Skip to main content

Forget About Down Tuning. Does Up Tuning Sound Heavy?

Guitarists like to tune down to make their metal riffs sound heavier. But what happens to a metal riff when you tune up? Does it end up sounding wimpy?

Guitarist Pete Cottrell decided to find out by tuning his guitar up two whole steps, (low to high) G# C# F# B D# G#.

And yes, he used very light-gauge strings—a set of Billy Gibbons Superfine .007s.

“They’re super-crazy thin, which allowed me to tune my guitar up to a higher pitch,” Cottrell says. “I got two whole tones above E. They were obviously not meant to be used that way, but it’s cool to hear how quickly your ear adjusts to the higher pitch.”

His set-up features a PRS Singlecut guitar, an MXR Smart Gate pedal, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think: Does up tuning still sound heavy?