Mhara
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Join date: May 2012
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#1
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.
AWACS
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#2
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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Mhara
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#3
It's not just "br00tz chug-chug metal" I play. It's jazz as well.
maXterbat0r
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#4
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".
almudjk
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#5
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
Macabre_Turtle
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#6
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.
megano28
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#8
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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#9
Quote 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?
Mhara
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#10
Oh okay, great! Thanks for all your responses and suggestions! I think I'm leaning towards just getting a dedicated 7 string then.
megano28
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#11
Quote 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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Morphogenesis26
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#12
Quote 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?
Robbgnarly
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#13
Quote 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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MaaZeus
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#15
Quote 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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#16
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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#17
Quote 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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#18
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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#19
Quote by MrFlibble
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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DarthV
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#20
Quote 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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Mhara
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#21
Quote by Morphogenesis26
Do you know how to intonate your guitar and change the action?

No I don't. How would you do that?
T00DEEPBLUE
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#22
Quote by Mhara
No I don't. How would you do that?

How that is done depends on what sort of bridge you have, but the principle is basically the same.
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Simple Jack
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#23
Quote 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

No way. Far too light a gauge. You need way thicker than this for Drop A. Come to think of it what strings are you using? And on what guitar?

DR Strings does a range called DDT which is specifically for detuning six strings. Check em out. There are other companies that produce string packs for detuning, can't think of any tho.

I haven't had a lot of experience with seven strings, altho am waiting on delivery of a new one now. The market has come a long way since the '90s and there are now seven string guitars for every budget. ESP's Ltd brand is doing marvelous things for under $1000, and Ibanez have been doing this for ages. I guess one advantage of some seven strings is they have longer scale necks (generally 26.5 inches and up). This means greater string tension and less floppy strings. That said, many are still made with a six string friendly 25.5" neck.

For what it's worth, the ESP Ltd EC-407 and H1007 were standouts for me for under a grand, and Ltd also does an entry level seven string with a sick Explorer body (EX model from memory?). Also if you live in the US, Agile is a lesser known brand that reportedly makes stunning cheap axes (but also offers no warranty to guitars sold outside the US).
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Morphogenesis26
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#24
Quote by Mhara
No I don't. How would you do that?


Here are the guides on how to do it from this site:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=602241

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=614226

If you follow the first(or second, if you have a Floyd) then that should help the sound and feel of your strings. I strongly recommend trying it on your guitar before you make any big purchases.
crazysam23_Atax
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#25
Quote by AWACS
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.

The problem is, 6 strings are NOT designed for Drop A. I would get a 7 string. One thing you should practice (especially since you're not just gonna be doing Djent style chugs [what I now call "the stupid chug-a-lug"]), TS, is playing chords like Amajor/minor and other chords. The point is you now have a different set of bass notes; utilize that.

On a 7 string tuned to Drop A, for instance, A major is:

E-0---5-       
B-2---5-      
G-2---6-     
D-2---7-    
A-0---7-
E-0---5-     
A-0---0-    

There's 2 shapes for Amajor for you.

Work out the shapes/positions/inversions/etc. of other chords. This will give you more options than just doing the stupid chug-a-lug.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 15, 2013,
T00DEEPBLUE
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#26
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
The problem is, 6 strings are NOT designed for Drop A.

Baritones?
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crazysam23_Atax
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#27
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Baritones?

Yes, but unless TS already owns a baritone guitar, he'd still have to buy a new guitar...

I wouldn't tune a regular 6-string to Drop A.
T00DEEPBLUE
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#28
Why not? If you have a string gauge that's heavy enough, you should be fine.
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Morphogenesis26
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#29
I imagine that a lot of the problems he's facing has to do with him not knowing how to set up the guitar and going back and forth with tunings so much. I mean, the guy is tuning from E Standard(Unless it's actually B standard) to Drop-A without knowing how to intonate it. I think he should lay off spending money on new guitars and just work on learning how the guitar works first.
crazysam23_Atax
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#30
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Why not? If you have a string gauge that's heavy enough, you should be fine.

