Is it ok to put my guitar in sonic youth tunings?

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Calum13Calum13 Frets: 11
I'm a fan of sonic youth and when I was tuning it to learn a song (Total Trash, great song you should check it out) I thought, could all these different tunings affect my guitar or string life? Teenage riot for example requires you to tune the bottom E up 3 frets, keep A the same, tune D down 3 frets, G down 5, B down 7 and top E down 9. My guitar is a squier VM jaguar with the shitty stock bridge but it doesn't move down I put tape round the poles so it's a tighter fit in the body and doesn't move down. My strings are daddario 11s
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  • BloodEagleBloodEagle Frets: 4076
    Yeah it’s fine 
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 11
    Yeah it’s fine 
    Ok thanks, do you know how far up it is safe to tune because some songs have the bottom E up 4 frets and sometimes in drop C
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 9081
    Yeah it’s fine, no more than a truss rod tweak.  But try to remember neither guitarist was ever focused on what most would consider a good setup.
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1454
    If it bugs you can you use a capo to relieve some of the tension?
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  • DarnWeightDarnWeight Frets: 881
    They did use a lot of custom string sets, with doubled strings to achieve some tunings, i.e. a pair of Ds, Gs, Bs, that kind of thing.  Should help you get more even tension across the board for some of the more extreme tunings.
    New fangled trading feedback link right here!
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 11
    WezV said:
    Yeah it’s fine, no more than a truss rod tweak.  But try to remember neither guitarist was ever focused on what most would consider a good setup.
    Yeah, I was just wondering bacause they probably have a different guitar for every tuning, so they wouldn't exactly be affected if one was damaged but I only have one guitar, I've heard some guitars instead of the top 3 strings being GBE strings they have 3 G strings so that the downtuned strings buzz less and aren't all loose.
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7660
    Whoa whoa whoa! Sonic youth tune their guitars?
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7394
    Whoa whoa whoa! Sonic youth tune their guitars?
    No... I don't believe that for a second. All evidence points to the contrary...
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • DanchiDanchi Frets: 24
    I've never had more fun than when i started tuning my guitars all differently. SY tunings are a great place to start and then you can move on and develop your own. It was eye opening to realise a lot of the time (Thurston, especially) chose a tuning that meant he could play a riff by barley moving his fingers!  You have to totally embrace the dissonance too, it's completely part of it. 
    I bought a Tyler Variax of Chalky so i could find new tunings without messing with the strings (it allows you to programme tunings in) and when i had one i liked and had a couple of riffs/sings with, i'll tune one of my guitars to that tuning.

    If you're in London and want to jam in all manner of weird tuning, hook me up. I live for it!
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1333
    Calum13 said:
    I'm a fan of sonic youth and when I was tuning it to learn a song (Total Trash, great song you should check it out) I thought, could all these different tunings affect my guitar or string life? Teenage riot for example requires you to tune the bottom E up 3 frets, keep A the same, tune D down 3 frets, G down 5, B down 7 and top E down 9. My guitar is a squier VM jaguar with the shitty stock bridge but it doesn't move down I put tape round the poles so it's a tighter fit in the body and doesn't move down. My strings are daddario 11s


    Yup. You may find issues using standard string set gauges though - some of the tunings are pretty extreme as you probably know so you might want to experiment with gauges. I'm sure there will be info on fan sites on gauges that they used, this site has good info on the tunings used, but not gauges as far as I can tell from a quick look.

    http://www.sonicyouth.com/mustang/tab/tuning.html


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  • ewalewal Frets: 740
    I use a couple of SY tunings - DBbDFCA (borrowed from Ranaldo) and CGDGCD (from Moore). You can use standard gauges for these because you are mostly tuning down. I like the slack strings - that's part of the vibe.

    From experience, I'd be wary of tuning up by more than 3 semitones. In this case I'd be looking at custom string sets.
    The Scrambler-EE Walk soundcloud experience
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 11
    ewal said:
    I use a couple of SY tunings - DBbDFCA (borrowed from Ranaldo) and CGDGCD (from Moore). You can use standard gauges for these because you are mostly tuning down. I like the slack strings - that's part of the vibe.

    From experience, I'd be wary of tuning up by more than 3 semitones. In this case I'd be looking at custom string sets.
    Yeah, earlier on I was tuning it and I had to tune the G string up to B (4 semitones) and I held the guitar away from me because I'm not planning on losing an eye!
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  • skunkwerxskunkwerx Frets: 1447
    Calum13 said:
    ewal said:
    I use a couple of SY tunings - DBbDFCA (borrowed from Ranaldo) and CGDGCD (from Moore). You can use standard gauges for these because you are mostly tuning down. I like the slack strings - that's part of the vibe.

    From experience, I'd be wary of tuning up by more than 3 semitones. In this case I'd be looking at custom string sets.
    Yeah, earlier on I was tuning it and I had to tune the G string up to B (4 semitones) and I held the guitar away from me because I'm not planning on losing an eye!
    Brave man! 

    Phil Mcknight did a youtube vid where he put various brands of strings on the same guitar, and each time tuned up to see at what point they would snap. 

    It was fairly even across the board I think, but hell, even tuning a new set up
    to pitch makes me a little scared haha. 
    The only easy day, was yesterday...
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  • valevale Frets: 1036
    edited August 14
    it won't harm your guitar but my feeling is that it will reduce the life of your strings. if you are constantly going up a few tones then down below the original a few tones, then up then down, it just seems to kill the strings' energy. they go dead and unresponsive a bit sooner. in my experience anyway.

    if you like them with zing and buzz in, maybe better to keep a second (secondary) guitar in any extreme tuning to one side, to alternate with your main (most commonly used) tuning. if you are only using it for a couple of songs that extreme tuning guitar can be pretty inexpensive as long as the pickups do enough to hit the spot. sy used a lot of junky bashed up guitars early on so they could switch around without fuss.

    if i am using one guitar for all then i tend to tune to xyz whatever, then try to get what i need done in that tuning to a certain stage i can leave to come back to (from idea to recorded demo) as a complete self-contained episode. and then i move on to the next thing. rather than just be winding up and down every hour.

    partly because my head likes to be in a tuning for a while to feel that space. but also because of that zingy thing. strings that sound overstretched and clanky and flat don't usually get me where i want to go.

    btw if you are using 11s with a wound third and you are having trouble with them breaking, try switching to an unwound. being so thin and yet still ridgy they are sometimes not very happy about being dragged to and fro across some nuts and bridges repreatedly. smoothing the way with graphite and filing snagginess can help, as can a roller bridge.
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