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Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?

21 Mar 03 - 04:42 AM (#915174)
Subject: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Stu

I've retuned my GDAE bouzouki to GDAD, to try out the sound and see what difference it makes. So far so good, but the chord soundings seem a little different to the GDAE version (they would I suppose), but I can't decide which one I like best. What I want opinions on is which one do other players prefer and why?

Is GDAD tuning better suited to English and Irish fold than GDAE, and why?



21 Mar 03 - 04:51 AM (#915177)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,returnee

I always use GDAD cos i have chipolatas instead of fingers!!
ADAD is another tuning worth having a shot at.

21 Mar 03 - 05:04 AM (#915183)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: mooman

Dear stigweard,

I don't have a bouzouki any more following an instrument-procurement understanding with the Good Lady that necessitated the regretful sale of some instruments but when I did I always used GDAE, which I explored fairly thouroughly for chordal forms that gave the desired effect. I also found that tuning easier for melody playing. But, having said that, many friends use the alternative tunings mentioned above and get lovely-sounding results with them so I suppose it's horses for courses and what your used to and get the best "feel" from.

On the other hand, my "standard" tuning for guitar has been DADGAD for many years as opposed to the more usual EADGBE and I can now play most things I want to in DADGAD which I find pretty versatile for a range of musical styles.



21 Mar 03 - 05:18 AM (#915191)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Jon

I don't play one but as a tenor banjo/mandolin player I can say that GDAE is an excellent tuning for playing melody. The bouzouki tends to be used a lot more for accompaniment and I believe many prefer GDAD and ADAD for the chords they want to play.

21 Mar 03 - 06:05 AM (#915213)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: The Shambles

The appeal of the instrument is that no two players play the same, even when they may be tuned the same, so it is just a question of personal choice.

FWIW I tend to use GDAE as I find it more adaptable to both melody and chords.

21 Mar 03 - 06:12 AM (#915214)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: MickT

I used to use GDAE because I started on the mandolin, and tried to transfer my skills (or more accurately lack of skills) in picking out the melody to Irish tunes to the bouzouki. I immediately ran into problems because of the long scale length and consequent hand stretching problems, it's very difficult to play fast.

After a conversation with James Fagan last year, I started using GDAD instead. It's much better for chord accompaniment, and I think I'll leave the Irish picking to the mandolin. Like James, I now tune in unison rather than in octaves. I had to do this to copy one of his songs, and it gives a fuller sound. Andy Irving and I think Donal Lunny also use GDAD.

21 Mar 03 - 07:29 AM (#915243)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: clansfolk

I use DGAD - on one of my Bouzoukis and sometimes drop it a tone to C - I also have others in more standard tuning..... tend to use a Variax an stage now to save taking too many instruments (even thats's in a strange tuning!!!!)

21 Mar 03 - 08:50 AM (#915300)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Cappuccino

I had the same problems as Mick T, with the scale length and stretch. Apparently there's an instrument called a mandola which comes somewhere between a bouzouki and a mandolin... but they seem to be incredible expensive, so I haven't had the chance to try one yet!

But I always preferred GDAE. Less confusing when switching from mandolin!

- Ian B

21 Mar 03 - 09:05 AM (#915308)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?

Ian that would be an octave mandola. If you are comparing like for like I think you will find if anything a mandola will a bit cheaper than the bouzouki.


21 Mar 03 - 12:55 PM (#915439)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Fifer

An octave mandola is a really nice compromise, giving the depth and fullness of tone that a bouzouki offers but just about manageable for melody picking.
I reckon that a good octave mandola will outperform most bouzoukis.
Costs are certainly NO more. Just keep your strings fresh to maintain a really good tonality across the range.

21 Mar 03 - 07:12 PM (#915731)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Roughyed

Generally true but there is an incredible bargain available at the Music Room,Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, which is an Irish Bouzouki, made in Romania from solid wood for £99. Lovely instrument with no frills but great volume and tone for the price. You won't get a mandola for anywhere near that.

21 Mar 03 - 08:07 PM (#915750)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: McGrath of Harlow

I like ADAD myself. The frets tend to be a bit far apart to play like a mandolin or banjo, with GDAE; and I like the diads you get with ADAD, and the ease of playing in octaves.

21 Mar 03 - 08:37 PM (#915765)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Jon

Swan, would that be a "Vintage"/ JHS by any chance?


22 Mar 03 - 07:37 AM (#915935)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Big Mick

I play a Freshwater Bouzouki. I decided to work mostly with GDAD, with some forays into ADAD. I decided against GDAE, as I wanted the full sound one gets with the GDAD tuning. And I didn't want to treat it like some other instrument. Also, as mentioned above, the best players of this instrument (the folks whose sound I am trying to achieve and improve on), for the most part are playing one of these tunings. For what it is worth, Pat Broaders of bohola, plays CGCG. I tried octave tuning, but I find the unison to be a much fuller sound.

