on all of my basses, I use GHS strings.

on all of my guitars, I use d'addario

with amps, pickups, guitar, and string technology
advancing, it dawned on me that maybe it was time
for the guitar to change in a way that made it
possible to take advantage of some of those

Consider downtuning, for example. Many years ago,
some of the guitar pioneers made the determination
that guitars and amps were capable of producing
lower frequencies than those that were being used
at the time.

But how low can we go!!!

Today, we are blessed. A few years ago, 7 string
guitars were all the rage. For whatever reason,
they are not very popular right now, and this is
to our advantage.

As far as I'm concerned, the more strings it has,
the better.

I was able to buy several very good guitars off
of Ebay for just a little over $100. Now I was
in a position to do some serious experimenting.

My guitar signal is basically split into two
signals using a rack mount mixer. One of the
splits goes through the POD, and becomes my
"clean" channel. The other split goes through
the triaxis and into the Mark III head.

My bass rig is basically just the SWR

When it comes to guitar, I like the chording and
scale patterns that a standard guitar tuning
presents. But I always wondered what the
instrument would sound like if I changed the pitch
of all the strings equally. Not just detuning the
low string, but detuning the entire guitar.
Likewise, a 7 string guitar is an interesting
instrument to play when you raise the frequency
of all of the strings.

When you are playing through a boogie rig like
mine, and you have it turned way up, the guitar
becomes a whole different instrument.

The basic problem with alternate tunings is that
the guitar is begging for you to change the
string gauges. If you try to tune a string too
high, the string ends up being too tight. Even
without the obvious problem of breaking it, when
it's too tight, it's hard to get the kind of
vibrato that you want, and the harmonics tend to
disappear. Also, you might notice that the volume
level of the string drops off. When you detune a
string, it ends up being too loose. This makes
it hard to control. Again, you tend to lose the
vibrato and harmonics, and the string will buzz
and flap around. The worst part about detuning
is that the string will appear to be louder than
the rest of the strings. This is a big problem
when you are trying to play complex chords.

Ideally, we would like to get the gauges in some
manner of order so that each string is equally
tight. That way the volume levels of each
individual string is consistant, and you get
good control and harmonics.

I have been doing some experimenting with gauges
on my various guitars. I don't have it down yet,
but I'm getting close. You'll notice that the
gauges are a bit heavy. When I'm playing a
regular old six string, if the guitar is capable
of handling it, I will string it with 13's on
top. That's right .... 13's. Yeah .... I know,
that's way out there. It definately takes some
getting used to. Maybe you have to have strong
hands. I don't know. All I know is that it's
worth it when you get that kind of tone. You
can have the shittiest pickups, and still get
blazing tone if you use the right strings.

OK .... I usually designate my guitars by the
tuning of the lowest string. A standard tuned
7 string would then be a B tuning.

The smallest string you can buy,
that I know of, is a .008 . This particular
string diameter seems to work well when it is
tuned to an A . That's a whole 4th higher than
a normal tuning of the highest string on a
guitar. If you were to raise the tuning on all
of the strings of a 7 string guitar such that
the highest string was an A, then the lowest
string would be an E, which is the equivalent
to a normally tuned low string on a 6 string
guitar. I believe this is the highest possible
tuning for a 7 string.

The largest string that d'addario offers in a
nickel XL is an .080 . I believe that a string
this size on a guitar would be comfortable
tuned to a C which is one half tone above the
low B string on a 7 string bass. I believe this
might define the lowest possible tuning for a
7 string guitar.

Now, you're saying ........ good god, that's
ridiculous. Well, with the guitar technologies
that are available now, you would be surprised.
And one thing is for sure. Even though the
string is the same size as some of the bass
strings out there, this is not a bass guitar.
It's not a bass amp. It's not a bass string,
and I'm not playing it through bass pickups.
It's a totally different beast, and it is the
DEATH guitar.

