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Tenor guitar question

GUEST,Martin Ellison 15 Oct 19 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Ray 15 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 19 - 01:33 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 19 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Jerry 16 Oct 19 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery) 16 Oct 19 - 05:07 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 16 Oct 19 - 08:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 19 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Threethumbs 16 Oct 19 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Jerry 16 Oct 19 - 01:31 PM
Stringsinger 16 Oct 19 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Jerry 16 Oct 19 - 03:52 PM
vectis 16 Oct 19 - 04:56 PM
PHJim 16 Oct 19 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Jerry 17 Oct 19 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 17 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM
Roger the Skiffler 17 Oct 19 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery) 17 Oct 19 - 09:40 AM
PHJim 17 Oct 19 - 03:16 PM
leeneia 17 Oct 19 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,DrWord 17 Oct 19 - 07:04 PM
Donuel 20 Oct 19 - 07:25 PM
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Subject: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Martin Ellison
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 11:25 AM

Hi
I have a hankering to obtain a tenor guitar but I'm so confused about the tuning. I think I'd like it in fifths but I can't work out which is the lower pitched (I want it mellow) GDAE or CGDA - I don't know if the C in the second example, specifically for tenor guitar tuning is the one below the G in the first or above it!!
Can anyone help out?
Thanks
Martin Ellison


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM

Ulitimately, you can tune it exactly how you like but I’d recomment that GDAE should be an octave below mandolin and CGDA an octave below mandola.

If yiu’re intending to get into tenor guitar, or anything else tuned in fifths, yiu could do worse than to join the Mandolin Cafe. Have a look Here in the meantime.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:33 PM

Thank you


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:16 PM

this may not be of any help, but the cgda tuning on tenor banjo is higher than gdae


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:37 AM

That was my thought too, about tenor banjo jazz tuning, but I think the CGDA for a tenor guitar is an octave lower than that, more like a mandocello. In which case, the answer to the original query might be that C stringing would be only higher than the G if you used tenor banjo strings, which I’m guessing might not work on a tenor guitar(?)


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery)
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 05:07 AM

If your already a Guitar player, "Chicago Tuning", as used by many Jazz guitarists who play tenor or guitar, which is the top four strings of a guitar (D.G.B.E) is easiest, meaning minimum learning of new chord shapes. and closer to regular guitar sound. Its also standard for Baritone ukulele.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 08:22 AM

What does Alice Jones use?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 08:37 AM

Spend more than a tenor...


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Threethumbs
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 08:49 AM

The 4 string tenor guitar was conceived as a doubling instrument for dance band tenor banjo players, so CGDA tuning was the norm. The same pitch as viola/mandola. "Chicago tuning" mentioned above is another option for guitarists, also sometimes used on 4 string plectrum guitar.( Think guitar with plectrum banjo neck) Or, indeed, any open tuning. Players of Irish dance music tend to favour GDAE one octave below violin/mandolin, using heavier gauge strings. Some modern makers are building instruments specifically for this lower tuning.Also there is the tuning used by Eddie Freeman on his "Eddie Freeman Special" guitar. CGDA again but with the D and A strings an octave lower, giving a dense close harmony for powerful chordal rhythm playing.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 01:31 PM

That still suggests to me that standard tenor banjo C tuning would be too high for Tenor guitar. I’ve never played tenor guitar, but have played tenor banjo and tenor mandola with C tuning, which is quite treble sounding compared to GDAE, and I would have thoughtthat would sound a bit thin and weedy on tenor guitar.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 01:39 PM

Eddie Condon, the entrepreneur and tenor guitar player for many trad jazz sessions tuned his tenor guitar like a plectrum banjo. CGBD. John Hammond, the notable talent scout and A and R for Columbia records said that Condon had "the fastest left hand in the business." Whether he did or not is hard to prove since he rarely took a solo on recordings. If you elect this tuning, a plectrum banjo book should help you or an instruction tape from Happy Traum's Homespun Tapes by Buddy Wachter, well-known plectrum player.

