#1
Hey guys, I'm looking to play some stuff from the above mentioned bands. I was just wondering what string gauges you would suggest for them? I'm not a professional musician by any means, but I do play in a cover band so I've currently got 3 electrics and an acoustic.

My main guitar is a JP6 which basically lives in E-standard/Drop D/Eb, strung with Ernie Ball 09-42 strings
I have two other guitars, an Ibanez 652FX and a PRS SE Custom 24 with the trem blocked.

My question is what gauge strings to use on those two guitars to be able to play the stuff from the bands I mentioned? Like I said, I'm limited financially so I can't get a guitar for every tuning.
I'm thinking of using EBMM Not-Even-Slinkys 12-56 on the Ibanez and Dunlop Heavy Core 11-50 on the PRS SE. Will this let me play the tunings below without the strings being all floppy?

Here are the tunings for the bands I mentioned:

Periphery:
Open Cadd9 (CGCEGD) - "Scarlet"
D standard with Drop A - "The Bad Thing"
AGCFAD - "Alpha"
Bb Drop Ab - "Icarus Lives"
D Drop C - "Heavy Heart", "Luck As Constant" "Pale Aura"

Tremonti/Alter Bridge:
C# Drop B
C# Standard
D Standard
Open B
Eb Drop Db
Bb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb

Slipknot:
B Drop A

Chevelle:
C Drop Bb

Your help would be very much appreciated!
#2
Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkys are worth a try

Remember you will need to adjust the nut slots for the larger gauge strings, or you will have lots of tuning stability issues
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#3
That's a pretty wide range of tunings. In drop C, 12-56 will be very tight compared to 9-42. Also, while switching tunings regularly on a particular guitar isn't in any way impossible, if the change is more than about a step you'll need to adjust intonation, which is a bit of a nuisance, and possibly action.
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#4
^ yeah. what you need are more guitars
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#5
I use 11-56 in C and 10-52 in Standard. I think 12-56 would work just fine for C. But they're right you are much better off having at least a second guitar. (For instance my LP standard stays in Standard E and my Studio stays in Drop C with the string gauges I mentioned)
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#6
It's doable to a certain extent with two guitars, except the AGCFAD Periphery tuning, which will be hard to do properly without a guitar dedicated to it - the 10 semitones distance between the two bottom strings means it's pretty much impossible to get any reasonable tension balance with a regular set of strings. You'll either have five really tight high strings, or a really floppy sixth. (The Bad Thing is also in AGCFAD btw, same as Alpha and Graveless)

Something like a 12-56 set should handle B, C and drop C just fine, and be barely passable for drop A (the low A will be a bit loose, but still playable). I'm guessing you don't like too much tension based on the fact you use a 9-42 set even for Eb, so a 10-50 set should be able to handle everything below E down to C#. It will be a bit tighter in E, though.

So I think that's what I'd do if I wanted to handle these tunings.
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#8
Actually I found "in-between" tunings like C# or drop C to be the biggest annoyance when I had just a 7-string, it feels weird whichever way I approach it. Wouldn't be a bad idea to handle both E standard/similar stuff (if you like the feel, I found playing 6-string songs on a 7 more uncomfortable than expected, even though it's not actually difficult) and B/drop A, but it's really not something I'd consider an option for lower 6-string tunings. Although it could just be personal preference.
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#9
Thanks a bunch for the advice guys, this really helped a lot.

@TheLiberation: I appreciate the detailed advice dude. I do use 9-42s but more out of necessity than preference -- the Eb tuning does feel floppy, so I'm thinking of switching to 10-50s for my E-standard/Drop D guitar.

So here's what I'm thinking:
13-72 EB Slinky Baritone strings for Drop A
12-56 EB Not Even Slinky for B, C, Drop C
10-50 EB Power Slinky or 11-56 D'Addario NYXL for Eb to C# (I've heard that the latter is what Misha, Jake and Mark's signature guitars come with installed and what they use for their drop C tunings as well)

That's 3 guitars for downtuning + 1 guitar for E standard. Will this be enough to play everything I mentioned convincingly?

I did some research on Slipknot and I read a Guitar World interview with Jim Root where he uses EB strings with custom gauges for Drop A songs (12-64 gauge, instead of a 58 for the lowest string)

Lastly, I'm a little concerned about the 13-72 strings; should I get a baritone guitar it, for will they work fine on a 25.5 inch scale? Do I really need to use strings that heavy for Drop A?
Last edited by pfizer at Aug 11, 2015,
#10
You're definitely gonna want some heavier strings for playing stuff by those bands. I'd suggest 52 gauge or higher.
#11
Quote by pfizer


Lastly, I'm a little concerned about the 13-72 strings; should I get a baritone guitar it, for will they work fine on a 25.5 inch scale? Do I really need to use strings that heavy for Drop A?


It would definitely play better with a longer scale length, like either a 6 string baritone or a 7 string. After all, B Standard is the standard for both baritone sixers and seven strings, and Drop A is the Drop D of B Standard.