The Waltons book has a great section on basic chords in both tunings and there is a site on the web with tunings as well. I also have the Homespun Tape which has some great tutorials on the unique methods of playing picked rhythms.

By the way, David Freshwater makes a wonderful bouzouki. Too bad he is so unreliable on delivery.


22 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM (#915960)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Les from Hull

I play in GDAD as I use my bouzouki mainly for song and tune accompaniment. It seems to work perfectly, so much so that I'm thinking of tuning the guitar away from standard tuning, and having another go at being a guitar-player!

22 Mar 03 - 10:06 AM (#915970)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: InOBU

Actually it is Gadjo, (masc.) Gadje (fem.) Gadjeh (pl.) Gadjen (adj.)... non- Roma (Gypsy) and you are right, the Gadjen do play bazzokis nice sometimes
My de kos amay

24 Mar 03 - 10:31 AM (#917046)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Stu

Thanks everyone for the advice. Thought I'd gice GDAD a run out last week, but retuned to GDAE halfway through the night because I couldn't get the new chord shaps quick enough (A modal to C and back seemed to be a little tricky), but I know with practice it'll come, so I tuned back to GDAD at the weekend and off we go again.

Now, what about bouzouki fingerpicking and plucking techniques? Perhaps I'll start a new thread.



03 Jul 07 - 03:28 PM (#2093308)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?

Just a comment on Dave Freshwater.I ordered a Bouuzouki from him,and had it in 5 weeks,just 1 week over what he promised. Steve

03 Jul 07 - 05:06 PM (#2093387)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Don Meixner

I've been running Trinity College now since Christmas and I love it. My tuning is GDAD. I really like those drones. It is also great fun to use the different chord shapes of the same chords to flavor parts of the verse.

Odd how it comes to me as second nature on the Bouzouki but not on the guitar.


03 Jul 07 - 05:47 PM (#2093411)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,jim

The bottom four strings of a guitar in standard are EADG (bass to treble)and the mandolin is symetrical to this GDAE. The bottom four strings of a guitar in DADGAD are DADG and Many of us tune our Bouzoukis, Octave mandolins... GDAD, and get the same modal type of sound.

A question about octave mandolins and octave mandolas. An octave mandolin is an octave below a regular mandolin, therefore it is GDAE ( T.) Am I to assume that an octave mandola is an octave below a regular mandola, therefore tuned CGDA?

I know that these instruments seem to be called whatever the maker or player wants to call them. I think of a bouzouki as a Greek instrument, and at one time I hated the term being applied to a flat backed instrument, but I've learned to accept it. The same is true for the term Cittern. There is already an instrument called a cittern, so it seems that we should think up a new term for the modern "cittern". I know my protests are all in vain and I should get used to people calling these by any name they like. I call mine a Monster Mandolin.

03 Jul 07 - 05:58 PM (#2093420)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Jim Lad

CFAD That's just two frets lower than the first four strings on a guitar and the strings come packaged that way. That's how I play mine and I love it. The strings also come in fifths of cousre but I haven't even tried that yet.

03 Jul 07 - 06:17 PM (#2093434)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Phil Williams

I use GDAE but have strung in Unison for the G & D Also recently
put Elixir strings on it and its Wonderful (Fylde) To do this you
need to buy 2 sets of guitar Elixir strings as I haven't been able to
find them individually. FWIW The OLD English Cittern was 4 courses of strings in unison so thats what I'm playing! Modern Citterns are 5 courses. but I'm not sure whether they are typically unison or octave. Cittern / Bouzouki - Bittern / Suzuki, whatever!
Phil Williams & Sarah Deere-Jones.

04 Jul 07 - 07:49 AM (#2093833)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: Pete_Standing

GDAD, especially for the folk friendly keys of D and G, and allows you to play chords and inversions with ease going right up the neck to way beyond the twelth fret (a trademark of James Fagan). Unison stringing is best if you switch from accompaniment to melody. GDAD allows you you to play some theoretically outrageous chords and it sill sounds good, I suppose it is because of that high D ringing away all the time! But for the beginner, what more do you need? One finger for a D, one for a G and 2 for an A (alright 3 really). Add to that the ambiguity of the chord, is it major or minor? It will do for both (sometimes)! ADAD (or CGCG) is interesting too, but I leave that to the guitar as CGCGCD - courtesy of Gavin Davenport.

I use the same gauge strings on my guitar and bouzouki so I buy several sets of Elixir PB nanos and then put each gauge into a separate box with labels showing how many is left (sad I know). So 56, 45, 35, 26, 17 and 13 for guitar, 45, 35, 17 and 13 for bouzouki.

04 Jul 07 - 10:25 AM (#2093923)
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - GDAD or GDAE?
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie

Try GDGD instead, I've recently started using it on my Octave Mandolin and it's really good, there are some good examples on YOUTUBE if you do a search on 'Octave Mandolin'