#1
Alright, so I normally play in drop C, never had any problems. Sound has always been very rich and full. I decided to get a new guitar with a longer scale (Ibanez rgd320) so I could drop down a bit farther and fool around with some cannibal corpse.
I adjusted the truss rod, and the bridge to get my action where I feel is comfortable. String tension is good, not too loose or too tight (13 17 22 42 56 65). I set the pickup (Ibanez designed high-output VK Down Tunz) height to where I like it, basically everything is set up correctly.
The problem I'm having is that the sound is just... weak, at least compared to my Jackson in Drop C (which is sporting a set of Duncan blackouts). I've read that drop tunings like ab or g# will kill your sustain, is this why my guitar sounds like it does?
Im new to the forums so I hope I don't get put on blast for posting this in the wrong forum or w/e, but any advice would be appreciated
Last edited by ZacharyJames21 at May 25, 2014,
#2
Guitars were not meant to be tuned that low.

Is the sound weak, or is there no sustain or both?
What pickups are in it?
Did the guitar do this when tuned differently?
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#3
Pickups? Amp?

Most guitar amps, including the expensive spread, don't even come close to producing the fundamental of the low E on a standard six-string (it's at 82 Hz and most guitar amps are dropping off rapidly below 110Hz). Reproducing something eight half-steps below that certainly isn't going to happen; the best the amp can do is hint at it by reproducing some harmonics that indicate what note you're attempting.

You can get it in recording (assuming that the pickups are game) because you're not relying on a speaker's reproduction capabilities -- and usually stereo speakers/recording monitors or headphones are more capable than guitar amps. You can get it in live performance if you're running a preamp direct to the sound board. You can get it if you're using a full-range flat response speaker cabinet.

If you "set the pickup height to where I like it," and if that pickup height is close to the strings, then THAT may be what's killing your sustain. Pull those pickups back away from the strings. Magnetic flux will definitely bring your strings to a halt. Especially if this is a set of hot passives (I'm not familiar with those Ibanez pickups).
Last edited by dspellman at May 25, 2014,
#4
The pickups are Ibanez designed high-output VK Down Tunz pickups... aka stock pickups. The guitar is only $300 brand new so I was thinking the pickups probably aren't that great. The sustain only suffers when fretting on the 6th string.
The amp is a new bugera infinium 333 tube-combo. I love the amp, but the comment about amps dropping off at 110Hz intrigues me. Also, I played with the pickup height for quite a bit, took em down as low as they would go, and went up from there.
Im leaning towards some new pickups, maybe some actives. Appreciate the advice, do you guys think that changing the pickups would help?
#5
Quote by Robbgnarly
Guitars were not meant to be tuned that low.



That bottom note is 2/3rds of the way to being a bass. If you're going to play in that range, you should probably begin to think "bass reproduction." Downtuned guitars usually have longer scales (27", 28" and even 30"). Basses are generally in the 30" - 34" range (some longer, of course). There's a lot of overlap.

I've been working with bass, modeling (guitars and amp/cabs) and keyboards and I've been using full-range cabinets originally designed for bass players. These are full range speakers that will handle a 5-string bass' bottom string. Each has an Eminence Kappalite 3015LF 15" LF driver, a 6" mids driver and a 1" HF driver, and each cabinet will handle up to 900W each. I have four of these cabinets and a pair of 1500W power amps to push them (though I rarely need that much).

No open-back combo guitar amp is going to get within shouting distance of reproducing any of those frequencies.

Aside from the cabinet's capability to reproduce the notes, there's also the question of power. A speaker reproducing a note at the same volume, but an octave down, needs to push four times the air. Two octaves down, sixteen times the air. It takes a corresponding (and sometimes even greater) amount of power to do the work of pushing that air. And then there's Fletcher-Munson at work; the human ear doesn't hear as well at lower frequencies, so you may need to boost them even more.
Last edited by dspellman at May 25, 2014,
#6
G# is pretty low even for a 7, you should go 8 or consider other ways IMHO.
#7
It might help, that is a really low tuning.

plug your guitar into the FX loop return and see if it still sounds thin to you. the FX loop controls on the back of the amp will control the volume (along with your guitar controls). If you can tell a pretty big difference, it maybe a preamp tube.

