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chrisbsc
Sep-01-2010, 3:05pm
I am listening to a recording of Get Up John on the Bill Monroe album Live Recordings from 1956-1969. Does anyone know what tuning he is using? (He talks about the tuning, but only says that it is different, and he is playing a different mandolin owned by Ralph Rinzler)

I sure would like to hear that sound from my strings!

swinginmandolins
Sep-01-2010, 3:12pm
I use low to high, F#A DD AA AD, as taught by Sam Bush. Not sure if that is the tuning Monroe used. You can see and hear it in action on my Youtube station (link in my signature).

evanreilly
Sep-01-2010, 9:32pm
That is indeed the tuning that Bill used on the recording of 'GUJ'.
It is an open D tuning.
The fiddle was tuned GDAD for that recording.

chrisbsc
Sep-02-2010, 1:22pm
Hmm.. G DAD? The f#A makes more sense. Are you sure it is G on the bottom? I am thinking from the sound and Bill M's words introducing the song that the paired strings are tuned differently- It sounds this way and he speaks of "hearing a harmony"

At any rate- I will be trying both this evening. THanks!

evanreilly
Sep-02-2010, 1:53pm
Hmm.. G DAD? The f#A makes more sense. Are you sure it is G on the bottom? I am thinking from the sound and Bill M's words introducing the song that the paired strings are tuned differently- It sounds this way and he speaks of "hearing a harmony"

At any rate- I will be trying both this evening. THanks!

The Mandolin tuning is as above: F# A, DD, AA, AD.
The fiddle is tuned GDAD, as stated in Rosenberg's book on Monroe's music.

chrisbsc
Sep-02-2010, 2:47pm
nice song on your youtube

evanreilly
Sep-02-2010, 2:55pm
nice song on your youtube
Why, thanks......
Errrr.... which one???? :))

Red Henry
Sep-06-2010, 7:26am
Bill's original studio cut of this tune (originally released on the "Bluegrass Instrumentals" album, and now on CD) is also recommended. In the mandolin-trivia department, on that original "Get Up John" recording, there's a question whether Bill tuned his G strings (outside & inside) to A-F# or to F#-A. The F# note comes through extremely well, suggesting that it might indeed be the top, that is the outside, string which was tuned to the low note.

Another factor in the recording's unusual sound is that the F# seems tuned closer to the "natural" F# than to the tempered one-- a bit flat to the tempered note, perhaps, but certainly no less valid a note if playing in D, and to many ears it certainly yields a spookier sound.

I suppose that this is one advantage of electronic tuners not being in use in bluegrass at that time, since Bill could tune that low string to whatever sound he had in his head!

Red

evanreilly
Sep-06-2010, 12:04pm
I re-tune my G course with the F# the lowest string. I agree with Red's analysis that that is what Bill probably did as well.

swampstomper
Sep-07-2010, 5:30am
Red, you really got me thinking with your post -- thanks! When we tune by ear for a specific key, there is no reason to use equal temperment. I remember years ago going to a Russ Barenberg - Jerry Douglas concert (yes, just the two -- what an interplay!) and when Russ introduced a song in E he told the guitarists in the audience to tune the G string a little sharp, so the G# in the E chord would be a true third. That's why tuning by ear with a chord (e.g. E on guitar) sounds different than using equal temperment with a tuner.

And if we go back to the oldtimers like Roscoe Holcomb... "we don't need no stinkin' electronics"!

KirkwoodCowboy
Sep-14-2010, 6:30am
If yer wanting to learn " Get Up John ", i posted a version on YouTube a while back that is kinda slow, it might help ya to hear it played a little slower. Just google " get up john terry boys " & it will come up. Sorry i don't know how to post the link.

f5loar
Sep-14-2010, 11:42am
Red makes a good point and which G string was tuned to the F#. I know that Rickerbacker 12 string guitars are strung backwards to say a Martin or Gibson 12 string. On a 12 string pair they are different size so it would feel different to the attack on the strings which way it was strung up.

hank
Sep-14-2010, 12:33pm
Thanks Mikie and Terry great variations. I really like Big Joe's version at his shop/store web site. Anyone know how he tuned for that cut? I've got a tabledit version with standard tuning as well. This is one of those songs that I've given myself more time to learn well.

f5loar
Oct-03-2010, 8:33pm
I performed Get Up John on my KM1000 last night before a 1000 plus crowd and it sounds pretty good to be a cheap Made in China F5 replica:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-zPwvvvAxs