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Thread: Alternate tunings?

  1. #1
    ChelseaOctsve ChelseaOctave's Avatar
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    Default Alternate tunings?

    I wanna mess around with cdga on my octave but I'm not sure how to get there or how much tension which strings can take. I know I need to capo at the second fret right?
    ~Chels
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  2. #2
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    errhhh... supposing you mean CGDA, capo the 5th fret and you're there. Winding up a 4th without a capo would require lighter strings.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  4. #3
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Another possibility is to replace the G,D and A pairs but across one place, removing the high Es, then add in a new pair of low C strings. This would give you an octave below what Bertram is suggesting. For the low C pair you could try a pair of standard guitar D strings tuned to C. If your instrument takes loop-ended strings then you would need to find loop-ended guitar strings or remove the ball from the ends of the two guitar strings. Bertram's suggestion is much less trouble to try out and gives you mandola (viola equivalent) tuning.
    Let us know what you find if you try this.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChelseaOctave View Post
    I wanna mess around with cdga on my octave but I'm not sure how to get there or how much tension which strings can take. I know I need to capo at the second fret right?
    I have a tenor guitar, and have used CGDA tuning (standard mandola tuning) as well as Octave mando tuning. Never have had a problem with either. String tension doesn't seem to be all that much different, and neither is the fretting.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Hi Chels,

    The scale length of your Gold Tone OM 800+ is in tenor guitar range. Standard tenor tuning is CGDA.

    Here is a recommended set for 22.5" CGDA:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I use these gauges regularly as I tend to break 10s.

    You can also use off the self D'Addarrio EJ66s:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Best of luck,
    Huck

  7. #6
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Alternate tunings?

    Old post, Aug-09-2015, repeated topic,

    By The Way .. (Mandolin)

    I just got an Email Reply from Mr. Muldaur, after asking about his 'Minglewood Blues' tuning.

    from the bottom G / C / G / C,E (the top 2 split)

    so, Root 4th & 6th .. C, F & A


    ...
    Last edited by mandroid; May-23-2020 at 4:36pm.
    writing about music
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  9. #7
    ChelseaOctsve ChelseaOctave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Just ordered 2 packs of tenor guitar strings, I'll update soon!
    ~Chels
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gold Tone OM-800+
    Gold Tone WL-250+
    The Loar LM-110
    Kentucky KM-606
    Eastman MD-404BK
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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  11. #8

    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChelseaOctave View Post
    Just ordered 2 packs of tenor guitar strings, I'll update soon!
    Very curious how this works out for you, Chelsea. Please let us know.

    Charles

  12. #9

    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    I guess if you did this, put a C course on and removed the e course, then you have CGDA but REALLY low.
    Then if you put a capo on the 7th you have an octave mandolin again.

    I’d be curious to see a vid of someone with a strengthened mandola tuned like that. ie GDAe but an octave below a mandolin.
    That would some mean sounding mandola!
    Maybe the body would have to be bigger to keep the deep wood sound and less metallic caused by the stronger neck? I don’t know.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    I guess if you did this, put a C course on and removed the e course, then you have CGDA but REALLY low.
    Then if you put a capo on the 7th you have an octave mandolin again.

    Iíd be curious to see a vid of someone with a strengthened mandola tuned like that. ie GDAe but an octave below a mandolin.
    That would some mean sounding mandola!
    Maybe the body would have to be bigger to keep the deep wood sound and less metallic caused by the stronger neck? I donít know.
    Mandocello?

  14. #11
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Iíd be curious to see a vid of someone with a strengthened mandola tuned like that. ie GDAe but an octave below a mandolin.
    That would some mean sounding mandola!
    Not necessarily. You get the "mean" sound an octave below a mandolin with a long enough scale length and a large enough resonant air mass in the body to support the pitch. There's a reason these instrument designs have settled into the shapes they have at different pitches.

    I had a mandola for a while that I kept in DAEB tuning as a sort-of fake octave mandolin (the lower three strings the same pitch as the upper three on an OM), mainly for playing Irish trad and OldTime fiddle tunes with an easier finger stretch. You can get the same tuning with a capo on the second fret of a mandola, but this let me use slightly larger string gauges by tuning DAEB on the open strings.

    Trouble was, I also had a "real" 22" scale OM, and the mandola just didn't have the same sustain and power of the full-scale instrument. Sustain is one of the main reasons to play an OM; it's not just the lower pitch. So I eventually sold the mandola.

    Maybe the body would have to be bigger to keep the deep wood sound and less metallic caused by the stronger neck? I donít know.
    Yep, everything has to be designed to support the pitch you're aiming for. At least if you're looking for a good acoustic tone. You can get away with a more mongrel instrument if it's amplified and you mess with the EQ, but there are still limits to what can be done to simulate the sustain and "growl" of a longer scale length.

  15. #12
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    I've never tried any alternate tunings on the mandolin. However, I'm playing with a guy who was in a band where they all tuned their instruments a flat lower. On the mandolin, of course, G becomes F#, etc. It seems that my mandolin just doesn't sound right. It could be my imagination. Have any of you had a similar experience?

  16. #13
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate tunings?

    I am fond of Dead Mans tuning, for some fiddle tunes. I have a separate mandolin I keep in Dead Man, so I can pick it up and play.

    I have played in Cross G, or Saw Mill at times. Its great fun too.

    Here are some other tunings to mess with.


    • FCGD = Cajun Tuning (one whole step down from GDAE)
    • GDGB = Open G Tuning
    • GDGD = Sawmill Tuning or "Cross G"
    • GDAD = "Gee-Dad"
    • DDAD = Dead Man's Tuning, or Open D Tuning, or Bonaparte's Retreat Tuning, or "Dee-Dad"
    • ADAE = High Bass Tuning, Old-Timey D Tuning
    • AEAE = Cross Tuning, "Cross A", "High Bass, High Counter" (or "High Bass, High Tenor"), Cross Chord; similar to Sawmill Tuning
    • AEAC = Black Mountain Rag Tuning, Calico Tuning, Open A Tuning, or Drunken Hiccups Tuning
    • AEAD for Old Sledge, Silver Lake
    • EDAE for Glory in the Meeting House
    • EEAE for Get up in the Cool
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