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JL277z
Jan-01-2016, 9:35pm
Me playing a favorite hymn on mandolin and guitar, with melody variations. Backing alternates between melody and arpeggios. 2-track.


(or direct link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v3qLTAGO2Q))

I was playing my cheap mandolin (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Rogue/RM-100A-A-Style-Mandolin-Sunburst-1275425409511.gc) (I see they've raise the price now, mine was $50) with self-adhesive pickup (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ArtistXM) plugged into an early Roland Micro Cube (http://www.roland.com/products/micro_cube/) w/"Acoustic" setting, backed by GDAEB-tuned older Squier electric guitar (http://www.fender.com/squier/guitars/stratocaster/black-and-chrome-standard-stratocaster-hss/0321703506.html) . Hey, I'll play anything I can re-tune to GDAE. :grin: :mandosmiley:

Misc. note: Somewhere around here in my computer files, is my camcorder's video (visual) portion of these two tracks, I will post it when/if I ever find it, right now it's hiding in a huge folder of other stuff that's only partly sorted. I will get to it when I have time. Meanwhile, this is the audio. :)

Explorer
Jan-02-2016, 3:16am
Since I normally hear it with organ, it was surprising to have it sound so Celtic to my ears!

Nice!

demotlj
Jan-02-2016, 7:26am
I love your arrangement of this. Would you have the score written out or did you do it by ear? (If you have the parts, would you be willing to share it? I'd love to do this in church.)

Zach Wilson
Jan-02-2016, 7:41am
Great! That's one of my favorite hymns. I haven't heard it in a while. Thank you!

What gauge strings do you use on your guitar? I'm thinking on tuning mine the same way. Thanks.

JL277z
Jan-03-2016, 12:36am
Since I normally hear it with organ, it was surprising to have it sound so Celtic to my ears!

Nice!

Thanks! :)

Yeah I guess my playing tends toward sounding a li'l Celtic and/or clawhammer banjo, :disbelief: as those are the two genres/styles I grew up with and was the most serious about when I first started playing music.

About the only time I hear this song, is by a local choir and piano, in the key of F, but I have never got around to learning how to play in keys that have a B-flat :whistling: so I adapted the tune to be mandolin-friendly so I could play it.


I love your arrangement of this. Would you have the score written out or did you do it by ear? (If you have the parts, would you be willing to share it? I'd love to do this in church.)

Thank you for the kind words! :) I did it by ear, just noodling around, but I would be happy to transcribe my playing of the two parts, I'm a little slow at deciphering my own playing so it might take me a few days to get all the notes written down.

I will write it in both tablature *and* standard notation so that people can use whichever one they're most familiar with.


Great! That's one of my favorite hymns. I haven't heard it in a while. Thank you!

What gauge strings do you use on your guitar? I'm thinking on tuning mine the same way. Thanks.

Thanks! :)

After some experimentation with string gauges, I found that I actually prefer stock guitar gauges :disbelief: for GDAEB tuning, makes most of the strings really slack/loose but I like it that way because it's so much easier to bend notes! :grin: :grin: :) I use light-gauge Fender 3250LR (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender/3250LR-Nickel-Plated-Steel-Bullet-End-Electric-Guitar-Strings-Light.gc) "Super Bullets" (oddly-shaped ball ends required for this Squier, don't know if they'd work on normal Strats, probably not), anyway their gauges are: .009, .011, .016, .026, .036, .046. I don't even play the 046 string, don't need it, I just ignore that string, the GDAEB is on the other five strings. With the capo at the fifth fret, the resulting tuning is GDAEB. With this configuration, the 1st (thinnest, .009) string is actually tuned up *higher* than normal to reach that "B" note, but the .009 gauge seems to handle it alright, haven't broke one yet, surprisingly.

However, my choice to not use the proper gauges :whistling: for the pitches that the strings are tuned to, meant that I had to make some adjustments to the intonation and action, they're quick/easy adjustments on a Strat-style electric:


Bridge-saddle adjustment. I moved most of the individually-adjustable bridge saddles back, in some cases as far back as they'd go (used up all my adjustment there), so that the slacker-than-normal strings don't fret too sharp. Thankfully these electric guitars make such adjustments easy, a little screwdriver is all that's required, no luthier visit necessary. This Strat-style electric guitar is similar to a banjo in that they're basically bolt-together instruments, easier to work on. :) I suppose it'd also be easy if you had a trapeze-tailpiece acoustic guitar where the bridge wasn't glued down, so you could scoot the bridge back as needed. But with a regular modern flat-top acoustic guitar glued-on bridge, you'd have to exactly match the string gauges to the intended pitch otherwise there'd be intonation problems.


