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Postby steelstring » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:58 pm

I have a real aversion to tuning guitar strings (even standard tuning) in case the string pops - it's an irrational phobia I know but there we go. I usually get past it by tuning down a semi tone on hedges tunes (for example, I tune the 2nd string down a semi tone to a B on Layover along with the other strings. The problem is there are tunes looming on the horizon (Aerial Boundaries being one of them) that require tuning the 5th string up by two semi tones. Will this string be able to take it? Do I need to get heavier strings? I play with Daddario mediums (size 13). Does anyone one know the limits a string will safely take beyond standard tuning?

I am a complete wuss I know. That's the thing about phobias - you can't really explain them!

As ever, your help is greatly appreciated!

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Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 2:58 am

Re: Tunings.......argh!

Postby bhelm » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:57 pm

hi david, from my experience.... there are three strings that normally break on my guitar. the g string (which is a total bastard about breaking!) a full step up from standard is the absolute most you are gonna get when raising this string. and even then it's pretty risky. tuning down normally isn't a problem, however if you do alot of alternate tunings this stuff happends. there is really no getting around it. even michael himself broke a string when he was tuning on stage. check it out.


he breaks it at the 40 second mark.

the other strings i tend to break are the D and small e strings. the small e sometimes breaks from time to time when i tune back and fourth from d to it's standard pitch (e) the d sometimes breaks (wouldn't you know) when i tune it up to E (which michael tends to do on alot of his songs.)

i have broken more strings than i can count retuning my taylor. the more you switch back and fourth from different altered tunings the more your strings are at risk to break due to tention. i really don't know much as to why this happends, all i know is that it just does.

my b string never breaks, nor does my big E or A

this is just from my experience though, other people might have something different to say.

hope this helps,

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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: Tunings.......argh!

Postby marcel » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:09 am

The tension is not the critical point (you can use lighter strings to reduce it), retuning is.
If you change tunings often, strings will break. There's not much you can do about it. You can try different brands but the differences will be small. I prefer different guitars, so the retuning is minimized.
But a steel string breaking is not such a big deal. It's not like they snap like a rubber band, because they are only bend a small fraction of an inch. Just put on a new set when you play gigs, and keep replacements handy.

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Re: Tunings.......argh!

Postby tinsmith » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:21 pm

Don't stick your face in the strings laddie!
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Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:34 am

Re: Tunings.......argh!

Postby steelstring » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:09 am

That gave me a chuckle tinsmith!!! Nice one.

Have you ever seen the movie "Wages of Fear"? Three men trying to transport a lorry full of dynamite across a rocky terrain......anything beyond standard tuning puts me right there in the drivers seat with them. After a period of therapy, I may keep a spare guitar tuned up like this. I would of course have to cordon off the living room and play the guitar with gardening gloves on!

Take care.

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Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 2:58 am

Re: Tunings.......argh!

Postby rudemechanic » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:58 pm

I usually cringe when I tune up or down. Usually I find the string pops when going down in pitch. The strings are just like oldfashioned wire coat hangers when you bend and straighten them repeatedly- they eventually work-harden, become brittle, then snap. I now take breakage as a sign that I need to change all 6 strings, but still have a bunch of extra strings in case.

Rylynn by Andy McKee calls for the fifth string to be tuned up 3 half steps- that makes me cower and point the whole guitar away from me as I crank it up. First and second are down a whole tone like dadgad, no problem there.

I wonder what tuning machines are best for repeated up and down tuning and dealing with higher and lower tensions??
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