Drop A on standard scale

Blytheryn

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Apologies if this is covered ground but I thought some of you guys might be interested.

I started my new band around a year ago and we decided we wanted to play as downtuned as possible while retaining as much melodic information as possible in the lower registers. We settled on drop A, so AEADF#B. The first extended range guitar I got was an Ormsby Hype GTR7, initially in AEADGBE but eventually I changed it to EBEADF#B with a low 80. I also got an Ibanez RGIF7 as a backup. I later added an Ormsby GTR6 in drop A as above. Meanwhile my other guitar player got An Ormsby Futura 7 (which he hated) and both Chapman Rabea signatures.

I quickly however found myself frustrated with the limited selection of available baritone and multiscale guitars, and I had always had in the back of my mind that originally 7-strings were all Fender scale and worked fine. So I got myself a cheap Ibanez RG721 and stuck on a set of slinky baritones... And it totally worked. I mean it needed a setup but it was a good as a baritone. Meanwhile we played a couple of shows and in the photos the baritones made me look like a tiny person.

Since then I've experimented with baritone slinkys in drop A on other standard guitars including a Fender 50s tele, a Duesenberg Outlaw and an Epiphone Brent Hinds V and they all work. I have now sold all of my non standard scale guitars, and now my only condiseration when buying a new guitar is whether I can get a .072 string into it.

So while I totally get why people play baritones for low tunings, my experience is that you don't NEED them, at least not for as low as drop A.

What do you guys think?
Slipknot play in Drop A on 25.5. You don’t need an ERG for that.
 

Ross82

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I used drop A on my old 25.5" RG7620 with no issues with a 9-46 set + 0.60 for the 7th. More recently I was tunning to drop G on a 25.4", again with zero issue BUT I did have to remove the saddle screw spring to get enough rearward travel for intonation. The "proper" thing to do was to get the 'short' Hipshot bridge saddle but, meh.
 

Strobe

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It can sound totally fine on a normal scale guitar. I have a friend who plays death metal in A standard on both a Gibson and Fender scale. Sounds brutal (in a good way).

Feel is very much a personal thing. My buddy who does this thinks his guitar feels great. When I pick it up, it feels awful. The strings are fairly thick, but feel so floppy. A heavy hand will pull them out of tune. Intonation does not sound good when I play it - even if it sounds good when he plays it - because he is used to it. For me, I prefer a longer scale length and a thicker string to go down to A - so I use baritone scales - and they feel and sound great to me when I play it. My friend is on one extreme (likes it floppy - does A standard with 11's on a Gibson scale), I am on the other (likes it tight - does A standard with 12's on a 28" scale). I think most people are somewhere between those in terms of feel at this kind of tuning.
 

Hoss632

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If I'm being honest, most bands i see playing in anything Drop A on up use a standard 25.5 inch scale. I don't normally see longer scales until people do Drop Ab and lower most of the time. Just my observations. I tried drop B on my old schecter and loved it. Couldn't go to Drop A unfortunately as the strings would've just come out of the tuner.
 

akinari

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25.5 works fine down to G for me. The tone does start getting woofier but that's okay, I don't djent.
 

neum18

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RG7's are 25.5", Korn tuned to A Standard and loads of other people use Drop A on them, doesn't matter if it's a 6 or a 7 if they're the same scale length, the same rules will apply

personally, I think the stock B Standard tuning for 7's is right, and if you use thinner gauges then you can make A1 work on them, I wasn't able to fully intonate with a .068 but found that going with a .060/.062 got me enough room to do it properly
Yes, I use a 70 for drop A and it intonates great on my UV70P (25.5" scale). I like the tighter feel for the bottom string too. I've tried A# standard on a 6 24.75" scale but I didn't want to go through the hassle of filling, but I could barely get a 62 in there and I found B to be even slightly loose for my liking. I'm happy with that guitar in C with a 60.

The Floyd has the advantage of being able to measure from the taper first and cut the appropriate length/slack at the ball end, so I've gotten up to 74 for G#1 on the UV70p successfully without any filing.

One guy from Cannibal Corpse has a 24.75" that one is used for A#

I'd imagine there'd be some filing required, I'd be more comfortable with at least 25.5 but I'm sure it's possible with 24.75
 
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TheBolivianSniper

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In Flames does Bb on 24.75s and I did drop A on the same. Feels really nice if you have a trem since that jacks up the string tension. I'd love another 24.75 since I want another 7 for drop A but also it's impossible to find a floyded short scale 7. Any recommendations?
 

chugzilla

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do any of you notice when ya drop tune a 24.75 scale guitar and say i was using a 60 on the low E tuned to drop A or B standard after the 12th fret it just sounded strange-odd.?..and i could never get good tone either..maybe needed even heavier strings not sure....and ya dont get that sound on a 7 string or baritone so thats why i stopped using them <24.75> for lower tunings....i have a 7 string i use 11-65 dr strings on for standard b and drop a and i have an old 2005 esp ltd f-50 its 25.5 i have that in drop b sounds great using 13-56 dunlop strings not odd-strange sounds coming from fretted notes after the 12th fret on them.....maybe its just me i dunno let me know
 

Abominorg the Grotesque

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I prefer a 25.5" vs a 24.75" for B standard/Drop A/A standard but you can do those tunings without any issue on either. I think when you get down to Ab/G is where the sound starts to benefit from having a 26.5" or 27" scale but you can get away with 25.5" for those too.

