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Thread: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

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    Default Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    It's very doable if you use the right gauge strings for the scale length. There's where the rub is, what gauge to use. You'll need to find strings that give close to the same tension when tuned to GDAE as a mandolin has tuned to GDAE.
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    You would have to tune it down an octave.
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY7P View Post
    You'll need to find strings that give close to the same tension when tuned to GDAE as a mandolin has tuned to GDAE.
    Surely it would make more sense to use the string tensions on a guitar as a guide, seeing as you are using a guitar body.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Well, the guitar has an A string; tune it down to G
    It has a D string
    It has a G string; tune it up to A
    It has an E string.

    Only problem is that the bottom string may be "floppy" and the new A string a bit over-tense. Experimenting with different gauges should alleviate most of that problem.
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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Wouldn't that be a rather wide neck for 4 strings?
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Someone showed a mandocello conversion from a nylon string guitar, its in the archives, here, used selected gages of non steel strings
    but its the scale length thing again, suited to CGDA, rather than GDAE. [too floppy down , scale too long to go up]
    Note those Ovation Mandocellos were made on guitar scale length of neck too.

    tuned to EE AA DD GG in 4ths is of course practical ala 12 string guitar without the B & high E
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    Wouldn't that be a rather wide neck for 4 strings?
    Yes, it would. Tenor guitar necks seem to be sorta halfway between the tenor banjo and the six-string guitar.

    Here's a recent thread where West TX Keith had a 12-string converted to a mandocello. Nice job; of course he wanted CGDA tuning and double-string courses.

    But Denny said he wanted a "tenor guitar," which normally means single-string courses. Putting a new neck on the instrument, or having the neck shaved down to four-string width, would mean fairly big $$$; one might as well purchase a tenor guitar, IMHO.
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    Marbhna Luimni Eddie Sheehy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Might as well throw on a Mandocello CC set to compliment the GG DD AA EE. Make more use of the wide fretboard. I did something similar with a 12-string I had. It worked pretty good - just sounded like a 12-string guitar...

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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    Do a search for a string gauge calculator. You will have to know the scale of your instrument and the pitch you want to tune to.

    How about leaving all 6 machines on the guitar and stringing the bottom strings as 2 string courses. Could go octave or unison.

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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    I sometimes use a capo on the fourth fret which makes about a 20" scale length on my Martin. Then tune from b to g, with the low e also tuned to g. The two lowest strings would work better if they were a bigger gauge, but I worry about ruining the nut slots.
    I was looking for the David Rawlings sound on the song "Revelator" when I found this tuning. It works really well on a classical guitar BTW.
    david blair

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    Registered User Jude Reinhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    quote >It's very doable if you use the right gauge strings for the scale length. There's where the rub is, what gauge to use. You'll need to find strings that give close to the same tension when tuned to GDAE as a mandolin has tuned to GDAE.<unquote
    Jude

    The above quote was from Denny P's thread, Mandola Tune GDAE. I never said that on this thread. He was wanting to tune a mandola GDAE instead of CGDA.
    Jude

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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    I converted a older Japanese (Arianna) 6 string dreadnought guitar to a mandocello by filling in the 6 holes in the headstock, putting on a new piece of rosewood veneer and then drilling out holes for a set of mandolin tuners (that was hard actually).

    Then I strengthened up the guitar bridge to handle more tension and inserted a new piece of bone for the bridge and cut a new set of holes for the string pins.

    All that was left was to make new nut -- the easiest part of the job.

    Strung it up and there was a mandocello -- but the guitar neck is pretty wide and in it a lot harder to play then my K1. It sounds great -- rolling thunder.

    BUT it is good training -- 30 minutes playing the thing and the K1 is a dream!
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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    I did this at one time - particularly effective on an electric guitar.

    Get a set of guitar strings and use the 5th, 4th, third and top ones.

    You use nothing at all on the 6th string. A , D and G strings go on as normal and put the top E string where the B should be, with nothing where the top string should be. In other words you have 4 strings in the middle and nothing on the top or bottom.

    Tune the A (5th) string downto G and the G (3rd) string up to A and there you have it.
    Admitedly you might find it a bit odd having only the 4 middle strings on a guitar, but hey - it gives you a 4 string guitar in octave mandolin tuning.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: Convert 6 string to tenor guitar tune like a mandolin

    I just did what David described to a $5 3/4 size First Act Mini Strat garage sale special with two tuners and the low E and G strings missing. It had "Make me a mando" written all over it. So I did. With its built in mini amp and speaker, I am having a blast! It's a 4-in-the-middle conversion, strung as David describes. I strung it bare on the 1 & 6 guitar slots for now, using regular guitar strings 5G ( A drop to G) - 4D (same) - 3A (B drop to A) - 2e (hi e). Cool as a purple pickle! I'm thinking about making a new nut and bridge for it and stringing it with pairs for e and A. Intonation was not optimal on the dropped strings, so I may tweak the gauges on those. For the paired e/A upgrade, I would have to buy tuners
    Dad burn kwazy wabbit!! I may break $10 on this thing yet.

    I'm experimenting on a few of these 5ths tuned guitars, a 6 and another 7 string full size Strat conversions. My thinking was to go for an extended range axe with mando chord shapes and lots of bass too, especially with the 7 string. I'm loading extra springs in the tremolo to stand the tension. I'll report back on this one after testing. If out all works out, some video links too. Thanks to all for sharing tips here!
    Last edited by tekrytor; Feb-05-2011 at 12:21am.

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