#1
Hey guys!
I bought my first electric guitar 3 weeks ago.
When I bought it, it was tuned to Dropped C and thus I tried to learn Animal I have Become by Three Days Grace and Monster by Skillet. I got some very noticable buzzy sounds while playing and thought that they appeared because I'm not experienced but as it turned out, my guitar strings and settings are optimised for Standard-Tuning.. Which kinda sucks, because almost every song I like is in dropped d , d#, c or b.

However,
1) Is there any way to "convert" songs from an alternative tuning to standard tuning?
2) Do I get a lot of loss in quality if I play dropped d with standard strings and guitar settings? After All, I only have to change the tuning of the E-String.
I didn't quite like the sound when I changed to dropped d, but that may be due to my amp's settings. Most of the standard-tuning songs that I played were clean, so there wasn't a lot i could do wrong.
3) Which songs do you like to play in standard-tuning?
At the moment I mostly listen to Slipknot, Dope, Three Days Grace, Rise Against, Skillet, Saint Asonia, older linkin park songs and older sum 41 songs. But all of their tabs I found are in alternative tunings x.x
My gear: Ibanez RG421-WK and Fender Mustang I V2.
Last edited by juvion at May 22, 2016,
#2
If you play a lot of down tuned songs and don't like occasionally tuning up, just use a capo.

Then again, you can use the same fingerings and just play everything in standard/drop D.

Standard-like tunings like D tuning or C# tuning are not alternate tunings. So you could use the same fingerings and just play those songs in standard. It doesn't sound exactly the same, but many times playing something a whole step higher doesn't really sound that much different.

You could do the same with drop C, drop C#, whatever. Just tune your guitar to drop D and play the songs with the same fingerings. It will sound higher but it's really not that much higher.

This is only a problem if you are playing over backing tracks. That's when you need to tune your guitar to the same tuning the song was played in.

Another thing would be using standard tuning and just different fingerings. Though this doesn't work that well for songs that use a lot of open strings. For example if the original song is in D tuning and you are playing in standard, just play everything a whole step (two frets) lower.

Drop D should work with standard strings. If there is no fretbuzz and the 6th string doesn't feel too loose, it should work. I don't think it has a huge effect on the tone. It has a bigger effect on the feel. But I don't think the 6th string should feel too loose in drop D.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#3
Quote by juvion

1) Is there any way to "convert" songs from an alternative tuning to standard tuning?
2) Do I get a lot of loss in quality if I play dropped d with standard strings and guitar settings?



2. Second question first. No. Drop D is generally just fine with standard strings and guitar settings.

1. Yes, of course. But there are two elements at work here: The guitar tuning (the relationship of one string to another) and the song key (the musical key that the song is written in).

Let's say you have a singer who's used to singing a specific song in the key of A, and the main chords of the song are A, D, E. Everyone in an orchestra or a band is going to be playing those chords and/or doing solos based around those changes. This includes woodwinds and brass instruments, which are often "tuned" to specific keys, such as Eb and Bb. The singer doesn't care about any of that, so everyone plays their instrument in such a way that they're playing the same notes regardless of the tuning.

Same applies to a guitar tuning. The standard tuning for a six-string guitar doesn't mean you're playing everything in the KEY of E, just that the tuning is in E standard. You can still play the key of A for that singer. If he wants the song in the key of G, you switch to playing G, C, D chords. You don't need to retune the guitar; just play a different set of chords and notes. So you can play any key by transposing the music and changing the fingering you use on the guitar to match it.

Guitar TUNING, however, is a whole different thing. Some alternate tunings change the sound of the string relative to one another so that you get a chord when you strum all the strings open or simply barred. OpenG is an example. every string will be tuned to a G, B or D (D-G-D-G-B-D, for instance). You can still play the key of A for that singer using Open G tuning, and you can play most other keys while the guitar is in that tuning.

Downtunings and drop tunings exist because it's easier to play some power chords with just a finger or two, especially at the bottom end. You can still play Mary Had A Little Lamb in the key of C on a down/drop-tuned guitar right along with everyone else. You just have to find and play those chords/notes on that guitar.
#4
Side note:

Constantly changing guitar *tunings* on most guitars can be a PIA.

You need to consider the scale of the guitar, the string choice for the tuning, accommodations for trems (particularly tough if it's a double locking trem like a Floyd) and more. Traditionally, guitarists have had an array of guitars, each tuned a specific way, to deal with this.

I use a Line 6 Variax guitar for a lot of this, rather than bouncing around between guitars. The guitar itself is always physically tuned to E Standard (let's say). The electronics in the guitar are capable of making what comes out of the amp for each string sound completely different than what the guitar sounds like in air. I can dial in a Drop B, for example, and play the guitar exactly as if I had a guitar tuned specifically to that. If you're hearing the guitar in air, it will sound confusingly bad. But if you listen to what's coming out of the amp (or headphones), it's all right-on-the-money Drop B. Coolest thing in the world.