I find the so-called Chicago tuning thin compared to the tenor banjo CGDA or dropped tuning GDAE. Here's another thought that is employed by my friend and legendary tenor banjo player, Bill Rutan, a re-entrant tuning. In GDAE tuning, take the fourth string an octave higher. This gives you closer voicing and a mellow guitar sound.

Re-entrant tunings are used by banjo and ukulele players all the time.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:52 PM

Actually, reading these posts again, I think Ray answered the original query in the second post - if you want it tuned in fifths, you either could tune it GDAE (as per what we call an octave mandola in the UK), or CGDA (as per a mandocello’s lower C tuning). I also use a re-entrant tuning on a cittern - DADAE, but that’s just to lesson the overall tension on the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: vectis
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:56 PM

I am obviously lacking in imagination so I use DGBE and it suits me fine. No new chords to learn.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: PHJim
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 06:44 PM

I see Chicago tuning mentioned above. These names are used locally for tenor guitar and banjo tuning. Are they more widespread?

Chicago - DGBE
Standard - CGDA
Irish - GDAE

I have also seen DAEB, standard tuning up a tone. Those who use it for Irish fiddle tunes point out that the low G string is rarely used in fiddle tunes and the high B string comes in handy for keeping high pitched tunes in first position.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 03:28 AM

Those are the names generally used here in the UK. Apart from those in trad jazz bands, everybody seems to now use GDAE which works well for playing fiddle tunes. If you also play fiddle or mandolin, there is less mental transposing involved in switching between instruments, if they are all in the G tuning, albeit an octave apart. Yes, the lowest G string doesn’t get used that much, but I use ADAE tuning most of the time, which gives you a useful low drone note for tunes in D, A, Am, Dm, plus some easier and more interesting chord voicings.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM

I know that Tommy Tedesco tuned his mandolin to DGBE and the mandolin on "Iris" by the Goo-Goo Dolls is actually a sort of 12-string terz, but in general I'm kind of in favour of finding the idiom for the different instruments.

If you have a shortish scale and only 4 strings, you can cover a wider more range tuning in fifths, and you have the benefit of transposable fingering, which the forths and a third tuning on a guitar, or Chicago tuning of tenor , militates against.

I would probably go for Irish tuning, as Jerry suggests.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 05:54 AM

I would expect Will Fly "The man with the tenor guitar" to chip in here!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery)
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 09:40 AM

Stringsinger, on a slight technicality ! Eddie Condons guitars, certainly his later ones ( he had quite a few over his long career) where actually Plectrum guitars rather than tenors, having the longer scale legth.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 03:16 PM

Stringsinger, Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio used Chicago tuning,often capoed at the 5th fret, making it GCEA or ukulele tuning.

The great jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes, also used Chicago tuning on his Gibson or Guild electric tenor guitars.
Tiny Grimes - Electric tenor guitar in Chicago tuning.

GUEST,Mark Bluemel, Ry Cooder sometimes used an solid body octave 12-string guitar to get a mandolin effect on "Jesus On The Mainline.
Ry Cooder octave 12-string


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: leeneia
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 05:45 PM

Why not ask the company that made the guitar what they designed it for? The guitar will probably sound best and last longest if you use the tuning the maker had in mind.


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:04 PM

Yes, Roger, Will Fly IS the tenor man I’d like to hear from. And leeneia is right, of course. My all-birch Stella and all-mahogany Regal are tuned C G D A. I do more experimenting with strings than with tunings. Thanks, all, for the inputs; one almost always encounters nuggets …
Keep on pickin’
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Tenor guitar question
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Oct 19 - 07:25 PM

Until Will gets here I'll tell you I experimented with acoustic strings CGDA on a baritone ukelele one octave above a cello and play the Bach cello suites as well as country and pop. With the thumb picking its extremely mellow and sustaining all the way to the powerful penetrating top note. A guitar still sustains more.

For this sound it costs about $200 but even $40 will surprise you.


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