When stringing guitars in such an extreme fashion,
one other problem is encountered. The bridges on
a typical guitar are designed to handle string
gauges of a certain size. When a string is used
that is significantly larger than what the
bridge was designed to accomodate, the string
rides on top of the bridge, and is not supported
the way it should be, ultimately resulting in
poor sound. Eventually, I will redesign the bridges
to accomodate the larger strings.

As you can tell, I have a lot of experimenting to do, and
I need to buy more guitars!!!

Without further ado, here are the different
tunings with the string gauges that are
currently in place.

7 STRING GUITARS ( standard tuning intervals )

E>.042  A>.034  D>.021  G>.014  C>.012  E>.010  A>.008

D>.046  G>.036  C>.024  F>.016  Bb>.013 D>.010  G>.008

B>.048  E>.042  A>.036  D>.022  G>.018  B>.012  E>.009   esp

G>.054  C>.046  F>.038  Bb>.030 E>.024  G>.017  C>.014

E>.056  A>.046  D>.040  G>.034  C>.028  E>.024  A>.017

D>.064  G>.056  C>.048  F>.040  Bb>.032 D>.026  G>.021

B>.067  E>.059  A>.049  D>.042  G>.034  B>.029  E>.024

7 STRING GUITARS ( thirds )

A>.056  C#>.046 F>.040  A>.034  C#>.028 F>.017  A>.012   dean

7 STRING GUITARS ( flatted thirds )

F>.035  Ab>.030 B>.024  D>.021  F>.017  Ab>.013 B>.011   ltd

7 STRING GUITARS ( flatted fifths )

G>.059  Db>.048 G>.026  Db>.020 G>.014  Db>.011 G>.008   douglas scope

7 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating flatted fifths and fourths )

D>.054  Ab>.046  Db>.038  G>.030 C>.024  F#>.017  B>.014 peavey

7 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating fifths and thirds )

Bb>.046 F>.036  A>.024  E>.016  Ab>.013 Eb>.010 G>.008   squier

7 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating fifths and flatted fifths )

E>.059  B>.051  F>.041  C>.030  F#>.017 C#>.012 G>.009   ibanez rga7

6 STRING GUITARS ( duff memorial C(6) and other standard intervals )

C>.049  F>.042  Bb>.032 Eb>.026 G>.021  C>.017           fretless starfire

A>.036  D>.026  G>.020  C>.015  E>.009  A>.008           laguna

E>.049  A>.037  D>.028  G>.018  B>.014  E>.011           paul

6 STRING GUITARS ( fifths )

Bb>.052 F>.040  C>.028  G>.013  D>.009  A>.008           soprano strat

G>.056  D>.046   A>.036 E>.025  B>.017  F#>.011          gibson

E>.049  B>.038  F#>.030 Db>.024 Ab>.019 Eb>.014          epiphone paul

E>.054  B>.050  F#>.032 C#>.024 G#>.019 D#>.013          SG E(5ths)6

6 STRING GUITARS ( flatted fifths )

E>.059  Bb>.040 E>.042  Bb>.030 E>.024  Bb>.014
D>.046  Ab>.036 D>.026  AB>.016 D>.013  Ab>.008          ibanez mikro

6 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating fifths and flatted fifths )

G>.049  D>.038  Ab>.034 Eb>.022 A>.016  E>.011           jackson

6 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating flatted fifths and fourths )

E>.059  A#>.052 D#>.042 A>.036  D>.022  G#>.014          memphis

6 STRING GUITARS ( hybrid alternating fifths and thirds )

D>.044  A>.041  Db>.030 Ab>.013 C>.009  G>.008           esp f jr


                 D>.095  G>.075  C>.055  F>.040                   rickenbacker

                 D>.095  G>.075  C>.055  F>.040                   fender fretless jazz

         A>.104  D>.091  G>.078  C>.065  F>.045  Bb>.030 Eb>.020  conklin

         B>.095  E>.085  A>.070  D>.055  G>.040  C>.025           ibanez fretless

E>.120   A>.110  D>.090  G>.070  C>.050  F>.035  Bb>.025 Eb>.020  galveston