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Thread: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

  1. #26

    Default Re: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

    I find it very difficult to play any instrument that isn’t in standard tuning (fifths).
    I play a lot by ear so I immediately feel that I’m tripping up when I move to an odd string.

    -though, of course I love playing ukuleles in fifths tuning, such a relief.
    And badly damaged or cheap old guitars that are in VERY open tunings, now that, I like. Something like GDGDGD... or DGGDAD

  2. #27
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    I find it very difficult to play any instrument that isnít in standard tuning (fifths).
    I play a lot by ear so I immediately feel that Iím tripping up when I move to an odd string.

    -though, of course I love playing ukuleles in fifths tuning, such a relief.
    And badly damaged or cheap old guitars that are in VERY open tunings, now that, I like. Something like GDGDGD... or DGGDAD
    I have a number of good friends who have that "tripping" look in their eyes when they try to play my mandolin. It's like the right side of their brains just regressed back to 5 years old and they can't do mandolin left hand fingering anymore.

    By itself, a tuning is just that, a set of fingering patterns that a person gets used to using for the left hand to make notes. If setup properly, the instrument still sounds like what it is; played by hands that are familiar with it, the tuning won't matter.

    Speaking as a strident non-standard tuning user on mandolin and on a few other instruments, about 99% of the people listening won't notice a difference and usually that 1% who does notice, notices it because of what is going on visually, not because of sound. Now if you fingerpick instead of flatpick, that might get more people wondering what's different.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  3. #28

    Default Re: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

    I love variety of tuning. I especially like it for the big resonances to get out of acoustic instruments. Maybe why I like the droning fiddles and harps, the pipes and drums, the huge resonances to draw.. I've always gotten carried away with it tunings and temperaments - how can you not since 1970..?

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  5. #29
    Stop the chop!
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    Default Re: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    GDGD tuning could be useful to beginners who’ve learned the G scale and the G double stops and want to improvise by ear all over the neck, straight away.
    I’ve heard complete beginners (on guitar) who already had a good sense of rhythm pick up the instrument and sound like pros on the first day when they play in these sort of tunings.
    It’s partly being able to mix bass accompaniment with treble melody lines.

    If that's the beginning, what is the next step? Relearning scales and chords in G? I see no reason not to exploit the symmetry of fifths tuning right away, albeit without the use of open strings (the only instruction I ever had was this piece of advice: don't use open strings at all in the beginning)


    As for the guitar I had a period of experimenntig with open G and open D about many years ago. These tunings offer some nice, but very special, effects on harmonically limited material. I've written one song in G tuning and I used to have an arrangement of Yesterday in D tuning. But after giving up finger picking I've stuck to standard tuning.

  6. #30

    Default Re: Alternate Mandolin Tunings

    Yes those are great harmonic tunings on guitar for that blues/folk/fingerstyle. I guess they called Fahey and kottke and the British players - many emulating american blues guys - "primitive fingerstyle." I also got into dadgad heavy for a while primarily after pierre bensusan, hedges, but that hedges stuff got me into more exotic tunings on gtr. I never really varied from straight 5ths on mndln. I used to love all that stuff and ya it did get hard to remember all those pieces in different tunings. I remember i used to spend all my time working on rickover's dream and aerial boundaries. My favorite since them younger days was bert jansch. Now I just assuage it with hdgfl. Buddy who was also into this stuff with me went on to sitar..
    Last edited by catmandu2; Oct-31-2019 at 9:04pm. Reason: Gramma

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