Does this happen on all the channels or just one?

are you using any FX pedals or any pedal at all? if you are, take them out of the chain and see if it helps.

I don't know the issue, but these are some ways to narrow down what is going wrong
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#8
Quote by ZacharyJames21

The amp is a new bugera infinium 333 tube-combo. I love the amp, but the comment about amps dropping off at 110Hz intrigues me.


It's not really the amp part of the amp -- it's the speaker/speaker cabinet. Robbgnarly's comment is key. Guitars weren't meant to go that low and open back guitar amps can't. It's not even that you have to reproduce the fundamental; most people never hear a bass amp reproducing the fundamental on the lowest notes, either. They mostly hear low mids, and a lot of bass amp manufacturers simply boost those (takes less power, costs less money than actually reproducing the low notes). What's happening is that the mathematical series of harmonic frequencies "indicates" the fundamental tone. The problem is that guitar amps (well, the speakers) can't even reproduce that series of harmonics capably. They're very much designed for mids.

I have a set of KRK Rokit 8 recording monitors. 8" woofers, about 100W of power each. At a nearfield listening volume (medium-size room), they're actually capable of pretty low bass, and much better than what the Bugera's speakers can do. If you want real punch in the low end, KRK's got a 12" subwoofer (with about 240W of power) that will really kick bottom end. But that's not "live performance/gigging" or even noisy practice with a drummer -- it's a medium room setup, and you're already talking about 440W of power on hand. Thing to notice is the distribution of that power. 25W in each speaker is devoted to high mids and highs (up to around 30Khz). 75W in each speaker will take you down to 35hz adequately. But that subwoofer uses all 240W for the range from around 35Hz to 130Hz.
#9
You really expected an Ibanez to be able to keep a powerful sound with such low tuning. The only Ibanez with stock pickups which can do this is its 8 string model.
#10
And just for reference, that G#/Ab you've tuned for is about 52Hz, over an octave down from where your amp has already left the building.
#11
Quote by mp8andrade
You really expected an Ibanez to be able to keep a powerful sound with such low tuning. The only Ibanez with stock pickups which can do this is its 8 string model.


Again, I don't know these particular pickups, and the number of strings shouldn't matter. It's very possible that the guitar itself is producing that note. It's easy enough to find out -- just plug it into a tuner that tells you what note you're playing. If it says G# 1, Bob's your uncle. It's also possible to HEAR that note (just not from that amp). Grab any old Pod or other preamp that will handle a really good set of headphones. Then plug in the aforementioned set of really good headphones (*they* have to be capable of reproducing that note) and play. Four buck earbuds aren't going to do it, but a $100 set of recording studio standard over-ears (Sony 7506, AKG 240, Sennheiser 280, Beyerdynamic 770) will tell you what you need to know.
#12
Appreciate the advice guys, I will most likely tune this guitar to drop C, and put my Jackson model back in standard. I don't really have a need for an 8 string, as I was only temporarily experimenting with some death metal licks, and got the Ibanez on a trade that went in my favor.
#13
I'm pretty sure the problem must be with the pickups somewhere, either the way they're set up or they're just not suited to down-tuning. I played a Schecter Demon 7 in drop A through a Marshall MG15 - which seems to be kind of an infamous amp - and while the sound obviously left a lot to be desired, it could still sound heavy as **** with the right setup or pedals. While experimenting lower it pretty much only started sounding thin/weak around F or even E, so... It can't be the amp if you're doing this with a far better amp.

Also the only difference I see an 8-string could make would be the pickups being indeed suited for low notes better. With the right scale length and the right pickups there should be no difference whatsoever between a baritone 6-string tuned down and an 8, it's just counter-intuitive in every way.

I may be wrong somewhere in there, but logically I think this is the only conclusion. It's not uncommon to tune that low these days (in fact it's one of the more common 7-string tunings I've encountered), and it's not like everyone doing that has ridiculously good gear like Periphery.