Because of the scale length, you may have a harder time with it. Baritones have a longer scale length, which allows them to be more easily tuned to lower registers (such as Drop A [AEADGB]). Most regular 6-string guitars have a scale length in the range of 24 to 25.5 That makes it harder to deal with tunings as low as Drop A. 7-strings are built to compensate for this.

Quote by Morphogenesis26
I imagine that a lot of the problems he's facing has to do with him not knowing how to set up the guitar and going back and forth with tunings so much. I mean, the guy is tuning from E Standard(Unless it's actually B standard) to Drop-A without knowing how to intonate it. I think he should lay off spending money on new guitars and just work on learning how the guitar works first.

This is a very valid point. Proper intonation is key. After all, who cares if you can tune to Drop A (and do everything else right), but forget about the intonation?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 15, 2013,
Mhara
Registered User
Join date: May 2012
133 IQ
#31
Quote by Simple Jack
No way. Far too light a gauge. You need way thicker than this for Drop A. Come to think of it what strings are you using? And on what guitar?

DR Strings does a range called DDT which is specifically for detuning six strings. Check em out. There are other companies that produce string packs for detuning, can't think of any tho.

I haven't had a lot of experience with seven strings, altho am waiting on delivery of a new one now. The market has come a long way since the '90s and there are now seven string guitars for every budget. ESP's Ltd brand is doing marvelous things for under $1000, and Ibanez have been doing this for ages. I guess one advantage of some seven strings is they have longer scale necks (generally 26.5 inches and up). This means greater string tension and less floppy strings. That said, many are still made with a six string friendly 25.5" neck.

For what it's worth, the ESP Ltd EC-407 and H1007 were standouts for me for under a grand, and Ltd also does an entry level seven string with a sick Explorer body (EX model from memory?). Also if you live in the US, Agile is a lesser known brand that reportedly makes stunning cheap axes (but also offers no warranty to guitars sold outside the US).


Nice! I actually used (http://www.ernieball.com/products/electric-strings/1669/beefy-slinky-nickel-wound) for my 6 string. My guitar was actually not all that great. It's one of those Yamaha RGX's lol....I know. But It's got me through a lot. I think the problem was actually my guitar. I have a decent amount of money, so that's why I'm trying to buy a new one. I know all about Ibanez, ESP and Schecter's though. Thanks for your suggestions though. I'll look into it!
Mhara
Registered User
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#32
Quote by Morphogenesis26
Here are the guides on how to do it from this site:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=602241

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=614226

If you follow the first(or second, if you have a Floyd) then that should help the sound and feel of your strings. I strongly recommend trying it on your guitar before you make any big purchases.


Thanks a lot for that.
Mister A.J.
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#33
I'd get a seven. To go one step further, I'd get a Carvin seven, but I like to play favorites. :P
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dspellman
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#34
Quote 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...

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.


Better options:

One, get a guitar with a much longer scale. Try one with a 27" scale (this one, for example, may look like a standard LP type guitar, but it's a 27" scale with 24 frets. You can run it with standard gauge strings tuned to standard or with thicker strings tuned much lower:



There are a lot of 28" scale guitars (anything with 28" or beyond is considered a baritone).

Two, get a longer scale/multi-string guitar. 7's and 8's work just as well and give you some interesting options if you're on the upper frets and need to get lower than you could ordinarily. Great for arpeggios that need to cover a lot of ground.

Three, buy a Variax.



The JTV 89F, for example, has a 25.5" scale and a Floyd (you can get it in hardtail as well), 24 frets and a 16" radius. If you're using the built-in modeling, you have a choice of something like 28 or 29 different guitar models (including acoustics, Jazz boxes, resonators, teles, LPs, Strats, ES 335s, etc.). But in addition to all of that, you have the ability to change to alternate tunings (using the pitch change technology) instantly, with no change in tension in the strings. Several are built in, including several drop tunings down to Bb, and standard tunings down to B, but you can actually tune down as low as a full octave (bass range) on each string with no issues. And you can program your own into the system so they're instantly accessible.

