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Old 05-14-2013, 10:09 PM   #1
Mhara
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Drop A: 6 String or 7 string?

Okay well...I'm planning on buying a new guitar soon. I already have a 6 string and most of the music I play is in Drop A tuning. I know it's my guitar, but when I tune my strings from Standard to (A E A D F# B), my strings are very loose and the sound isn't great. I even changed my strings to a different gauge and they're still really loose. I don't know what the problem is because I've seen people play in Drop A tuning on a 6 string...

So what I'm thinking is to just buy a 7 string guitar since I can just tune the low B, 2 half steps down to A so it'd be (AEADGBE). I'm just wondering what the major differences are since Drop A on a 7 string is pretty much standard E tuning on a 6 string, with A as the 7th string. I'm thinking playing on a 7 string will be a lot better (tighter strings, better sound, extended range), im not completely sure though.

Sorry if I asked a stupid question :\ I'm just curious.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:52 PM   #2
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Personally I would get a 7. However, I would use it for other purposes than just br00tz chug-chug metal. I'd be playing cleaner styles as well.

If you're just going to play metal in drop A, stay with your six, but set it up properly for the tuning. Thicker strings for sure, and maybe adjust the truss bar a touch if need be.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:32 PM   #3
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It's not just "br00tz chug-chug metal" I play. It's jazz as well.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:56 PM   #4
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Check out what the 6 thickest strings are on a seven string set, and get strings around that thick. or thicker, people don't seem to enjoy the stock Low B on those sets too much, let alone tuning that down even further to A. It may be that you're not going thick enough in your string gauges, which only makes sense if you're tuning from standard to Drop A and back.

If you're getting a new guitar though, you can commit one to standard and the other to AEADF#B no problem. I have a strat copy I tune to AEADF#A regularly, and its held up fine.

If it were me though, I'd get a seven (and did the other day, as a matter of fact. Tuned AEADF#BE right now). Mostly for the range and voicing options that would be really nice in jazz styles.

Another option, too, is longer scale/baritone guitars. The longer scale length really helps with string tension. a good amount of seven strings have a scale length of about 27" anyway, as opposed to a strat's 25.5" or a Les Pauls 24.75".
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:57 PM   #5
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Mat Bellamy from Muse uses a seven string for that reason. He uses that AEADGBE tuning.

Also I would recommend a .56 gauge string for the low A
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:57 PM   #6
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Definitely get the 7. You want to be able to play in both standard and drop A at the same time? Well, there you go. You have both at the same time.

You can even tune to A-E-A-D-Gb-B-E instead of A-E-A-D-G-B-E, and it'll be as if you have an extra high string instead of an extra low string, and then, boom, all of your old Drop A riffs still work as usual.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:59 PM   #7
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id get a 7 stringer for that

wht kinda jazz are you playing tuned down to a?
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:08 AM   #8
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From what I know, the low A is perfect for more complex chord shapes.

I wish I had read the Gb suggestion last year though, when I had a 7. FU
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by megano28
From what I know, the low A is perfect for more complex chord shapes.

I wish I had read the Gb suggestion last year though, when I had a 7. FU


You had a 7 and you got rid of it? Why, man? Why?
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:32 AM   #10
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Oh okay, great! Thanks for all your responses and suggestions! I think I'm leaning towards just getting a dedicated 7 string then.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
You had a 7 and you got rid of it? Why, man? Why?


I went 100% acoustic and I couldn't justify keeping it

I'm GASing for an archtop though
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhara
Okay well...I'm planning on buying a new guitar soon. I already have a 6 string and most of the music I play is in Drop A tuning. I know it's my guitar, but when I tune my strings from Standard to (A E A D F# B), my strings are very loose and the sound isn't great. I even changed my strings to a different gauge and they're still really loose. I don't know what the problem is because I've seen people play in Drop A tuning on a 6 string...


Do you know how to intonate your guitar and change the action?
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almudjk
Mat Bellamy from Muse uses a seven string for that reason. He uses that AEADGBE tuning.

Also I would recommend a .56 gauge string for the low A

I use .52 for drop C/D standard and it is almost too flubby, .56 will be a noodle in A
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:34 AM   #14
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I have played my 6 string guitar (24.75 scale) in drop B with no particular problems, using 56. strings, but i've never tried drop A though.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
I use .52 for drop C/D standard and it is almost too flubby, .56 will be a noodle in A



Yeah. 56 works for B but 62 is a minimum I would consider for Drop A, and even that was a bit noodlier than I liked.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:49 AM   #16
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I'd go for a 7 string and use a 62 on the bottom string. I use a 52 for C and it could be better in tension terms, my other guitarist is at 56 for C and that seems right, down at A a 56 will be a bit flabby I would have thought.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbazz
I'd go for a 7 string and use a 62 on the bottom string. I use a 52 for C and it could be better in tension terms, my other guitarist is at 56 for C and that seems right, down at A a 56 will be a bit flabby I would have thought.

+1
The tension of a .52 tuned to D is equal to a .46 tuned to E and a lot of people prefer .48 for E standard

If I use .48 and try to tune to drop C it is almost impossible to get correct tunning because the string is very loose.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:03 AM   #18
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Whatever you're most comfortable with. You can play any guitar with any tuning, so long as you set it up for it and you're comfortable playing on it. There is no objectively right or wrong way.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:09 AM   #19
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Whatever you're most comfortable with. You can play any guitar with any tuning, so long as you set it up for it and you're comfortable playing on it. There is no objectively right or wrong way.

This.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
+1
The tension of a .52 tuned to D is equal to a .46 tuned to E and a lot of people prefer .48 for E standard

If I use .48 and try to tune to drop C it is almost impossible to get correct tunning because the string is very loose.


Using a .54 for D standard and it's slightly higher tension than a .46 in E. And pretty much perfect for doing some chuggin'.
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