View Full Version : Cross Tuning

Joe F
May-22-2006, 10:09am
Several of the fiddlers at the local old-time jams use various forms of cross tuning. #Has anyone ever done this with the mandolin? #I usually play everything in standard tuning. #I can see potential disadvantages (twice as many strings to retune, learning new chord forms, etc.), but would there be any real advantage to cross-tuning?

The only variation I've seen locally to standard mandolin tuning is a guy who uses octave strings for the G and D courses (similar to a 12-string guitar).

May-22-2006, 10:18am
Yes, I've used DDAD, GDGD, AEAE, and AEAC#

Many of those are old-timey tunings. You can hear many of them on Skip Gorman's new "Cow Camp" double CD, recommended listen. They also sound great for Irish, Cape Breton, and other dance music traditions, and are a larege part of the inspiration for the big bouzouki/10-string cittern tunings out there in the wild

May-22-2006, 11:30am
I cross tune my octave mandolin either GDGD (and capo up for A tunes) or CCGC (capo up for D tunes). But I prefer my mando standard tuned, for some reason (too hard to retune a mandolin, maybe). However, I do cross tune the fiddle.
A good E tuning: EDAE

May-22-2006, 3:20pm
Is it my imagination or are some people using a reverse order when noting the strings tuning. As always on instruments the string at the bottom is the #1 string and then count up to 4,5,or6. Unles it is the doghouse bass, then the #1 stings the fartherest from you.


Dennis Schubert
May-23-2006, 8:22am
Most of us (I think) lay out tunings as though you were viewing the nut from above, and put the first string on the right...same orientation as they appear in a chord diagram. In that form, standard mando tuning is...


...or in more shorthanded form...


This is a continuing rant among steel guitarists, as well. Which is more correct? CEGACE or ECAGEC?

David M.
May-23-2006, 10:45am
A good tuning (for D tunes) is one I heard from Kirk Sutphin, fiddler: ADAE

He calls it "standard with a high bass", meaning raise the G to an A. He uses it on Old Virginia Reel.

Never re-tune my mandolin, though, but the fiddle I do quite a bit.

May-23-2006, 10:47am
A tenor guitar is an easy one to play around with tunings on. slight break angle, and only 4 strings.. I tend to retune mine even during sets at jams