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Old 02-12-2024, 12:08 PM
jkillips jkillips is offline
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Default Alternate tunings and string guages

I have a guitar (my Taylor 522) that I play exclusively in DADGAD or something closely related (CGDGAD, Open D, etc.). Long ago, I decided to keep my DADGAD guitar (then my Walden) set up so that it "felt" like it was tuned to standard pitch. So I figured out what string gauges I would need to get about the same amount of tension on each string as the guitar would otherwise feel if it were strung with .012s and tuned to standard. I also had the guitar set up for these strings, including by having any adjustments necessary made to the nut. This is how I've played for more than 15 years.

But I wonder: Do most players do this? If you play in DADGAD or some other tuning a lot and so have a guitar dedicated to it, do you use a custom string set? Do you just detune your standard strings without further adjustment? Do you use a heavier but otherwise standard set? And why do you do what you do?

If you have any insights into what pros do, I'd be curious to hear.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2024, 12:46 PM
Bluenose Bluenose is offline
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I play in open tunings and I donít bother with changing gauges. Iím a blues player and I use lights on all my guitars and flatwound lights on my National resonator. Iím sure many others here will have a different view.
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:28 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Many companies make "DADGAD Sets" these days. D'Addario EJ24s, John Pierce New Mediums, Santa Cruz DADGAD strings, and so on. Basically lights for strings 3-5, 13 1st string, 17 2nd, around 56 for the 6th, depending on the maker.

I just use these for everything, DADGAD, Standard, a dozen other tunings. Sometimes, on a guitar that is only going to be used for lowered tunings, I go to a 14 and 18 on top. I've gone as heavy as 60 on the bottom. Depends on the guitar and the tuning. But as a general principle, I just use a "DADGAD set" for everything, and don't dedicate any specific guitar to that.
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:50 PM
jkillips jkillips is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Many companies make "DADGAD Sets" these days. D'Addario EJ24s, John Pierce New Mediums, Santa Cruz DADGAD strings, and so on. Basically lights for strings 3-5, 13 1st string, 17 2nd, around 56 for the 6th, depending on the maker.

I just use these for everything, DADGAD, Standard, a dozen other tunings. Sometimes, on a guitar that is only going to be used for lowered tunings, I go to a 14 and 18 on top. I've gone as heavy as 60 on the bottom. Depends on the guitar and the tuning. But as a general principle, I just use a "DADGAD set" for everything, and don't dedicate any specific guitar to that.
How did I miss that companies were making DADGAD sets now? I need to try some of these. I've loved Santa Cruz strings on my Taylor in standard.
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Taylor 414-CE ("Nicole")
Taylor 522-CE 12-fret (DADGAD, etc.)
1969 Gibson C-1 Classical ("Daisy")
2007 Walden G570 ("Colleen")
Fender Standard Stratocaster ("Belle")
Epiphone Les Paul Standard ("Smokey")
Kit-built Tele-style ("Hazel")
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Many companies make "DADGAD Sets" these days. D'Addario EJ24s, John Pierce New Mediums, Santa Cruz DADGAD strings, and so on. Basically lights for strings 3-5, 13 1st string, 17 2nd, around 56 for the 6th, depending on the maker.

I just use these for everything, DADGAD, Standard, a dozen other tunings. Sometimes, on a guitar that is only going to be used for lowered tunings, I go to a 14 and 18 on top. I've gone as heavy as 60 on the bottom. Depends on the guitar and the tuning. But as a general principle, I just use a "DADGAD set" for everything, and don't dedicate any specific guitar to that.
This is basically my approach as well, usually with Wyres Pierre Bensusan DADGAD strings or sometimes D'Addario EJ24s. I've gone to a 14 on the 1st sometimes but not heavier that 17 on the 2nd. When in standard tuning I like the added tension on the trebles and fatter tone. The only issue I have is that I like the tone of a 53 on the 6th better than a 56, but this is not a big deal for me so I buy the standard Wyres or D'Addario sets.

