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TBO
02-14-2018, 06:06 AM
Hello all,

I recently completed my latest build... a parlour-guitar-sized 6 string baritone (DGBE tuning). (Glamour shots upcoming... haven't got around to them yet). Anyway, I am trying to figure out the best tuning for it, and thought I would ask for suggestions.

Originally I had tried D3 G2/G3 B3 E4/E2 (i.e. using all 6 strings of a classical guitar string set), but it had way too much low end. I swapped the E2 with another E4 and it sounded much better.

I am still not sure about the G2 though. From what I am seeing, most 6 string tunings will either have a chorus G3/G3 or an octave G4/G3.

For the 6-stringers out there, what do you prefer?

Thanks!

Jim Hanks
02-14-2018, 01:32 PM
Are the strings equally spaced like a guitar or doubled up?

If you have doubled 1st and 3rd courses, I like the G3/G4 idea and doubled E4 is probably best since you can't get to E5 on baritone (not that I know of anyway)

You might could do G2 C3/C4 E3 A3/A4 which might even work with a single set, but the A4 might be to tight and need a different one - depending on the scale and the strings of course.

TBO
02-14-2018, 02:25 PM
Yeah, it has 4 courses, 2 of which have doubled strings. Size-wise, it is basically a guitar (625mm / 24.75" scale length). I definitely like the baritone tuning (DGBE vs GCEA), as it fits my (very limited) vocal range better. I guess I just need to pick up a spare high E string (which I should be able to tune as G4) and try it out, see what I like better. I am gravitating towards either a high or a low unison G, rather than unison Gs.

Some pictures are attached:

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Jim Hanks
02-14-2018, 03:57 PM
Oh, I thought you were talking baritone uke scale. Forget everything I just said. :)

Nice looking build!

With guitar scale, another idea is DGBE down an octave - D2 G2/G3 B3 E3/E4 - but that would be really low end.

I kinda think you're in uncharted territory- or at least very uncommon- with that scale length and tuning. I'd love to hear it when you get something worked out.

TBO
02-16-2018, 11:33 AM
Here's a quick video... the sound quality is not great (using internal mic on my camera), but may give you a bit of an idea of how it sounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8bF29NOQxk&feature=youtu.be

TBO
02-16-2018, 01:39 PM
Oh, I thought you were talking baritone uke scale. Forget everything I just said. :)

Nice looking build!

With guitar scale, another idea is DGBE down an octave - D2 G2/G3 B3 E3/E4 - but that would be really low end.

I kinda think you're in uncharted territory- or at least very uncommon- with that scale length and tuning. I'd love to hear it when you get something worked out.

I just tried moving D3 to D2 and leaving everything else as is, and it actually sounds kinda nice. One thing I like about it is that it is back to a linear tuning (the strings all get lower as you move up) rather than having the D3 lower than the strings on both sides.

I am still using an old set of medium tension strings, but once I figure out what I am doing I am going to get a set of extra hard tension (extra hard on a 650mm scale length will work about the same as medium / hard on a 625mm scale length, if my math is right). Especially considering that the D2 is already a dropped tuning from an E2 string, and G3 is dropped from A3, I think I need to keep higher tension strings wherever possible. Actually I will probably end up just hand picking from single strings... but whatever. ;-)

Also, for some larger pictures and some build process pictures, take a look at https://hackaday.io/project/56105

bsfloyd
02-17-2018, 12:59 AM
Very nice - wonderful build!! I love unique and beautiful instruments and this is it!

Tootler
02-17-2018, 04:58 AM
Another to consider is D3 G3/G4 B3 E4/E3 This is a similar arrangement to my 6 string tenor which is actually G4 C5/C4 E4 A4/A3 I like the effect you get from the high G 4th and low A 1st it's like a double re-entrant tuning and is great for strumming. Since you've said you like a low 4th string, I've suggested a low D rather than a high D. The extra strings certainly give you a fuller sound even if you string the double courses in unison.

Nice looking instrument, BTW.

TBO
02-17-2018, 05:23 AM
Hmm, yeah that could be nice too. I wonder how I can get to G4... I would guess that a light E4 string could probably do it without breaking, especially on this slightly shorter scale length.

