Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

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sal
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Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by sal » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:16 pm

I had the good fortune of running into a tenor I went to college with. He is a retired opera singer, and we have been getting together reading Arias, and Neapolitan songs. A lot of the music (especially the Neapolitan stuff), is in nice easy keys. We actually made a recording, and rather than playing a song written in G, we did it in Gb, and rather than learning it in Gb, I just tuned all of my strings down a half step. I kept the guitar tuned down for a month, it worked very well. He is talking about recording several other pieces we have been working on, and has said he wants to tune them all down, a half step, whole step, one he wants to tune down 2 steps.
Im wondering how low can I tune the guitar down-I really do not want to make these easy pieces extremely difficult(for me), especially after I have already learned these pieces.

Conall
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by Conall » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:29 pm

Tuning down differently is not a great idea, particularly in performance. My inclination would have been to play a Gb piece in E or F with a capo.

Tuning down 2 whole tones will sound lousy in my opinion, whatever about one whole tone. I would try to relearn at least that one in a lower key & use a capo.

Wuuthrad
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by Wuuthrad » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:14 pm

I tune my guitars down 1 to 2 whole steps all the time, for personal preference, historical accuracy and also for playing with singers.

I often match the sound of A to the resonance of the guitar body or the pitch of a singers voice, after which I will reference either a tuning fork, or possibly a digital tuner (which I cannot stand compared to the old fashioned fork) and interestingly I find A to be near 108 Hz quite often when using my pseudo-scientifically metaphysically magical musically proven processes.

I usually tune to A440 only when playing with other pluckers such as Mandolins, Ukes and Guitarists and also singers who know not the True Tuning Path!

Have at it! Capos or cejillas can help and I also recommend higher tension strings when down tuning.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

ronjazz
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by ronjazz » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:15 am

I keep one guitar tuned down a full step for working with Bb instruments like soprano sax or trumpet, but mainly because I worked with a soprano sax player who wanted to play some of the flute and guitar repertoire on the soprano. It became a nightmare to try to re-arrange Piazzola and the like for a regular-tuned guitar. It works well with heavy-gauge strings and once it's allowed to settle into that tuning.
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RobMacKillop
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by RobMacKillop » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:26 am

Fixed pitch came in for orchestral players in the 1940s, and no one consulted a guitarist. I have no problem tuning down. Just slap on some high-tension strings, even extra high if you can find them, and tune down a tone. Your guitar will sound great, and nobody but a guitar player will give a damn.

sal
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by sal » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:16 pm

Thanks to all. When I tuned down a half step, I put high tension strings on a guitar that normally likes medium tension strings-it worked very well. Thanks Ron Jazz for the Bb instrument suggestion. My tenor friend also plays guitar, and my main instrument is the clarinet; would like to play some music with him accompanying me.

Todd Tipton
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Re: Working with a tenor-Can you tune all strings up, down? How much

Post by Todd Tipton » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:21 pm

It has already been mentioned. Regardless, let me explicitly say that I wouldn't tune up all the strings. A capo is a wonderful tool instead.
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