Trust this is clear
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:35 PM
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I used to use dadgad sets but found that they had little impact on the actual music.
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
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I used to use dadgad sets but found that they had little impact on the actual music.
They don't :-) they have an impact on your tone and intonation.
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Old 02-12-2024, 03:16 PM
mawmow mawmow is offline
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Ah ! Very helpful ! Thanks a lot, guys !
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2024, 03:41 PM
Monty Christo Monty Christo is offline
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I have two guitars tuned to open-D and I use the same gauge I'd use for standard tuning. They both sound great and intonation is fine.
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:16 PM
Jimi2 Jimi2 is offline
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Yeah, Iím in open tunings more than standard. Like some others I like to beef up the plain steels and the 6th string, but which also gives me fatter sounding trebles in general. On one guitar, I went all the way up to .014 for the first string, which sounds great at C or D, but is really tight at E, so that guitar lives in Open D or Dadgad.
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:25 PM
thefsb thefsb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkillips View Post
But I wonder: Do most players do this? If you play in DADGAD or some other tuning a lot and so have a guitar dedicated to it, do you use a custom string set? Do you just detune your standard strings without further adjustment? Do you use a heavier but otherwise standard set? And why do you do what you do?

If you have any insights into what pros do, I'd be curious to hear.
I don't know what most players do but I keep two guitars in CG3 tuning and I use both standard and custom sets. CG3 is my name for C2 G2 C3 G3 C4 G4, so the bass C2 is a major third down from standard and the high G4 is a minor third up. On my LJ56 I use a full custom set now. On my RS502 electric I use Curt Mangan Matt Schofield set for both CG3 and standard.

I have three videos in this YouTube playlist with technical and practical information about string tension and custom sets.

As with so many things, it's a matter of pros and cons. Pros of the custom set is better playability and tone. Cons is complexity, cost, special ordering, and the set won't work well or maybe at all in standard tuning.

For now I have a 0.064" in the bass. The most recent 0.066 I tried had intonation problems and all I had available was a 0.064. It's fine. Louder than a 0.054, also better tone and much easier to play in tune, i.e. harder to pull out of tune with careless playing.

Frequent re-tuning of the 1st string between E and G is likely to snap it at the tuning peg presumably from the fatigue of bending and unbending it around the peg.

All the above refers to steel strings. I haven't tried CG3 with nylon.
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2024, 07:48 PM
donlyn donlyn is offline
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Alternate tunings and string guages

Most of my six string guitars are strung with Elixir PB HD Light gauge strings. Because this gauge features Medium gauge string in the trebles {.013 and .017}, it makes it very easy to tune one to DADGAD, as the string gauge cancels out the drop in tension for these strings. And because I favor large Jumbo guitars, dropping the bass E string to D is hardly noticeable because of the projection of these large guitars.

I fingerpick all my guitars, using my nails as picks.

Be well and play well,

Don
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  #13  
Old 02-12-2024, 07:59 PM
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Learned something new. Thanks for those responses!
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  #14  
Old 02-12-2024, 08:46 PM
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I discovered only recently that the tuning for Suite Judy Blue Eyes is E E E E B E. Assuming that Stills got whatever he wanted, I wonder what specific gauges he used for that one.
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  #15  
Old 02-12-2024, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
They don't :-) they have an impact on your tone and intonation.
Yes I agree, using a medium 1st and 2nd string adds depth (tone) to DADGAD and lower tunings and probably intonation as well, as Doug pointed out. I've also used "DADGAD" sets and liked them.

I think that practice, regular recording and listening to yourself play has a greater impact on tone than the strings which is the point I was attempting to make, I think we (especially me) geek out too much on certain things.

Which probably has nothing to do with the question the OP was asking anyway.
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Avalon Ard Ri L2-320C, Martin D-16GT, McIlroy A20, Pellerin SJ CW

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Cordoba C12, C5, and Fusion 12

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