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Thread: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    According to the Internet . . .recombinant CGDA, with the D and A one octave lower than usual, for swing band rhythm. Sounds interesting on paper . . . instead of the very open tenor chords, it's just all midrange punch. Haven't been able to find any audio clips online. Just got an old National tenor a few weeks ago and I'm not ready to mess with it just yet, but I'm curious. Anyone tried this?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    you might need to change the nut.
    I know that on octave violins the nut needs to be modified to take the larger strings and not catch them.
    Craig

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Yes I've tried it. It sounds great. It's a beautiful midrange close harmony sound, great for swing rhythm. soloing is more challenging but if you like to move up and down the neck it's possible...think Django on two strings.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Finally got around to trying this. I'd need to tweak the string gauges and the nut to optimize, but it's a fantastic sound on the resonator tenor --- as ernest mentioned, sounds like it's perfect for swing rhythm.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Selmer Eddie Freeman Special guitar, wide-mouth Gypsy Jazz style body, still set up for Eddie's tuning:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Selmer-Eddi...279?rmvSB=true

    Seller is in the Netherlands; BIN price is approximately equivalent to $12,000.

    PS - I have no connection with this, just thought tenorphiles would be interested.

  8. #6
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Bugger, I now have to get another resonator tenor:-) tenor no "8"

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    ..
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    John Lawlor mentions ..... "No. I tried it back in the 80s for about a week. It really throws you off at first since the highest note in most chord changes is on the third string. when it's tuned like that but Thanks for asking. John"

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    @JPL I understand its a while since you had input to this thread, there are plenty of wise heads reading this anyway. How is the intonation of the 2nd (drop octave) string on the resonator? Did it require any insert at the nut end to compensate for the thicker gauge & lack of bridge adjustment?
    My plan will be to get a resonator guitar, fileing the nut grooves down to the frettboard. That makes frett 1 into frett zero & a 23 1/2" scale but there are no adjustment at either end. Tuning will be GDAE. Maybe even pushing it to FCGD if I can get away with it for chords & use my (poor mans banjo:-) GDAE 24" resonator for tunes.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    I have a David Hodson replica of a Selmer Maccaferri ‘Eddie Freeman Special’. It came strung with the special set of strings designed by David for the original re-entrant CGDA tuning. The strings were made by Newtone Strings, the string maker in the UK - http://www.newtonestrings.com David Hodson used and they will still supply these special string sets if you contact them. The four stringed Eddie Freeman Special was not strictly a regular tenor guitar as its scale length was originally that of Selmer Maccaferri six stringed guitars - 25.5 inches rather than 23 inches - Selmer made a tenor version of this guitar with a 23 inch scale length intended for regular CGDA tuning. The string gauges used by David for his version of the EFS were based on the original Eddie Freeman recommendations: C - 0.032, G - 0.020, D - 0.028, A - 0.018. The system works brilliantly to produce a six string guitar-like sonority by not having the highly strung A string, and is particularly suited for playing rhythm. It is such a great pity for the history of four stringed guitars that Eddie’s invention was not commercially successful because of the hostile reaction from the UK six string guitar community, particularly Ivor Mairants. Cheers, Steve

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  15. #11
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Thanks Steve! I have a brass Webster adjustable nut coming from Thomman later this week so I'll put that tuning on a Tanglewood guitar I have (580mm scale). The Tanglewood has a bright tone so it should work well with the low A & we'll see which chord shapes I need to change:-) luckily I've only been working on chords for about a year & trying to back jigs & reels for a couple of months so that shouldn't be too difficult. It seems to me that the resonator shows the most potential for "Eddies" tuning in the GDAE world & is almost begging for that boost to its sound! I see that you're a Queenslander. I'm a Victorian (mexican) trying my hand at trad in Ireland for my sins:-)

  16. #12

    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Beautiful. What's the title of that? its just beyond the tip of my tongue.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Beautiful. What's the title of that? its just beyond the tip of my tongue.
    I’m Confessin’

