Acoustic Guitar Tuning Question...

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Flouswa, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Flouswa

    Flouswa Country Gent

    Question here for those who play acoustic guitars--do you ever tune your guitar down a half or even a whole step?? Do you do it that way all the time or just for certain songs? And if you do--what are your reasons for doing so?

    I've played around with this a little bit and I'm curious to hear what some of you think about it, why you do it, etc. I know why I would do it, just want to get some conversation going on the pros and cons. I know some guitarists rarely stray from a conventional E to E tuning, some use drop D at times, but I don't know of very many who use a whole or half step down as a regular tuning all the time.

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  2. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    Once a down tuner always a down tuner. I tune down a half step. Just feels right to me. Standard tuning sounds too high. If I need to I have the capo. I like to play acoustic guitar tuned to Drop D.
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  3. Frank_NH

    Frank_NH Synchromatic

    Mar 25, 2013
    Lebanon, NH
    I tune my dreadnought acoustic down one full step (to D) simply because I find it easier to sing songs for acoustics gigs when tuned lower. I use standard 12-53 gauge strings and the lower tension makes the guitar a little easier to play. My 12 string is also tuned down one full step, but mainly to reduce the tension on the neck! :rolleyes:
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  4. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I often use a dropped D tuning. I only dropped a whole step on a 12 string, then, capo as needed.
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  5. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    It's like being a bass player and guitar player at the same time with that tuning. It's funny how tuning that one string really changes the musical landscape to explore. It works really well on an acoustic.
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  6. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I don't tune down as a standard procedure, but I do tune down if a song requires it.

    However, I do often tune down my 12-string and capo as needed... due to the undue amount of tension on a 12-string neck at standard tuning. I break a lot less octave G and D strings with this method.
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  7. SAguitar

    SAguitar Gretschie

    Jan 17, 2020
    I can certainly see the advantage in tuning down, since it reduces string tension. But in my case, I play with other instruments that are pretty much locked into A440 so I leave my guitars in standard tuning. Plus, we often play from sheet music, and mental transposing would require far too much brain work on my part.
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  8. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Only open tunings, never wholesales moves down.

    Some open tunings mean that several strings go lower. And in some cases, there were open tunings that demanded that a few strings go to higher tension so I chose to drop the open tuning down to avoid the extra tension.

    Are you doing it?
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  9. Highroller

    Highroller Synchromatic

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    The metal head guys love that one-step down tuning as a means of achieving a darker tone. And some of them will take it even further, to C or B. But that's (mostly) electric guitar, not so much acoustic.

    There's all sorts of different tunings you can use on guitar, acoustic or otherwise. Some of them involve minor variations from standard tuning, others so far off it you need to restring the guitar to get to the tuning!

    Endless fun exploring what's possible.

    Myself, I have five or six different tunings I use on a regular basis, but "standard" remains E-E for me, even on 12-strings.
    Flouswa likes this.
  10. dr. love

    dr. love Gretschie

    Jun 2, 2008
    I occasionally use drop D but am in standard most of the time because my brain can’t keep track of multiple open tunings. I do know some people tune down and keep it there to accommodate their voice.
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  11. Freshy

    Freshy Synchromatic

    Sep 30, 2017
    Homosassa FLA
    Last week I saw a YouTube tutorial vid for Floyd's "Fearless"
    think its GGDGBB
    The Intro is mesmerizing

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  12. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I must confess I have never used anything other than standard tuning. Odd, I can play a mandolin fine but struggle terribly on any sort of alternate tuning on guitar.
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  13. ishtar

    ishtar Country Gent

    I just tuned my two acoustics down a half step. Love the deeper sounds. Nice change of pace, same chord shapes...
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  14. Flouswa

    Flouswa Country Gent

    I've played around with it, but still on the fence about it. Worst thing was tuning down a whole step on my one Takamine, took it a while to settle back in when I put it back to normal tuning. I did like how it was easier to play though.
    stevo likes this.
  15. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    Try DADGAD on an acoustic, then play some Kashmir.
  16. lathoto

    lathoto Gretschie

    Apr 23, 2020
    1. I've always tuned a twelve string (24.9 scale) down a full step.
    2. Drop D for a song or two.
    3. DADGBD ditto.
    4. DADF#AD, DADFAD, and DGDGBD are worth sliding into.
    5. For just about everything else, check out Joni Mitchell.
  17. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    I did that for years on my old Guild 12 string . @Flouswa , interested in a lower tuning ? .... check out some baratone guitars if you can
  18. Butch Ammon

    Butch Ammon Gretschie

    Jan 3, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    I tune my Yamaha 12 string down a whole step to D on occasion. Most of the time, I have it 1/2 step down to Eb and leave it set like that. You know and I know and everyone knows, that "octave G string" can and will go "Ka-POW!" when you least expect it....

    Edit: Want to have fun? Take a 12 string and go all the way down to C (2 steps down). It takes 100 years to get it accurately in tune in C... Ha ha ha... But once it's there, channel your sentimental, crooning, wedding, type of voice. Play the famous song "The Wedding Song" by Paul Stookey ("Paul" of the famous trio Peter, Paul, & Mary), and play it fingerpicked, just like he did.
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