Any acoustic guitar experts willing to help me out with some info?

I would like to have an acoustic guitar tuned down a step and a half (C#F#BEG#C#, and at times open Bsus2 BF#BEbF#C#) for a big warm sound and a key that suits my voice on bad days. I tried a baritone acoustic and it was a bit too deep and dark for my purposes.

I have been tuning this way with the medium gauge string set on one of my back-up guitars (an old Yamaha) and it sounds alright, albeit a bit rattly and weak. I am sure a heavier gauge string set would fix this problem. What I really want to do is set up my Taylor grand auditorium in this configuration, but I worry about putting tensions on the neck that might damage the balance of this perfectly crafted guitar.

What gauge of strings should I use to maintain the same tension as light gauge in standard tuning on this guitar? If there is no way to avoid warping the guitar, what would be an ideal guitar/string combo to set up in this tuning? My Yamaha, albeit a workhorse, has no electronics or cutaway, and is also very old with sentimental value so I don't want to hurt it much either. What is a relatively inexpensive guitar built tough enough to handle this abuse I have planned while retaining enough tone to please the ear? Would the tone be better on a jumbo or a dreadought?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

  • If you were more specific with what gauge the 'mediums' and 'lights' actually are - (measured in thous), it would be a simpler job to say go for .013" on top, for instance.
    – Tim
    Jul 30, 2018 at 14:16
  • That Eb is better as D#. key B has sharps, no flats!
    – Tim
    Jul 30, 2018 at 15:27
  • @Tim Nah … that's the only note that's right. Open C flat sus 2 sounds a lot better than B sus 2 ;)
    – user19146
    Jul 30, 2018 at 17:09
  • @alephzero - there's always an Fbb option. Never forget that...
    – Tim
    Jul 30, 2018 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


You should get advice from a luthier or a guitar tech. You should not take advice from someone who has not have your guitar in his hands, especially if it has sentimental value, and risk to damage it.

Changing the gauge of your guitar will also require to adjust the set-up because it will change the intonation.


Maybe more than you wanted to know, but:


The tables linked here can tell you how to keep the tension the same for each string, using bigger gauge to compensate for lower pitch. If you do the math, there should be no chance of damaging your guitar.

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