My favorite general tuning is B Standard/Drop A on a 25.5" six string, and for strings I just get a seven string set and leave off the highest string.
 

bostjan

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do any of you notice when ya drop tune a 24.75 scale guitar and say i was using a 60 on the low E tuned to drop A or B standard after the 12th fret it just sounded strange-odd.?..and i could never get good tone either..maybe needed even heavier strings not sure....and ya dont get that sound on a 7 string or baritone so thats why i stopped using them <24.75> for lower tunings....i have a 7 string i use 11-65 dr strings on for standard b and drop a and i have an old 2005 esp ltd f-50 its 25.5 i have that in drop b sounds great using 13-56 dunlop strings not odd-strange sounds coming from fretted notes after the 12th fret on them.....maybe its just me i dunno let me know
A 0.060" is going to sound weird above the 12th fret whether the scale length is 24" or 26".

The thinner the string you use, the less weird it will sound at higher frets.

It's basically because a "string" is assumed to have negligible diameter compared to it's length. When you press a fret, you are effectively shortening the string to the length that is the distance from the saddle to that fret. If the effective part of the string is short, and the diameter of the string is large, the "string" will start to behave less like a string and more like a vibrating cylinder. So, at some point, the tone of your strings start to sound a little bit like tubular bells, with all sorts of overtones that are not aurally similar to a string. That "strange-odd" tone is observed by many to be undesirable, but some players tolerate it and others embrace it. It really depends on what you are going for, artistically.

It sounds like you are using some heavier-than-the-average-bear gauges. 0.011" for a standard high E? If that's what floats your boat, hey, good for you. I mean, that's not at all crazy. But most modern rock and metal players are using 9's or 10's for standard tuning. So already, you're going to get a darker, thicker tone, than probably 80+% of players using distortion.

I don't really agree with the usual popular philosophy posted in threads like this here of "well, so-n-so plays x guitar and tunes to y, so you should love it." But, instead, I say that if there's no reason not to try it, try it. If you like the result, good. If not, go with a longer scale length or a thinner string gauge or a different pick attack or change another piece of gear or, hell, just tune up for the time being. It sounds like that's the path you've been on. I think a lot of us have been on the same path before.
 

chugzilla

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well for me personally and my guitars only the 24.74 scale guitars sounds strange after the 12th fret when trying to tune them below drop c...even the one i have in drop c using 12-54 sounds slightly odd on the thickest string after the 12th fret on that string only...on my baritone and 7 string and f-50 no strange sounds after the 12th fret on the thickest string..this is why i asked if anyone else noticed this or was i going crazy lol and the 11-65 im using on my 7 string is because it came with 9-54 and sounded weak...so i put on 10-60 still sounded weak..put on 11-65 bam..i got that dark thick rich tone i like for drop A...i always prefer heavier strings im not a fan of thin gauge i even use 11-50 for standard e and drop d...i found a page that tells ya what gauge strings you should be using per scale length and tuning its very helpful

 

RevDrucifer

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Hell, I use 10-52’s on my Ibanez SZ (25.1”) and tune it to AGCFAD sometimes, I just can’t slam the shit out of the low A. Mastodon does the same thing with the same gauge on Gibsons.
 

wheresthefbomb

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It's basically because a "string" is assumed to have negligible diameter compared to it's length. When you press a fret, you are effectively shortening the string to the length that is the distance from the saddle to that fret. If the effective part of the string is short, and the diameter of the string is large, the "string" will start to behave less like a string and more like a vibrating cylinder. So, at some point, the tone of your strings start to sound a little bit like tubular bells, with all sorts of overtones that are not aurally similar to a string. That "strange-odd" tone is observed by many to be undesirable, but some players tolerate it and others embrace it. It really depends on what you are going for, artistically.

Wow, awesome explanation, thank you.
 

potatohead33

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I’ve always used a 59/60 in B, 62/64 in A# and 68 in A on 25.5”. I’ve never touched a guitar that is longer scale because I’ve never really felt the need. I’ve never had a problem with intonating properly, but it does take a bit more work to get it dialed in. I also find it a bit more difficult to play those large strings and if I stay with smaller strings when I pick they go way sharp. But that’s just me.

I’ve also tried drop A# and B on my Carvin sixes (25”) and it works fine too. I’m not going to say longer isn’t better, but it’s not completely necessary either. Although I will say anything lowet than A I would probably want longer.
 


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