And I can instantly change to Drop D or E standard or anything within an octave up or down from which each string is *actually* tuned and that's what will come out of the amp. No need to retune the guitar, no need to swap out the guitar for one that's specifically tuned. There are metal songwriters who are actually writing songs that require a different guitar tuning three or four times in the same song, and you need a Variax to play them.

There's more. Let's say you're used to playing a song a certain way and learned it in a certain key to match the record. Complicated solos and everything. And one day a singer walks in who can't sing it in that key because he can't hit the high notes the original singer could. So he turns around and says, "I need you to play that whole song three notes lower." And that's going to screw up everything about how you play the song. With the Variax, you rotate the knob, instantly change to a tuning three notes lower and play it *exactly* as you worked it out. What comes out of the amp is three notes lower. Also very cool.
#5
^ Good points.

Yeah, the main thing here is note relationships. As long as those stay the same, it doesn't really matter what key you play the song in (unless you are playing over a backing track). You can play the same song in different keys and it will still sound like the same song.

If you want to play it in the original key but in a different tuning, you need to use different fingerings. But remember that a C is a C in every tuning. So if the song uses a progression like C-F-G-C and you want to play it in standard tuning, find where C is in standard tuning. If you then want to play the same song in another tuning, find where C is in that tuning. It's really not any more complex than that, unless you are using an actual alternate tuning (like an open tuning or something like that - any tuning that doesn't have the same intervals between the strings as standard tuning).

Yeah, if you only have one guitar and need to change between tunings often, something like Line 6 Variax would be a good idea. Doing that on one regular guitar with one set of strings is really not going to work that well.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#6
Quote by dspellman

There's more. Let's say you're used to playing a song a certain way and learned it in a certain key to match the record. Complicated solos and everything. And one day a singer walks in who can't sing it in that key because he can't hit the high notes the original singer could. So he turns around and says, "I need you to play that whole song three notes lower." And that's going to screw up everything about how you play the song. With the Variax, you rotate the knob, instantly change to a tuning three notes lower and play it *exactly* as you worked it out. What comes out of the amp is three notes lower. Also very cool.


Digitech Drop pedal works great for this kind of stuff too.
#7
In that case, I'll learn songs in Dropped D and Standard Tuning at the beginning and buy a second guitar for a different tuning when I am more experienced.
If it is okay to play in Drop D with Standard Settings, my library of playable songs that I like, is already big enough for some time
Found some tabs for Still Waiting by SUM 41 in Standard Tuning, which will be the first song that I'll try to learn completely
Thanks guys, you rock!
#8
Quote by JackovSlayer
Digitech Drop pedal works great for this kind of stuff too.


The Digitech Drop (and other similar) pedals will drop your current tuning. You can go from a Drop D to a Drop B, for example.

What they can't do is change to a different tuning (to a Baritone from Drop A or Blues G, for example). Some will also have issues "tracking," though I think the Digitech is pretty decent in that regard.
#9
Quote by dspellman
The Digitech Drop (and other similar) pedals will drop your current tuning. You can go from a Drop D to a Drop B, for example.

What they can't do is change to a different tuning (to a Baritone from Drop A or Blues G, for example). Some will also have issues "tracking," though I think the Digitech is pretty decent in that regard.


True. But it seems to me that Drop would work pretty good for OP, since he mostly plays just standard/drop tunings, with a guitar in standard tuning and the posibility to just drop the lowest string a step down when needed, with Drop he could cover all his needs.

I've also recorded with Drop and honestly I haven't noticed any tracking issues or latency, just maybe a bit less sustain.
#10
Hmm, the Digitech Drop Pedal may be an option in the future.
But it'll take some time until I get to that point
Another quick question:
I kinda feel dumb for asking something trivial like that but..
Is it normal that my E-String is a lot harder to press down than every other string?
I don't know how to properly explain it..
When I play the other strings, I can see them moving that fast that it almost looks like there are 2 strings instead of 1 without putting a lot effort into it. But when I play the E-String, it almost looks like it doesn't move at all.
Is that normal?
However, I do get a sound but as a newbie, I'm not really sure whether it sounds like it should.
#12
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Are you asking whether there is an app that will take a chord or scale shape from whatever tuning you are currently in, and work out what the new shape will be in some other tuning?