As for whether you need em that heavy, maybe not THAT heavy, but you do need some heft for a reasonable amount of tension tuned that low. Especially playing heavy and aggressive music, where a floppy low string seriously sounds like shit. A lot of big brand production 7 stringers come with 10-56 sets stock, but I don't think I know any 7 string player who doesn't prefer at least a little heavier than that. Personally, I think 56 is a bit too light, even for a low B, let alone A. I'd go at least 60 for Drop A.

I use 10-52 for D Standard and sometimes Drop C, but I've been using the same 10-52s for Eb lately, and I'm thinking I like more tension. Might try going 56 for D/Drop C.
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#12
If you have the ability to buy single strings from your local music store, it may be worth getting a set of something like 10-52s and then discarding the 6th string and picking up a 64 to replace it for use on the AGCFAD guitar. I know this will be a little more expensive but it would be an easy way of ensuring you get the tension you want on the low A.

FWIW I use EB Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms for my D-standard/Drop-C stuff, and Power Slinkies for E-standard/Drop D. When I did a lot of Drop B stuff I was considering using a bass string for the Low B but never ended up going through with it.
#13
I think 13-72 is a pretty sensible gauge for drop A, assuming you don't feel too attached to the low tension of 9s in standard tuning, but if you find you want something a bit looser it could be worth looking at some D'Addario sets; they have a somewhat wider choice of guitar strings than Ernie Ball and when you're trying to find the perfect set for downtuning that can make all the difference.

For convenience I recommend you take a look at stringtensionpro.com; It's D'Addario's tool but it works just as well for Ernie Ball strings. It tells you the tension of each string in a set in a particular scale length and tuning, and lets you experiment with different gauges, as it were. Just quite useful for comparing the feel of various string gauges without the necessity of experimentation (not that experimentation is a bad thing, but time and money aren't always so abundant as all that).

Quote by Dan_5893
When I did a lot of Drop B stuff I was considering using a bass string for the Low B but never ended up going through with it.

I think there are relatively few guitars where this wouldn't throw up an issue with the size of the ball end, but then most guitars will take a bit of convincing to receive string gauges as high as .070.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 12, 2015,
#14
The other two sets should be perfect, but 13-72 seems way overkill for drop A imo, the 72 will be absurdly tight. Some people like that, but personally I find too tight strings sound really dull, and it's really hard to get an aggressive, crunchy palm-muted sound out of them. Also, I'm 95% sure you'd have to drill out the hole of the lowest string or unwind it to fit the 72 in there in a regular 6-string.

I think this set should do the trick pretty OK: http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID=3769&productid=40&productname=EXL158_Nickel_Wound__Baritone_Light__13_62 . Personally I use a 9-42 set + 62 for drop A on a 7-string with 26,5" scale, and I find it absolutely perfect. If you'd like to do AGCFAD however, I don't think there is a different option than get a regular 11-48 pack or so, and replace the lowest string with a 62/64/66.
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#15
Quote by TheLiberation
The other two sets should be perfect, but 13-72 seems way overkill for drop A imo, the 72 will be absurdly tight.

The 72 will be fine - the whole-step drop is significant and it'll only be a few lb tighter than a 42 in standard. However, what I apparently failed to think about before are the 3rd to 5th strings, which will all go well north of 20lb.

13-62 would probably be better across the board, but I do think you might want to get a single and bump the lowest string up to 66 or 68, since 62 would probably be noticeably looser than the other strings. I'm just looking at this with calculated tensions, though, so it's probably best to go with 13-62 and play it and see how it feels.

My views on string gauge are somewhat skewed anyway, since I'm a hopelessly heavy-handed player who pretty much always wants heavier low strings to compensate for my sloppy picking
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#16
Well, I'm the other way around and I like lighter strings mostly because of the bright attack and easier playing. Generally from my experiments, 62 is absolutely perfect for A on a 26,5" scale, and 64 was a bit too stiff and dull-sounding. The scale length is a bit shorter in this case, though, and this is heavily preference-based. I've noticed I like my strings lighter than most metal ERG or downtuning players so probably it's best for the OP to look at what the two of us say and go in-between

I do agree with the point that there's likely to be a significant tension difference, though, it's just that it's impossible to balance without single strings. With a single set it will be most likely hard to find something better than the 13-62, or maybe 14-68 for more tension. But if single strings are an option, a 12-gauge set with 64/66 on the bottom would be most likely perfect.
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#17
Wow, thank you all for the great advice! I'm beginning to get some idea about what string gauges I'm going to use for my tuning problems.

On a final side note, any opinions on the GHS GBZW 10-60 set? I've heard some pretty good reviews from a couple of friends of mine. I'm thinking of using it for D-tuning, C standard and maybe try to see if it can handle Drop A songs, although I'll probably wind up dedicating a guitar for that single tuning with a custom 11-62 set.
#18
About to build a guitar and tune it in C standard. I bought Dean Markley Blue Steel 12-54 strings. Very happy with the 9-42 I always use with E standard.
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