Open-E tuning and smaller string gauges?

b3john

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For open tuning, I mostly use open-G tuning right now (I currently have a hardtail Strat dedicated to it). Nice and "slack". Good stuff.

My Gibby's have slim necks. In open-E tuning, the A and D strings are tuned up a whole step, and the G string is tuned up a half step. Doesn't that work out to be about an extra ton of stress on the neck?

IOW, if my standard set of 10s is 10-13-17-26-36-46, for a guitar dedicated top open-E tuning would I maybe want to go to slightly smaller gauge strings for the A and D maybe G, possibly 10-13-16-24-34-46 or ??? And wouldn't that help it to be intonated more naturally?

Or am I overthinking this?
 

Robert Parker

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I would like to know answers to this also. I love to play slide stuff in both open G and open E, but I'd like to start using 11's or even 12's for a little thicker tone. I just don't want to damage anything in the process.
 

Chilli

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You wont damage anything, but probably will find that a whole set up is required. I have found on thinner necks tuning open E pulls a bit more relief (neck bent forward) into a guitar, then intonation and bridge also need to be tweaked to your liking. Iv got a Melody Maker with a thick neck that i tune open E and the neck takes it fine, i gave up trying to get an Ibanez with a really thin neck set up for open E as the neck just seemed not to be stable and just bent and bent. I'm no expert though and I'm sure others will have an opinion.
 

River

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Are you leaving this guitar in open E, or switching back and forth?
 

R8R6Ben

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you should be fine with your original string gauge... I use the regular 10 gauge Les Paul strings and I play in open e, all the time, with no problems at all
 

b3john

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Are you leaving this guitar in open E, or switching back and forth?
Great point, River. I'd like to eventually have one guitar dedicated to open-E, though for the time being it might be a matter of changing tunings between songs.

After having the open-G Strat around a while, it really became it's own separate thing, musically speaking. I found I tended to play it a lot more, and not just for Stones tunes. It changes my approach to playing, if that makes sense to anybody. :hmm:

So I'd like to have something similar for open-E but specifically dedicated for slide. The thinking is that if I'd practice it more I might actually get good at it! :laugh2:
 

River

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Personally, I would use a lighter gauge if I were tuning up and down. That would reduce the tension difference, putting less stress on the neck. If the guitar were staying in open E, I'd just select my favorite gauge (generally heavier for slide) and set the relief accordingly. IME, going up in tension like that is not something the neck isn't going to be able to handle.
 

b3john

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Personally, I would use a lighter gauge if I were tuning up and down. That would reduce the tension difference, putting less stress on the neck. If the guitar were staying in open E, I'd just select my favorite gauge (generally heavier for slide) and set the relief accordingly. IME, going up in tension like that is not something the neck isn't going to be able to handle.
Hmm.... I wasn't thinking of it in those terms...

Just for information, what string gauges are guys here generally using for slide? 10s? 11s? Mixed/hybrid sets?

Maybe that'll have some bearing on what I get if I buy a guitar dedicated for slide... :hmm:
 

River

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I'm a neophyte, just following advice from some great players here. And I can only play 1/2 decently with the guitar in my lap.

That said, I usually play 9s in standard tuning. For slide, I like to always tune down, go up to 10s or 11s, and use a wound 3rd. Much more growl that way, if that's what you're after.
 

dennis g

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I've got a Gretsch 5122 that I had set up for 12's (luthier recommendation) and I've recently dedicated it to open E trying to learn slide. I still need to raise the action a bit, and the current strings are 11's. It's been tuned to open E for about 6 weeks now and no issues that I can see. In fact, at the next string change I'm thinking of going to 12's just to see.

I'm not sure I'd bother with trying to learn slide if I didn't have a dedicated guitar though.
 

Chilli

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I find it easier and more fun to have a guitar setup permanently for slide. The action isn't so high as it's impossible to play regularly fretted. Regarding string size, I only buy one size and fit into all my guitars Daddario EXL125.
 

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