I wanted to know whether there is a method to get the same sound with a different tuning if I play on a specific higher / lower fret. (For example to get the Sound from Fret 2 on the E string in Standard Tuning if I change to Drop D)
But that question has already been answered
Last edited by juvion at May 24, 2016,
#13
Why don't you just get thicker strings and have a set up done? I don't know where you bought your guitar, but most places will do an initial setup for free unless you got it at a pawn shop or something.
#14
Quote by juvion
I wanted to know whether there is a method to get the same sound with a different tuning if I play on a specific higher / lower fret. (For example to get the Sound from Fret 2 on the E string in Standard Tuning if I change to Drop D)
But that question has already been answered


I've got just the thing, but it's not on sale yet. But send me a PM, with your email.
#15
Quote by cujohnston
Why don't you just get thicker strings and have a set up done? I don't know where you bought your guitar, but most places will do an initial setup for free unless you got it at a pawn shop or something.


That was my initial plan but they told me that I'd have to pay 50 to 70 euros for a setup, even after telling them that I bought the guitar (at that time) 2 weeks ago. :l (Musicstore in Cologne, Germany)
#16
Quote by juvion
That was my initial plan but they told me that I'd have to pay 50 to 70 euros for a setup, even after telling them that I bought the guitar (at that time) 2 weeks ago. :l (Musicstore in Cologne, Germany)


That's pretty lame considering you spent a good bit of money in their store; guitars aren't exactly cheap. I'd ask for a manager, especially if they didn't even offer to set it up when you first purchased it. New guitars almost always need a setup because there's no way for the manufacturer to know who is going to be playing it or what style of music they're going to use it for. Hell, for the Jackson I just got I paid an extra $30 and I get free repairs and 4 setups a year for the next two years. They even adjusted the truss rod before I ever paid for it.

The good news is that if you have some Allen wrenches and screw drivers it's not too hard to do yourself. Look for tutorials online and on YouTube. It will be a pain in the ass, and there will be some trial and error. I wouldn't give those people any more of my money, though. It's your Ibanez, right? If it has a locking system you at least won't have to mess with the nut (which takes someone who knows what they're doing). If you decide to put thicker strings on yourself, change one string at a time and alternate sides (I.e. change the low e, then change the high e, etc.). It will save you some headache.

If you want to play that type of music in that tuning, then that is the way to go. There is no point in buying stupid pedals or trying to rearrange songs when you already seem to know what you want. Not to mention that you will never get the same tone (or the same notes) by trying to play drop tuning songs in standard tuning...
#17
Quote by juvion
I wanted to know whether there is a method to get the same sound with a different tuning if I play on a specific higher / lower fret. (For example to get the Sound from Fret 2 on the E string in Standard Tuning if I change to Drop D)
But that question has already been answered
I've read this entire thread, (twice in some spots), and I'm still not completely sure you have the difference down between, "drop D", and "D Standard".

The advice is a bit inconsistent as well, I expect for the same reason. For example:
Quote by cujohnston
Why don't you just get thicker strings and have a set up done? I don't know where you bought your guitar, but most places will do an initial setup for free unless you got it at a pawn shop or something.
Get a setup done is great advice. "Get heavier strings", is only, (maybe), necessary, if you are tuning to D standard, which is tuning ALL the strings down a whole tone. That would be D, G, C, F, Bb, D, low to high.

So first, what is this "mystery guitar"? What is its scale length? And very importantly, what gauge strings are on it? For example, Ibanez ships with "electric lights", which are .009 to .042. (I think it's pretty sleazy because it makes the guitar seem easier to play than it would with a more standard string set). In any case, you can't really expect to be able to carry a D standard tuning with electric lights.

That would at least require "electric regular" (010 to .046), if not even a step heavier with a short scale guitar. "Short scale" = 24.75" (you can convert that to centimeters).

[quote="juvion...[ "]....I kinda feel dumb for asking something trivial like that but..
Is it normal that my E-String is a lot harder to press down than every other string?
I don't know how to properly explain it..
When I play the other strings, I can see them moving that fast that it almost looks like there are 2 strings instead of 1 without putting a lot effort into it. But when I play the E-String, it almost looks like it doesn't move at all.
Is that normal? ....[ ]....
And lastly, which f****ing "E string" are you talking about. You have 2, right? The "E-6" (bass), and the e-1 (treble). if it's the high E (e-1), it simply doesn't have as much "excursion", because it vibrates much faster than the others. As for it being "harder to play", is it because you don't have callouses on your fingers yet, (high E), or because the guitar's "action is too high"? (Mostly the E-6, but could be the e-1 as well.

So,

1: Are we talking about "drop D" (*), or "D standard" tuning? To go from D standard to E standard requires a 15.00 Euro capo, not a 1000.00 Euro modeling guitar.

2: What gauge are the strings on your guitar NOW?

3: Which "E string" are you talking about?


