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I’m currently working with a ¾ size electric guitar for my daughter. The problem I have is putting the right strings on it to get a stable standard E tuning (EADGBE). The person I bought it off said he could only get it to tune to ADGCEA, which is like playing with a capo on the 4th. Reading online, I’ve found that ¾ size guitars are notorious for tuning difficulties and many ¾ guitars are actually recommends to be tuned to ADGCEA. This makes sense, I suppose, as you’re effectively losing 1/3 of the string length, which takes you down to the 3rd or 4th fret. The most common solution I’ve read for this is to use heavy gauge strings, as these will hold tune better when tuned down. I don’t really like the idea of this though, as you’re dropping 5 semitones to get what you need. So I was wondering if another solution was possible: move the strings.

So,

  1. Can you move all the strings down one? So the E string becomes the A string, the A becomes the D, etc., and lose the high E string. In theory, this should allow you to tune to standard E at about the correct tension.

  2. If 1 is possible, can you take a string from a bass set to replace the missing low E?

  3. If 2 is possible, which string do you use? I don’t know much about bass strings, but it looks like the best bet would be to use the A string, as this gives a D at the 5th fret and I’d only need to tune up two semitones. The other alternative being the D, which is G at the 5th, requiring tuning down 3 semitones. I suppose the decider would be thickness of string versus stability of the up/down tuning.

  • A quick google search shows me that they make 3/4 scale electric strings that will have the correct tension. lindoguitars.com/product/… This was the first hit I found But other bands may make them as well. But will this fix the tuning issues, not sure. – b3ko Mar 26 at 13:56
  • I found those Lindo strings, too. But they are just the same as normal strings, just shorter, so I don't think they affect the tone. – swampf0etus Mar 26 at 14:02
  • @carl, I don't think that is a duplicate question of mine. They asked if there are special strings for a 3/4 and the chosen answer suggests tuning to ADGCEA. My question is asking if it's possible to move the strings and take one from a base to achieve stable tuning or avoid tuning to ADGCEA. – swampf0etus Mar 26 at 14:09
  • A light gauge set is e.g. 09, 11, 16, 24, 32, 42; a heavy set is e.g. 12, 16, 24, 32, 44, 56. So instead of moving the strings up, you could just buy a heavier set. And you won't end up with a wound G-string (which some people like, but has become non-standard). – Your Uncle Bob Mar 26 at 14:59
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I really should have though this through before posting my question.

The overall answer to my question is very probably yes, but when I thought about what I'd actually be achieving it's essentially the same as using higher gauge strings (facepalm).

Let's say I have a set of 9s with the following gauges: 9, 11, 16, 24, 32, 42

Then I lose the 9 and add in a 60 from a bass set, then I have 11, 16, 24, 32, 42, 60

But if I just use a set of heavy gauge strings, then I have 13, 17, 26, 34, 44, 54, which is close to what I'd created.

So, by moving the strings I'm just increasing the gauge.

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