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  1. #1

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    I was wondering if anyone caught the latest "Frank's Stash (of Guitars)" video of Frank Vignola showcasing his 1936 Epiphone Emperor in the latest Jazz Guitar Today (Frank's Stash (of Guitars...) Epiphone 1936 Emperor - Jazz Guitar Today). Aside from the gorgeous guitar and Frank's talent on display, it was the second time in the last week or so that I heard it's a good idea of detune a guitar down a half-step if you aren't going to play it. Frank says that he does that with the Epiphone Emperor and other guitars he doesn't play often. I also saw basically the same thing somewhere else where Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars basically recommends the same thing and goes a step further in saying that it's a good idea to back off on the truss rod to bring the neck into a neutral position, particularly if the guitar is being stored for a long time. Anyone doing this or have thoughts about this practice?

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  3. #2

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    Don't mean to be smart-aleck, but I tune all my guitars down by 1/2 step ... because I like to play then far better this way. As such, when one of them gets ignored for a while (storage?) it's already in Db without even trying.

    Try it. You'll like it ;-)

  4. #3

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    i leave my guitars in storage as is. not a single issue year round, and they often come back in relative tune. acoustics, electrics, archtops, slabs and otherwise. some older guitars, but nothing before the late 60s.

    but i also tune them down a whole step (or more) anyway, so i'm not sure if my experience is of any help here.

  5. #4

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    necks can move regardless of string tension...too little can have just as much effect as too much...it's all about humidity and temps...impossible to predict...each guitars wood reacts dfferently...why no 2 guitars are ever really the same...the beauty of it

    just leave it @ A-440...

    (unless you are using insanely heavy strings or keeping the guitar in the trunk of your car on your desert vacation)

    cheers

    ps- older acoustic 12 string guitars may also be a caveat...(i usually tune those down to D anyway)

  6. #5

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    Maintaining proper humidity is the only thing needed for a quality instrument--40-60% relative humidity. I try to keep mine closer to the high end. Detuning is not necessary since temperature/humidity considerations cause strings to fluctuate in tension. Always use distilled water. Never allow residual water to touch the instrument. I usually check humidification percentages once a week.
    Play Live . . . Marinero

  7. #6

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    I leave mine at 440.

    However, my late bandmate/vintage dealer, who had approximately 1,000 guitars, stored them detuned a half step.

  8. #7

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    There may be some reasoning behind that depending on the temperature changes where the guitar is. It can easily move one half step lower or higher during the year just by string contraction. I open stored guitars and tune them a few times a year, but if i had too many to do that, i would probably store them tuned a half step down.

    I do detune stored classicals without a truss rod.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    necks can move regardless of string tension...too little can have just as much effect as too much...it's all about humidity and temps...impossible to predict...each guitars wood reacts dfferently...why no 2 guitars are ever really the same...the beauty of it

    just leave it @ A-440...

    (unless you are using insanely heavy strings or keeping the guitar in the trunk of your car on your desert vacation)

    cheers

    ps- older acoustic 12 string guitars may also be a caveat...(i usually tune those down to D anyway)
    I have had one guitar that was stored without much tension long term. It took a while to get the back bow out. I don't detune guitars for storage. It doesn't make any sense now that there's a truss rod!

  10. #9

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    Mark,

    That was my buddy's reasoning. 1,000 is too many to take out of the cases and attend to...so just de-tune and leave 'em.

    It worked fine.

  11. #10

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    The only instruments that I detune( slightly) are my Flat top designed guitars- I leave Archtops at pitch. The string force on Flat tops is inherently pulling up on the bridge plate and will eventually create a slight convex bulge on the spruce top- so it’s best to minimize this affect whenever possible.

    One of the most important factors- for the health of the instrument- is to control the humidity. I know there are a many posts on this, so I won’t get into it- but my preference is 55-60% all year. Flat tops are especially sensitive to humidity fluctuations, as well as thin top Archtops.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWatt
    Don't mean to be smart-aleck, but I tune all my guitars down by 1/2 step ... because I like to play then far better this way. As such, when one of them gets ignored for a while (storage?) it's already in Db without even trying.

    Try it. You'll like it ;-)
    Have heard of people doing this because the guitar top resonates better at the lower tuning for some instruments and because of less string tension being easier on the left hand.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Maintaining proper humidity is the only thing needed for a quality instrument--40-60% relative humidity. I try to keep mine closer to the high end. Detuning is not necessary since temperature/humidity considerations cause strings to fluctuate in tension. Always use distilled water. Never allow residual water to touch the instrument. I usually check humidification percentages once a week.
    Play Live . . . Marinero
    Good advice! I live in the desert southwest, so the winter is a challenging time to keep instruments within that range inside their cases. Some of that is the nature of the seal around the case lid and bottom. I use window and door foam or rubber tape insulation that comes in varying thicknesses and widths. It has adhesive on one of the sides of the insulation. I then line the edge of the case lid with it to provide a tighter seal. I got the idea from the Boveda website (the company that makes the Humidipaks for D'Addario and also sells them as well). I also put a SensorPush (https://www.sensorpush.com) in each case to be able to monitor temperature and humidity from my iPhone. What's nice is that you can set upper and lower limits for both temperature and humidity and enable alerts if the parameters fall outside those limits.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    The only instruments that I detune( slightly) are my Flat top designed guitars- I leave Archtops at pitch. The string force on Flat tops is inherently pulling up on the bridge plate and will eventually create a slight convex bulge on the spruce top- so it’s best to minimize this affect whenever possible.

    One of the most important factors- for the health of the instrument- is to control the humidity. I know there are a many posts on this, so I won’t get into it- but my preference is 55-60% all year. Flat tops are especially sensitive to humidity fluctuations, as well as thin top Archtops.
    I'm glad that you point out the differences between the tension on the top for a flat top guitar versus archtop guitar. So more important for detuning flat top guitars.

    As far as humidity, I'm happy if I can get into the range you mention, but sometimes difficult here in the desert southwest. I do try to get into that range and then be sure to replenish the case humidifiers when I see the level approaching 45%.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Have heard of people doing this because the guitar top resonates better at the lower tuning for some instruments and because of less string tension being easier on the left hand.
    Indeed, it's much easier on the hands and fuller on the tone. Lots of well-known artists do so... e.g., Ted Greene, Tim Lerch. For rock/blues players consider Jimi Hendrix, SRV, and others ... all played this way before reaching geezerhood.