4/20/2013

Guitar Alternate Tuning Gauge Guide Link & General Advice

Mr. Ben sent me this link today:


...and it's a good read, and good advice for someone looking to play around with their tunings. The only suggestion I always have to any guitar player, however, is to keep in mind that in almost any "regular set" of steel-core guitar strings (read: ones that follow the D'Addario or Martin pattern), the D&G strings will be unbalanced by (typically) 5-10 pounds difference in tension with the other strings in the set. The chart on that site is also catering to that sort of unbalanced tension scale.

I try to find or make sets that minimize the difference in tension string-to-string as much as possible.  For example, if you're looking to string up a fragile old "parlor" guitar with extra-light strings, I wouldn't pick this set:


...I would pick this set:


If you check out the description link under the GHS set you can see the course-to-course comparison of tension just like on the D'Addario page. Isn't that interesting? Just considering the G... by using a 20w instead of a 23w for the G course, the GHS set slashes 8-10lb of extra tension and also brings the tension values in line on the A&D strings, too. 20+ lbs of tension overall can make or break some lightly-braced guitars over time.

You have to think of it in terms of that weight hanging off the neck and top of the guitar to actually visualize what your string choices are doing... so pick with care!

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