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John L
Apr-30-2008, 3:28pm
Guitar players will sometimes tune a tenor like the high 4 strings on a guitar, which makes them sound like a poor guitar IMO. More common among those in the tenor know would be:

C-G-D-A (like a mandola)
G-D-A-E (like an OM)
G-D-A-D (common in Irish music)

How do you tune, and what strings do you use in that tuning?

JeffD
Apr-30-2008, 3:41pm
I tune it like a mandola CGDA. Its also like a tenor banjo. I just bought an old REX tenor guitar, probably made in the 50s, and the strings on it are 10 - 13 - 24 - 32.

I am having a blast with it. I agree with you that tuning it like a guitar and playing it like a guitar evidence that they just don't get it.

John L
Apr-30-2008, 8:24pm
I believe all three tunings I listed are used with both tenor guitars and tenor banjos. I wonder if GDAD works well with DADGAD, which is a common tuning for Irish and Celtic? Like Jeff I also use CGDA, but would like to try GDAE if anyone can help with string sizes. Not sure if I can get my head around GDAD...

Colorado Slim
May-02-2008, 2:53pm
GDAE/OM tuning -- For convenience, I generally buy light gauge regular guitar strings. Use the A string (.042in) for the G, the D (.032) for the D, either the G (.024) or the B (.016) for the A, and the E for the E. My TG has a 22 3/4in scale, so the tension works quite well.
I do likewise on my 19-fret tenor banjo (the tailpiece will accept either loop- or ball-end strings), except I use .042, .032, .024, and either the B or the E for the high E. The .012 is a bit thin and the .016 is mite thick, but hey, I can buy strings at any music store, even if they think the only stringed instrument in existence is a rock and roll electric guitar.

mandolooter
May-02-2008, 4:10pm
Im using .042, .032, .022, .012 on my 23 inch scale tuned GDAE. I had a fatter G on it but this last string change I too used a set of light guage 6 stringers to pull my strings from. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

John L
May-05-2008, 11:36am
I am going to try GDAE on my tenor banjo, and just ordered some Irish TB strings from Elderly - 12-16-24-36

Gave the wrong guages here - should be 14-24-32-42

acousticphd
May-06-2008, 12:17pm
I also tune in mandola/"tenor" tuning (CGDA), or sometimes down a step (BbFCG) so I can capo up two frets and shorten the scale. That guitar is also pretty old and it's easier on the neck. I also have a tenor converted to 8-string OM, and that I tune gG-dD-AA-EE.

Tim Conroy
May-21-2008, 8:38pm
I have an old Harmony beater from that auction site that I tune octave G, with gauges 40-27-17-12.

This link was posted here some time back, it's a useful resource of suggested string gauges for different tunings and scale lengths.

http://rycooder.nl/pages/tenor_gauges.htm

Tim

Charles E.
Jun-09-2008, 8:44pm
I have only used tenor banjo tuning ( after all the tenor guiter was invented as a cross over instrument for tenor banjo players who were loosing favor to the guitar in the late 20's ) I like D'Addario set J66-tenor guitar/bronze. I think you can get them for under 5 bucks a set. Martin also makes a packaged set.

Charley

mikeyes
Jun-10-2008, 8:23pm
I started out with GDAE to compliment my Irish tenor banjo playing, but after seeing John Carty use the standard cgda tuning capoed up two (to daeb) I decided to go with that instead. My main tenor is a Regal from the late '20s that has a very sweet voice and is great over a microphone. I bought it on ebay for $100 and fixed it up. While it is not something I would travel with, it is great fun to play at home.

I have the LaBella tenor guitar set.

Charles E.
Jun-10-2008, 8:48pm
Mike, good point about capoing the 2nd fret when tuned CGDA. I play old time fiddle tunes and that works well for playing in D and Am. It also adds a nice mid range voice between the guitars and higher pitched instruments.

Charley

mikeyes
Jul-07-2008, 5:47pm
John L,

You picked the wrong set of strings. The J63i strings are not suitable for GDAE tuning on most banjos. I suggest that you go with the GHS custom sets sold by Elderly and Janet Davis. I think you will like them a lot better.

John L
Jul-07-2008, 7:52pm
John L,

You picked the srong set of strings. #The J63i strings are not suitable for GDAE tuning on most banjos. #I suggest that you go with the GHS custom sets sold by Elderly and Janet Davis. #I think you will like them a lot better.
Sorry, I gave the wrong guages. The set I have IS a GHS custom set for Celtic Tenor Banjo from Elderly. The guages are 14-24-32-42. The G seems too slack. Actually, the D is a little sloppy too. The E and A are ok.

A little more info. - the scale length on my TB is fairly short I think at just 20-1/2"

mikeyes
Jul-08-2008, 10:26am
Try the D'Addario OM set of strings. The G string is 44, I think, and you get two sets of strings to boot.

The Janet Davis custom set is a little heavier too.

John L
Jul-08-2008, 2:07pm
Thanks Mike. D'Addario OM sets are 12-22-32-46 which seems about right.

mikeyes
Jul-08-2008, 4:33pm
It's the GHS OM strings that have a 44 (see Juststrings.com (http://www.juststrings.com/ghs-pf285.html))

cyeiser
Aug-08-2008, 1:50pm
I have a Soaresy resonator tenor, 20 inch scale, and for GDAE, I use #050, 030, 018, 014

JeffD
Sep-27-2008, 8:25pm
I have a Soaresy resonator tenor, 20 inch scale, and for GDAE, I use #050, 030, 018, 014

Oooo! could we see a picture? :)

allenhopkins
Sep-27-2008, 9:01pm
Guitar players will sometimes tune a tenor like the high 4 strings on a guitar, which makes them sound like a poor guitar IMO.

Or like a baritone ukulele.

Charles E.
Sep-29-2008, 6:39pm
When those of you who tune your tenor's to octave mando tuning, on flat top instruments with bridge pins, do you have intonation problems? Also do you have to enlarge the "G" string hole to make it work?

Charley

Dolamon
Sep-30-2008, 12:59pm
Charley - On two instruments I had to widen the G - groove on the nut to get the string to settle in. If you need to do this, mark the bottom of the groove first, then start widening, with the string already on the instrument, but with the tension removed. That way, you can drop the string back into the groove, tighten it up to tune and see if the groove is wide enough.

With the thicker string, you may need to use some graphite in the nut groove to keep the string windings from 'hanging up' as you tune up or down. One issue on pin bridges - On two of my pin bridge instruments, the pins on the lowest course are close to the saddle. I have to remember to put the final winding (tail of string) on the top of string as it passes towards the saddle. Otherwise, it 'may' end up between the saddle and the string. This will make the action really high and often dissonant.

As far as intonation goes ... Frank Ford has a few methods on his web site for adjusting fixed bridges. http://www.frets.com/