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Thread: Tune a Guitalele E to E like a guitar?

  1. #1

    Default Tune a Guitalele E to E like a guitar?

    I know a guitalele is "suppose" to be tuned A to A, just like a full size guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. But can a guitalele be tuned E to E like a regular guitar?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Definitely doable with a baritone scale guitalele - 19" or 20" scale. For 17" tenor scale, my opinion is "no" E tuning doesn't work unless you're willing to do a reentrant tuning where the bottom 3 strings are tuned an octave higher (with appropriate strings of course)
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Southern Cross concert GCEA
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant
    Jupiter #71, A, UG1


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I have tuned my D-VI E to E, using classical guitar strings. It is based on a tenor scale. It does work, but the tension is too low to be comfortable.

    There are string sets that are set up for a 19" scale length.

    G to G is another tuning, you can try.

    I keep coming back to A to A because it is not E to E. You can deal with it at several ways:
    1. You can play it as a transposing instrument using guitar arrangements that will sound a fifth interval higher.
    2. You can play it just like your GCEA uke without touching the low strings.
    3. You can play it A to A, with the middle C at fret 5 of the G string and the open C string, which is a C4 note. This moves the centre of gravity of the music to get a completely different voicing to what you get on a guitar. And allows you to put some of the treble parts into the low ADG strings, which you might not do on a guitar.
    4. You can play it A to A, with the middle C at fret 3 of the low A string. This is a C3 note and moves the music down a whole octave. Giving another voicing option for your music. So you might play most of a tune on the ADGC strings and leave the high E and A alone altogether, sort of the reverse to playing a tune on a guitar on the DGBE strings. Because it is ADGC, it does not sound too low.

    So I think keeping the piccolo guitar or guitarlele in A to A tuning is better than trying to tune it E to E, it is voiced in a higher part of the musical note range, much closer to human voice than the E to E, and offers some interesting voicings and options if you take the time to arrange the music to take advantage of the voicings.
    I got round this A to A on my ex Kala guitarlele by selling it and buying a half size classical guitar and restringing it .Ditching the highest string and starting with what was the "B" string and using it as the high E and so on. The bass E is a roundwound acoustic guitar string. So far the thing plays nicely,the Classical Guitar Police haven't paid a visit and it only cost about £34.00 and that's 70 squid cheaper than the Lunar Baritone 6 er......which has some poor reviews. The reason for changing the strings was that the half pint would only tune G to g comfortably on the ears and although it would happily do A to a it was far too tinny sounding. Plus I obviously wanted E to e.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2019


    Certainly. The Cordoba Mini M strings are available for A or E tuning and are good to play and listen to.

    These are dedicated strings made by Aquila for the Cordoba Mini but Aquila also have "E strings set" for any guitalele.
    Mahimahi MS-35W Soprano Willow
    Mahimahi MC-35W Concerto Willow
    Mahimahi MT-35W Tenore Willow
    Geso GC-85 Concert
    Geso GT-85 Tenor
    Martin HSO Soprano 2004
    Reno RU-210 Soprano
    Everplay LA8-21 soprano thinbody deadwood
    Makala MK-C Concert
    Harley Benton Banjolele BJ-15
    Martin T-15 Tiple 1956
    Just Povlsen Uke 790, 1947
    Cordoba Mini M Guitalele in A
    Cordoba Mini M Guitalele in E

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Pacific Inland Empire


    I see guitarleles with 21 and 23 inch scales. What strings are appropriate for them, assuming extended gcea tunining?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2020


    Quote Originally Posted by Poul Hansen View Post
    Certainly. The Cordoba Mini M strings are available for A or E tuning and are good to play and listen to.
    yes, with other strings it’s possible, I did it myself

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Oakland CA


    I've tried tuning my mini E-E, but while it was OK, it's just not great. Currently I am using Daddario EJ27N 3/4 strings tuned to G-G, and it sounds way better. The best part is that these strings are very inexpensive, around $5.00- $6.00 a set.

  8. #8


    I spent years trying each and every string set to tune my gretsch guitalele E to E, with no satisfying results. Nonetheless, it is possible with the five last strings of any set plus an extra low B string tuned to E. Or, even better, you can purchase a Pyramid string set for 7 string guitar and skip the first e string : you've got six strings from B to b that you tune a fourth higher, from E to e; the thicker gauge compensates for the small scale. You may have to tweak a little the slot at the nut to accomodate the thick B string but if you're careful enough its no big deal.
    Hope this helps,

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Northern Lower Michigan


    On my 20" baritone-sized Pono, you can tune E-e using the D'Addario hard tension strings that come on it, or better yet, use the D'Addario extra hard tension strings.
    Pono, Martin, Taylor
    Fingerpickin' since 9/11/73
    ●lllllll● ●lllllll●

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Oakland CA


    I should also mention that I liked the Daddario EJ27N 3/4 strings so much I purchased another 6 sets, because my Cordoba Mini was living in my car, and getting a lot of playing time whenever I got to work early, or when I was waiting while my wife was shopping. Then the Pandemic hit, I was furloughed, locked down at home, and my car just sits in the driveway.

    So having all those sets of Daddario EJ27N 3/4 string, sitting around, I threw a set on my Esteve Requinto guitar that has a 535mm scale. What a pleasent surprise. They sounded really good tuned E-E, and produced a nice balanced warm tone. Also they are about 1/3 the cost of the Romero UG2 strings I had been previously using on this guitar.

    Meanwhile the Cordoba Mini is languishing in the closet waiting for better times.

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