  • Model. Access the alternate tunings you created using Variax Workbench™, Line 6′s virtual guitar workbench software.

  • Standard (E A D G B E). By far the most popular tuning on a 6-string guitar.

  • Drop D (D A D G B E). The low E string is dropped down a full step from Standard tuning. This popular tuning has been used by bands and artists such as Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, Pantera and even The Beatles on "Dear Prudence."

  • 1/2 Down (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). Each string is tuned down one half step compared to Standard tuning. Some of the greatest guitarists of all time, including Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, played almost exclusively 1/2 Down.

  • Drop Db (Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). Compared to Drop D, every string is dropped an additional half step. This tuning was made famous by Eddie Van Halen on the 1981 song, "Unchained,” and popularized by bands such as Nirvana on their In Utero album, Evanescence, Linkin Park, System of a Down and more.

  • 1 Down (D G C F A D). This tuning is one full step down from Standard, and used by artists and bands including Elliot Smith, John Fogerty and Shadows Fall. You can also find it on Nirvana's "Come as You Are," "Lithium" and "Drain You," as well as Metallica’s "Sad but True" and "Devil's Dance.”

  • Drop C (C G C F A D). Drop C is like a standard D tuning, with a dropped C for a more brutal sound. It’s popular with a wide variety of rock and metal bands including Carcass, Metallica, System of a Down and more.

  • m3 DOWN (Db Gb B E Ab Db). Compared to Standard tuning, all the strings are tuned down by three half steps. This tuning can be found on songs by Black Sabbath and others.

  • Drop B (B F# B E G# C#). This tuning is one and one half steps down from Drop D, and has been used by heavy metal bands such as Slayer, Slipknot and Tool.

  • M3 Down (C F Bb Eb G C). This tuning is a major third lower than Standard tuning. You can find it on “No One Knows” and other Queens of the Stone Age tracks, as well as songs by The Misfits and more.

  • Drop Bb (Bb F Bb Eb G C). Two full steps down from Drop D, this tuning is used by artists including Static-X, Bring Me the Horizon, Spineshank and Sevendust.

  • Baritone (B E A D F# B). This tuning is popular with a variety of hard rock and metal bands, from the Foo Fighters to Carcass.

Last edited by dspellman at May 16, 2013,
jgauslin
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#35
Mhara I know your comment is probably outdated, and others have said this already, but try a baritone. 7 strings can be confusing to play if you've only played 6 before, and replacing your strings for a thicker gauge is more than just strings (you'll need a new nut, possibly a new bridge). Squier makes the cheapest good baritone I know (Jazzmaster), which has a 30" scale. Great sound (iffy through amp distortion), and, for me at least, if I set it in Drop A or Drop A#, it should stay in tune for awhile. It all comes down to personal preference, but personally I favor baritones over 7-string.
dspellman
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#36
Quote by jgauslin
Mhara I know your comment is probably outdated, and others have said this already, but try a baritone. 7 strings can be confusing to play if you've only played 6 before, and replacing your strings for a thicker gauge is more than just strings (you'll need a new nut, possibly a new bridge). Squier makes the cheapest good baritone I know (Jazzmaster), which has a 30" scale. Great sound (iffy through amp distortion), and, for me at least, if I set it in Drop A or Drop A#, it should stay in tune for awhile. It all comes down to personal preference, but personally I favor baritones over 7-string.


Depends on whether he's only going to play the bottom three strings anyway...
the_bi99man
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#37
Quote by dspellman
Depends on whether he's only going to play the bottom three strings anyway...


Or if he's going to even back three years later to hear the advice...
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