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Thread: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

  1. #1

    Default Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    It's the busiest week of my year and the surge protector decided *not* to protect my laptop. After I recovered professionally - I needed to recover psychologically, so I ordered a basic low end tenor guitar from Amazon.

    Do I need any other "things" to start with? I play a *little* clawhammer and 2-finger thumb-lead banjo. But I have a boatload of picks for my mandolin. What do people here do with a tenor guitar? Fingers or picks?

    How much can you futz with the tunings with a given set of strings? I'm not sure if what I'm getting has default strings for 5ths or Chicago. I started on a viola and moved to mandolin - so 5ths would be cognitively the easiest, though probably physically the trickiest. Like an open-g tuned banjo without the drone would probably be physically the easiest, but idk if that makes any sense.

    Obviously I'm a *blank* slate - so tell me anything I need to know - also if anyone has the tabs for "hypnotize my husband into thinking I've always had a tenor guitar", that would be great.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    Happy Birthday.

    Here is my opinion. I am still a beginner. You have more skills
    than I do. You can weight my comments with that.

    I bought the Recording King tenor guitar to see if I might like a
    mandola. It was mostly all right as received, but after a trip to
    a luthier I am satisfied with it. As the luthier said, "It is a good
    little guitar". I do enjoy practicing with it.

    I play it with one pick like a mandolin. The frets are farther apart.
    Otherwise the CGDA tuning is familiar. I do practice with it, and it
    feels like the skills are similar.

    Tenor guitar seems to be a category rather than a specification.
    A typical scale length might be 22-23 inches. The typical tuning
    is CGDA. I think with the starting strings there is not much room
    for changing the tuning, especially not "up". For example, I think
    trying to tune the A string up two notes to B would be too much
    tension. Tuning down to GDAE seems too far.

    I am not in a position to give relationship advice. Hypothetically,
    if I had a wife who spent a little on a tenor guitar and spent time
    playing it rather than say, playing with the phone, I would be
    pleased. I like to think I would be smart enough to not make any
    comments about the expense.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  3. The following members say thank you to sounds_good for this post:

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    Thank you

    Idk why my husband and I feel compelled to feel guilty when we buy things. We're comfortable and we don't buy nonsense just stuff we genuinely love and neither of us is cheap. In fact for years all I've actually asked for was 2 frames for some art my kids made in elementary school, but he always feels compelled to get me something nicer. But whenever I buy an instrument or sheet music, or he buys skates or a hockey stick, we walk around on self-imposed egg shells.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    It came with a nice little set of instructions regarding the adjustable truss rod.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    By the way - I'm 4th author in a 25 year old paper in the Astrophysical Journal. The truss rod instructions are still mildly intimidating. I get righty-tighty if it's bowed, lefty-loosy if it's bumped. If I can't tell leave it alone - yeah? How obvious is it if it needs to be adjusted?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    To me the visual effect is subtle. I think you want the curve
    connecting the tops of the frets to lie below a straight line
    between the first and last frets.

    Sonically, when a string is fretted at fret n and plucked, if
    the string touches a fret > n the amplitude will be limited
    and anharmonic modes will be excited on the string. In other
    words that note will be softer and have other notes mixed in.
    Hearing that was a clue for me to make an adjustment. It is
    good to be able to maintain your own equipment, but I took
    my guitar to a luthier.

    An exercise for the reader: For a curve connecting the tops
    of the frets, when a string is fretted at fret n (for n = 1,19)
    what curve will give a constant clearance between the top of
    fret n+1 and the bottom of the string ?
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  7. #6

    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    I'm addicted to it and played it until my fingers turned black.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday to me - 6 days early

    Quote Originally Posted by Heady View Post
    I'm addicted to it and played it until my fingers turned black.
    Great, stay with it!! With regards to the truss rod, handy to have one. To adjust you might want to get a set of feeler gauges. If you press a string down on the 1st and 12th fret you might want to see about .007 to .010" of daylight between the top of the 5th fret and the bottom of the string you are holding down on the 1st and 12th fret. More if you play aggressively. Other adjustments in string height can be made to the nut and saddle. Having these adjustments made by a luthier can really enhance the playability of any Tenor and isn't too expensive. Worth it imho. You can learn to do it yourself. Not hard really if you have patience and a little set of files, feeler gauges.

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