9's tuned down to Eb--- just too loose on some guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by spookyelectric, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    I've been working on setting up a strat partscaster I put together in December, and for some reason, I just can't get the thing to set up right with 9-42 strings tuned down a half step. Just too rattley/floppy.

    I think I just need to mess w/ the truss rod and saddle height a little more, but I get the feeling that on some guitars, 9's are just too floppy tuned down to Eb. Don't really have this problem on my teles. I'm also not used to strats (being mainly a tele guy) so there are probably more factors at play keeping me from my ideal setup on this guitar.

    I did however get it set up with 9's at regular pitch and it sounds great! But alot of the rock songs I learn are tuned down, so this is frustrating me.
     
  2. L_Totti

    L_Totti Member

    Messages:
    1,068
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    In the kitchen with the tombstone blues
    Standard scale lenght?
     
  3. Prerequisite

    Prerequisite Member

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Yeah you'll need thicker strings. I like 11s best, and if you're going to keep your guitar tuned down half a step you should probably go 10s or thicker.
     
  4. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Yep, 25.5" scale length. Gotoh vintage strat trem on this one, w/ 3 springs, trem just barely decked on the body.

    It's weird, both my teles are fine with 9-42's at Eb. Different neck construction, thickness, fret size, etc. though, so probably not that weird at all.
     
  5. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    A few months ago, I had 11-49's on a similar guitar (which has since been sold). But 11-49's at pitch or Eb rocked either way. Same type of neck (warmoth vintage modern strat neck) same fret size, same radius, etc.

    I ended up playing my other guitars for a while after selling it though, and my fingers got used to the 9's on the other guitars. When I put 11's on this guitar, thinking it'd feel like home, the strings just felt way too heavy/stiff. Maybe I need to work my way back up to them...

    At least I'm on that path with 9's at pitch if I wanted to go that route. Next step-- 10's tuned to Eb, then 10's at pitch, then 11's at Eb, etc....
     
  6. rspencer

    rspencer Member

    Messages:
    2,291
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    between here & there
    The guitar just needs to be set up for it.
    Iommi tunes down as far as C#, using 8s.
    I tune down to D with 9s all the time.
     
  7. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    That's what I'm saying-- I've tried setting it up and I just can't get it to feel right. If I adjust the truss rod to allow for a little relief, it ends up feeling too loose in the middle of the fretboard. If I adjust it for less relief, I get too much rattle. If I raise the action to compensate for that, the action feels too high...

    I think if I spend a little more time with it, I can zero in on the right setup for 9's at Eb, but I just haven't gotten there..... yet. Maybe my teles are easier to get there because there's no vintage trem to deal with? Between # of springs, how far to screw in the claw, decking the trem or not, and then those bent steel saddles, might just be more stuff to tweak to get there?
     
  8. s2y

    s2y Member

    Messages:
    16,521
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Location:
    Caught somewhere in time
    I normally play 9s in standard tuning. For 1/2 step down, I go to 10s, which have a similar-ish feel to my 9s in standard.
     
  9. NashSG

    NashSG Member

    Messages:
    2,636
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Tony Iommi and Billy Gibbons must have both extremely light touch and a total wizard of a guitar tech to be able to setup guitars with that light a guage string tuned that low. I just don't see how you can get that much movement between the neck and bridge to get enough tension to keep it playable that low with that small a strings, especially on a Gibson scale guitar with a set neck and say a tunamatic. I can kind of buy it on a Strat as with the bolt on neck you can do some additional angling tricks in the neck pocket or use the tension springs below to make it up along with the extended Fender scale already adds some additional tension, but I think that is some total "FM" to make it work on an SG like Iommi plays.

    I know it can be done, but I'd like to see what those guys do to make it work.
     
  10. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Update:

    I ended up taking this neck off the strat and completely loosened the truss rod. Then I let it sit for a day while working on other stuff. Put it back on w/ the rod completely loosened and tightened it a little bit at a time over the next couple days until I hit the sweet spot.

    Now I can do 9's tuned down to Eb with no rattliness, and the action and relief aren't too high. I see what they mean now about giving the neck a little time to settle in after truss rod adjustments. Took my time and it worked out great!
     
  11. Sidmore

    Sidmore no talent hack Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,674
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Location:
    Boston's North Shore
    have 10's on my AS73 and tuned to Eb last night to jam some GnR but quickly tuned back up to standard - strings felt like over cooked spaghetti...
     
  12. Slashtone

    Slashtone Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    I play 9s tuned down a whole step on shorter scale guitars (24.75), and I don't have any problems with tuning or rattling.

    Sounds like it was just a matter of adjusting your neck like you did. I'm glad you got it working.

    I personally dislike the thinner strings, but I'm forced to play thin strings tuned down, as that is the only way I can play guitar as much as I want. I used to play heavier gauges, but I could only play so much a day before they would shred my finger tips.
     
  13. m-m-m

    m-m-m Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Location:
    near Chicago
    Remember that with wound strings, tension can be different for the same gauge string from one manufacturer to another.
     
  14. Polyester

    Polyester Member

    Messages:
    951
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    I have one guitar's low string (on a no-name Gibson scale copy) tuned all the way down to B with Ernie Ball 10s - just cranked it down without changing anything else, and was promptly surprised as hell that it actually worked. There's a little fret buzz if I really hammer it but for normal playing it works perfectly.

    Then again apparently the guy who sold it to me was a definite metal head and really seems to have known what he was doing, setup-wise. Haven't had to do any adjusting at all to this guitar and it feels perfect.
     
  15. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

    Messages:
    7,768
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    Yes

    Funny thing is I got used to 10's and that's what I use on regular tuning now. Never thought that would happen cause I used 9's like forever :dunno
     
  16. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,732
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Spooky, did ya finish it? I remember you posting different threads about the trem block and so forth. I'm curious what you decided on with pickups, how about a pic or some specs? Weren't you going for the CBS head?
     
  17. JacieFB

    JacieFB Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    It is what I typically do/play. I haven't had a problem with it, for the most part, as I have worked to become a fairly light touch player. Lately, though, I'm getting heavy-handed. I've noticed some higher-register minor chords sounding out of tune for no good reason, other than I am not just relaxing and playing. I have considered going to 10s, but that would be a lot of restringing. lol
     
  18. magicaxeman

    magicaxeman Member

    Messages:
    1,060
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Essex UK
    I've never had a problem using 9's in Eb, be it on a fender or a gibson, hell I've even run dropped D and double dropped D as well.

    Same with a short scale acoustic (23.75")running 10's and open C , open G etc..

    I've a new les paul on order, when it arrives I'll whack some 9 - 42 D'addario's on it..
     
  19. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Yep, I finished it. I'll have to shoot you some pics or post them here. I have the next couple days off from work, so I'll take some tomorrow.

    It looks pretty cool to me-- I did end up going w/ the CBS headstock.

    Stay tuned!
     
  20. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,343
    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    NW NJ
    Tuning down? Use 11's.

    9's are like rubber bands anyway.
     

Share This Page