I know this isn’t the best forum in the world to ask this, but I also know we have both guitarists and engineers here, so I thought I could get some FOOback from some of y’all.
When talking about acoustic guitars, are they built to sound their best in standard tuning?
I ask this because I recently bought a Seagull Entourage Rustic CW guitar, which, to me, is the best sounding guitar I have ever had a chance to play. It didn’t cost all that much, but, to me, it sounded better than some of the $2000-3000 guitars I got to try (but could never buy). The catch, though, is that is only sounds fantastic in standard tuning.
By “fantastic,” I mean the sympathetic vibrations and overtones I hear are more amazing than anything I have ever heard. I will play stuff on the low E string and the entire guitar will sing along as though I have an orchestra backing me up. (I tried three of the same model of guitar side by side and the one I bought sounded much better than the other two of the same model, from the same controlled room, and everything.)
BUT, when I use an alternate tuning (especially DADGAD), the guitar sounds like utter crap. It sounds like a tiny toy. I use a tuner and tune it as tight as I can, and I use my ears and fine tune it other times, but I just can’t get it to sound good whatsoever if I am not using standard tuning.
Are my ears playing tricks on myself, or would just about any guitar sound its best in standard tuning?
That being said, I assume that the pros would have different guitars "set up" for each tuning. I only have one guitar and I am not going to buy a guitar for each alternate tuning I may use some day, so I don't plan on having the guitar re-set up just so I can play Celtic music when the mood strikes.