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Rickstar

A string higher than E string???

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Hey guys! \m/ Noob here!

I’m currently working on a solo studio project where I’m recording songs in Drop B and I have this problem that the A string (F#) is a lot higher than the E string (B). If do an open chord on the two strings it sounds more like a F# than B and it’s the same no matter what fret I pick. Doesn’t sound very metal... Any ideas for what the problem might be?

thanks 🙏

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It sounds like what you're saying is that the low string on your guitar is getting overpowered by the next highest string. Is that right? There could be a few things affecting that. Hard to say without seeing/playing your guitar. What kind of guitar is it? What strings are on there now? Does it sound like it should when you play unplugged, or does the low string still sound too quiet? It's possible that the string itself is just dead, although unlikely if it's a hex-core. If your pickups have adjustable poles, check to make sure the pole under what you're calling the "A string" isn't higher than the rest, or that the pole under the lowest string isn't too low. Make sure the strings themselves are in good shape and that the string height at the bridge is consistent. If you're playing through an amp, try moving it around, you may be getting some weird effect from sound of the room you're in. If you're playing through a modeler or plugin, check your settings, try some different things, and if you have any other amps or instruments try them in different combinations to help troubleshoot.

Also, if they're not tuned to E and A, they're not the E and A string anymore. Some people talk about them that way but it gets pretty confusing. The string tuned the highest is called the 1st string and the numbers go up as the tuning goes down, so on a six string guitar, what you're calling the "A" and "E" strings would be the 5th and 6th respectively. 

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Sorry for the noob language. I’m mainly a drummer so I don’t know all the technical guitr terms yet. 🙃 I’m using a Jackson 6-string with Bareknuckle Juggernaut pickups. Strings are Ernie Ball 64-54-42-30-17-13. When the guitar is unplugged the notes are consistent, but the 1st string rings out almost immediately, so I would assume it’s the same only enhanced when plugged in.

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8 hours ago, Rickstar said:

Sorry for the noob language. I’m mainly a drummer so I don’t know all the technical guitr terms yet. 🙃 I’m using a Jackson 6-string with Bareknuckle Juggernaut pickups. Strings are Ernie Ball 64-54-42-30-17-13. When the guitar is unplugged the notes are consistent, but the 1st string rings out almost immediately, so I would assume it’s the same only enhanced when plugged in.

No worries, we all started somewhere. Just to make sure, you're talking about the thickest string, right? The 64? That's the 6th string. 64 is a good gauge for a B, but 54 sounds a bit thick for an F#, maybe a different set of strings would help. I'm not a huge fan of D'Addario strings but their baritone 13-62 set might make sense for you. When you say "rings out", do you mean it stops? Does it make any buzzing noises that the other strings don't? Is the problem better or worse when you're fretting as opposed to playing open strings?

Honestly I think the first thing you should do is have someone else take a look - a guitarist friend, or even someone at a local music store. Have them plug it in and play it for a bit. Also have them look at how you're holding your hands while you play. There might be something weird going on with the guitar but it also might be a technique issue. 

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The guy at my local music store IS the guy who setup my guitar, so I’m not going in there ever again. I’m guessing my best bet is the 5 bottom strings are too thick then? Yea, the 6th string kinda drowns of faster while the F# has a ridiculous amount of sustain. It doesn’t matter if it’s open or if it’s on the frets. There were a little buzz on the 12th fret of both string which I’ve fixed now, but it didn’t help. So different strings maybe? 

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9 hours ago, Rickstar said:

The guy at my local music store IS the guy who setup my guitar, so I’m not going in there ever again. I’m guessing my best bet is the 5 bottom strings are too thick then? Yea, the 6th string kinda drowns of faster while the F# has a ridiculous amount of sustain. It doesn’t matter if it’s open or if it’s on the frets. There were a little buzz on the 12th fret of both string which I’ve fixed now, but it didn’t help. So different strings maybe? 

Yeah, I think you'd be better served by lighter strings with more balanced tension (that means that each string pulls with roughly the same force when it's in the tuning you want - there are string tension calculators online). Drop B tuning is the same as C# standard except for the lowest string, so it's going to be pretty tight with a string set intended for B standard. Try the D'Addario Baritone Light set and see if that's more in the ballpark. I used them for years in drop B and drop B flat, although I eventually switched to making up my own sets out of single strings.

If the strings don't fix the problem, it can't hurt to take the guitar back to this guy and just show/tell him the problem you're having. If he knows what he's doing he could probably still help you dial it in. A lighter string set might mean you need to tweak the setup anyway - truss rod, bridge height, intonation, etc. That's not hard to do and it's worth learning how, but you don't have to dive into all the details right away.

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I love f# tuning, but from experience, you really need to have a good guitar with good strings, 64 might be too light, I have a rubbish guitar with an 80 as the sixth and it holds f# well, but overall the guitar just sounds muddy. I have all but given up on the tuning now, maybe I'll revisit one day when I get a 7 or 8 string, not that you need one, but it would help...

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3 hours ago, Sabazios said:

I love f# tuning, but from experience, you really need to have a good guitar with good strings, 64 might be too light, I have a rubbish guitar with an 80 as the sixth and it holds f# well, but overall the guitar just sounds muddy. I have all but given up on the tuning now, maybe I'll revisit one day when I get a 7 or 8 string, not that you need one, but it would help...

The F# he's talking about is his 5th string - an octave higher than what it sounds like you're thinking of. 56 is on the heavy side for a low E, so it's probably way too tight on his guitar another whole step up. 

I've had my baritone down at drop G before just for fun, but I never took the extra half step plunge to F#. It didn't sound that great even with good strings and a 28.5" scale length. EQ is a whole different animal when you're down that low, everything needs to change. Lately I've come around to tuning guitars up higher and leaving more room for the bass. I joined a band who plays in E standard last year - the first time I've tuned up that high since the mid 90s! - and I miss the low notes sometimes, but not as much as I thought I would. 

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