Matching Guitars to Tunings

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bahklava, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. bahklava

    bahklava Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been working in Honduras as a teacher at a bilingual school in the border town of Puerto Cortes, and in the meanwhile I've acquired a couple guitars from friends back home in California. One is a standard Fender Strat - not a knockoff, but the real thing - and the other is an Epiphone Les Paul Special II. They're both far, far better than the Cort G110 I took with me to Honduras (really, if you're going to take any guitar with you to the tropics, it might as well be a crappy one - strings break, pickups accumulate rust like you wouldn't believe...) - so needless to say, I'm very excited about this.

    Here's what I'm wondering, though.

    The reason I wanted two decent guitars in the first place, instead of just one, was that I like to switch back and forth between open D minor tuning and standard tuning depending on which song I'm playing. Instead of having to retune 4 of my 6 strings every time I want to play a different song, though, I'd rather just be able to switch to another guitar that's already in the tuning I want. I've also heard that it's bad for the neck to be switching back and forth between different tunings all the time, so I just want to keep each guitar set to one consistent tuning.

    So here's my question: between the Fender Strat and the Epiphone Les Paul, is there one that would probably be better for DAFDAD tuning and one that would be better to keep in standard?

    When I play in standard, I tend to go for a rough, expressionistic Neil Young-meets-Joy Division sound (and to be honest, on playing skill I'm more towards the Joy Division end of that spectrum) - lots of distorted open chords, lots of barring, etc. In DAFDAD, I tend to focus on a couple melodic riffs and let the other strings drone, or I'll barre some chord inversions, and/or play my power chord progressions in this tuning (with or without the treble strings ringing).

    Any thoughts? Or does it even matter? It wouldn't surprise me if I'm putting way too much thought into this; the subtext here is that I'm really looking forward to getting out of Honduras in a few weeks.
     
  2. bahklava

    bahklava Senior Member

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    PS I apologize if this is the wrong subforum. In my mind, this is a question about optimizing the Fender Strat and the Epiphone Les Paul.

    I also forgot to note: the Fender Strat has custom 69 pickups, while the Epiphone LP has a set of Humbuckers.
     
  3. street

    street Member

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    The easy answer is tune both to both tunings and see which sounds better in each.
     
  4. bahklava

    bahklava Senior Member

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    But...but...then I won't be able to do that until a month from now! (Sorry, I'm just REALLY excited to be getting out of Honduras...can't wait to be reunited with my guitars, friends, and family).
     
  5. Onioner

    Onioner Member

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    Seems,mostly a matter,of which pickups and feel you prefer for which style. I'd be inclined to use the hbs for standard tuning.
     
  6. g-mane

    g-mane Member

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    The longer scale of the Strat may accomodate your open tuning better. But, try both and see what you like.
     
  7. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    Entirely up to you. Me? I would keep the Strat in standard, or E flat with 10s, and the Epiphone in DAFDAD with 11s or 12s.
     
  8. bahklava

    bahklava Senior Member

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    I realized that my crappy Cort G series that I brought with me to Honduras is actually really helpful for a question like this (if nothing else). It has an HSS pickup configuration, so I decided to tune, retune, detune to see which tunings work with which pickups on my Cort.

    I noticed that the humbucker was much more powerful than the single coils, and that this gave me the gnarled sound I want when I'm in standard. When I'm playing in DAFDAD, however, I like to let strings drone, and I soon realized that that's a huge mistake on a humbucker...it's noise city, and the drone overpowers my riff.

    The single coils, on the other hand, aren't as powerful, which is why I'd generally stayed away from them on my Cort on the rare occasion that I bothered to plug it in. (I generally just play it as if it were acoustic, since electricity in Honduras is so erratic). However, my DAFDAD play sounded much better on the single coils, since the noise was dialed down significantly, and you could actually hear the riff.

    That, coupled with the Strat's longer scale, means that I'm inclined to put the Strat in DAFDAD and keep the Les Paul in standard.
     
  9. bahklava

    bahklava Senior Member

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    Oh, and as an update, I decided not to pick up the Epiphone Les Paul Special II after all; instead, I placed the winning bid on an Epiphone Les Paul Standard for $250. (That's including shipping - the cost itself was $225). Alnico humbucker pickups; overall, same story as before, but on a much better guitar IMO.
     

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