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Thread: Alternate Tunings

  1. #1

    Default Alternate Tunings

    After playing mandola for a while, I got interested in New Standard Tuning, which is a similar idea on guitar. From lowest to highest, the strings are tuned CGDAEG. The downside is the top and bottom strings are kind of ridiculous. The low C is floppy and the pitch varies depending on how hard you squeeze the string. The high G is scarily tight, and it's already a compromise since a B would never work.

    After a bit of tinkering, I came up with a different compromise. I moved the CGDAE strings each down a slot, and added another C an octave up. So it looks like this:

    C(high - a D string tuned down a step)
    C(low - the low E tuned way down)
    G (the A string tuned down a step)
    D (normal D string)
    A (the B string down a step)
    E (normal E string)

    The idea being that the doubled C string helps to clarify the muddiness of the low string. That variable pitch of the low C is still an issue, though. I'm hoping to find a different string gauge that might reduce this issue. I was worried that the nut wouldn't accommodate rearranging the strings like this, but it worked. It's a really fun tuning to play with, and I think a beginner would find it easier than normal guitar tuning. Major chords in particular are easy and sound amazingly fat. Playing blues chords is a blast, too.

    I'm surprised five-string CGDAE guitar isn't already a thing, because it's really fun to play.

    Anyone else have some fun alternate tunings?

  2. #2
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    Default

    I'd suggest something like a 4-string Classical Parlour Guitar for that tuning, probably Plectrum scale, like a regular classical would have- then just do GDAE.

    Maybe it could be something like this (heh, heh):

    http://southcoastukes.com/index_files/guitars.htm
    Dirk Wormhoudt



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    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  3. #3
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    Default

    DADGAD is interesting, as popularised by Davy Graham. A lot of Irish Trad guitar players use it for its nice droney feel.
    Rick

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  4. #4
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    Taropatch, or open G.



    But this guy could play the same song just as good if you tuned the strings at random.
    Peace, Brad Bordessa

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  5. #5
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    Try "AA" + "DD" + "F#F#" + "BB" (ukulele "D" tuning, like the tiple).
    TB or not TB, that is congestion.

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  6. #6
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    Default

    Thanks so much. I love NST but I the E string always snaps when its supposed to be a G. Really helpful
    Savannah SU-1050-BK Soprano

  7. #7

    Default

    An update to my original post. Switching the high and low Cs made for a better tuning - CcGDAE. It adds possibilities for chord voicings since I can easily add or leave off the lower C. It also seems to balance out the tension on the neck better - I was having intonation issues before. I also found that using heavy strings works better for the low C.

    I tried out fcGDAE, where the F is above the C. This had the neat effect that I could move four-string chord shapes across the strings and get tonic, dominant and subdominant chords, all in roughly the same range. Downside - no barre chords and a lot of intonation issues.

    An idea I've thought about but haven't tried would be an FCGDAE pattern where the FCG is one set of linear fifths, and then you drop down to the lowest note, D, to begin another set of linear fifths: FCGDAE. This would sacrifice a lot of range, but would combine the logical chord and scale shapes of fifths tuning with the interesting bonus that the strings add up to a perfectly stacked DFACEG minor 11 chord, from which you can pick out a bunch of triads to build arpeggios. I doubt if that's enough of an advantage to be worth the craziness of it, so I haven't tried it yet.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanagi View Post
    After a bit of tinkering, I came up with a different compromise. I moved the CGDAE strings each down a slot, and added another C an octave up. So it looks like this:

    C(high - a D string tuned down a step)
    C(low - the low E tuned way down)
    G (the A string tuned down a step)
    D (normal D string)
    A (the B string down a step)
    E (normal E string)

    Anyone else have some fun alternate tunings?

    Hi Sanagi (cocoon?)

    Check out the stuff by Michael Hedges. His "Aerial Boundaries" is in

    C C D G A D, similar to yours. The 6th string C is tuned down from E, but the 5th string C is tuned *up* from A. He had a different tuning for every piece so he had to stay with regular string gauges (more or less).

    Another he used is C G D G B C for Rickover's Dream. You should be able to find tons of video clips on YouTube. Sadly he passed away in 1997.....

    And check out his stuff using the Harp Guitar.

    Cheers
    Chief

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default

    I tune one of my guitars to CGCFAflatC. Similar to DADGAD, but I find this tuning helps with minor key stuff.

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