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Thread: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

  1. #1

    Default Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    I spent a few hours with a new electric tenor last night and took to it quickly. Prior to that experience, I've typically been spending most of my free time with a mandolin in my hands, so it was no surprise that the transition to another instrument tuned in 5ths was intuitive. Right now it's CGDA but I'll probably tune it to GDAE once I get a different set of strings.

    I'm curious if there's any major technique differences I should be aware of between the instruments, or any nuances in particular other than "play it like a mandolin, but bigger, and with single course strings." Anything I should watch out for in terms of bad habits between the two instruments, or is it all pretty transferable?

    On that note, do tenor guitars generally follow the one-finger-per-two-frets rule as with the mandolin family? I don't have huge hands but I was able to make the stretch work.
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    You probably won't be doing any chop chords
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    You probably won't be doing any chop chords
    Thankfully I'm not a bluegrass guy so I'm not too heartbroken.
    Eastwood Newport Tenor, Eastwood Airline Mandola
    Cozart Electric Tenor, Cozart Electric Mando
    Hora Octave, Seagull S8
    ...and maybe some other stuff...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    For tenor guitar I use guitar fingering so one finger per fret. Also, not all mandolin chords will be possible on the tenor guitar as they will be tricky to finger so you might have to come up with alternatives for these. Obviously, there will be more sustain and you will be able to do things like string bending more easily.

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by dylandekk View Post
    Thankfully I'm not a bluegrass guy so I'm not too heartbroken.
    Us non-bluegrass people have to stick together.
    Dave Schneider

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    The tenor guitar opens up finger style playing. I like to tune the C up to a D (DGDA) and explore the possibilities. Have fun!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  8. #7

    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by PT66 View Post
    Us non-bluegrass people have to stick together.
    We can probably all squeeze into the same vehicle if we want to carpool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    The tenor guitar opens up finger style playing. I like to tune the C up to a D (DGDA) and explore the possibilities. Have fun!
    I love tapping on a bass or a regular guitar, so I'm definitely going to incorporate that into my practice. Apparently the reason Warren Ellis tenors use bass necks is because of the way he does fingerstyle, although I don't see an issue with the normal spacing personally.
    Eastwood Newport Tenor, Eastwood Airline Mandola
    Cozart Electric Tenor, Cozart Electric Mando
    Hora Octave, Seagull S8
    ...and maybe some other stuff...

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    I would think that there are fewer bluegrass people on tenor guitar than the rest of this forum.
    Dave Schneider

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    I do mostly mandolin fingering on OM, ETG and RTG, examples can be seen here and there, but it takes well-aimed jumps.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Excercise the pinky finger!

  12. #11

    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by PT66 View Post
    I would think that there are fewer bluegrass people on tenor guitar than the rest of this forum.
    I can tell that I'm right at home in this section of the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I do mostly mandolin fingering on OM, ETG and RTG, examples can be seen here and there, but it takes well-aimed jumps.
    After a week of spending time with a tenor guitar, I think this is the approach that works for me as well. Mine's a 22" scale and I have found that I haven't had a lot of issues with getting around after warming up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Granger View Post
    Excercise the pinky finger!
    ...and it's mainly due to this. I've been doing a lot of FFCP practice with my mandolin lately, so my pinky has been getting a lot of extra crosstraining. I think that if you limited yourself just to the first three fingers, you'd be struggling a lot more on a tenor guitar than on a mandolin, where there are so many tunes that use open strings and stay in the first position.

    Overall I think this was one of the best purchases I've made in the past decade of music making. Really been inspired by my tenor lately. I don't know if I'll ever really want to play a regular guitar again - maybe strung up in NST or something like a Schecter Celloblaster.
    Eastwood Newport Tenor, Eastwood Airline Mandola
    Cozart Electric Tenor, Cozart Electric Mando
    Hora Octave, Seagull S8
    ...and maybe some other stuff...

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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Well that is great, Welcome to tenor guitar!!! I play mainly Irish fiddle tunes, a little blues now and again, and sometimes dip into a pop tune. Versatile instruments. For a long time I played in DGBE, but since last August I've played in GDAE tuning and really like it. Glad to hear you are enjoying yours so much!!!

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    Tucker the Mandolinist TuckerTheMandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I do mostly mandolin fingering on OM, ETG and RTG, examples can be seen here and there, but it takes well-aimed jumps.
    I do mandolin fingering on every instrument I play.
    "has to be either place making, place finding, or place adapting. or the secret 4th option of course, which is to be miserable"
    -Bill Wurtz

  16. #14

    Default Re: Going from mandolin to tenor guitar - technique differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by TuckerTheMandolinist View Post
    I do mandolin fingering on every instrument I play.
    Well, if the scale is too long and you want to stick to mandolin fingering then there is always a capo.

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