1

I own a very high end Ernie Ball electric guitar. Usually I have it tuned in standard tuning but there are many songs I want to play that require lower tuning such as drop Eb or even drop D.

I wonder how a frequent change of tuning affects an electric guitar. It obviously changes the tension of the neck (due to the change of the tension of the strings). Is this something bad for the guitar? Can I freely do it without worrying too much?

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Your best bet is to obtain at least another guitar and tune it to what you want. There is little point in continually retuning one instrument. If you need multiple tunings, you may as well have multiple instruments ready in those tunings.

With only a tone up and down, it won't hurt the guitar, though. Should last at least 50 yrs tuning up and down, although my first suggestion - if financially viable - is a simpler solution.

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Changing the tuning frequently shouldn't have much of an effect (if any) on the guitar. Your guitar's neck is made out of solid wood re-enforced with a steel bar (truss rod), so the tension of the strings will have very little effect in the short-term. There are some myths out there about guitar necks becoming warped from string tension, but I am extremely skeptical of this for the above reason. If you are only tuning down one or two half-steps, you should be totally fine.

  • There is a point to be made about tension, just for clarity. First assume constant string thickness. Higher tuning = more tension, lower tuning = lower tension. But, this is very limited. The most important thing in my opinion is not to overdo. Don't play standard with 56er strings, and don't play C-tuning with 42er strings. But besides the long term effect, this will also feel very wrong most likely. – Sebastian Nov 19 '18 at 22:09

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