Hello all!

I have been playing mostly metal for approximately 14 years. My guitar is an LTD EC-401, usually tuned to CGCFAD with gauge 10-52. I'm comfortable with this setup, but lately I have started experiencing with low tuned death metal riffs (a great example is Aborted with tracks like Cadaverous Banquet and Whoremageddon). Now the problem is this. Even with gauge 52 on the lower E-string. I feel i can't drop it any lower than a C because then the string is all over the place and I feel that when I play, it's just a gamble if it will sound clean or not because the string isn't tight enough. Now I see that alot of bands play on six string guitars tuned all the way down to A. How can you have tight strings with this setup? I don't believe that just increasing thickness to 56 would help alot or am I wrong? I've also read about baritone guitars but how big is the difference? I know a 7 string would probably be the best choice, but is it at all possible to have the same setup on a 6 string?

If anyone has experienced the same and found a setup that suits this playstyle, please share your thoughts.

Thanks in advance, and happy new year to all!
Use heavier strings. Simple as that.

This calculator is great for determining the gauge of strings you'll need for a particular scale length and a particular tuning.


Compare the tension of a set of 10's in E standard with your guitar to the tension of whatever gauge of strings you'll consider using for the tuning you want and adjust the string gauge so that all the strings are similar in tension to a set of 10's in E standard. That'll giv you a ballpark of what you need. But if you ask me, you want to go a but higher tension than that.
I've also read about baritone guitars but how big is the difference?

Depends on the scale length of the particular baritone guitar you're talking about. There isn't one set 'baritone' scale length. And some guitars that consensus would call 'baritone' come with multiscale necks.

Generally baritone guitars handle low tunings a lot better than guitars with standard scale lengths. You don't need such massive strings to achieve such low tunings and they handle the heavier gauge strings better in general. They tend to have more definition in the lows as the lengthened scale allows more freedom for the strings to reproduce a wider spectrum of frequencies as they vibrate. This is why concert grand pianos have such a better sounding low end than a baby grand.
I know a 7 string would probably be the best choice, but is it at all possible to have the same setup on a 6 string?

Yes. Many bands do it and they get along with it just fine. But A standard on a 24.75" scale is far from ideal.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou

Quote by Axelfox
Thanks for the quick and informative response! I will check out the calculator. So if i understand correctly, the baritone doesn't only sound more defined in the low end, but it also doesn't require the thickness which a normal scaled guitar does in regards to tightness? If so, are you able to give a general recommendation in both neck scale and string gauge for a baritone tuned in B, which would feel as tight as standard 10-46 E-tuned guitar? Gauge is subjective and needs to be experiemented with of course but I would really have no clues what scale/length I would go for if I were to buy a baritone model.
Baritone guitars are generally in the 27-28.65" scale range. There are a *wide* range of tunings that can be used, and no, you don't necessarily need thicker gauge strings for lower tunings. They're generally cleaner sounding in the lower end for the same reason that grand pianos are cleaner sounding in the lower end than spinets -- greater string length.

I use Variax guitars to experiment with various tunings, including drop tunings. No change in string tension is required (the guitar stays tuned to e standard or any other comfortable tuning). The factory settings will let you downtune (both down and drop tunings) down to Baritone, and you're able to drop any single string up to an octave (bass range) below its base tuning. I use JTV89Fs for two reasons: one, I'm too lazy to engage in the fuckwithage of tweaking string gauges, putting larger holes in tuners, sawing out wider slots in nuts and bridges, and two, it makes no sense for me to have half a dozen guitars sitting around just so that I can play a different tuning now and again. YMMV.