#1
I'm trying to play The Future by Luca Stricagnoli and it includes tapping the 12th fret and 19th fret harmonics with the index finger and I dont know whether a lower or a higher string action will help the harmonics sound stronger and be easier to play. I have my acoustuc guitar setup really low now but because I detune my guitar to CGCDGC it buzzes like hell if im doing anyting other than tapping. A higher string height and my fingers start cramping. Any advice?
#2
The first thing you need to consider is the fact you need more than one guitar, if you want to do all the tapping tricks and drop tuning. That said.....

If you raise the action, your guitar's intonation will go further off than it most likely already is, so high on the fret board. With the pitch being off over the tapping points, it seems to me obvious, the the harmonics wouldn't ring as well.

So, for that situation the solution seems to suggest heavier strings are in order, with the action set low.

I kinda do see an issue should you decide to tune the guitar back up to concert pitch, it will be somewhat harder to fret with heavier strings, everything else being equal.

First of all, you didn't tell us what strings are on the guitar now, so it's pretty difficult to make any recommendations.

Although, I'm getting the impression that you aren't a heavy player. Thus, I'm sticking to my story that you need another guitar to tune at concert pitch, and it needs to be strung exclusively for that purpose. My point being,strings suitable for very low action at very low tunings, are going to be a bear for you to play at standard pitch.

FWIW, the old gypsy master, Carlos Montoya, was often accused of, "slack tuning" his guitars so he could play faster.

I toy with 12 strings, so I'm quite familiar with all the issues affecting you. Tune down, they buzz. Tune up, they're more than a bear to play. Plus, the intonation is terrible, since you have strings of 2 different gauges in the same string pair. Accordingly, they go out of tune at different rates when fretted together.
#3
At that tuning, personally I'd just tell you to get a baritone guitar and if necessary use a capo to get to the pitch you want. That way you'll fix most problems you're having to worry about right now, and you'll still be able to play at the range you're trying to. If you're insisting on the drop tuning, at some point you'll need to worry about whether your current instrument is even suited for such a thing.

Given that you'll either need heavier strings to cope with the difference in tuning with respects to playability, or deal with an abhorrent setup, there are going to be some problems or compromises you'll need to address. While I am not a luthier, I can imagine there being some constructional differences between a normal guitar and a baritone in the same way a 12-string is reinforced, to deal with that difference in tension (a total set putting about 35 lbs more in tension on the guitar on average, so that's roughly two extra strings) so it doesn't implode on itself.

Remember that you may be lowering the tension on your regular strings, not so for baritones. If you insist on using normal strings and a normal guitar in a way its not built for, well... are you familiar with the expression 'throwing a sausage in an alleyway'? I hope you like loose women, as that what she'll feel like when playing.

And to add to that aside, Carlos Montoya has been accused and criticized of a quite a few things I believe. Though detuning, then raising the pitch by use of capo to have less tension on the strings isn't that uncommon, if I remember correctly his taking liberties with the rhythmical structures in flamenco was what cost him worst.
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
UG's Flamenco Club
Last edited by FretboardToAsh at Sep 22, 2016,
#4
Oops, should have mentioned what strings Im using...
I'm playing a Taylor 114ce with Elixir polyweb strings of string gauge .11

So if I'm going for a lower action and tuning without losing too much tension I need to either use a lower string gauge or get a baritone instead?
#5
Quote by nullifiedfree
Oops, should have mentioned what strings Im using...
I'm playing a Taylor 114ce with Elixir polyweb strings of string gauge .11

So if I'm going for a lower action and tuning without losing too much tension I need to either use a heavier string gauge or get a baritone instead?
#6
nullifiedfree Why did you quote yourself, if you don't mind me asking?

YES! You need at the very minimum .012's, (I don't think they would be stout enough), and likely .013's, (medium gauge). And before I forget, a light touch as well at that very low tuning.

.011's have about 150 lbs of tension at concert pitch, .013's have about 185 lbs. The differential from the down tuning should put them on par with the .011`'s, maybe even a bit less. Thus, the guitar would take around the same finger pressure to fret.