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Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

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Re: Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

Postby BigRedX » Thu May 07, 2020 12:58 pm

From a personal PoV I can't get on with drop D without replacing the low E string with something slightly heavier to compensate for the reduction in tension. Consequently I have two guitars, one for standard tuning an one for drop D.

As for needing a set up as zen guitar says it depends. However I know plenty of guitarists who switch between standard tuning and drop D on the same guitar during the course of a set and you don't see any of them getting a set up between songs!

And when it come to the truss rod, I see far to many guitarists and bassists who are constantly fiddling with theirs after the slightest change in weather conditions. Personally the only times I have adjust the truss rod on any of my instruments is:

1. When a new (to me) instrument has arrived with completely wrong amount of relief for my taste.
2. When I have changed strings to ones with a very different tension.
3. When I have bought an instrument that has previously been in a part of the world with a very different climate to that of the UK.

Other than that I can live with the tiny changes in relief caused by the mild UK climate. If I lived somewhere more extreme I might have a different PoV.
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Re: Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

Postby Wonks » Thu May 07, 2020 1:22 pm

You'll get more variation in tension by changing to a different brand of the same gauge strings, as you would just dropping the low E to a D.
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Re: Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu May 07, 2020 2:30 pm

Time for some graphite to see if that helps.
Thanks Andy.
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Re: Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

Postby shel96 » Fri May 08, 2020 2:43 pm

I never set up my guitar for Drop D. And it works fine. Setup is needed for low tuning and when you change for different gauge strings.
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Re: Do I need my guitar set up for drop D?

Postby adew » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:29 pm

I regularly swap between standard and drop D tuning on several guitars and have never needed to do a setup due to this. I use 10-46 strings and usually replace the 46 with a 50, as this gives more tension and better playability for me, resulting in close to "normal" tension in drop D and slightly higher tension in standard.

D'addario used to (perhaps they still do) publish a string tension chart showing the string tension for different gauges at different pitches. I wouldn't rely on this as an absolute guide, but found it quite useful to get an idea of the the relative differences in tension when playing around with different string gauges and tunings.

EDIT: It still exists:
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