#1
Hi, All,

I'm new here, so forgive me if I should have put this in the "tuning only" thread... but this isn't really about tuning. It's more about the guitars, physically. I know how to tune it....

Anyway, the problem is this: me and my lead guitar player (who are also the singers; I'm the rhythm guitarist) want to detune the guitars to "D" (not Drop-D or open D, but detune all the strings down one whole step) because we often have 4 and 1/2 to 5 hour shows, and we are trying to avoid voice strain from singing for so long. Well, when we suggested this to the bass player (who would, naturally, have to detune, also), he went off on this whole tirade about how the necks would all have to be adjusted to account for string tension or the intonation would be off and how the necks could bend and the notes would sound bad and the guitars (but the bass in particular) would have to be constantly re-tuned....

So, I went and researched it, but I can't find anything about necks getting bowed or having to get guitars re-set up to play detuned. After bringing this information to him, he claims that I am "discounting his knowledge" of guitars; that he's been working with guitars and basses for X-number of years and all these other sources are wrong.

So, after having an argument that resulted in me and the bassist hanging up on each other, I went out to do more research, but I still can't find anything about what he's talking about. So, my question is this: will tuning to D actually do damage to a guitar or bass' neck? Would it cause constant retuning because the necks are used to the tension of 440?

We plan on starting with new strings to do this, so I can't see how it would effect the neck at all just going down a step in tuning. It would seem to me (and I could be wrong) that, if we're starting with new strings, if the strings themselves "get used to" being tuned to D from the start, that the neck won't have a problem, and retuning won't be such a big deal.

Thanks in advance for any replies!
#2
it wont cause damage. but you should get it set up by a tech for that tuning to avoid fret buzz and intonation problems, and you might think about using a slightly thicker gauge string so that the tension feels right. but you wont do damage to the neck....its the same as those who play in Drop C.. there are tons of players and bands that play that low and lower.
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#3
It shouldn't make a huge difference, especially if you go up a string size or two. He's technically right, but it'd take a really long time for any damage to be even noticeable. You will, however, need to re-intonate if you want your intonation as good as it was before.
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#4
I know it normally sounds kinda weird when detuned, but it doesnt damage your neck... tuning it up would do more damage than detuning...
#6
drop tuning does not affect your truss rod!! it doesn't bow your neck, what bows your neck is tuning higher than standard, don't listen to your idiot friend, so it'll be fine man!!!
#7
You bass player is being a bit of a douche but is half right: you would need to re-string your instruments (heavier strings) and have the intonation set right but that's about it.

As long as you go about it the right way you shouldn't need to have the truss rods adjusted and if you get the right gauge strings you should only have to tune up as much as normal.
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#8
Tuning down really isn't a big deal. Using a lower tuning puts less tension on your guitar neck so you would have to put on heavier strings and/or get your truss rod adjusted to adjust for that. To be honest though I'll play in standard one day and then two steps down another. It really isn't a huge deal.
#9
it doesn't damage it, but the slight differnce in tension may mean ur neck will be slightly looser, and theoretically could break easier, but it won't. But seriously get the intonation redone, go 1 or 2 string gauges heavier, and possibly adjust the truss rod for more tension
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#10
Quote by thoreau
it wont cause damage. but you should get it set up by a tech for that tuning to avoid fret buzz and intonation problems, and you might think about using a slightly thicker gauge string so that the tension feels right. but you wont do damage to the neck....its the same as those who play in Drop C.. there are tons of players and bands that play that low and lower.


Thanks much for the reply! We planned to go from .10's to .11's for this, but what would tech setup entail?

Thanks!
#11
Quote by Calgone
It shouldn't make a huge difference, especially if you go up a string size or two. He's technically right, but it'd take a really long time for any damage to be even noticeable. You will, however, need to re-intonate if you want your intonation as good as it was before.


Thanks for the reply!

So, you're saying that the bassist is right about this? That we would have to take all the guitars in and have them worked on before we could play detuned? (For the intonation.)

I was hoping it would be as simple as slapping on the new strings and tuning to D.
#12
Quote by hawking_hole
I know it normally sounds kinda weird when detuned, but it doesnt damage your neck... tuning it up would do more damage than detuning...


Thanks much for reply... that's what I was thinking!
#13
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You bass player is being a bit of a douche but is half right: you would need to re-string your instruments (heavier strings) and have the intonation set right but that's about it.

As long as you go about it the right way you shouldn't need to have the truss rods adjusted and if you get the right gauge strings you should only have to tune up as much as normal.


Thanks for the reply! What does setting the intonation entail?
#14
Quote by Grimpenguin
It doesn't. people keep guitars in D all the time.


Thanks for the reply! I was thinking the exact same thing, but I am no guitar tech. I just pick up and play.
#15
Quote by Caseyizzle
drop tuning does not affect your truss rod!! it doesn't bow your neck, what bows your neck is tuning higher than standard, don't listen to your idiot friend, so it'll be fine man!!!


Thanks much for the reply!
#16
Quote by StenTheAwesome
Tuning down really isn't a big deal. Using a lower tuning puts less tension on your guitar neck so you would have to put on heavier strings and/or get your truss rod adjusted to adjust for that. To be honest though I'll play in standard one day and then two steps down another. It really isn't a huge deal.


So, leaving the guitars and bass tuned to D won't hurt anything?
#17
Quote by druz15_UG
it doesn't damage it, but the slight differnce in tension may mean ur neck will be slightly looser, and theoretically could break easier, but it won't. But seriously get the intonation redone, go 1 or 2 string gauges heavier, and possibly adjust the truss rod for more tension


That's pretty much what the bassist was telling me earlier: that lots of stuff would have to be done to the guitars before we could play... and some of the stuff would have to be done by a guitar and/or bass tech to be done right.

Like I said earlier, I was hoping this change would be as simple as slapping on new strings and tuning them to D... thanks much for the info!
#18
when you tune down you lose tension on the strings so the neck isn't being pulled as much. so it relaxes and straightens out. as a result, you might get some fret buzz. so you'll have to adjust your truss by loosening it ever so slightly. in this case.. a quarter turn would be fine i'm sure.. but every guitar is different.

and yea the intonation may go out. but i'm willing to bet it won't be that noticeable. you'll know if a power chord on E sounds in tune, but a power chord in the 12 fret sounds outof tune.

so you're both right.. the bassist is right that it'll change some things.. but its not as bad as he's making it seem.

you're right on the account that its a simple a fix.. turn the rod.. and your guitar won't suspect a thing
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