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Thread: CGDA to GDAE tuning

  1. #1
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    Default CGDA to GDAE tuning

    I have an Ibanez pft2-nt tenor guitar with the DAddario J-66 strings. I want to try the GDAE tuning, do I have to replace the strings?

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Yes, you do. You will have to tune the guitar an octave below mandolin tuning. You can buy individual guitar strings from a guitar store or on line. I would suggest a starting point of .040 (G) .030 (D) .020 (A) .012 (E)
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Agreed. For convenience John Pearse makes a tenor guitar set #450 at .042, .030, .020, .013 They are good on my tenor.

    Larry

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    I have a similar but related question: Anyone tune a Mandola from CGDA to GDAE and what string set would be advised?
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryH View Post
    Agreed. For convenience John Pearse makes a tenor guitar set #450 at .042, .030, .020, .013 They are good on my tenor.

    Larry
    Larry, who is John Pearse? Do you have a link where I can buy his strings?

    Thanks,

  8. #6
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Elderly Instruments sells John Pearse TG strings.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Yes. Elderly.com

    John Pearse Set #450. There is also a custom set from GHS at Elderly but I haven't tried them. Hope this helps.

    Larry

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Thanks guys,

    I have two sets on the way, boy they are cheap too.

    Would you use the same sizes on an electric guitar, only in nickel for the pickups?

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    I have a similar but related question: Anyone tune a Mandola from CGDA to GDAE and what string set would be advised?
    You would have to quote a scale length if you want an accurate answer but as a generally rule the G would be to thick to be comfortable .

  12. #10
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    You would have to quote a scale length if you want an accurate answer but as a generally rule the G would be to thick to be comfortable .
    Right! Good question. I recently tried out an Eastman Mandola and a Pono OM in the Terse body shape. I liked the Pono so much more than I thought I would and the Eastman Mandola just didn't sing to me. I found myself wondering if I'd like the Eastman Mandola as an OM. According to the Eastman website their Mandolas have a scale length of 16 inches.

    I thought it might be fun to get a Mandola and tune it like Yank Rachell did, but I also wondered if it was viable to tune a Mandola like an OM? What minimal scale length would produce a decent result for OM tuning?
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    The minimum useable scale would be 18” but that could be called a short scale octave mandolin.
    You would need something like a .060 for the G on a 16” scale. Even then you would not really have a big enough body to make use of the tuning.
    Of course you can try what ever you want, as long as you stick to around 20lb tensions on the individual strings and sort out the nut.
    Another issue might be getting the thick strings through the tuners and tailpiece.
    Take a look at the on line string tension calculators and you can workout any tuning you fancy.

  14. #12
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    The minimum useable scale would be 18” but that could be called a short scale octave mandolin.
    You would need something like a .060 for the G on a 16” scale. Even then you would not really have a big enough body to make use of the tuning.
    Of course you can try what ever you want, as long as you stick to around 20lb tensions on the individual strings and sort out the nut.
    Another issue might be getting the thick strings through the tuners and tailpiece.
    Take a look at the on line string tension calculators and you can workout any tuning you fancy.
    That's very helpful. Thank you.

    The Pono OM was really fun and the flattop with x-bracing really made it sing. It changed my view on how I would employ an OM into my playing. I've got a "The Loar" tone bar braced carved solid archtop guitar that barks like a big old mandolin which is great for swing but I see myself playing an OM much differently allowing those big bass notes to ring and sustain.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Folks this ain't rocket surgery. If you are switching an instrument from CGDA to GDAE, sit down take a breath and realize the G, D and A strings can be exactly the same as what you have on right now. Mind blowing? I hope not. Your only new string, the E, can easily be selected using a string tension calculator, or a couple easy thumbrules. If your tenor guitar scale is anywhere near a regular guitar scale anything from a .010 to a .013 should work fine. If going an octave higher on a 'dola or similar scale length I wouldn't go bigger than .010. I use .009 to .0095 on my nearly 17" 10 string 'dola for the E's.

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    Paul Wheeler
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Mandobart, I agree with you if you are moving from CGDA up a fifth to GDAE, as you would going from mandola to mandolin tuning and keeping the same scale length. Yes, the G, D, and A strings would be the same, only moved-over one space. But . . . I believe the move in question is down a fourth, CGDA down to GDAE, in which the resulting G, D, and A strings will be an octave lower than what you started with, calling for different gauges.
    He joyously felt himself idling, an unreflective mood in which water was water, sky was sky, breeze was breeze. He knew it couldn't last. -- Thomas McGuane, "Nothing but Blue Skies"

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    I have a 17" scale mandola tuned GDAE, I use the Optima Chrome Specials at the moment : https://www.optima-strings.com/en/mandola.php, although I have had Newtone make me up a replacement set. As Fox suggests G is .060.

