#1
I doubt it's possible but I figured I would ask. Is there an effect pedal or any device that will allow your guitar to get the sound of a different tuning without actually changing your tuning? For instance, if I want to leave my guitar in standard tuning, since most of what I play is in standard, but occasionally want to change to open G tuning, is there a pedal or something that you can hit that changes the string sound to that without adjusting the tuning? I only ask because I change tunings a lot of break strings doing it and pisses me off....
#2
I believe there is, digitech make one. I would not recommend it as it could sound a bit un-natural,  I would try to buy a second guitar instead of a pitch changing pedal. To be fair, I saw the pedal but not heard it.
#3
Variax guitars can do this, and they do it well. 
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#4
They do exist, but they often have problems with latency and aliasing that makes the guitar sound synthesised and thus useless for the purpose of sounding exactly like a downtuned guitar. Unless you get one of the really expensive units, you're better off just downtuning your guitar. Or buying multiple guitars for different tunings.
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#5
I can guarantee that they will not meet your expectations, much better to buy a cheap second guitar for the job instead.
#6
The only practical means to do this on-demand is a Variax. There are pedals that can shift everything down (or up) a given number of semitones but none that can imitate any tuning that isn't a transposition of what your guitar's tuned to in the first place. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's impossible, but it's not feasible at present with a mono signal from a conventional pickup.
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#7
Quote by Mincer
Variax guitars can do this, and they do it well. 

Yeah they do.
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Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
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#8
You might want to look into special tuning pegs instead.  There are tunings pegs that have a lever attached to them that will let you tune a string from one tuning to another by flipping a lever.  It's not as quick as mashing a button on a pedal but you can still switch tunings in a few seconds.
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#9
Variax guitar. All current Variax guitars can change tuning up to an octave in each direction on any string without affecting the string tension at all. You can easily re-program the alternate tuning knob to hold your favorites, or you can use the factory settings, or you can change tunings on an ad hoc basis. 


Last edited by dspellman at May 7, 2017,
#10
Quote by CorduroyEW
You might want to look into special tuning pegs instead.  There are tunings pegs that have a lever attached to them that will let you tune a string from one tuning to another by flipping a lever.  It's not as quick as mashing a button on a pedal but you can still switch tunings in a few seconds.


These are great on basses. There are bassists who compose whole performance pieces around the Hipshot version of these devices. 

The issue is that they can't do more than a step or so per string and that severely limits the tunings available. Any mechanical string retensioning device for a guitar runs two risks: breaking the string if the string is the wrong gauge, or breaking the tuner if the string is the wrong gauge. In most cases, changing the tension on the strings variably in order to change tunings results in some strings being floppy and some strings becoming too tight to bend comfortably. 
#11
dspellman Very true, string breaking can be a problem with some brands of these types of tuners but if you use a graphite nut or simply lube the nut regularly with pencil lead it happens far less.  I've not used Hipshots for about 10 years but back in the day they could go about 2 semitones without issue and I've not personally seen one the the tuners break but have heard about it happening.   They work great if you want to jump from something like standard to open G but won't work if you wanted to go to extremes.   I like to use Schaller locking Banjo tuners which can give you a little more wiggle room with about 3 or 4 semitones depending on the string.  I actually got the idea from watching Ben Harper use them to change keys mid song.  The locking bajo variety are slightly slower to adjust that the hipshot style and require you to increase the size of the hole in the peg to accommodate the wound strings but I've not had any issues with string breakage or tuning stability that I wouldn't have if I used regular tuners and just retuned the guitar. 

I admit that I am intrigued by the variax.  I've heard of them but not heard much about them and have never tried them. 
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 8, 2017,
#12
Quote by CorduroyEW


I admit that I am intrigued by the variax.  I've heard of them but not heard much about them and have never tried them. 


Their original claim to fame is anchored in the 24 or so different guitars that are modeled by the firmware. When they first arrived on the scene very early in the 2000's, some wags called them "$1500 worth of electronics in a $300 guitar." They were mostly bolt-neck guitars with no electromagnetic pickups (all piezos). There are, however an Acoustic 700 variant (still used by The Edge in U2) and four and five-string basses (700 and 705, respectively) that have achieved minor collector status because they model some really nice basses.  The guitar models themselves are pretty good; the tele, strat, LP, 335, etc. models are spot-on, and some have actually preferred them over the real thing. 

Most of those guitars also allowed alternate tuning possibilities. But the current JTV models (and the Variax Standard and Shuriken) have all made alternate tunings MUCH easier. And, as an aside, they include regular old magnetic pickups in the mix (though you can't do alternate tunings with these). 

I have JTV-89F's (Floyd equipped variax) because they're about the only option for using a number of alternate tunings with a Floyd Rose (though the strat-alike Variaxes allow the same with a strat-style trem). And because I like the control setup best of all the Variax guitars and because they have a wider-than-standard fretboard at the nut and because they have a 16" radius fretboard and a 24-fret neck and hotter-than-normal magnetic pickups. 

There's a LOT to recommend the Variax, particularly when it comes to working with a Helix (they've always had a special (VDI) connector that works with Line 6 foot pedals and amps). You can store guitar model and alternate tuning changes in the foot pedal and change them, along with amps/cabs/FX/MIDI commands with a single stomp. You can assign FX controls to the volume and tone knobs on the Variax (and vice versa, I believe). You can power the Variax (which normally uses a video camera battery) from the board through the cable. You can send both magnetic pickup information AND Variax electronics information over the cable. None of the single-coil pickup models exhibit noise. There's no capacitance conversation with the VDI cable. You can edit the pickups modeled and their positions (and more) via a software program. And more.