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  1. #1

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    Guys - this topic has probably come up before, but I saw a video of Frank Vignola recently where he mentioned that he tunes his guitars down a little when he puts them in a case and doesn't plan to play them for a while. He was referring to a vintage Epiphone Emporer in this particular instance.

    Any opinions on that? Do you guys do that? Needed or not needed?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2

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    I don't if they are stored in proper temp and humidity. But I also am not a guitar repairman. Just a player who knows enough to be dangerous. In other words a working musician,LOL !

  4. #3

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    Guitars when not played a while tend to a state of tension where the strings are about a semitone flat. So, tuning down a semitone flat is merely helping them towards that state that they get to anyway.

    The other school of thought is that the truss rod is set to counteract the tension of the strings. So, if you downtune the strings, the truss rod has less force to counteract it and the neck develops a backbow.

    I suppose if you tune to Eb standard tuning you already are a semitone down so do you downtune further before putting it away? Hmmmm...

    I bought a Ramirez 1A whose rosette was popping out nearly unseated, and lacquer had two long cracks in the top. Some bozo had strung it up with one steel string! I removed all the old strings and put it aside for one year without strings, rueing my mistake buying it. One year later, I recalled I had it. I pulled it out from the back of my guitar storeroom. Lo and behold, the rosette had seated itself properly and the two long lacquer cracks were nearly invisible. I could not feel them any longer. I strung it up with proper nylon classical strings and everything was normal. It sounded great. Just goes to show that a guitar is not static. There are dynamic forces at play. Even when it is not strung up the top moved to heal itself.

    My opinion: tuning it down a semitone or two does not hurt the guitar.

  5. #4

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    No guitars are made to withstand the stress of the strings. No reason to detune them as not having it a normal tension can pose other problems. Guitar necks and bodies still respond to the environment they are in regardless of whether they are at concert pitch, no strings at all, or detuned. The real consideration is that the guitar should be in a stable environment if not going to be played for a long time ( whatever that is I would like to know) and take it out occasionally and and look it over. What you don't want to do is pack it in storage in and attic or basement that has temp and humidity changes out of the normal home environment.

    Vintage Epi Emperor are generally well made guitars and actually designed to handle pretty heavy strings and attack. I would think they probably are at the top of the food chain for put together well. I was a very young player of 18 years old and ask guitar maker Bill Barker the very same question and he said he build his guitar to have strings on them.........at pitch. I am sure there are other opinions.

  6. #5

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    Don't do it. If you played it every day you'd never tune it down and it would be fine. How does not playing it change that?

    Danny W.

  7. #6

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    What do you mean : "not play this guitar for a while" ?
    That means you have too many guitars.

    Seriously, deacon Mark and Danny W are spot on.
    Think about the physics behind it and it becomes clear.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 339 in june
    What do you mean : "not play this guitar for a while" ?
    That means you have too many guitars.
    Maybe it's because he's out on the road for a good while and there are some guitars he doesn't want to take out tour for fear of damage or theft.

  9. #8

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    How many answers does it take to answer a guitar question?

    Apparently All Of Them!Lol!

  10. #9

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    I tune my 1940 and 1950's carved top archtops to either D or Eb. I started doing this after two things. 1) Doing a neck re-set on an archtop and 2) owning a 12-string requiring me to shave the bridge (due to to top being pulled up). So, basically two things I'd not like to have to do again.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    I tune my 1940 and 1950's carved top archtops to either D or Eb. I started doing this after two things. 1) Doing a neck re-set on an archtop and 2) owning a 12-string requiring me to shave the bridge (due to to top being pulled up). So, basically two things I'd not like to have to do again.
    I am going to address the 12 string.................I don't like them except Joe Pass had a great album he recorded using a 12 string. They do have lots of tension and the antidote is to build them heavy and strong.............possible but challenging...............Guild seems to have done it the best.

    If your carve top cannot take then tension then you need another guitar. My suggest if you have the funds is any Gibson L5 or the lower model L7.

  12. #11

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    Lately I've had to downtune guitars that aren't being actively played just to get them to standard pitch. I guess the weather is playing havoc with the strings.

  13. #12

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    In 1975 I bought a used Guild F-412 after having looked at several other Guild twelves that had unplayable necks. This one had excellent playability (for a 12!)--the former owner told me it was because he always kept it tuned down a full step. I had heard that doing that was a good idea with Guild twelves, so I did it too. Two years later I found that the neck had become unacceptable to me and so I sold it. The guy who bought it was thrilled--said it had the best playability of any Guild 12 he'd played!

    Of all the guitars I've owned that's the only one I kept tuned down; from my viewpoint it didn't help. I've owned a number of Ric twelves and always kept then tuned to standard without a problem.

    Tuning down guitars that are not played frequently?-guild-f-412_01-jpg

    Danny W.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 339 in june
    What do you mean : "not play this guitar for a while" ?
    That means you have too many guitars.

    Seriously, deacon Mark and Danny W are spot on.
    Think about the physics behind it and it becomes clear.

    Months - at least.

    And I agree on all points. :0

  15. #14
    Thanks guys, what a great forum this is!

  16. #15

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    I only detune my nylon string ones that don't have a truss rod if I won't be playing one for a while. But I've noticed that where I live a guitar will go out of tune for almost a half step or more between winter and spring, so I check all my stored guitars for tuning a few times a year.

  17. #16

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    I have had 4 guitars strung for 40 years (classical, archtop, steel-string acoustic, solid) and I have never detuned them. The solid and the acoustic certainly go for long periods without being played.

    It has made no difference to any of them.