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Thread: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

  1. #1
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    Default tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    I'm new to tenor guitars and would like suggestions re strings for GDAE tunning. Also any suggestions for online lessons. Thanks.

    Rick

  2. #2

    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Here’s what I use:

    For a 23” scale, D’Addario EJ80
    For a 21” Scale, D’Addario EJ72

    If you need ball end, you can buy them as bulk singles from JustStrings.

    Thanks,
    Baron
    MandoLessons: Free Online Mandolin Lessons
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  3. #3

    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Back View Post
    I'm new to tenor guitars and would like suggestions re strings for GDAE tunning. Also any suggestions for online lessons. Thanks.

    Rick
    What scale length Rick?

    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Some good choices out there, but it's a learning curve, start with a good set for the scale length (hence Nigel's question) and in time you'll know what's too light or too heavy for you. Since everything I have is 23" scale; I tend to use a set from Clifford Essex on a new to me instrument if that helps ... I haven't gotten my dim head around string tension calculators despite some learned help here!
    Not sure what'll happen if I ever get a longer or shorter scale mind!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Scale 23''. Thanks.

    Rick

  6. #6
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Hi Rick, you are a bit secretive about your guitar but if it is a new model or a good condition vintage 23’’ scale then the chances are it will sound great a feel great with a set made up with a plain 12 for the E then 20 30 45 wound strings.
    Many of use simply use guitar strings, bought as singles, most music stores will hold a stock of singles so it is easy to buy and experiment With different strings.
    However ... experimenting requires a certain amount of knowledge as you dont want to over stress your instrument.
    As a general rule the majority of tenor guitars work very well with around 80lb of total tension or 20lb per string.
    That formula also feels great under your fingers so 12p 20w 30w 45w is a long term tried and tested set but offres a bit of leeway for experimenting a little either side of those numbers .

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    As a general rule the majority of tenor guitars work very well with around 80lb of total tension or 20lb per string.
    yeah, that's a good rule - one I recall transgressing in my experiments and getting told as such!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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  10. #8

    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Back View Post
    Scale 23''. Thanks.

    Rick
    Go fairly light for now -

    PL012
    NW017
    PB032
    PB042

    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com

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  12. #9

    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Howdy Rick,

    fox has sent you down the path that I would take. I have the same recommendations approximately. Different calculators - different results sometimes.

    Phosphor Bronze - acoustic - 23" scale - GDAE tuning: 12-19p-28w-44 should give you about 19 lbs. tension per string ~76 lbs. total.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If you don't want to buy individual strings, you can try JOHN PEARSE 450L 80/20 BRONZE TENOR GUITAR STRINGS. From their advertisement:"Strings are plain steel and wound 80/20 Bell Bronze, 013 020w 030w 042w. This is a good set for tuning Martin tenors (23" scale) to GDAE (octave mando tuning)."

    Click image for larger version. 

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    JustStrings.com is a good source for singles, or bulk individual strings. They also carry the John Pearse Tenor Strings. https://www.juststrings.com/jps-450l.html

    Along with Baron Collins-Hill's recommendations:
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Collins-Hill View Post
    Here’s what I use:

    For a 23” scale, D’Addario EJ80
    For a 21” Scale, D’Addario EJ72

    If you need ball end, you can buy them as bulk singles from JustStrings.

    Thanks,
    Baron
    Click image for larger version. 

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    D'Addario Octave Mandolin Phosphor Bronze, EJ80 (2 sets for the price of one pack)
    https://www.juststrings.com/dad-js80...ia&kw=dad-js80

    and

    Click image for larger version. 

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    D'Addario Mandola Phosphor Bronze Bluegrass, EJ72 (Again - 2 sets)
    https://www.juststrings.com/dad-j72....pia&kw=dad-j72


    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Hi Rick, you are a bit secretive about your guitar...
    The more information that you give - the better answers you will receive. What guitar are you looking at/do you play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Back View Post
    Also any suggestions for online lessons. Thanks.

    Rick
    Check out Baron Collins-Hill's Free Online Mandolin Lessons: https://www.mandolessons.com/. Different instrument - same tuning (you'd be an octave lower obviously) - Many free lessons/videos.

    Finally, As you say you are just starting out:

    Quote Originally Posted by nkforster View Post
    Go fairly light for now -

    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com

    Good luck,
    Huck
    Last edited by Huck; Oct-28-2020 at 10:01am.

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  14. #10

    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    I'm thinking of switching my 22 3/4" scale Acoustic tenor to GDAE and was thinking 042, 027, 017, 012 would work out but after reading this I'm wondering if that might me too light.

    Thoughts?

  15. #11
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    A bit loose perhaps but should be Ok
    12p 18w 30w 45w is a nice set and what i use or 13 20 30 46 if you want a bit more tension but it might depend on your guitars make and model and your playing style.

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  17. #12
    fretboard roamer Paul Merlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Thanks for the advice everybody! After years of noodling aimlessly on CGDA, I decided to give octave mandolin a try. I just ordered 2 sets of the the John Pearse 450 set for my 60's Harmony archtop tenor, 23" scale. and will let you know how it goes. However, I'm sure Santa will intercept the package from Elderly and make me wait until Christmas to open them...

    that being said, I really like John Pearse acoustic guitar set 600L a lot, but moved on quickly from their mandolin strings.
    Paul

    Weber Custom Vintage A
    Alvarez A-100
    '82 Fender Bullet (USA)
    '55 Harmony Master Model
    '62 Harmony Tenor Guitar

  18. #13
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    I have rarely got on with CGDA tuning - not because I can't transpose (though I'm no master of that either - just have to think ... fret positions Badger....). I find GDAE (or more specifically, GDAD) to be perfect for me. I can capo to A, Bb, C...

    I've just not go on with what my ears hear as a more weedy sound.

    It's not to say CGDA doesn't appeal - a friend of mine just started building tenors and his first, slightly flawed but lovely, guitar was in C & it sounded absolutely stunning - had a dulcimer like quality. I'm hoping to convince him to a part ex for his latest build; but it's a long shot!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

  19. #14
    Registered User dulcillini's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    Chicago Tuning: I have read all of these fine posts. If I were to experiment with Chicago tuning, D-G-B-E, on a 23 inch tenor guitar, what strings should I use?
    Michael A. Harris
    the dulcILLINI
    Collings MF5 Mandolin
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    McSpadden Custom Mountain Dulcimer
    Ibanez AVT1-NT Artwoods Tenor Guitar
    "Home is the place we grow up wanting to leave, and die trying to get back to." Nash

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    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: tenor guitar strings for GDAE tunning

    I used the following with good results on a 60s Harmony and a Blueridge BR40T (but they are pretty solidly built factory guitars - YMMV):

    E4 .013" PL == 21.82#
    A3 .020" PB == 21.04#
    D3 .030" PB == 21.57#
    G2 .045" PB == 21.5#
    total == 85.93#
    Roger Landes
    http://rogerlandes.com
    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
    http://www.halleonard.com/product/vi...?itemid=696348
    "House to House" with Randal Bays
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bayslandes
    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rogerchipper

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