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Thread: Tuning a Tenor guitar like a Tenor Uke

  1. #1
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    Default Tuning a Tenor guitar like a Tenor Uke

    Is it possible, to tune a Tenor guitar the same as a tenor uke, by swapping out strings? The tenor guitar that I'm lookig at has strings ranging from .010-.030. Thanks for any information

  2. #2
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    Have never tuned my steel-string tenor guitar GCEA, but if I wanted to, I'd probably do it this way:

    Start off with two sets of standard tenor guitar CGDA strings.

    Low-G tuning - With a standard tenor guitar CGDA string set, the G-D-A would fit in the 4-3-1 spots with the D detuned to C. Take the D string from the second package of CGDA strings and put in the 2 spot, uptuning to E.

    High-G tuning - With a standard tenor guitar CGDA string set, the D-A would fit in the 3-1 spots with the D detuned to C. Take the D string from the second package of CGDA strings and put in the 2 spot, uptuning to E. Take the A string from the second package of CGDA strings and put it in the 4 spot, detuning to G.

    Getting the CGDA strings for a tenor guitar is easy, as any decent string supplier will have them. By using this string combination, there should be no over/under tensioning.

    There are probably more precise gauges available, but this should work and sound okay. Also, having a few extra spare strings never hurts.
    Last edited by SteveZ; 05-29-2015 at 05:03 AM.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T)*, Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)**
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
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    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    Tuning: *Reentrant C CGDA. **DAEB. ***GDAE. The rest are CGDA

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  3. #3
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    gCEA or GCEA are perfectly acceptable alternate tunings for tenor guitars and 4 string tenor banjo's...mostly the 17 or 19 fret ones. This chart, by Ry Cooder, has been shared many times on UU: http://rycooder.nl/pages/tenor_gauges.htm There's likely a gCEA tuned tenor guitar in my future.

  4. #4
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    Tuned mine GCEA (with low G) using 32W, 20, 14, 10. The sound isn't quite what I want yet - may try a 9 and a 13 (think its a little too much from those strings in the balance). Stringtension pro is a great help for these experiments!

  5. #5
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    I'm also thinking of tuning a tenor guitar GCEA (with low G), but an octave lower than tenor ukulele. I'll have to check out Ry Cooder's chart.

  6. #6
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    I guess it's possible, but why??
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  7. #7
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    On a 22-23" scale, to get an octave below with steel strings, you are looking at at-least 3 wound strings of something like 0.052", 0.042" 0.032" and a plain 0.022" in order to have the approx 22 lbs of string tension (per string) required in order to have ANYTHING close to decent intonation (similar to the D'Addario EJ80 octave mando strings), and then you are also likely going to need to look at compensating your saddle LONGER any way because the thicker strings will still have intonation about 15 cents sharp, and then is the struggle of recutting your nut slots for the thicker strings, and then fussing with the truss rod to eliminate string buzz and to compensate for the approx 80-90 lbs of string tension, which is actually more than the ~60 lbs of string tension with CGDA or DGBE tuning with using the D'Addario J66 strings...

    If it was using classical guitar strings, they will definitely all be wound, and something like 0.060", 0.052", 0.044" and 0.038" for octave uke tuning on 22-23" scale, and still only about 65-70 lbs of tension, but maybe not so much saddle compensation required as with the steel strings. La Bella makes a set of 'Contra Bass' classical strings meant for 27" scale length spanish guitars meant to be tuned like a piccolo bass E-A-D-G, that might work if you cannot get singles.

    Strings By Mail has both of these D'Addario sets I mentioned, and also the La Bella sets, but Strings And Beyond will not have these 'Contra Bass' strings but do carry the D'Addario sets too.

    Both were having 15-20% off on their sales for Black Friday/CyberMonday but I'm not sure if the sales are still running now.
    Last edited by Booli; 11-28-2016 at 10:13 PM. Reason: typos
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregT View Post
    I guess it's possible, but why??
    I wonder that about a lot of things.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregT View Post
    I guess it's possible, but why??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    I wonder that about a lot of things.

    "Idle hands are the Devil's playground"

    OTOH, some folks just like to tinker or do something special, just 'because'.
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  10. #10
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    I guess it's possible, but why??
    Curiosity is the main reason, probably.
    Out of curiosity, I tuned my Pono Nui Tenor guitar (Pono call it a baritone) to gCEA and was, well.............underwhelmed.
    It didn't sound like a guitar and I thought my tenor ukes sounded better and I don't ( currently !) have a baritone uke to compare it with.
    It sounds much better to my ears as DGBE.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_SbDgHIrxc

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