Reasons To Tune Your Guitar Down A Step

Although guitars (including Oscar Schmidt guitars) can be tuned in a seemingly endless assortment of ways, it's customary for players to have their instruments set up in E-standard tuning. This tuning is the tuning that guitars at stores are kept in, and when you take your instrument for a setup at the local guitar store, it will be set up in E-standard unless you specify otherwise. However, there are a number of reasons that you may wish to tune your instrument down a half step or even a full step. Here are some such reasons.

You Want To Play Along With Your Favorite Songs

While using a capo can allow you to mimic a higher tuning, there's no trick that you can use to make your instrument sound as though it's tuned down. If you enjoy playing along with your favorite artists' recordings and they tune their instruments down, you'll need to do the same. Otherwise, the combination of the song you're listening to and your playing will be hard on the ears — a D on the song will be played as an E on your higher-tuned instrument, for example.

You Want To Make Your Strings Easier To Bend

Bending notes is a technique that virtually every guitarist employs to some degrees, but depending on how your instrument is set up, it can be difficult to bend notes up a half or full step. This can especially be the case if your hands lack a little strength--for example, if you're a relatively new player. A simple way to make your strings easier to bend is to tune them down a half or full step. This reduces the tension and makes the strings looser, thus improving the ease with which you can bend them.

Your Action Is Too High

In guitar terms, action is the word that describes the relationship between the strings and the frets. When the action is too high, you'll need to use a considerable degree of pressure to fret notes and form chords, which can make your hands tired and your fingertips sore. While you can always take the instrument to your guitar shop to have it properly set up — that is, having the bridge and nut adjusted to lower the action — a simple way to achieve this effect at home is to tune down a half or full step. The reduced tension on the strings allows them to sit closer to the frets, which should improve your ease of playing.