#1
I've currently got a Fender Stratocaster Deluxe (which I'm completely in love with) but it seems to suffer in drop D and C. I'm looking into getting a new guitar which would be better in those tunings without sacrificing ease of play. I enjoy playing music produced by Crush 40 (if you haven't heard of them, any Sonic the Hedgehog nerd can tell you all about them) and their music involves a lot of drop tuning and my Strat always suffers quality in such cases. Any advice on what to look into that handles like a normal electric but sounds a little nicer in drop C or D?
#2
What's the problem? Are the strings floppy and not tight? Maybe a heavier gauge? I use a set of 12s on my drop tuner.
Also, this should be in the guitar gear section of the forum
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=26
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#3
So a couple of things to consider -

Yes, some guitars are better tailored for lower tunings. I have a Stratocaster - American Standard. It's a beautiful guitar, plays like a dream. But it does react VERY differently when I put a set of 10-56 on it for Drop C. It rattles more, even properly intonated and with the truss rod adjusted. Every guitar has a temperament, and that's just the nature of the Strat, as far as I'm concerned.

Strats are naturally 'buzzy' anyway. It's just the guitar. That's not to say you should have excessive buzz or flat notes/notes that fret out. But there is going to be some noise. It's the nature of a strat.

If you like to change gauges of strings and tunings with a minimal amount of setup, I prefer guitars with Floyds or double locking systems, and here's why - yes, they are a pain to setup for new tunings if you don't block the trem off and keep it decked. However, with a floyd, you don't have to mess with the nut in relation to your string gauges anywhere near as much, whereas with a fixed bridge, you're going to need to adjust the truss rod, adjust the intonation, and file the nut for a gauge of strings heavy enough to do Drop C or lower without tuning/pitch issues. Filing the nut is a big process most often best left to a professional or luthier to do. You'll also need to have it replaced if you want to go back to lighter gauges.

That being said, you CAN do a heavier gauge/lower tuning with most any guitar. It just takes the work to set it up.

Now, to actually answer your question, I prefer Ibanez. I've got an S2020x and a cheapo RG220B that I think cost $400 US new back in 98, and after years and years and having tuned from G# to Standard and anywhere in between, I have had zero issues with either.

But as a general rule for most standard (25.5") scale length guitars, I wouldn't go lighter than a .52 for a low C. If you're having issues in drop D, however, there's an issue with your setup. Drop D is just standard with the last string tuned down a step - the rest of the tuning is standard, so you might want to look at your truss rod and action height. If you're hearing a lot of sharp/flat notes while playing fretted, adjust your intonation as well. If none of that sounds familiar to you, take it to a local shop and have them do a full setup. You'll spend $50 or so and the difference in playability and tone will be astounding.

“We’re built of contradictions, all of us. It’s those opposing forces that give us strength, like an arch, each block pressing the next. Give me a man whose parts are all aligned in agreement and I’ll show you madness. We walk a narrow path, insanity to each side. A man without contradictions to balance him will soon veer off.”



silentfall.bandcamp.com
Last edited by an.interloper at Jul 21, 2016,
#4
I should add, My drop tune machine is a $200 Schecter Omen 6. It's great.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#5
If the advice above doesn't fix things for you, I recently picked up a prs se tremonti which would handle the job nicely.