    It's a bowl back mandola and it's pretty well balanced with these strings on it.
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by twaaang View Post
    Mandobart, I agree with you if you are moving from CGDA up a fifth to GDAE, as you would going from mandola to mandolin tuning and keeping the same scale length. Yes, the G, D, and A strings would be the same, only moved-over one space. But . . . I believe the move in question is down a fourth, CGDA down to GDAE, in which the resulting G, D, and A strings will be an octave lower than what you started with, calling for different gauges.
    So in that case, where you halve the string's frequency, you simply double the diameter. This is what I've done for years on my mandola, OM and mandocello using octave pairs. So use strings 2x the diameter of your G, D and A for your new lowest 3 courses. The E gage I recommended earlier is for an octave lower than a mandolin E; that is a .010 will work on a standard scale mandolin or on my 26" 10 string mandocello.

  19. #17
    Registered User vwfye's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    I went from a 40 to a 42 on my Eastwood tenor and the 42 is tooooooooooooooooo buzzy. I am headed back to the 40 for my G string.
    Crafter Acoustic/Electric Mandolin
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  20. #18

    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    I have an Ibanez pft2-nt tenor guitar with the DAddario J-66 strings. I want to try the GDAE tuning, do I have to replace the strings?
    I just received the same Tenor, and I'm taking it in for a setup, and to have new strings put on for GDAE tuning. After gathering all of the gauge suggestions that I could find on the web, I settled on 40W, 30W, 18, 13. Do you have an update on your experience? Does anyone object to my decision? Thanks all.

  21. #19
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    I believe those string gauges will work fine but would not be my choice.
    12p or 13p are both good, I personally prefer 12p.
    18p for the A can be exchanged for a wound string, either 18w or 20w some folk even use a 22w but I find that is far to heavy for my playing style. However you will still get a good effect from an 18p especially for Irish tunes but I would not think that it is a popular choice for a tenor guitar.
    30w is spot on right for me on a 23Ē scale
    40w will have a low tension feel and wonít match the other strings very well (only my opinion) but I would look for at least 42p ...I use 45w on my 23Ē scales.
    So in short my own choice for a very good starting point would be 12p 20w 30w 44w.
    Those gauges are well tried and tested but leave a little leeway for experimenting if you choose.
    Finally.. there are plenty of ready made string sets but I much prefer to use guitar singles. This gives me all the scope and choice i might ever need, normally available from most music shops.

  22. #20

    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    So in short my own choice for a very good starting point would be 12p 20w 30w 44w.
    Those gauges are well tried and tested but leave a little leeway for experimenting if you choose.
    Finally.. there are plenty of ready made string sets but I much prefer to use guitar singles. This gives me all the scope and choice i might ever need, normally available from most music shops.
    Thanks so much. I'm going to take your suggestion. I don't know if this makes a difference, but I will be strumming only. I have absolute zero lead picking abilities at this point. Thanks again.

  23. #21
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    No the gauges are good for strumming but I hope you get to explore single note melody, double stops, strumming and chord melody!
    All work so well on a tenor.

  24. #22

    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    No the gauges are good for strumming but I hope you get to explore single note melody, double stops, strumming and chord melody!
    All work so well on a tenor.
    Great. I hope to try. Thanks again.

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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by StrummingBlind View Post
    I just received the same Tenor, and I'm taking it in for a setup, and to have new strings put on for GDAE tuning. After gathering all of the gauge suggestions that I could find on the web, I settled on 40W, 30W, 18, 13. Do you have an update on your experience? Does anyone object to my decision? Thanks all.
    I have the John Pearse #450 strings but have not installed them yet. Let us know how your choice works out. I am still interested in whether the same string gauges can be used on an electric tenor guitar. All of my guitars have a 22.8" scale length.

    I bought my daughter, the Music Major at UGA, an Ibanez AVT1 and plan on tuning it to GDAE. Maybe she can help me learn how to play.

  26. #24

    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    I have the John Pearse #450 strings but have not installed them yet. Let us know how your choice works out. I am still interested in whether the same string gauges can be used on an electric tenor guitar. All of my guitars have a 22.8" scale length.

    I bought my daughter, the Music Major at UGA, an Ibanez AVT1 and plan on tuning it to GDAE. Maybe she can help me learn how to play.

    She better be able to teach you, as a music major, ha ha. I’m picking it up Saturday, and I’ll give a report. I went with Fox’s suggestion, 12, 20w, 30w, 44w, so its all on Fox right now, just joking. I’m anxious to get it back though.

  27. #25
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: CGDA to GDAE tuning

    Ha Ha donít worry those gages will work just fine.
    The thing is, most folk can adjust to the feel of a certain string sets and be quite happy with various tensions but I have experimented quite extensively over the last five years and feel my suggestions feel and sound very good.
    However you are free to adjust the feel by using slightly different gauges as long as you donít go above the guitars integrity.
    Very often a new tenor guitar player will have a mandolin background (especially on this forum) and expect their new guitar to have a similar feel and therefore prefer the highest tension option available.
    However the tenor guitar is proving to be very popular with ukulele players and they tend to prefer the lowest string tension option!
    The benefit of using guitar singles is obvious if you just want to adjust a single string.
    There are other reasons why some folk prefer different string sets to others, the actual guitar in question might have stiffer bracing or a different scale length or a bigger body.
    The average guitar owner can only do a few home adjustments to improve the sound of their guitar namely the action and the sting gauges, as you are having your guitar set up at a shop you are left with string choice so ... yes you will have to trust me :-)

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