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Thread: GDAE tuning for an established six string guitar player?

  1. #1

    Default GDAE tuning for an established six string guitar player?

    I've reached a pop cover live-performance octave GDAE fluency (major/minor scales, major/minor/7 chords) and finally played with the duo partner I usually play guitar with. I was a little disappointed at the GDAE tunings ability to really separate sonically. It sounded like a guitar with fewer notes. This is probably a "duh" for most people (and should've been for me), but are the advantages to OM tuning for most people just a familiarity with fifths tuning and preferring four strings over 6?

    Really breaking things down after the fact, OM strings/notes can be started on third fret E, open D, second fret G, open e on the guitar, so the unique melody voicing I thought were less attainable on guitar are pretty easily reproduced.

    I think my move now as a second instrument is either to just jump to a true mandolin (I'm aware there is a new learning curve technique-wise there) and/or jump to CGDA tuning on my tenor/OM to really create another layer of sound for our duo. Maybe an open tuning? I'm wide open for suggestions.

    I'm aware there is a lot of naïveté after the fact in this post, but I'm just genuinely curious if I'm missing something.

  2. #2
    Curious Observer MB-Octo's Avatar
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    Default Re: GDAE tuning for an established six string guitar player?

    Your question made me realize that I don’t really approach OM/tenor and guitar in the same way. My guitar playing has typically been classic rock & singer-songwriter music, with solos & the occasional instrumental thrown in. With 5ths-tuned instruments, though, I find myself looking for color & counterpoint with the other instruments. I find it easier to move between or imply certain chords with passing notes. Just sitting alone noodling and working with a melody is easier & more enjoyable.

    Something else to consider is stringing in what I *think* is referred to as 8va tuning. Two of my octaves are set up with Gg Dd AA EE stringing, which is simply pairing a lighter gauge string with the G and D strings and tuning that string up an octave like a 12-string guitar. I use what I call “Rickenbacker” stringing, with the fundamental on top so it “speaks” first. Sarah Jaroz uses this on “Silver Thunderbird” by Marc Cohn. Other folks use a standard 12-string config with the high string on top. I think John Reischman’s octave is strung with just the G having an octave on top on his tune “Horses of Dorrigo” (woke up with that in my head this morning!).

    As you said, mandola tuning is another voice. Capoing at the 7th fret is less than optimal, but it could give you a quick taste of it. Lots of possibilities & choices. I hope you find something that works for you!
    Monte

    Northfield F2S
    Weber Yellowstone Octave F

  3. #3

    Default Re: GDAE tuning for an established six string guitar player?

    Quote Originally Posted by MB-Octo View Post
    Your question made me realize that I don’t really approach OM/tenor and guitar in the same way. My guitar playing has typically been classic rock & singer-songwriter music, with solos & the occasional instrumental thrown in. With 5ths-tuned instruments, though, I find myself looking for color & counterpoint with the other instruments. I find it easier to move between or imply certain chords with passing notes. Just sitting alone noodling and working with a melody is easier & more enjoyable.

    Something else to consider is stringing in what I *think* is referred to as 8va tuning. Two of my octaves are set up with Gg Dd AA EE stringing, which is simply pairing a lighter gauge string with the G and D strings and tuning that string up an octave like a 12-string guitar. I use what I call “Rickenbacker” stringing, with the fundamental on top so it “speaks” first. Sarah Jaroz uses this on “Silver Thunderbird” by Marc Cohn. Other folks use a standard 12-string config with the high string on top. I think John Reischman’s octave is strung with just the G having an octave on top on his tune “Horses of Dorrigo” (woke up with that in my head this morning!).

    As you said, mandola tuning is another voice. Capoing at the 7th fret is less than optimal, but it could give you a quick taste of it. Lots of possibilities & choices. I hope you find something that works for you!
    This is really interesting. Thanks for commenting!

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