. I can't see how it would be possible to damage something designed for certain tolerances, by not pushing it that far.

A bridge is designed for certain load limits. I cannot imagine it is weakened or damaged, if it only has cars and no trucks cross it. Nor can I imagine it is strengthened if it has only trucks.

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During my Rev. Gary Davis phase, I only played a J-200 and always kept it tuned down a half step. What a great sound. Plus, if I was in a single string/lead mood, I could easily play along to SRV. What could be better?

 

The only issue I encountered was dealing with the added tension when tuning to concert pitch to play with others. I could have addressed that, of course, with a capo on the first fret.

 

Anyway, to your question: no, this will not cause anything resembling a problem.

 

Play on.

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I keep my J45 tuned 1/2 step down and tune up when playing with others with no issues in tuning stability or string life. I recently sold a D35 I'd been playing in D-D for the past 14 years. When checked with a straightedge the neck angle looked factory fresh. I really don't worry about it and have my new HD28 set up for D-D tuning.

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Interesting thread .I've read in one acoustic publication that one company make guitars designed for DADGAD tuning and the tops are braced and tuned accordingly to enhance the sound and tuning . Some guitars are built to receive a certain string tension , the GSMini comes to mind , Taylor recommend 13 - 56 and they are correct in my mind . I once put on a set of 12s on mine by accident and the tone had disappeared . But many players tune down a step ar half step

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I agree with the above, but it made me think of this:

 

Do guitars have "natural frequencies" they like to resonate at? I say this because when changing strings I can usually tell when I get to pitch because the guitar seems to come alive.

 

Rich

 

With apologies to those here who are real scientists, everything has a resonant frequency if it's subjected to sufficient energy at that frequency.

 

Here's a brief video that explains what I mean:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH7XSX10QkM

 

Don't try this at home with your wife's crystal, particularly if she's mad at you for buying guitars....

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Hi folks, I've mentioned this many times before. Remember, this is only my opinion. Sarcastically. I've said "even my Harmony Stella sounded great tuned down". This was true in the early 1950's when I first began playing "Spanish Guitar". In all honesty it was probably due to the bowed neck and high action. As I slowly progressed, I found I didn't fit in with "all" of the other folks that played In standard tunings. Piano, Sax, Accordion and whatever. My first good guitar was a brand new Gibson ES that I got on Christmas Day in 1957. This was when I began to learn. I was lucky enough in my early school years to learn how to read music. Seems I had to learn all over again to sound in tune the right way. To this day, I will only listen to guitar music played in its standard tuning. To my thinking, anyone that demonstrates and plays a guitar in a drop "D" or open tuning or anything other than "standard" tuning is not happy with its tone in the standard tuning. I would not consider purchasing a guitar not demonstrated in the standard tuning. I still believe my old Harmony Stella sounded as good as any dropped or oddball tuning I hear today! Remember, this is only my opinion, and only matters to me. By the way, I still have and play my 1957 Gibson ES!

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Hi folks, I've mentioned this many times before. Remember, this is only my opinion. Sarcastically. I've said "even my Harmony Stella sounded great tuned down". This was true in the early 1950's when I first began playing "Spanish Guitar". In all honesty it was probably due to the bowed neck and high action. As I slowly progressed, I found I didn't fit in with "all" of the other folks that played In standard tunings. Piano, Sax, Accordion and whatever. My first good guitar was a brand new Gibson ES that I got on Christmas Day in 1957. This was when I began to learn. I was lucky enough in my early school years to learn how to read music. Seems I had to learn all over again to sound in tune the right way. To this day, I will only listen to guitar music played in its standard tuning. To my thinking, anyone that demonstrates and plays a guitar in a drop "D" or open tuning or anything other than "standard" tuning is not happy with its tone in the standard tuning. I would not consider purchasing a guitar not demonstrated in the standard tuning. I still believe my old Harmony Stella sounded as good as any dropped or oddball tuning I hear today! Remember, this is only my opinion, and only matters to me. By the way, I still have and play my 1957 Gibson ES!

But, then, you can't listen to Robert Johnson, Skip James, Son House, Charlie Patton, Albert King, Albert Collins, SRV, Keith Richards, some Mississippi John Hurt recordings, some Doc Watson recordings, some Chet Atkins recordings, etc., etc.

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Jt, but why would I want to listen to Robert Johnson, Skip James, Son House, Charlie Patton, Albert King, Albert Collins, SRV, Keith Richards, some Mississippi John Hurt recordings, some Doc Watson recordings, some Chet Atkins recordings, etc., etc.? Most likely t'would be because along with some John Thomas recordings I do not enjoy this style of music played on "Spanish Guitar". I may possibly be alone in my opinion here, but alas, I'm not a politician nor am I looking for a fan club. My tastes or distastes are the same as yours. "our own".

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Jt, but why would I want to listen to Robert Johnson, Skip James, Son House, Charlie Patton, Albert King, Albert Collins, SRV, Keith Richards, some Mississippi John Hurt recordings, some Doc Watson recordings, some Chet Atkins recordings, etc., etc.? Most likely t'would be because along with some John Thomas recordings I do not enjoy this style of music played on "Spanish Guitar". I may possibly be alone in my opinion here, but alas, I'm not a politician nor am I looking for a fan club. My tastes or distastes are the same as yours. "our own".

A very fair point, of course, that speaks to the beauty of the human experience.

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