(*) I know a lot of metal bands use lowered STANDARD tunings." (But yes, some "drop tunings as well). Dropped D", leaves the guitar in E standard, save for the E-6 string tuned to D. It's at most useful in the key of D, (major or minor), to set up an open string "drone" on that lowered string, when you're playing the tonic chord. (D).
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 27, 2016,
#18
Quote by Captaincranky
I've read this entire thread, (twice in some spots), and I'm still not completely sure you have the difference down between, "drop D", and "D Standard".
So first, what is this "mystery guitar"? What is its scale length? And very importantly, what gauge strings are on it? For example, Ibanez ships with "electric lights", which are .009 to .042. (I think it's pretty sleazy because it makes the guitar seem easier to play than it would with a more standard string set). In any case, you can't really expect to be able to carry a D standard tuning with electric lights.
That would at least require "electric regular" (010 to .046), if not even a step heavier with a short scale guitar. "Short scale" = 24.75" (you can convert that to centimeters).

And lastly, which f****ing "E string" are you talking about. You have 2, right? The "E-6" (bass), and the e-1 (treble). if it's the high E (e-1), it simply doesn't have as much "excursion", because it vibrates much faster than the others. As for it being "harder to play", is it because you don't have callouses on your fingers yet, (high E), or because the guitar's "action is too high"? (Mostly the E-6, but could be the e-1 as well.

So,

1: Are we talking about "drop D" (*), or "D standard" tuning? To go from D standard to E standard requires a 15.00 Euro capo, not a 1000.00 Euro modeling guitar.

Did I write anything about D Standard? If I did, I'm sorry. I meant Drop D (DADGBE), not D Standard (DGCFAD)

2: What gauge are the strings on your guitar NOW?

The scale length is 25.5". If Ibanez guitars ship with electric lights, I will probably have them.
However, I did write the name of that guitar in order to make it able to easily research everything, because I personally didn't have a clue about which information you needed and which you don't.
The ibanez website contains the specs: http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/eg_page15.php?year=2015&area_id=4&cat_id=1&series_id=1&data_id=150&color=CL01

3: Which "E string" are you talking about?

I meant the bass E-6 string. When I learned to read tabs, E was used for the bass string, while e was used for the treble string. I assumed that this is the usual way to call them, sorry if it wasn't clear enough.
It feels like the action is too high, though I'm note sure whether that highly increased action in comparison to the other strings is intended or there really is a wrong setup.

Quote by cujohnston
That's pretty lame considering you spent a good bit of money in their store; guitars aren't exactly cheap. I'd ask for a manager, especially if they didn't even offer to set it up when you first purchased it. New guitars almost always need a setup because there's no way for the manufacturer to know who is going to be playing it or what style of music they're going to use it for. Hell, for the Jackson I just got I paid an extra $30 and I get free repairs and 4 setups a year for the next two years. They even adjusted the truss rod before I ever paid for it.

(...)


I don't think that I can still do that after almost 4 weeks :/
My best friend has a cousin who is more experienced, I'll probably visit him in a few weeks to let him check the guitar. He lives a few hours away though, that's why I didn't already do it.
#19
You were getting answer which were more applicable to D standard tuning, particularly about string gauge, which is why I asked. (again it seems)

Actually, strings are referred to with both the number and letter. It makes sense to do so when posting, as capitalization is frequently missed. (Look at all the small "i"s present, when "I" is always capitalized as a 1st person pronoun in English. I figure people are simply too lazy to push the shift button, but I digress).

So, "E-6 & e-1", is what we're hoping for. (unless I missed that as well).

I can't figure out the allure of "drop D" tuning anyway. But, I'm a simple man with simple tastes, and it really screws up the fingering of all the "cowboy chords". (open chords) If everything you play is at position, I suppose it's fine.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube about setup. You should watch any number of them until you find one which explains it best, for you.

Setting up an electric is easy, much easier than setting up an acoustic. Simply because, you get a "do-over" at every step. It's definitely not worth the money you're being asked for the work. Remind me never to by a guitar in Germany...

I have an Ibanez "Art-100", and it did indeed come with "electric lights"(.009 to .042). I couldn't get anything but noise and slightly bent off pitch notes out of it. But, I normally play the acoustic 6 and 12 strings, which pretty much serves to explain my heavy handed approach to that electric.

Personally, though, (and this is nothing more than a "IMHO"), I don't think you should string lighter than electric regular, (.010 to .046). This assumes you want good clean tones though, which regular strings deliver better than lights. With a crap load of gain, it probably doesn't matter.

The higher tension of the .046 E-6, would allow you to drop the action a bit without buzzing.

One caution though, high fretting tension near the top nut, indicates the nut slots are not cut deep enough. This is a definite, "don't try this at home kids", unless you have the correct files, and feeler gauges, as this is the one place in an electric setup, you DON"T get a do-over>