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Thread: What do you call a 5-string guitar tuned CGDAE?

  1. #1

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    I'm getting a bit tired of saying I have a "doubleneck electric guitar with one neck in guitar tuning and the other tuned CGDAE like a violoncello with an extra high string". If it had six strings on one neck and ten on the other, I could say "doubleneck guitar/liuto cantabile", even though nobody outside the classical mandolin world knows or cares what a liuto cantabile is. Alas, the "mandolin family" neck has five strings. "Guitar/5-string mandocello" is OK (gets the right idea across), except that as far as I know there's no such thing as a 5-string mandocello. Anyone got any better ideas?

    Yeah, OK, so "doubleneck guitar" is probably the best description even if it isn't quite complete.
    Peter Klima (not the hockey player)

  2. #2
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    According to emando.com, CGDAE tuning is common for 5 and 10 string mandolins. It is also an alternate tuning for citterns. So you could call it a 5-string octave mandolin or a 5-string cittern, or just a cittern. I like the latter, just because it is one word and it sounds cool. Of course, then people will say, "What is a cittern?" That, of course opens you up to giving a 30 second history of citterns that could be pretty impressive.

  3. #3
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Well, you could always call it a Pentatar ™®©.

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    ..or, in the spirit of Junior Brown, a Guit-abile!

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    You could also call it a "Ceegeedae." Make up a good story about its ancient, mysterious origins and how it's only recently been re-discovered. You could have a lot of fun with that!

  6. #6

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    Thanks... just as I suspected, there's no historical instrument with a simple name and CGDAE tuning, aside from Alex Gregory's pentacello (I think his pentatars are tuned higher). His philosophy and theory are too silly even for me. Oh well. I *think* citterns (both 16th-century and modern Celtic) are supposed to have their strings in double courses, too, but if no one comes up with anything better maybe I'll make use of the instrument's relationship with the troll cittern anyway and call it a "troll guitar". Intentionally obtuse, but I am easily amused and I like playing trollish music anyway...
    Peter Klima (not the hockey player)

  7. #7

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    What about "Guit-tenor" since tenor guitars are tuned in 5ths
    Look up (to see whats comin down)

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    8 Fingers, 2 Thumbs Ken Sager's Avatar
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    Robert Fripp pioneered the "New Standard Tuning" for guitar as CGDAEG several years ago. The high G string had to be pretty thin, and it introduced an odd minor third, but was fun to play. I keep my Baby Taylor tuned this way.

    You just may be a bit ahead of the times if you're waiting for it to be in fashion again.

    Call your double neck the Standard and Modified New Standard and you're in the ballpark.

    Best,
    Ken
    Less talk, more pick.

  9. #9

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    wonderful site - thank you...

    i'm the very happy owner of a charango which i play pretty much like a mandolin except that i've tuned it to a g-a-d-g'-c' tuning. #it's a simple tuning but i find it natural and easy to play in it. #thing is, i sometimes feel i'm missing something.

    from your wonderful site i see that the 5-course mandolin tuning is c'-g'-d"-a"-e".

    question is...

    if your 4-course mandolin were to miraculously have a 5th course added to it (whump!) and you had the choice of either a lower of higher course, which would you choose and what tuning would you recommend?

    what about a mandola? #what alterations in the tuning would you recommend if you were to have a 5th course added to it?

    i live in a little village in italy, miles from anyone who might offer a knowledgeable opinion. #any help you give would be very much appreciated. #thank you.

    sincerely - bill

  10. #10

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    Perhaps its a 5-string electric octave mandolin? Boy thats a long name...
    Mandofiddle

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    Quote Originally Posted by (billkilpatrick @ Jan. 28 2004, 18:28)
    if your 4-course mandolin were to miraculously have a 5th course added to it (whump!) and you had the choice of either a lower of higher course, which would you choose and what tuning would you recommend?

    what about a mandola? #what alterations in the tuning would you recommend if you were to have a 5th course added to it?
    Extra course on a mandolin? I'd go lower, and hang on to the 5ths in the tuning. That's because I do tend to use guirat parts, and the bottom end of a mandolin is often too high, and I don't fancy putting anything thinner than Es on it.

    The only alternative I might go for is (heresy follows - the orthodox should look away NOW) - tune as a uke (re-entrant GDAE), with the fifth course G down an octave, use the top four for chords and the fifth for plcking melody on.
    Reality : A particularly unconvincing illusion (see "Reality TV" if you disagree.)

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    Adding a fifth course to a mandolin? You can't really go to the high end because even an 0.008" string would probably break before you reached the high B-notes, and they don't make strings any skinnier. Going low is tricky too. I've used a 0.052" string for the low C-notes.
    Wye Knot

  13. #13
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    How about calling it a symmetrical guitar: five strings tuned in perfect fifths.

    (...or perhaps it's the perfect guitar?)



    Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

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    I'd just call it Lulubelle
    mandollusional Mike

  15. #15

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    I've been calling it "troll guitar" and claiming music I play on it is "traditional trollish". Thanks for all the suggestions, though.
    Peter Klima (not the hockey player)

  16. #16
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    I have one set up like this and call it (oh so immodestly) a McGanndolin.
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
    johnmcgann.com
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