Optional: Pickup-height adjustment. I adjusted the pickup heights, simple 30-second task with a little screwdriver, because the factory setting emphasized the bass too much, weak treble. So I moved the treble side up (for less clearance between pickup and treble strings), and I adjusted the bass side down (more clearance on the bass-string side). This particular guitar doesn't have individually-adjustable pole (magnet) heights, so I just slant the whole pickup in favor of the treble strings, otherwise the bass strings are too loud. Even after those adjustments, the 2nd string volume is still too low due to its fixed pole piece being lower for some reason (must be advantageous for normal-guitar chords or something, dunno). I procrastinated for a long time (intending to buy better pickups) but by now I've adapted my playing to the weak 2nd string (just pick the 2nd string harder than the others) so I'm sort of used to it now. Note: For this stuff I play that I want to sound pleasant, I don't use the bridge-pickup, it's too harsh. Instead, I use either the mellower-sounding neck pickup or the middle pickup, or both together (reduces hum, no shielding on these low-end guitars).


For using these slack strings I also slightly raised the individual bridge saddles up as needed, for a *little* bit more clearance between the strings and the frets, so the slacker-than-normal strings don't buzz on the frets. On this Strat-style guitar it's a super-easy adjustment with a small Allen wrench, takes only a minute and does *not* require loosening or removing the strings. In my case I only needed a little bit of the height adjustment because I play lightly and I like super-low action. :grin: (I have arthritis in my fingers, the light gauge slack strings and low action are a big help.)


Anyway, the advantage to this unorthodox guitar approach, is that you get essentially a 5-string octave-thingy or tenor guitar (or even a 6-string tenor if you wish) for a lot less money than what it'd cost to actually buy a 5-string tenor guitar (I don't know if anyone even makes 5-string tenors).

I like the high "B" string for some of the fast fiddle tunes that have 7th-fret E-string notes, instead of going up to the 7th fret just play the open high "B" string instead. :)

You can also tune that 1st (thinnest) string to other (slightly lower-pitched) notes for some interesting unison/drone effects with some of the fretted notes on the adjacent (2nd) string. It's fun to experiment.

Zach Wilson
Jan-03-2016, 2:15pm
Very cool. Thanks for the info. I'm considering this tuning on a semi-hollow arch top washburn electronic I have. It has a free floating and I figured it might work perfectly for the project. Once again, thanks!

JL277z
Jan-03-2016, 10:49pm
... I'm considering this tuning on a semi-hollow arch top washburn electronic I have. It has a free floating and I figured it might work perfectly for the project. ...

Sounds ideal, :mandosmiley: with the free-floating bridge.

Nice thing about this type of alteration, of course you already know this but I'll mention it in case anyone else is considering this type of mod: the changes are non-destructive, so you can easily revert it back to a regular 6-string standard guitar if you want to at some point in the future.

In my case, I've become so accustomed to playing in fifths, :grin: so I don't plan to change it back to normal. The exception would be if I were to someday sell the instrument (not likely, it's adequate for my purposes), it would be more marketable in standard tuning (to people who wanted a regular guitar, that is). Easy to change back.

The full-time capo is a slight nuisance though. Ideally, I'd want a shorter neck and no capo, with the nut right where the current 5th-fret capo is. I *can* do longer scale length for short periods of time, like standard tenor length, but for long-term playing (with arthritis) it's so much nicer to have a short scale.

5th fret capo on this Strat works out to about 19-inch scale length, perfect for me right now, but as I recall it's shorter than a standard tenor guitar scale length.

Back in the 1970s for a while I played an old 4-string normal-scale metal-body National tenor guitar tuned GDAE for Celtic stuff (looked like this one (http://www.nationalguitar.com/vintage-national/TriolianTenor30) but without all the missing paint) but I don't want another National, especially not at current prices. Although the National never got drowned out by the banjos and concertinas. :grin:

Other people have reportedly experimented with other instruments for GDAE, such as the 17-inch-scale Vorson solid-body electric ukulele (MandolinCafe discussion (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?107921-Vorson-solid-body-electric-ukuleles)) . I haven't tried one of those but the idea is intriguing. Only 4 strings though, nowadays I find 5 to be advantageous. If one of those Vorsons were to fall into my lap I'd consider figuring out some way to add one additional string to it, :grin: neck looks wide enough it might be possible... or not... :confused: