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Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar

Northerner 24 Aug 12 - 05:08 PM
Will Fly 24 Aug 12 - 05:12 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 05:21 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM
Northerner 24 Aug 12 - 05:25 PM
Northerner 24 Aug 12 - 05:28 PM
Henry Krinkle 24 Aug 12 - 06:55 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 07:22 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 07:31 PM
Henry Krinkle 24 Aug 12 - 07:46 PM
Henry Krinkle 24 Aug 12 - 07:50 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 07:52 PM
Northerner 24 Aug 12 - 08:11 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 08:21 PM
PHJim 25 Aug 12 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,oldspotmusicman 13 May 14 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,PeterC 14 May 14 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Reynard 14 May 14 - 05:34 AM
Jack Campin 14 May 14 - 07:19 AM
jonm 14 May 14 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Texoma Dirt Farmer 17 Dec 15 - 02:06 PM
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Subject: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Northerner
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:08 PM

I have just bought a tenor guitar. I intend using it to accompany myself on folk songs. There appear to be several tunings. The shop has tuned it to mandolin tuning. I already play acoustic guitar and soprano ukulele. I find the acoustic guitar a bit too big for me to be comfortable - I am five foot nothing with small hands. The soprano uke is nice and small for me and the tenor guitar is also small enough. I love the sound of the tenor guitar. Which is the best tuning for me to start off with?


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:12 PM

I've always played tenor guitar in standard CGDA tuning - which is like a viola - and uses fiddle-style fingering. You pays your money and you takes your choise, but - for me - CGDA gives a very sweet sound.

Here's an example:

My Melancholy Baby


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:21 PM

I've played these things going back to the early 70s and I just go with "my dog has fleas" tuning in what ever key you want...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM

adgb[four inside guitar strings]or eadg, or dgbe, just make sure you have correct guitar gauges for different combinations, the advantage of these tunings is that you can transpose guitar chords, because you are using either the top 4 the middle 4 or the bottom 4 of the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Northerner
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:25 PM

That sounds fun! The musician I saw playing tenor guitar played the fiddle originally so he probably had it in that tuning. That would work for me, thank you.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Northerner
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:28 PM

I can see I will have a lot of fun experimenting with it.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:55 PM

Can you just leave two strings off of a 6 string?
Maybe the two outer strings?


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:22 PM

Yeah, you can do that but it doesn't make it sound like a tenor geetar which has it's own sound...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:31 PM

BTW, tenor guitar strings are .010, .016, .024 & .036...


Make sure that's what you are using... Do you play open tunings??? If not, learn to... The tenor, IMHO, is best played in open tunings...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:46 PM

Then a tenor should be good for some slide work.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:50 PM

I used to see them in pawn shops. Then they disappeared.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:52 PM

It's not...

The strings are just too thin... I'm not saying it can't be done because it can... But it's like making love to a gorilla... You're gonna do it on the gorilla's terms...

My last tenor was a 30's Dobro style resonator... I figured that it would slide well... It didn't... Nor did 1st on, a Harmony arch-top... Not my 2nd, a Gibson arch-top... Nor the 0-17 Martin flat top... Nor the 30's flat-top Gibson...

Open tuning are fine but leave the slide to 6 string geetars... Being a slide player, I learned this lesson the hard way...

But no matter... These geetars in open tunings are easier to play than a radio... LOL...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Northerner
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 08:11 PM

It looks like I'm best starting off with the standard tuning and exploring the other tunings later. I bought my tenor guitar at the craft and music fair at Whitby Folk Week.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 08:21 PM

Funny story...

My first tenor was "lent" to me by a friend... Actually, it was still owned by his father who was in his 80s at the time... So I borrowed it and didn't have a clue how to tune it so I just took it home and fiddled and within an hour or so had it crankin'... I played it like that for the next year or so and really had it down until...

...one weekend... My friend's father was coming to visit and bringing his 30s Gibson (which I later owned - long story)... Now this older man had played back in the 40s in stringed bands and here I was going to meet him...

So I pulled out "his" old Harmony and started playing some real hot mountain music on it and he...

...started yelling - yes, yelling - "No, no, you don't play it that way!!!"... He was mad as he could be... So I told him that I had never been told how to tune it and so he showed me standard tuning and played some sleepy 40's stuff and I was gracious and put mine ("his") in standard tuning and played a few songs with him so he felt real warm and fuzzy...

Soon as I got home that night I put it back in my tuning and never played it in standard tuning again...

