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  • open E tuning

    Posted by Kim-Fitz on November 4, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Does anyone have experience with open E tuning? I was wondering if this tuning will damage my guitar by putting too much tension on the neck. I have a Martin 00-28 and don’t want to damage it. I know I can tune to open D and then capo 2nd fret but I really didn’t want to use a capo. I’ve looked online but have seen mixed opinions.

    Kim-Fitz replied 2 years, 4 months ago 7 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • PhilBarru

    Member
    November 4, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Not sure exactly how much tension your guitar will tolerate. If it were my guitar I would either use extra light or silk and steel strings to play in tunings that involve more tension that standard tuning. Going with open D tuning is an excellent idea that will give you the pitch you want without adding tension. However, it won’t give you the unique chord shapes and fingering that a true open E will.

    You could also contact Martin cuspr

  • PhilBarru

    Member
    November 4, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Martin Customer Service and get their advice.

    • Kim-Fitz

      Member
      November 5, 2021 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for your thoughts Phil. Contacting Martin Customer service is a good idea. I do want to be carful.

  • ted_h

    Member
    November 5, 2021 at 11:18 am

    @Kim-Fitz, that is a super interesting question! If you reach out to Martin, could you please let us know what they say? I’m very curious!

    • Kim-Fitz

      Member
      November 6, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      Absolutely

      • Kim-Fitz

        Member
        November 16, 2021 at 10:15 am

        Ok, so I sent an email to Martin customer service asking if open E tuning could put too much stress on the guitar neck and damage the guitar. The following is their reply: It can if you tune it to open E and leave it that way. Tuning it to play and then tuning it back down when you are done is much safer.

  • That_Guy

    Member
    November 7, 2021 at 7:39 am

    what is open E tuning? i thought standard concert pitch was already open E tuning

    • Kim-Fitz

      Member
      November 8, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Open E tuning is a tuning for guitar: low to high, E-B-E-G♯-B-E. Compared to standard tuning, two strings are two semitones higher and one string is one semitone higher.

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      November 18, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Any time the term “open” tuning is used, it means that the 6 strings make a chord, @That_Guy . So “open E” means the string can only be the notes of the E chord, E, G#, B.

      Hope this helps.

      MG 😀

      • Kim-Fitz

        Member
        November 23, 2021 at 12:10 pm

        I know nothing about music so yes it does!

  • That_Guy

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Wow that sounds like the strings will be really really tight .

    Would it be practical to tune down the low E, b and e then use a capo? There would be much less tension

    • Kim-Fitz

      Member
      November 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Yes, I have been tuning down to open D with capo 2nd fret. I just wanted to play without the capo.

  • David_Leo

    Member
    November 10, 2021 at 5:39 am

    I don’t think it would be a problem to try it out. Just don’t leave it in that tuning. Extended play may require lighter gauge strings or a truss rod adjustment to offset increased tension. Have you thought of “splitting the difference”? Try open E flat tuning.

  • jumpinjeff

    Member
    November 18, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Hi @Kim-Fitz , this is basic physics and design spec. Your guitar 0028 (standard) is shorter scale 24.9 and designed for light strings. The tension these strings create on your guitar in standard tuning are 170lbs +or- depending on your brand. When you tune to open E you will add 15 to 20 lbs of tension or additional 10% or so. If you put some Extra lights on and tune to Open E you will have 160 lbs tension, well below what light strings in Standard tuning exert. As Martin stated, tune up and then tune back down if you want to keep Lights on. If you want to stay in Open E or if you don’t want to worry about it, use Extra Lights. You will lose a little volume but you will find them easier to play due to their lower tension.

    • Kim-Fitz

      Member
      November 18, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Thanks Jeff. I was wondering because I already have light strings. I was hoping Martin would have responded with a bit more info but at least they did respond. I’m using a capo right now with open D but I might try extra light string. Phil also suggested them as well. I’m practicing different songs so I’m always changing the tuning anyway, but it would be nice to leave the guitar in that tuning once in a while. Now I’m curious to see what the extra light strings sound and play like.

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        November 18, 2021 at 1:28 pm

        I use extra lights on all my guitars, @Kim-Fitz . I even use silk and steel extra lights on some of them. People talk about the sound like it’s not as good. Well, if that’s the case, then why would anyone ever play a nylon string guitar? The sound is softer, mellower, but it’s not a huge difference like nylon is. It’s still a steel string guitar with the typical “steel string” guitar sound. All that crap about string gauge. Go listen to all your favorite artists and come back and tell me what string gauge they’re using. Good luck.

        The lighter the string gauge, the easier they are to play and the easier they are on your finger tips. If you started playing as a child, yeah, go play a Martin Dreadnought with 13 gauge strings like Molly Tuttle. But if you started as an adult, especially an older adult like I did, then forget all the advice about sound and just use extra lights. No one ever said to me in the VOMs: “Oh, you must use extra lights on all your guitars. Your sound is always so low and weak and just not like everyone else’s sound.” We’ve had discussions on the VOMs about string gauge. No one ever knows what gauge someone is playing until they tell us. If you were playing in a bluegrass band with a bunch of other instruments, then you’d know because you’d be drown out if you weren’t using 13 gauge and a dreadnought. I had a dreadnought with extra lights on it for a while. It was very difficult to balance my voice and my guitar because the thing was so loud. You always had to sing loud to compete with the guitar.

        Anyway, I’ve gone on far too long. I hope this helps.

        MG 😀

      • Kim-Fitz

        Member
        November 23, 2021 at 12:09 pm

        That’s interesting Mike. I alway heard that lighter strings would effect the base. Meaning it won’t sound as low. I have a small body guitar so the base really does not sound as strong or as low as I would like. When I was picking out my guitar I was deciding between the 00-28 and the 000-28. I liked some things about the 00 better and was willing to give up some volume. I also have never had the opportunity to play with other people so it’s fine with me. When I need to change my strings I’m going to try the extra light ones. The ideal of being able to play different tunings without worrying about damaging my guitar is a plus. I figured changing strings is no big deal. If I don’t like it, I can always change it back to what I’m using now. Thanks for your input.

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