I own one guitar but the songs I am trying to learn have different tunings such as standard, tuned down 1/2 a step or drop B tuning etc. If I try to change tuning on my guitar for each song it ruins my strings very fast and breaks within a week. How do guitarists who play songs in different tuning approach this? Another guitar would be the easiest option but at present I cannot afford it.

EDIT: Are some songs written in Eb just to help the vocalist hit the notes easily?
Last edited by 40xxx04 at Jun 30, 2016,
You really only have a couple of options. Either way, pick a tuning and stick with it. If you only have one guitar that is what I would suggest. If you can't buy another guitar then really the only thing I can suggest is to try and shift the songs up to something near whatever tuning you are using. So if you usually play in E and you want to play a song in drop B, instead play it in drop D. If you want to learn something in C# standard, play it in E standard instead.

Anyway, moving from E to drop B is a big difference. Usually the guitar would need heavier gauge strings, to be intonated and possibly have the truss rod adjusted when you do this. Plenty of guys will frequently drop the low E to a D and back, which isn't going to cause any issues, but you can't expect to go down to B without any issues.
Random3 That's what I have been trying to do. I have been playing the songs in E standard which are supposed to be in tuning BADGBE. It sounds very close but just misses the thickness of the drop tuned E string. Is this okay to do or should I tune my guitar to Drop D instead to sound more accurate?
Not entirely sure what you mean.

BADGBE isn't going to do what you want it to do. That will only work with some very specific songs, and even then you are going to have what I assume is around a 0.46 gauge string tuned to a low B which is going to be borderline unplayable, not to mention the intonation and tuning stability.

What I was suggesting is tune the guitar to drop D (DADGBE) and then play the song exactly how it is supposed to be played in drop B. The result is 1 1/2 steps higher than the original so you can't play along with the original song or anything, but you will be able to actually learn the song and play it to a drum track, for example.

One other alternative which may or may not be practical is to use a capo. I used to have my guitar tuned to C (I think) and then used a capo to play Metallica songs in E. This isn't exactly the most practical way to do it and it requires you to re-learn the fretboard somewhat as the fret markers are going to be off) but it can be done.
What I was trying to say is I play certain songs in E standard which are originally written in BADGBE tuning. It sounds largely accurate. I was just wondering if it is an 'okay' thing to do.
I wouldn't have thought that would work at all.

If the original song plays, for example, a chord with the root on the 4th fret on the low B that would be a D#. If you play the same shape with the low B tuned to an E you are playing a G#. For some chords and keys this might sound ok but for the most part I would have thought it would sound dissonant and horrible because effectively you are playing the song with one string 5 half steps out of tune.
If you use a pc to practice you can change the pitch of a song with an editor like audacity.
http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/change_pitch.html. So every open tuning can be changed to E Standard and every drop tuning to D Drop.
Of course when you make large pitch changes, the song sounds a little weird, but you can practice over it.
The same thing is possible for tabs in GuitarPro, in the tuning section. (Don't forget to change tuning of all organs)
Last edited by damdim at Jul 3, 2016,
Just for clarification, when you say drop b, do you mean BADGBE (dropping only the low e) or BF#BEG#C# (drop d down 1 1/2 steps)? If the former, I see no way to play those songs in drop d and have them resemble the originals.
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