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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    I changed the A on a €10 1/2 size (was nylon) down the octave this morning. Very Very nice the intonation is terrible as I expected so when I start working on the good guitar I'll have a bit of figuring out how to work it. I'm pretty sure the bridge is going to get butchered in the process, so to decide which guitar to commit to Eddies tuning. I have 3 choices. All 3 began life as 6 strings, two are grand symphony size bodies. The 22 1/2" has a bright tone that could benefit from the drop A but doesn't have a pickup. The 23" has a K&K mandolin pickup & sounds lovely as it is with a nice boom on the lower or open Chords. That leaves a 24" jumbo body with a Fishman pickup that I'm expecting in Fridays post. From memory the top is spruce & the back & sides are maple, I heard it's a copy of a discontinued Gibson that was 10 times the price. Maybe I should get a luthier to decide for me

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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    We’ve been having an interesting discussion on the Tenor Guitar Registry about one of my obsessions - the Eddie Freeman tuning system. This has stimulated me to think about it perhaps more deeply than I have previously. In order to explain it to myself more clearly (and anybody else who is unsure), I came up with the simple idea of comparing regular tenor guitar tuning with Eddie Freeman tuning by looking at them both on a piano keyboard which I have never done before and I produced this graphic which I am posting for information to members and I would welcome any constructive comments.

    Attachment 164579

    I also came across YouTube clip of a jazz combo using the same principles as the Eddie Freeman tuning: https://youtu.be/ISdLE44BFl0

    Hope members find it helpful.
    Last edited by stevep21; Feb-02-2018 at 1:01am. Reason: Clarification

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  22. #16
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    That first link didn't work for me Steve. I have dedicated a cheap Tanglewood to GDAE Eddie Freeman style, chopped about 30mm out of the bridge, filed the nut for the A string & did my usual routing of the strings to cover the top five spacings on the bridge end. This guitar sounds like a far better cheap guitar now. I'm terrible at chord backings at the moment so it won't see the public for a while!

    I should learn how to put photos' & videos onto this forum so you can see my handywork & how it/ they sound

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  24. #17
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevep21 View Post
    We’ve been having an interesting discussion on the Tenor Guitar Registry about one of my obsessions - the Eddie Freeman tuning system. This has stimulated me to think about it perhaps more deeply than I have previously. In order to explain it to myself more clearly (and anybody else who is unsure), I came up with the simple idea of comparing regular tenor guitar tuning with Eddie Freeman tuning by looking at them both on a piano keyboard which I have never done before and I produced this graphic which I am posting for information to members and I would welcome any constructive comments.

    Attachment 164579

    I also came across YouTube clip of a jazz combo using the same principles as the Eddie Freeman tuning: https://youtu.be/ISdLE44BFl0

    Hope members find it helpful.
    That's a slick jazz combo you found there Steve:-)
    That idea of lowering both top strings makes me think that it could be practical to record a guitar tuned 2 top strings down an octave panned hard to one side of a stereo mix, then record a guitar tuned 2 bottom strings tuned up an octave panned hard to the other side/channel. It requires tight playing. Maybe swap over the effect/reverb for each guitar/channel. A mate occationally records two six strings one strung high to get a fat 12 string sound. Doing this with the tenor guitars would be a different sound to a bouzouki.

  25. #18

    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    It kind of reminds me of reentrant tuning on a ukulele.

  26. #19
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    I’ll try again: Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #20
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    Default Re: Anyone tried the Eddie Freeman tuning?

    I managed to find some recordings of Eddie Freeman playing guitar (hopefully his EFS) on jazz sides recorded in the late 1930s with a band led by Danny Polo called Danny Polo and his Swing Stars. The rhythm guitar is difficult to hear clearly on some of the tracks but you can definitely hear it on a side called Stratton Street Strut. Here is the link to this recording: https://youtu.be/7UO5AqE7QhM. You can find other similar recordings on YT if you search on Danny Polo - there seems to be an album of these recordings - but you need to make sure the recording has Eddie playing because some of them use another guitarist called Norman Brown.
    Last edited by stevep21; Feb-09-2018 at 12:56am. Reason: typos

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