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Thread: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

  1. #1
    Registered User g-mac's Avatar
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    Default Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Low to high: CGGDAE

    It sounds great on my Martin dred, and I find I can navigate it better than most alternate tunings, BECAUSE. . . the 4 high strings are basically an octave mandolin: GDAE.

    Meanwhile the two Gs in a row give you great drone possibilites, and the low C gives you a mandocello depth.

    It also has the advantage of not being hard on the neck of the guitar, since you're not tuning anything up from standard tuning, only down.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Sounds cool but I'd be afraid of a floppy low string since you're tuning it down quite a lot. How does it feel? Do you use really heavy strings for it?

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    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I used to tune my guitar to D A E G B E or D A E G A E for fun. I never actually played any shows or wrote any songs with those tunings, but they were fun to play around in.
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    Registered User g-mac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    Sounds cool but I'd be afraid of a floppy low string since you're tuning it down quite a lot. How does it feel? Do you use really heavy strings for it?
    It actually sounds & feels really good. I think the large body of the drednought helps in producing the very low tones, and the longer scale (25.4") keeps the strings from feeling too flabby. I'm just using regular D'Addario EJ-16 lights.

    Sometimes when I hear an octave mandolin or mandocello, I love the sound and start thinking I want one (of each?), but I can't really justifty the $ given the amount I'd likely play them. Tuning my guitar like this from time to time allows me to scratch the itch in a way without going the whole 9 yards.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I've done something similar, and then went further.

    I tuned to CGDDAE, which required no string changes.

    Then the madness set in.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-my-experiment

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...andocello-Plus!

    Happy reading!
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Has anyone tried GGDAEE? You need to tune up the fifth string A major third but if the string doesn't break it could be cool.

  7. #7
    Registered User g-mac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I've done something similar, and then went further.

    I tuned to CGDDAE, which required no string changes.

    Then the madness set in.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-my-experiment

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...andocello-Plus!

    Happy reading!
    Wow, you are aptly named, Explorer!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Or GGDAAE for minimum change in string tension while keeping essentially octave mandolin tuning.

  9. #9
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    A tuning that Joni Mitchell used a lot is CGDGBD. See "Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire," "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" and others. I read somewhere that her use of the tuning was inspired by a mandocello. (There is a sort of reference in Song for Sharon: "I went to staten island./To buy myself a mandolin" and there is also a picture of her playing a K-4 at Mandolin Bros).

    I used to do a lot of Joni's songs back in the 70s with my then-girlfriend/duet partner. Used the "bluegrass" gauge strings with medium bass and light trebles so that we could do the dropped tunings without floppy bass.

    Been a long time since I've thought about those tunings... Thanks for reminding me!
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  10. #10
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I had my ‘70s Sigma 12 string tuned like that using an electric bass string to get the right tension/tone. Had to get a medium and light set of guitar strings too but it was definitely worth it. Sounded great!

    I missed the guitar though so I tuned it as a guitar but four/five frets lower… really nice for playing with other guitars.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I saw a band the other week where the main rhythm instrument is a 'gazouki', ie 8 string GDAE tuned guitar. The resultant sound is interesting - more light and jangly than a 6 string standard tuning guitar but not so fat as a 12 string.

  12. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    G open chord Dobro/Bottle neck tuning ?
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  14. #13

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    I saw a band the other week where the main rhythm instrument is a 'gazouki', ie 8 string GDAE tuned guitar. The resultant sound is interesting - more light and jangly than a 6 string standard tuning guitar but not so fat as a 12 string.
    I've heard guitar-bodied bouzoukis with octave stringing on the bottom course, and they were indeed jangly. The guitar-bodied octave mandolins with unison-tuned courses had more bass than standard-bodied OMs....
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

    Love mandola?
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  15. #14

    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I got hooked on nonstandard tunings with LZIII. I've slipped in and out of a bunch of them with infatuations with Jansch, Fahey, Hedges... I'm using about 5 different ones so far on Hardanger fiddle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I've heard guitar-bodied bouzoukis with octave stringing on the bottom course, and they were indeed jangly. The guitar-bodied octave mandolins with unison-tuned courses had more bass than standard-bodied OMs....
    Ya I like the Ovations for conversion - for a smaller body sound

  16. #15
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    G open chord Dobro/Bottle neck tuning ?
    Squarenecks are usually GBDGBD (an open G). Roundnecks are usually either DGDGBD (another open G) or DADF#AD (open D).

    Usually ≠ always.
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  17. #16
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    One cure for jangly courses is to replace the high octaves with slightly heavier strings -if the neck can handle the slightly increased tension.
    Lighter strings are great for bending but tone and stability with tuning is questionable.

  18. #17
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I once tuned my old beater 6 string to a modified mandocello all 5ths tuning:
    F-C-G-D-A-E. For the C through E I used the same gages as my 10 string mandocello. The low F was a problem. The biggest string that would fit without modification was a.077 but it was still too floppy and buzzy.

  19. #18
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Another option for a zouk or OM-alike tuning on guitar is one that John Doyle used for a while. Goes like this:

    Tune your guitar BEBF#BF# with appropriately heavy strings like a .072 and .056 on the bottom B and E strings, the rest adjusted for tension. Then throw a capo on the third fret. Now you're in DGDADA, basically bouzouki tuning with an added low and high string surrounding it. By using a capo you're shortening the scale and making the finger stretch easier with 5ths tuning on a guitar.

    I kept one of my old beater acoustic guitars in this tuning for a while, but eventually gave it up. I already had an octave mandolin, and while I liked that nice fat D on the bottom, it was too much of a duplication and I preferred the zingier sound of the OM. So I just keep my one remaining steel string acoustic guitar in Drop-D tuning for Irish/Scottish trad backing, where I can leverage what I know in standard tuning with just a few adjustments for the dropped bottom D string.

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  21. #19
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    Has anyone tried GGDAEE? You need to tune up the fifth string A major third but if the string doesn't break it could be cool.
    I ordered the recommended gauges and tuned using Robert Fripp's "New Standard" tuning. C G D A E G, all 5ths except the minor 3rd on top. I couldn't get friendly with it, but didn't give it a lot of time. Great tuning for rock.

  22. #20
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    Default Re: Anyone tried this mandolin-friendly guitar tuning?

    I played around with CGDGAD on guitar for a few weeks, it's very close to the CGDAD tuning I use on my cittern, but with that added whole tone interval that's good for playing melodies across the strings. It does need at least a. 056“ on the bottom string to avoid flopping around on that low C. I might go back and explore that a little more some time, but ultimately I have too much familiarity built up in standard tuning (or just with the 6th string dropped to D) to stick with an alternate tuning in the longer term.

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