I am hoping to find time to pick up some strings today, I’ll add ones for this tuning t to the list.

Thanks!

Jim Hanks
02-17-2018, 06:54 AM
yeah G4 on guitar scale is gonna be tough. I guess look for the lowest tension set you can find and maybe the 1st string would work.

TBO
02-17-2018, 03:00 PM
OK I have done a few comparisons today... below is a video showing the tunings. Again, my in-camera mic is pretty bad, but hopefully you can hear a bit of difference.

I thought that I would like the lower tunings (D2 and G3 with various other strings), but I actually think my favourite is the D3 G4/G3 B3 E3/E4 as suggested by Tootler. The chords all feel more balanced, and it has a brighter (more uke-like) sound to it. I am going to play with it for the next while to see how I like it over time, but so far so good.

The store didn't have a light E string, so I had to go with medium. It hasn't broken yet. ;-) If nothing else pans out, StringByMail seems to have exactly what I need, although the shipping to Canada will be almost as much as the cost of two full sets of strings.

Thanks to everyone for the help and suggestions. Really looking forward to this!

Cheers



https://youtu.be/idKgUCPAVJw

Jim Hanks
02-17-2018, 03:54 PM
Nice! I agree the one with the D3 and G4 sounds best. The one with D3 and G2 wasn't bad either - adds a richness to the tone without getting too far into the mud. I have to say the ones with the D2, uh, weren't my preference either. :p not so good, not for strumming anyway.

TBO
02-18-2018, 09:41 AM
So I just found out that Strings By Mail has really good shipping prices to Canada as long as the order is not too large... so basically for 6 or so strings, the shipping is less than $2. (I guess if you get few enough strings, they can just throw it in an envelope). Once you go over the magic limit, the shipping jumps to $9. So, I picked up some of the light strings that they don't supply locally (D3 and E4), and will plan on buying the heavy strings locally.

My current plans for tuning setup is as follows:

D3 (High tension D3 wound string)
G4 (Low tension E4 string)
G3 (High tension G3 string)
B3 (High tension B3 string)
E3 (Low tension D3 wound string OR extra high tension G3 string... currently using the G3 but it feels a bit floppy. Going to try the low tension D3 tuned up.)
E4 (High tension E4 string)

More updates to come once they arrive.

Cheers

Tootler
02-18-2018, 10:05 AM
Hmm, yeah that could be nice too. I wonder how I can get to G4... I would guess that a light E4 string could probably do it without breaking, especially on this slightly shorter scale length.

I am hoping to find time to pick up some strings today, Iíll add ones for this tuning t to the list.

Thanks!

Try Ken Middleton (Living Water strings). He might do you a custom set or at least custom for the plain strings then buy wounds for the rest according to your preferences.

TBO
02-18-2018, 11:25 AM
Try Ken Middleton (Living Water strings). He might do you a custom set or at least custom for the plain strings then buy wounds for the rest according to your preferences.

Cool, I’ll have to try him out next batch. Thanks!

TBO
03-04-2018, 04:16 PM
Just as an update on the tuning, I think I have found what I like (at least for now).

D3 G2/G4 B3 E3/E4

This kinda has the best of both worlds... I love the high G4 (it makes more of a traditional uke sound), but the G2 gives it some nice low end body too...

I currently have it strung up with the following D'Addario strings:

Hard D3, Extra Hard A2 (dropped to G2), Light E4 (tightened to G4), Hard B3, Light D3 (Tightened to E3), Hard E4.

The next set I try (when these ones wear out) will probably be chosen from the Specialty Singles lineup, using rectified nylon and silverwound (note, these tensions are from the stringtensionpro calculator given my scale length, so don't blindly use these without redoing the calculations):

E4: 0.029" Nylon 16 lb
E3: 0.028" Silver Wound 14 lb
B3: 0.034" Nylon 12 lb
G4: 0.024" Nylon 16 lb
G2: 0.040" Silver Wound 15 lb
D3: 0.030" Silver Wound 14 lb

Anyway, just reporting back in case someone finds this interesting.

Cheers

Jim Hanks
03-04-2018, 04:29 PM
Cool. Of course now you have to redo your video with this one tacked on. ;-)

TBO
03-04-2018, 04:35 PM
Heh, yeah it’s on my list :-)