But I ain't trying to influence you... You play it any way you want, Northerner... It's all good...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: PHJim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 12:02 PM

*DGBE is often called "Chicago tuning" on the tenor guitar or banjo. Jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes and folkie Nick Reynolds both used this tuning. Since you already play ukulele, this is similar to the uke without re-entrant tuning and transposed from C to G. It is the same tuning as a baritone uke.
*CGDA is standard tuning for tenor guitars and banjos and seems quite popular with trad jazz players.
*GDAE is often called "Irish tuning", an octave below the mandolin, and is popular with players of traditional Irish fiddle tunes, more often used on tenor banjo than tenor guitar.
*When I played more Irish music, I used to tune my tenor banjo DAEB. Since few fiddle tunes utilized the low G string of the fiddle or mandolin, I could just play them on the lower four strings of my banjo and as well, use the high B string to avoid some stretches on the E string.
*GDAD is another popular tenor guitar tuning for traditional Irish tunes. It gives a droney sound kinda like DADGAD on 6 string guitar.

I've heard great music being played in all of these tunings, so choose the one that you find most useful.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: GUEST,oldspotmusicman
Date: 13 May 14 - 01:12 PM

I was a lazy so and so....bought a tenor banjo,and as a guitar player, wanted quick results, so tuned it dgbe.....and it worked....been playing it three years....good for UK and Irish head music, and if you can do fancy picking at speed you can make it sound a bit bluegrass. However the chords on irish tuning sound much warmer,so will have to buy another.
I tried the same retuning stunt on a cheap mandocello....and it sounded great for about 6 months,then the neck began to warp big time.
Where can one find out about the string gauge plus neck load conundrum ?
Nice to know I play in "Chicago tuning"


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 14 May 14 - 05:11 AM

My tenor guitar is tuned DGBd (low to high) So open G Major chord. Very easy to play chords in any key without a capo.
But main advantage for me is playing the melody in D or G is very easy without leaving first position
But you do need the correct strings for whatever tuning you are using. The 'Tenor Guitar registry' is a wonderful fund of knowledge - http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/tenorguitarregistry/


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: GUEST,Reynard
Date: 14 May 14 - 05:34 AM

All tunings are a compromise and it ultimately depends what you want to use the instrument for.

If you want to play mainly trad tunes in the usual keys, and some accompaniments to the same, then I would suggest either GDAE/GDAD or possibly CGDA. I play one tuned GDAE, it's great for picking out fiddle tunes (I also play the fiddle), and you can also switch to playing backup at the drop of a hat making it a very versatile instrument- it sounds a lot nicer playing chords than a tenor banjo!

In this tuning I find it easier to play more "open" chords (ie without 3rds). This seems to work well for tunes, but might be a bit sparse for song accompaniment. If accompanying songs is your main aim then maybe one of the more Guitar-like tunings would be better.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 May 14 - 07:19 AM

I quite often run into Kevin Macleod locally and his 1930ish resonator tenor guitar sounds wonderful. He told me what tuning he uses but I forgot. Maybe you can work it out from these clips?

http://vimeo.com/17057343
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PoxVh4YtOM


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: jonm
Date: 14 May 14 - 08:01 AM

I use GDAE, which I find versatile for interesting chords and melody, as a mandolin player, and DGDG (but not on the same string gauges!).

DGDG is great for melody with open strings ringing, and walking partial chords up the neck, but only in G. Capo 2 for A, but D and particularly F are up the squeaky end.


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Subject: RE: Best tuning for beginner on tenor guitar
From: GUEST,Texoma Dirt Farmer
Date: 17 Dec 15 - 02:06 PM

In response to a few:

a. I'm a big fan of the DGBE tuning (so yea, like you took sidecuts and snipped the EA off the top of your guitar); I like this because 6-string skills transfer, and I've messed around quite a bit on a baritone ukulele tuned the same. You mentioned being a beginner, so you also get a lot of 1-finger & 2-finger fretting this way.

b. BUT just cutting the top two (or bottom two depending on which terminology you use) off your Dreadnaught will not mirror the effect of that cool sound of a vintage tenor guitar (won't be as plucky and folky...will sound more like a flat guitar...which can still be a cool sound...).

c. AND cutting the strings on a standard 6 string won't solve the size problem; you'll still have to stretch your fingers to the neck size of the standard guitar (PLUS you wind up with a weird bottom-loaded looking instrument, where a true tenor guitar will center your 4 strings with the sound hole).


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