I've been playing guitar for about a year and until now I've always wanted to play on lower tunings. I have heavy gauge strings for these low tunings. I'm scared that tuning up to e standard and what not will break the strings due to the change in tension in such a short amount of time. Will this happen? And if so, how can I avoid it. I'm currently on C# Drop B btw.

On top of that, I've been noticing that when I tune to drop D, my guitar bridge lifts up at a very scary angle. I think I have a floating bridge but I'm not quite sure. Can my bridge break if I tune up too high? Thank you in advance.

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    Hi Matthew, welcome to MPT. There are a lot of regulars here that are very knowledgeable about instruments, their construction and setup. Your question would benefit from providing more specific information such as string gauge, type of instrument, whether it has a tremolo bridge or not and also any photo or photos you feel might be relevant. Good luck! Nov 1, 2020 at 7:59
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    It's of paramount importance that you provide detail. The string gauge in particular. What guitar also. If your strings work fine with C#, your neck is at risk going up to standard with the present strings. Which may not break, but will be very tight.
    – Tim
    Nov 1, 2020 at 9:16
  • I'd echo Tim's comment. There is not a lot of detail. Try taking some pics of the guitar and posting them. How heavy is heavy gauge? 10s, 13s, that would help. Did you change gauge after buying the guitar? If so it would have needed the neck adjusted, etc.
    – user50691
    Nov 1, 2020 at 15:02
  • @ToddWilcox drop D is tuning UP relative to what his guitar is set up for with drop B. Nov 3, 2020 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


I assume you're using .012 or .013 gauge strings if you're tuning to drop B. There is no significant danger of the strings breaking by tuning up to E standard, BUT as mentioned in comments this will put extra tension on the neck and as you've already noticed on the tremolo bridge as well. Basically, if you want to tune up to E you'll need to do one of two things:

  1. Do a new setup on the guitar with the current strings. This involves tightening the springs to bring the bridge back down to rest position, adjusting the truss rod, and resetting the intonation.

  2. Change strings to a lighter gauge (.010 - .008) and tune to E standard. This will also require a new setup, but probably not as drastic as would be required in scenario 1.

If you are unsure about how to do these things, either get your guitar teacher to teach you or have it done by a professional. If you're planning on switching tunings frequently, you'll probably do:

  1. What most of us guitarists do and buy another axe. I have a guitar with .013s on it that I play in C standard/drop Bb, a couple that are in E standard/drop D (one has .008s, the other has .009s), one in Eb standard, and a 7-string in B standard/drop A.

At some point I'll need buy a second 7-string to tune down to F# standard/drop E (unless I buy an 8-string instead).

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