Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Sawmill tuning

  1. #1
    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    1,249
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    On Compton's website there are a couple of tunes he mentions using "Sawmill" tuning: AEAE. I've never heard of it and was curious about it's history & usage on the mandolin. Any info?

    Thanks,

    John
    There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    kittery point, me
    Posts
    662

    Default

    Its a fiddle tuning. It gives you a ton of drones, especially when you are playing in A.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I use it on fiddle quite a bit. I've tried it on mandolin, and it sounds good, but I rarely use it. Probably because you have to retune twice as many strings.

    Tim
    "Be kind to the band; they never get to dance"

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Boston MA
    Posts
    2,036

    Default

    The cousin of that tuning, GDGD, is easier on your mando since you are lowering the top 2 rather than raising the bottom 2...I wouldn't crank my low strings two whole steps without restringing to lighter guages.
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
    johnmcgann.com
    myspace page
    Youtube live mando

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    57

    Default

    "Sawmill" is a banjo tuning that goes gDGCD. AEAE or GDGD (both in common use by Old-Time fiddlers) are simply open A or open G tuning.
    Frank

  6. #6
    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Arnhem, the Netherlands; Nanjing, China; Ithaca NY USA
    Posts
    1,868

    Default

    I thought gDGCD was called "mountain modal". The B string raised to C. Very effective in songs like Pretty Polly. To me, sawmill is indeed the open fiddle tuning either G or A. Where do you get the name "sawmill" for gDGCD?

  7. #7
    8 Fingers, 2 Thumbs Ken Sager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Burnsville, NC
    Posts
    1,829

    Default

    Whatever it's called, Mike Compton had his Gilchrist F4 tuned AEAE the other night and it sounded like a million bucks. He only played one tune with it, though. I've used that tuning, too, but somehow I just don't quite sound like Mike.

    Must be the Gilchrist...
    Less talk, more pick.

  8. #8
    Registered User otterly2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    3,610

    Default

    I use ADAE on both mando and OM nearly all the time. I don't know what it's called... just that it works well for me...
    Karen Escovitz
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Otter OM #1
    Brian Dean OM #32
    Old Wave Mandola #372
    Phoenix Neoclassical #256
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you're gonna walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!

  9. #9
    I'll take it! JGWoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chelmsford MA
    Posts
    1,406

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (swampstomper @ May 11 2006, 06:10)
    I thought gDGCD was called "mountain modal". #The B string raised to C. Very effective in songs like Pretty Polly. #To me, sawmill is indeed the open fiddle tuning either G or A. Where do you get the name "sawmill" for gDGCD?
    Mountain Modal, or Sawmill- same tuning around here gDGCD.
    I have heard it described that way since the 60s.
    Fiddle tunings AEAE, GDGD, FCFC even are called crosstuned. I never hear that called sawmill.
    That's in New England.
    Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
    Favorite Mandolin of the week: 2013 Collings MF Gloss top.

  10. #10
    Registered User bradeinhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Croton-on-Hudson, NY
    Posts
    2,226

    Default

    any tabs in this tuning or tricks to playing in it?
    www.bigdrawbluegrass.com

    Voight A-5
    Bayard GBOM

  11. #11
    I'll take it! JGWoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chelmsford MA
    Posts
    1,406

    Default

    Many fiddle tunes in AEAE (GDGD=same)will be 2 string tunes- play'em through on the high AE pair and you can play'em again an octave lower on the other AE pair. On the occasion where the fiddle might dip down to the lower E you can still play it on the low pair and just finagle the lowest notes- change the structure a little to leave out the lowest note.

    old names among fiddlers for the changed tunings - the lowest/fattest string is the bass, the next lowest is the counter. Playing high bass means playing tuned ADAE having raised the "normal" bass note from G to A, and high bass and counter is AEAE with both raised.

    I've already told you more than I know....
    Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
    Favorite Mandolin of the week: 2013 Collings MF Gloss top.

  12. #12

    Default

    Sawmill is a common name for banjo tuning gDGCD. I've never heard anyone refer to sawmill for fiddle tunings, AEAE is generally called A cross, GDGD is G cross.

    Seth

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    1,616

    Default

    So, I've been playing around some on the fiddle in AEAE. Before we let this thread die, it occurs to me that it's strange that players would call AEAE or GDGD "cross" tunings at all. What is the history on that? If anything I would think of these as "straight" or open tunings, at least when playing in A and G respectively, not "cross" anything. From harmonica and guitar, I considered "cross" to refer to using a D tuning but playing in G, for example.
    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    757

    Default

    FWIW I've heard Old Time players around here refer to AEAE fiddle tuning as "Sawmill" - makes sense to me, I think of it as "even" like the teeth on a saw (imagine a many stringed instrument tuned AEAEAEAE...) - though the terminology for these kinds of things is surely nonstandardized and regional.




Similar Threads

  1. Tuning key
    By ald in forum Builders and Repair
    Replies: 24
    Last: Nov-25-2007, 3:41am
  2. Dgad tuning, or drop d tuning
    By joemando in forum Equipment
    Replies: 2
    Last: Jul-22-2007, 6:19pm
  3. Another tuning
    By Unseen122 in forum CBOM
    Replies: 1
    Last: Mar-07-2007, 6:00pm
  4. Tuning
    By fred_zeppelin in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 12
    Last: May-02-2005, 6:09pm
  5. Tuning
    By davestem in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 41
    Last: Oct-29-2004, 12:37pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •