The poor man's baritone

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:33 pm

The old Yamaha G-245 came in the mail today, the poor thing had been strung with an electric guitar low B for its E, a steel string acoustic A, and then a steel string G for its D. I feel like no matter what the result of my baritone experiment I'll at least be able to give it a good home. It is a beautiful old guitar, solid spruce top with laminated rosewood back and sides. It seems to be in okay shape structurally despite the steel strings. Another odd surprise was discovering it has a passive undersaddle pickup installed that still works, I don't think I'll use it much but I suppose it could come in handy. I'll give an update on the sound when I finish restringing.

Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:07 pm

I ran into a problem where the bridge is compensated for what would normally be a plain nylon G string, so putting a much thinner wound string there may be problematic. I am going to experiment with using some different extra hard tension nylons there to serve as the D string as well as just using the wound string to see if the intonation is not too bad. Generally speaking though I would say the sound is very good, very rich and full sounding playing that open B chord. I look forward to finding the perfect set of strings for this instrument.

gilles T
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:22 am

Hello Seter,

You're raising an interesting point I was not aware of.
At that point, you may need a spare bridge, without compensation, which will fit the thicker string better — you can make out one from a bone piece or having a luthier doing it for you.
I any case, not a big deal when it comes to the price.
Keep us posted,
regards,
Gilles

Kjetil Heggelund
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Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Kjetil Heggelund » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:59 pm

Hey!
I did that to an old Ray Spain 664mm some years ago. I haven't used it much, but thought it would do well in a guitarduo. I also found out that Aquila strings make sets for bass/baritone and also high G and A tuning, for a regular length guitar.
Kevin Aram "Torres", 2009
Stephan Schlemper "Transparence", 2015
Whatever you can do to have a good time, let's get on with it so long as it doesn't cause a murder...FZ

Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:23 pm

gilles T wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:22 am
Hello Seter,

You're raising an interesting point I was not aware of.
At that point, you may need a spare bridge, without compensation, which will fit the thicker string better — you can make out one from a bone piece or having a luthier doing it for you.
I any case, not a big deal when it comes to the price.
Keep us posted,
regards,
Gilles
I think that's what I'll do, a bone saddle would be a nice upgrade anyway over the current plastic saddle and that will greatly simplify the string situation rather than trying to find strings to work with the compensated saddle. I ordered an assortment of saddles to experiment with, now I just have to wait.

Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:24 am

While the bone saddle sanding adventure was a good learning experience I wasn't really able to get satisfactory results. I remembered reading that Hannabach SHT strings were abnormally high tension, so I put a set on to see how they sound, here are a few clips. I'll probably just tune this guitar (Yamaha G245S) up to DADGAD or C standard or something to get the most out of the Hannabachs. I've been eyeing some old Goya guitars, maybe one of them will be my next victim for baritone experimentation.

Pardon my amateur playing/recording:




Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:17 pm

I passed the Yamaha on to a guy who collects them, and then I finally got an old Goya G-20 (it does not have a compensated nut). I have it strung up now with the La Bella 7 string set sans the high e, sounds fairly good.

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RJVB
Posts: 612
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:29 am
Location: La Ferté Milon, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by RJVB » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:10 pm

gilles T wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:19 am
the best option to play Bach's cello suites with actual cello fingerings is to play a baritone ukulele tuned in fifths

And there I was thinking that the best option was to play them on a cello. How naive :mrgreen: :arrow:

(That said, one of my favourite interpretations if by Paolo Pandolfo on viola da gamba)
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

Seter
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Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:59 pm

Here is a recording with the Goya as an ersatz baritone and the La Bella 7 string set:


Bear_Davis
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Location: Washington

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Bear_Davis » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:13 pm

Long time lurker!

I have done this to a couple of old 70's Yamahas a while back. The results were fantastic imho.

Here is a recording I did on my cell phone during the holiday season. I have a lot of classical guitars but I mostly play fingerstyle ;)

nippon gakki G-170a
Savarez 5209R and D'Addario EJ46LP
Second hand set of Gotoh tuners (The originals were barely functional)
Modified nut to fit new strings
Secret sauce (Tune C to C) The extra tension gave it a ton more volume.


hectoring
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:53 pm
Location: Leicester, UK

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by hectoring » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:53 pm

I stopped by a guitar shop and picked up a Hannabach "Silver-Special" 7-D medium tension, do you think that will suffice as a low B string?

(I drop my E to C# for Koyunbaba and that seems to work, so fingers crossed...)

gilles T
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:52 pm

Hello Hectoring,

I cannot guarantee that a D string tuned down to B won't feel too floppy, but Hannabach silver being on the hard tension side, I'm confident it may work OK. On my 8 string, I often tune the low B string down to A and it doesn't make any difference regarding playability or sound.
Hope this helps; keep us posted.
Cheers,
Gilles

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RJVB
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Location: La Ferté Milon, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by RJVB » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:29 am

I guess you could also tune a low (or extra-low) tension A up one tone instead of tuning a D down 3 semitones?
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

Dr ToneControl
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:33 am
Location: Cheshire, UK

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Dr ToneControl » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:56 pm

I had an contrabass, it didn't sound guitar-like, I restrung it with the Hannabach set intended for A-A or B-B, sounded a lot better - sounds like you are doing a similar thing

hectoring
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:53 pm
Location: Leicester, UK

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by hectoring » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:04 am

Good news - it's quite playable at B-B or C-C. Dropping it another tone for drop-D pieces does start to make it a bit floppy though.

The tuning pegs were creaking and jumping a bit - I need to check whether it's the old tuners, or if I have to sand and lubricate the nut a bit for the wider gauges.

I picked up the low Hannabach D string for about £5 as an experiment, once I'm sure that my guitar's up to it, I'll be more confident in splashing out on a more appropriate string (or 7-string set, etc).

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